Why You Should Invest in a Dehumidifier for Your Home

Humidity levels in North Florida present their own set of unique challenges for homeowners. Excess humidity can lead to a myriad of problems, like an uncomfortable living environment and unnecessary wear and tear on your HVAC system. At Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling, our expert technicians have seen how difficult humidity can make air quality control. That’s why we recommend top-of-the-line dehumidifier solutions to combat these humidity-related issues. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits many local homeowners experience when they add a dehumidifier to their homes.

1. Reduced Energy Consumption

When you turn on your air conditioner, your home becomes cooler and less humid. This makes the space a lot more comfortable. Unfortunately, many homeowners believe that this is a good answer to the humidity issue in their living environment. While it certainly feels more comfortable in the short term, the truth is that using the air conditioner to lower humidity is not a sustainable solution. Running your air conditioner for the purpose of dehumidification puts undue strain on your HVAC system. This leads to increased energy consumption, higher utility bills, and more frequent repairs.

Additionally, your air conditioner wasn’t designed to keep up with rising humidity levels. On days with high humidity outside, or when someone in your house is cooking or taking a shower, the humidity inside will increase. Meanwhile, your air conditioner will keep straining to attempt to resolve the issue.

A dehumidifier lowers humidity levels and the burden on your air conditioning unit to perform jobs outside the scope of its intended use. This saves energy and creates a more cost-effective and sustainable solution.

2. Keep Your HVAC System Working Well

Not only will a dehumidifier save on the amount of energy your air conditioner uses, but it can also prolong the life of your HVAC system and help it work well. High humidity levels force your HVAC system to work harder, resulting in increased wear and tear. By reducing the workload on your home’s existing air systems, your dehumidifier works to save you money on AC repairs and replacements.

3. Promote Healthier Air in Your Home

High humidity levels create an ideal environment for mold, mildew, and bacteria. These irritants can create allergies and respiratory problems for you and your family.

By maintaining optimal humidity levels, a dehumidifier minimizes the presence of these irritants, improving indoor air quality and safeguarding your family’s health.

4. Make Your Home a More Comfortable Space

Daily activities can quickly become uncomfortable when your home is excessively humid. For example, activities like cooking and showering add to the overall humidity and become activities to avoid. It’s difficult to imagine working out in your home environment when the air feels sticky. When the humidity feels uncomfortable enough, people would rather spend money going out to places where the air feels dryer than stay in and enjoy their own homes.

A dehumidifier can eliminate stickiness and discomfort, allowing you to enjoy a pleasant living environment. These devices are designed to keep up, no matter what activities you do in your space. For many people, this means feeling free to cook dinner, even on summer evenings in the Florida heat.

5. Eliminate Nasty Odors

Mold, mildew, and bacteria love damp environments. Unfortunately, this leads to unpleasant odors. If you’ve ever walked into a musty basement, you’re familiar with the unpleasant smell humidity can cause. Unfortunately, these smells can sometimes go unnoticed until they become overpowering, making it even harder to tell where they’re coming from.

Regulating your home’s humidity levels reduces bacterial growth. This then reduces the chance of musty odors invading your home space. A dehumidifier ensures that you have a fresher and more pleasant-smelling home to enjoy.

6. Safeguard Against Home Damage

Jacksonville’s consistently high humidity levels can cause damage to your home’s structure over time. Some of the common issues homeowners face include peeling paint, warped wood, rot, and weakened foundations. A dehumidifier eliminates excess moisture, protecting the integrity of your home and saving you from expensive repairs.

7. Keep Your Belongings Safe

Furniture, electronics, and other prized belongings are also at risk of damage from mold growth, warping, and rot. The items stored in a closet, basement, or attic are particularly at risk. These spaces where homeowners tend to store their most precious items are also the spaces that don’t get a lot of airflow and so they are at the highest risk of damage due to high humidity levels.

Installing a dehumidifier ensures optimal humidity levels throughout a home, which then safeguards valuable possessions.

8. Avoid the Troubles of Condensation

Many homeowners view condensation as a nuisance, but it’s much worse than that. Excess humidity promotes condensation, which can cling to walls and surfaces. Over time, this seemingly small issue can lead to water damage and the growth of mold and mildew.

This is a particularly common issue in bathrooms. Many homeowners first notice the problems caused by condensation as their showers turn slick, develop a pink film, or dark mold grows between the tiles. Even though they try to clean their bathroom as often as possible, they can’t keep up with the mold and mildew. This is a chronic issue caused by excess humidity and condensation.

A dehumidifier can reduce humidity levels, preventing the common problems caused by excessive condensation.

9. Enjoy Peace of Mind

Every homeowner wants to know that their home is a safe place for their family to enjoy. No one wants to go through their day with added worries nagging in the back of their mind.

Adding a dehumidifier provides homeowners with the peace of mind they deserve. It eliminates concerns about excess humidity and its detrimental effects on a home and the health of everyone who lives there. Every time they enter their space and feel the dry, refreshing air, they know they can relax. At the end of the day, this is truly the best benefit a dehumidifier or any air quality control measure can bring.

Consult the Experts

Improving your indoor air quality and comfort is a worthy investment. Adding a dehumidifier to your home is an essential step toward creating a healthier and more comfortable space for you and your family. When it comes to taking this kind of proactive step toward improving your indoor air quality and comfort, it is essential to consult professionals. Our highly skilled technicians have earned Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling a long-standing reputation as a trusted industry leader in Jacksonville, Florida, and the surrounding area. We are a family-run business that prides itself on providing our community with customer-focused services.

Our highly skilled team can assess your home’s specific needs, considering factors such as climate, existing moisture issues, and the size of your property. With our expertise, we will recommend the ideal dehumidifier for your personal requirements. In addition, our team works on repairing, installing, and performing regular maintenance for air conditioning and heating systems as well. In fact, we perform many air quality services including duct cleaning, ventilation testing, and installing UV air purifiers.

Take the first step toward a healthier and more comfortable home. Contact Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling today for more information on our air quality and dehumidifier solutions.

RDHCEditorWhy You Should Invest in a Dehumidifier for Your Home
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5 Ways Air Conditioning Maintenance Saves Your Wallet

5 Ways Air Conditioning Maintenance Saves Your Wallet

Your air conditioner is a substantial appliance that can consume your money if you’re not careful. From constantly fluctuating energy costs to repairs and eventually to a replacement, these air conditioner needs can come with a hefty price tag. That’s why you want to take advantage of every opportunity you can to reign in your costs while running your unit. Discover how getting annual AC maintenance will help reduce those costs over the life of your system and what happens during maintenance that controls them.

1. Less Lost Energy

Your energy costs are going to fluctuate from day to day, month to month, and year to year based on the weather and the current cost of electricity. While you can’t control every aspect of the cost of power, you can try to normalize the amount of power your air conditioner consumes throughout its life.

When you purchased and installed your air conditioner, it was rated for a specific efficiency, known as SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This rating assumes a certain operating environment, including no airflow restrictions and that every part of your AC is operating optimally.

However, as your system runs, it naturally begins losing some of that efficiency for a variety of reasons. The goal of air conditioner maintenance is to keep your system running at its peak efficiency. Neglecting maintenance only causes that efficiency to slowly degrade over the life of your system, driving up your energy consumption and your utility costs.

2. Fewer and Less Expensive Repairs

Aside from energy costs, your system’s efficiency is also directly tied to system breakdowns and the severity of those problems. By keeping your air conditioner maintained properly each year, you reduce the wear on the system, which lowers the number of repairs you’ll need.

It also helps reduce the severity of those repairs by catching them early. Your technician performs a whole list of tests during maintenance. This testing is designed to identify problems early, before they cause substantial strain on the entire system, which is usually before you’d notice a difference in how your unit operates. When a component does wear out, you end up replacing a minor component rather than replacing something more expensive, like the compressor.

3. Longer Service Life

Nationally, the average air conditioner will last roughly 10 to 15 years. In Florida, we have excess salt in the air, especially in coastal regions like Jacksonville. This excess salt accelerates wear on the outside condensing unit, usually shortening the life to around 8-12 years.

That expected service life is dependent on the unit receiving proper maintenance. As we’ve previously discussed, your system will lose efficiency over time, which causes individual components to wear more quickly. The condensing coil may develop a leak due to the wear from the salt. All of this adds up and leads to the need for more frequent replacements.

Even if your system hasn’t reached its intended age, there are two ways to determine when it’s time. The first is if any one repair or set of repairs is more than 50% of the cost of a new system. The second is looking at all of the repairs over the last two years and multiplying those costs by the age of the unit. If that equals or exceeds the cost of a new system, it’s time for a replacement. You can see how having more repairs due to neglected maintenance will accelerate both of these equations.

4. Less Risk of Emergency Repair Fees

Air conditioners tend to have the most problems during the hottest weather when we depend on them the most. This happens because the hotter and more humid the weather is outside, the more the compressor has to work to vent the heat the refrigerant absorbed from inside your home.

When you have a breakdown when it’s oppressively hot and humid, getting your system back up and running is a matter of not only comfort but also safety. When these repairs happen during off-business hours, you end up paying extra for the emergency service, which can significantly increase the cost of your repairs.

5. Protects Your Factory Warranty

You want to make sure that if your system breaks down during its warranty period that the manufacturer is going to cover the costs. However, most people don’t take the time to read the details of the warranty, which often include a term that stipulates you’ll have your system maintained.

Manufacturers include this term because they understand how important routine maintenance is to keep the system operating efficiently. As the efficiency wanes, the wear increases, and parts fail prematurely. By getting routine maintenance, you protect that warranty and ensure you don’t end up paying for repairs due to manufacturing defects.

Understanding AC Maintenance

Now that you’ve seen the ways annual AC maintenance reduces costs, let’s explore how it does that. Like any mechanical system, your air conditioner will wear over time. Some of that wear happens because of airflow restrictions in the system. Other wear happens because of increased electrical resistance due to loose electrical connections. There’s also the wear from excessive vibration caused by loose mounting hardware. Finally, there’s wear when any part of the system doesn’t operate within optimal parameters.

The first thing your maintenance technician does is inspect and clean your system. The visual inspection is looking for signs of corrosion and wear, which indicate there may be internal problems that need attention. Then they’ll move on to cleaning the system. They’ll inspect your air filter to see if it’s time for a replacement. Then, they clean the parts where airborne contaminants settle while it runs, which eventually causes airflow restrictions. In particular, this includes the evaporator coil inside, the circulating fan wheel, and the condensing coil outside.

Next, they look for any connections that have come loose. As your system runs and vibrates, it will loosen electrical connections and mounting hardware. A loose electrical connection causes increased resistance, which increases heat and then wears on connected components. Loose mounting hardware allows components like the compressor, blower motor, and condensing fan motor to move while running, potentially causing damage. Your technician will check and tighten these connections and hardware throughout your system to reduce wear.

Finally, they’ll run a series of tests. Some individual components get special testing, like your condensing capacitor, to check the resistance moving through the component. The technician will check the level of refrigerant in your system to make sure that it’s not low and causing excess strain on your compressor. Then, they’ll test the entire system to ensure that it cycles on appropriately, that all parts of the system are engaging at the right time, and that it produces the proper temperature drop in the air coming from your vents.

People around Jacksonville know and trust the experts at Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling to keep their homes comfortable throughout the year. Our technicians proudly provide heating and AC maintenance, repair, and installation together with indoor air quality solutions and duct cleaning. Call to schedule your air conditioning maintenance appointment with one of our friendly technicians today.

RDHCEditor5 Ways Air Conditioning Maintenance Saves Your Wallet
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What Are Some Factors to Consider When Purchasing an Air Conditioner?

The scorching temperatures of Jacksonville’s summers make having an air conditioner a must for most homeowners. If you are looking to replace or upgrade your existing air conditioner, you must do your due diligence before making the final decision. Because of the expense involved in purchasing a new unit and the importance an air conditioner plays in your family’s comfort, you should consider things like the best-sized AC unit for your home and find the most energy-efficient model.

Choosing the Right Type of Air Conditioning Unit For Your Home

There are several types of air conditioning units available. Finding the one that fits your needs is vital to feeling comfortable in your home.

Window air conditioners are popular types of air conditioners. They work best in smaller spaces that have suitable windows for them. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and fairly easy to maintain. However, they do offer some limitations when it comes to cooling power and durability.

Portable air conditioners are freestanding systems that sit on your floor and can be moved around because they are on wheels. They are used as a cooling system and as a way to exhaust hot air outside of the room. Portable ACs need to be near a window. They work suitably for cooling one room. However, they are not designed to cool larger rooms or multiple rooms.

One of the more popular forms of energy-efficient air conditioning is the ductless mini split. Instead of using ductwork, the cool air is transported through a 3-inch conduit. A mini split has an outdoor and indoor unit. They are easier to install than many central air-conditioning units, offer multi-zone heating and cooling, and can be cost-effective.

Central air conditioners are also extremely popular in North America. They circulate cool air through a system of supply and return ducts. They are powerful, can be used to cool the entire home, and do a good job of dehumidifying the air to improve the home’s comfort.

Finding the Right-Sized Air Conditioner

If your air conditioning unit is too large for your room, it can quickly cool the room, but it will do a poor job of removing excess moisture from the air. If the unit is too small, it will need to run continually to try to do its job effectively.

Find an AC unit that is the right size for your room, makes the room comfortable, and can save you money and prevent unnecessary repairs or expensive electricity bills.

When calculating the size air conditioner you will need, technicians will start by multiplying the length times the width of the room that needs to be cooled. Then, as a general rule of thumb, that number is multiplied by 25 BTUs (British Thermal Units). This provides the ideal cooling, whether hot or rainy, sunny or cloudy. For example, if the room you want to cool is 12′ x 15′ long, it is 180 ft.². 180 ft.² multiplied by 25, meaning you would need an air conditioner with a 4,500 BTU cooling capacity.

Other factors need to be considered when choosing the right-sized AC unit. These include the number of windows you have in the home, the level of insulation, the age of the house, the types of windows and doors you have installed, and how much heat from the sun the home receives. For this reason, it is best to leave sizing an air conditioner up to our professionals at Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling.

Consider Your Budget

You must set a budget when evaluating the best air conditioning unit for you. The budget should not only include the initial cost of purchasing a unit but also should allow for the cost of operation, installation, and future maintenance.

When creating your budget, consider the pros and cons of the different features air conditioners offer. For example, an air conditioner with more features might cost more upfront, but you may save money by reducing electricity use. Additionally, more features may mean improved comfort.

A portable or window air conditioner is usually less expensive than installing central air-conditioning. However, the cooling power they offer is a lot lower. Installing a ductless mini-split unit may be more expensive than installing a window unit, but mini-splits are cost-effective long-term and many offer the option to heat and cool a room.

Consider the Technology You Will Want the Unit to Have

It can be frustrating to adjust the air conditioner’s temperature manually. And, if you don’t adjust things accurately, you could drastically increase your electric bills. Smart technology may be able to resolve some of these issues.

For example, a smart air conditioner that offers automation can be programmed to turn on or turn off based on when you are home. Advanced air conditioner technology goes beyond regulating temperature and humidity. If you forget to shut off your unit when you leave your home, geo-fencing technology can handle that for you. Some air conditioning units give you the option to receive alerts on your telephone or smart devices when you need to change an air filter or do maintenance. They can also provide reports about the air conditioner’s energy usage.

EER Ratings, SEER Ratings, and Inverter Technology

SEER and EER ratings show you at a glance the efficiency of an air conditioning unit. EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio of Cooling. It shows how much energy you need to power the unit and cool a set space. SEER, Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, measures the same thing. The only difference is that it focuses on the energy you will need to use throughout the heating season. According to federal law, newer air conditioners should have a SEER rating of 14 or higher.

Considering the EER and SEER ratings is essential because the higher the rating, the less power the unit consumes. The unit can provide better cooling and do it in an eco-friendly way. Units with a higher SEER or EER rating may be more expensive upfront, but they often offer long-term energy savings.

Air conditioners with inverter technology turn off and on the compressor less frequently. It just changes the speed of the compressor to match the cooling needs. Air conditioners with inverter technology are a little bit more expensive than those that do not have said technology. However, they do have the potential to save money on electrical use in the long run.

Maximizing Home Comfort With Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling

At Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling, we proudly serve Jacksonville, Florida, residents and surrounding communities. We offer high-quality, customer-focused HVAC services. We are a family-owned and operated company with deep ties to the community. For this reason, we are committed to honesty and are proud to offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on our services.

Our services include HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance. We offer duct cleaning and repairs. Indoor air quality, UV lighting, ventilation testing, and humidity control are just a few of the additional services we offer. Contact Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling today, and see what it’s like to work with a company that provides transparent, all-inclusive services.

RDHCEditorWhat Are Some Factors to Consider When Purchasing an Air Conditioner?
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Understanding the Importance of Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

Air quality probably isn’t something most people ever give any real thought to. If you were to take a poll, chances are that the majority of people would say that the air quality is usually much worse outside than it is in their home or workplace. Unfortunately, the reality is the opposite since indoor air is typically more polluted and has a higher concentration of contaminants compared with the air outside.

Studies performed by the EPA back this up and show that the concentration of some airborne pollutants and contaminants is usually around three to five times higher indoors than outside. There are typically more allergens like pollen and mold spores outside, but the concentration of these can also be quite high in most homes.

For these reasons, indoor air quality (IAQ) is something every homeowner should be concerned with, and today we’re going to look at why indoor air quality is such a big deal and what options you have for improving the quality of air in your home.

The Indoor Air Pollution Problem

The average home has a wide variety of sources of indoor air pollution, and many of them are from things you probably wouldn’t think about. For instance, you may not know that some airborne pollutants are released every time you use your stove for cooking.

Whenever oil or fat is heated, it releases some chemical pollutants. Many non-stick pans also give off pollutants, especially if the non-stick coating is damaged or has started to wear. If your home has a gas stove, it also produces some carbon monoxide and other pollutants every time you cook. All of these issues are why most experts recommend that you never cook anything on your stove without your exhaust hood running since it will help to draw some of the pollutants outside.

Many chemical cleaning agents also give off various pollutants. If your home has an attached garage, then some of the exhaust fumes from your vehicle can also seep inside and pollute your home’s air. Many lawn and garden products like fertilizer or any other chemicals you store in your garage can also give off harmful fumes.

Your home itself and your furnishings are often some of the biggest sources of indoor air pollution because many of the things in a home continuously give off potentially harmful chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Long-term exposure to certain VOCs has been repeatedly linked with an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer and other health issues. This is another major reason why indoor air quality is something you should always take seriously.

Most Common Sources of VOCs

VOCs are released through a process known as off-gassing. Many solids and liquid chemical compounds continually release harmful gases and particles in the air as they deteriorate or when they react with other compounds in the air. Many of these VOCs are carcinogenic, and even the less harmful ones can still react with other compounds in the air to produce toxic chemicals.

Formaldehyde is one of the most common VOCs and is found in virtually every home and building. In the short term, exposure to formaldehyde can irritate your eyes, throat, sinuses, and skin, and it can also lead to coughing and other allergic reactions.

Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in most paints, varnishes, and waxes, and it is also found in the resin and glue used to make laminate flooring and wooden furniture. If you’ve ever bought a new mattress or any other piece of furniture and noticed a lingering chemical smell, this is mostly due to the formaldehyde that is used in the manufacturing process.

Most electronics also give off lots of VOCs due to the flame-retardant coating used on their wiring. Laser printers and copiers are a major source of pollution and have been shown to release more than 30 different VOCs.

Many different cosmetic products also give off various VOCs, and this is especially true for nail polish and nail polish remover. Dry-cleaned clothing also continually releases VOCs for months after the clothes have been cleaned. Laundry products like detergent, fabric softener, and especially dryer sheets have been shown to potentially release more than 130 different VOCs.

Solutions for Improving Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

The fact that VOCs and other airborne pollutants and allergens can be such a huge problem means it is always a good idea to take some steps to improve the air quality in your home, and you can find a wide range of indoor air quality units that can help you do just that.

A whole-home air purification system is one of the best options for improving indoor air quality. Many of these systems use a HEPA filter that will eliminate more than 99% of all VOCs and other airborne pollutants. These systems are also extremely effective at trapping bacteria, viruses, and allergens to help keep you from getting sick or worsening your allergy symptoms. Many of these systems also use a carbon filter to eliminate odors and keep your home smelling fresh.

UV light air purifiers are another great option. These systems emit a strong ultraviolet light that will instantly kill 99% of all microorganisms as they travel through your home’s ductwork. However, they are mostly only effective against living things like bacteria, viruses, and mold spores, which means they won’t have an effect on most VOCs. As such, we would typically always recommend pairing this type of system with some other source of air purification or filtration. Luckily, there are some whole-home air purifiers that use both UV lights and HEPA filtration, so you get the best of both worlds.

High indoor humidity is an especially common problem in places like Jacksonville due to the hot, humid weather. If your home constantly stays too humid, it can quickly lead to issues like water damage and mold, and mildew. Mold spores are one of the most common allergens and can potentially lead to or worsen respiratory problems and other health issues. An air purification system will filter out most mold spores from your home’s air, but the only way to prevent the problem is to tackle your high humidity issues.

This is where a whole-home dehumidifier can be a huge help because it will continuously remove moisture from your home’s air whenever your air conditioning is running. Air conditioners also function as a dehumidifier and remove humidity whenever they run, but they typically aren’t enough to control humidity on their own in more humid climates. Studies have shown that a whole-home dehumidifier can actually help to lower air conditioning costs as it takes some of the strain off your AC, so it doesn’t need to work so hard or run for as long.

Jacksonville’s Indoor Air Quality Specialists

If you’re concerned about poor indoor air quality in your home, the team at Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling is ready to help. We install a wide range of IAQ systems, including air purifiers and whole-home dehumidifiers, and we can also service and repair your IAQ systems to ensure they continue functioning effectively. If you need any heating or cooling maintenance, repair or installation services, we’re here to help with that as well. For more information on our indoor air quality services, give Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling a call today.

RDHCEditorUnderstanding the Importance of Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
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How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

What do you picture when someone starts talking about air pollution? Images of smoke-filled factory stacks, hazy clouds, and the effects of acid rain are just a few of the images that flood the average mind when we begin talking about compromised air quality and the toll that it takes on us and our planet.

Did you know that a more dangerous and dire situation is all around you right now, and you may not even realize it? Your indoor air may be even more saturated with toxic chemicals and debris than that you would find outside, even in thick city smog. Recent studies reveal that the level of airborne contaminants and pollutants is nearly five times higher indoors than outdoors, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. With this kind of toxic debris swirling around us in our own homes, there have to be consequences that come with being exposed to it on a daily basis.

Toxic Effects of Poor Indoor Air Quality

The effects of poor indoor air quality may be short-term or long-term, but none of them are conditions that you’d want to manage on an ongoing basis. Some of the more common symptoms reported include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Allergies and asthma
  • Sinusitis
  • Eye Irritation and Dryness
  • Development of autoimmune conditions

Taking simple steps to manage indoor air quality proactively in partnership with your HVAC system will reduce the likelihood of incurring health issues and keep you breathing cleaner all year round. Follow these simple steps for indoor air success!

Eliminate Smoking Indoors

A major contributor to poor indoor quality is the practice of smoking indoors. Particularly in homes that are airtight, the presence of smoke contributes to a host of respiratory issues and allergies that affect the whole body. If you must smoke, do so outside in a well-ventilated area, and make sure that you are not bringing any fumes or smoke back inside with you as you open and shut doors and windows. This simple step alone will prevent many potential respiratory complications from taking root for you and your loved ones.

Clean and Maintain Wood and Gas Stoves

Gas and wood stoves can throw off harmful exhaust fumes that, when breathed over time, can cause a host of lung-related diseases. Illnesses such as chronic asthma and even COPD can be a direct result of breathing in too many toxic substances that the lungs simply cannot process or clean out. Improving ventilation by installing ventilation systems and regularly cleaning your stove and exhaust pipes will help reduce the circulation of harmful particulates that can lead to respiratory distress.

Improve Ventilation Around Your Home

Proper ventilation helps lower levels of indoor contaminants, improving your indoor air. Regularly open doors and windows to let fresh air inside (yes, even in the wintertime), and run ceiling and floor fans to increase circulation and move stagnant air through your home. You’ll naturally see an improvement in the quality of your indoor air if you keep things moving continuously.

Clean That House!

Everything from pet dander and dead skin cells to dust, mites, and bacteria contribute to the potpourri of invisible sludge that moves through your indoor air. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? By regularly cleaning and dusting surfaces in your home, you can effectively trap a number of these fine particles and keep them from entering your body via membranes in the nose and skin. Vacuum, dust, and mop frequently, and you’ll contribute to a cleaner, healthier home environment.

Consider Non-toxic Cleaning Products

While you’re busy cleaning, pay attention to the type of cleaning products you are using. Most commercial cleaning products are incredibly toxic to humans and pets, and you should limit contact with them at all costs. As you use these toxic substances, the residue left on surfaces can evaporate into the air, compromising your air quality as well. Stick to non-hazardous, all-natural cleaning products as you attempt to clean up your home.

Control and Elimintate Pests

Pests are not only an inconvenience, but they can be hazardous to your health. The presence of roaches, mice, and bedbugs can leave their own trails of filth that you’ll end up breathing in at some point; this pest residue can quickly enter your home’s ductwork and circulate toxic substances throughout. Keep a handle on your pest control situation, and eliminate one source of potential toxicity that can wreak havoc on your health.

Control Humidity Levels

Excess water vapor has an amazing ability to attract vapor clusters and debris like a magnet, making your home a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Over time, the development of mold and mildew in your HVAC system and home can cause respiratory issues, eye and throat irritation, and allergies. Keep humidity levels at around 40 percent for optimal comfort and reduce the opportunity for toxic growth in your home.

Skip the Fragrances

Yes, scented candles and air fresheners add appealing aromas to your home, but they could also be interfering with your indoor air quality. Candles produce combustible fumes that contain carcinogens, compounds that irritate the respiratory system. Chemical propellants found in air fresheners can hang in the air for hours after you spray them, causing you to breathe in their toxic fumes that saturate the lungs and cause potential damage to tender tissues. If you must have a pleasing aroma in your household, consider cutting up some citrus slices to put in a bowl or boil some cinnamon in water on the stove to create a naturally pleasing scent.

Add Some Greenery

The addition of some cleansing houseplants can do wonders for improving indoor air quality. Plants have an amazing ability to transmute potentially toxic substances into fresh, clean oxygen that is released into the air as part of their natural growth. Add some lush greenery to your living spaces and see if you can feel and smell the difference in your home.

Change Your Air Filter

Your HVAC system has an air filter for a reason; its job is to remove dust, dirt, and debris from the air that circulates throughout your home and allow fresher air to circulate. Over time, an air filter will become dirty and saturated, and it will no longer perform the important work of helping to clean your indoor air. Clean and change your furnace air filter frequently to optimize HVAC system function and provide you with fresher, cleaner air.

Mind That HVAC System

Just as your air filter can become saturated with dirt and debris, your HVAC system can get bogged down with extra sludge that will eventually make its way through your ductwork and into each room of your home. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your central unit, as well as committing to regular maintenance and cleaning schedule of your ductwork, will keep your system optimized and provide you with better quality air with every service call.

We’re Ready When You Are!

Reliable Ducts is proudly serving valued customers across North Florida and beyond. We provide valuable services such as HVAC repair, replacement, air quality assessment, ductwork cleaning, ongoing maintenance plans, and all residential heating and cooling services. Let us provide you with an expert assessment of your indoor air quality and make suggestions to clean up your home, one step at a time. Contact Reliable Ducts Heating and Cooling today to set up your appointment with one of our top-notch service professionals; we’re ready to serve you!

RDHCEditorHow to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
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How Can I Cool a Home That Doesn’t Have Ducts?

Summers in Jacksonville can be brutal. For most people, this is the time to crank up the air conditioning and enjoy time indoors. However, if your home doesn’t currently have an air conditioner, keeping your home cool isn’t as simple as just turning back the thermostat. Fortunately, if you need to stay cool this summer, there are several great options available, even if your home doesn’t have any existing ductwork from a previous system. Here are the systems that the pros at Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling recommend to help beat the heat on the hottest days of the summer

Adding Ducts

If you don’t have ductwork in your Jacksonville home, there is always the option of adding ductwork. However, most people don’t choose this option because adding ducts to a home that’s already been built can be disruptive, time-consuming, and expensive. To get the ducts where they need to be, you may have to make significant changes to the structure of your home. Plus, you’ll need to find a central location for the main system components. If you choose this option, you may need to opt for flexible ducts, which tend not to be as durable or energy efficient as their rigid counterparts. While it’s possible to add ducts to an existing home, the good news is that there are other options that are much less expensive and disruptive.

Window Units

Another potential option for cooling your home is window-unit air conditioners. The big problem with this approach is that you have to take up window space, thus blocking natural light from coming into your home. Plus, it is usually difficult to properly insulate the area around the air conditioning units. Another big drawback of these units is that you have to remove and re-install them every year so that they don’t allow cold air in during the winter. On top of that, window units tend to be fairly inefficient and noisy, not to mention that they’re unattractive. One final drawback of depending only on window units is that you can’t cool any rooms that don’t have windows, such as a basement or attic.

Portable Air Conditioners

For temporary cooling, a portable air conditioner can do an adequate job. These units only require a small duct to go through a window, making them less obtrusive than window units. Plus, since they’re portable, you can technically move them from room to room to cool your home as you move around. However, many homeowners find portable air conditioners to be inefficient, making them unsuitable for anything more than a small room. Plus, portable units take up valuable floor space that you might need for storing other items.

The Best Option: Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Of all the ductless options available to homeowners, ductless mini-split systems are the option that Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling recommends most often. That’s because these systems are efficient, quick to install, look great, and provide both cooling and heating capabilities. You can install mini-split systems in any room in your home, including basements, because the only part of the system that goes from inside to outside is the refrigerant line. The durability and versatility of mini-split systems also make them great options for garages and workshops.

Great Efficiency

As with any targeted cooling system, mini-split systems are efficient largely because you can choose which rooms in your home to cool. This means that you aren’t paying to cool your entire home at once, a much less efficient and more expensive way of maintaining comfort. Since mini-split systems are only designed to cool a single room, they can be much smaller than their whole-home counterparts. In other words, they require much less energy to operate. An added benefit of mini-split systems is that they are air-source heat pumps. This technology pumps heat from the outside air into your home, which is far more efficient than conventional heating methods. Therefore, if you are using your mini-split system to heat your home in the winter, you can enjoy year-round efficiency.

Great Ease of Use

Another feature that we at Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling love about ductless mini-split systems is that they are incredibly easy to use. All you need to control the temperature in your home is a simple remote control. You can select fan speeds, heating and cooling levels, and then you can set the desired temperature without walking across the room to a thermostat. This makes mini-split systems ideal for individuals who aren’t tech-savvy and may struggle with using a typical thermostat. Plus, their small size and simple construction make it easy to clean these systems in order to maintain their efficiency. A simple dusting of the outside of the indoor unit is the majority of the maintenance that you’ll need to do.

Fast Installation

Unlike the mess and chaos of installing ductwork in your home, mini-split systems are fast and easy to install. Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling can typically install a mini-split system in just a few hours, meaning you can enjoy the comfort you deserve more quickly. Plus, with just one or two holes to drill in walls, there will be very little mess made and no extra dust released into your home’s indoor air. Once installed, a mini-split system’s indoor unit is unobtrusive and can blend in with any decor since the unit is mounted high on a wall and out of the way.

Cooling for Multiple Rooms

A great feature of a mini-split system is that you can use multiple units to provide cooling for multiple rooms. In many cases, you can tie more than one indoor unit into a single outdoor unit, saving space, wiring, and energy. This allows you to have a similar cooling capacity as you would have if you had a central air conditioner. However, in this scenario, you won’t need to add any ducts to your home, and you’ll likely save a lot on your energy bills thanks to the unique properties of mini splits that were previously discussed. The ability to control each room’s temperature individually is a great benefit that ensures you never have individuals in your family who are too hot or too cold. This is a standard of comfort that can be difficult to achieve with a conventional air conditioner without significant upgrades.

Keeping Your Home Cool All Summer Long

At Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling, our main priority is to help keep you and your family comfortable in your Jacksonville home. That’s why we offer repair, replacement, and maintenance services for ductless mini-split air conditioners, central air conditioners and furnaces, and much more. We can also install air purification equipment, upgrade your thermostat, replace or repair your ductwork, and perform many other comfort-related services. We have been serving the area for well over 15 years, providing integrity and customer satisfaction to neighbors throughout the city. Our consistent commitment to quality service is one reason why we consistently receive five-star customer reviews. To learn more about ductless mini-split heating and cooling systems, contact the pros of Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling today.

RDHCEditorHow Can I Cool a Home That Doesn’t Have Ducts?
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How to Avoid AC Unit Humidity Problems

During the hot summer months, the last thing homeowners want is an air conditioner that adds humidity to their houses, especially in Jacksonville. An AC unit that functions properly should not only cool your home but actually decrease humidity levels in the process. Sometimes the humidity problems that arise while the air conditioner is running have nothing to do with the unit at all. Here are some things to think about when tackling the issue.

Dust and Dirt Are Accumulating

Now and then, air filters tend to accumulate dirt and dust. This can cause both indoor and outdoor AC units to malfunction. When the air conditioner’s coils gather dirt and dust, the unit is not able to efficiently draw heat from inside the home, leaving the air humid.

If you suspect that this may be the problem, consider doing some maintenance on your air filtration system. When your AC unit is free from dust and debris, the refrigerant cycle should begin functioning normally again.

The Evaporator Coil Is Frozen

If your AC unit’s evaporator coil is frozen, you will notice a layer of ice forming over it. A frozen evaporator coil is typically caused by either a lack of airflow or a lack of refrigerant flowing through the coil. Since both of these problems require significant maintenance, it is best to call an HVAC professional.

Your AC Unit Is Not the Right Size for Your Home

An air conditioner will be able to cool your house most effectively if it is the right size. If you have a large AC unit that is only cooling a relatively small amount of space, the system will run for short cycles. If your AC does not run for long enough, it will not be able to cool your house evenly or sufficiently pull the moisture from the air. On the other hand, if your AC unit is small but you have a large amount of space to cool, it will work as hard as it can and still fall short of making your residence cool and dry.

As a general rule of thumb, you should multiply the total square footage of your home by 20 to figure out how many BTUs (British thermal units) your AC unit will need to provide. For example, if you live in a 1,500-square-foot house, you will want a cooling system capable of providing about 30,000 BTUs.

The Thermostat Is Not Set Correctly

If your AC unit’s thermostat is set to “AUTO”, the system should cool and dehumidify the air whenever the fan begins to run. If it is set to “ON,” however, the unit’s fan will run continuously, interfering with the cooling and dehumidifying process. Be sure the thermostat is set to “AUTO” and not to “ON.”

There Are Too Many People in the House

When there is a large number of people crowded into a single space, your AC unit will simply not be able to cool and dehumidify your house as effectively. If it is a hot day, consider spending time with guests outdoors until the AC has enough time to sufficiently cool down your home.

Carpeting and Windows

While carpets provide any room with a nice aesthetic, they tend to retain moisture. Although your AC unit should be able to remove moisture from the air, it has a much more difficult time doing so from carpets and other fabrics. If moist carpets are bothersome, consider removing them and replacing them with something more water-resistant like tile flooring.

Additionally, condensation tends to build up quickly on windows. Lining your windows with storm coating or plastic film can aid in reducing and even eliminating moisture buildup while your cooling system is operating.

Your Unit Is Using Too Much Refrigerant

Just as a lack of refrigerant can cause problems within your AC unit, so can too much refrigerant. Too much refrigerant can overcharge the unit, resulting in a lower cooling capacity and eventually causing the compressor to burn out.

A thermal expansion valve might be just what you need in this case. A thermal expansion valve, or TXV, will adjust the amount of refrigerant being used so that the unit is always receiving exactly what it requires. This allows the evaporator coil to remove heat and humidity, regardless of the current temperature or circumstance.

Excess Moisture From Beneath Your House

In climates characterized by significant rainfall, the soil beneath the foundation of homes can hold quite a bit of moisture. This is one of the main reasons that basements tend to be the most humid part of a house — particularly those that are not insulated well and do not have windows.

One of the biggest things that you can do is ensure that your gutters and downspouts are working correctly. If rainwater is not being properly directed away from the house’s foundation, moisture is bound to penetrate the home.

Cooking and Other Activities Naturally Add Moisture

Water vapor from cooking will bring up humidity levels significantly. If your oven has a ventilation fan, make sure that it is running whenever you are boiling water or using the stove. If you do not have a ventilation fan above your stove, purchasing one can make a profound difference.

Other activities like showering can also contribute to excess moisture. Taking cooler showers and making sure that your bathroom’s ventilation fans are working are great ways to combat this nuisance.

Your AC Unit Is Too Old

Even top-quality AC units cannot work well forever. This is particularly true for air conditioners that have not been consistently maintained. While some problems within the system can be fixed fairly easily, others cannot be. If you are trying to decide whether to have your unit repaired or replaced altogether, there are a couple of things to think about.

If your AC unit has been cooling your home for 10 to 15 years, it is probably best to get it replaced. Making proper repairs at this point would likely be more expensive and inconvenient than simply purchasing a new unit.

If you think an AC system of a different size or brand might be a better fit for your house, then buying a new one is probably the optimal thing to do. An air conditioner that is too big, too small, or otherwise lacking in compatibility with your house’s structure will see little to no improvements upon being repaired.

Invest in a Dehumidifier

If you live in a humid climate, sometimes even a perfectly functional AC unit will not be able to keep your home as dry as you would like. A dehumidifier that can support your air conditioner is a worthwhile purchase.

With drier air, your AC unit will cool your house much more quickly and will not need to work as hard. Even having a single humidifier in a room that tends to retain a large amount of humidity can make all the difference.

At Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling, we are ready to tackle HVAC problems in Jacksonville, Florida and the surrounding areas. With additional services such as heating, UV lighting, ventilation testing, air quality, and more, our team of experts is committed to providing you with the highest level of comfort year-round. Give us a call today, and let our professionals get to work on your home!

RDHCEditorHow to Avoid AC Unit Humidity Problems
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Different HVAC Systems and Their Lifespan

An HVAC system is a major purchase for any homeowner. It’s important to know how long your system will last before buying it. We’ll look at the average lifespan of different types of HVAC systems and what you can do to prolong the life of your new system.

Central Air Conditioner

Very few things in life are as essential as a central air conditioner. Most units have a lifespan of about 15 years. Several factors can affect how long your unit will last, such as the quality of the unit, installation, maintenance, and how often it is used. You can help extend the lifespan of your air conditioner by having it serviced regularly and using it wisely.

At [company_name], we typically recommend that our customers have their systems serviced every two years. This helps to ensure that your system is running efficiently and effectively, and it also helps to prolong its lifespan.

Heat Pump

Heat pumps typically last between 10 and 15 years. Proper installation and maintenance are key to extending the lifespan of your heat pump. Checking and replacing the air filter every month is crucial to helping the pump operate to its full potential, as well as keeping the area around your heat pump clear of debris and scheduling yearly tune-ups with a qualified HVAC technician.

Gas Furnace

The average lifespan of a gas furnace is 15 to 20 years. Regular maintenance will help keep it running properly and allow the furnace to continue heating your home to its full potential.

Rely on Professionals

The lifespan of an HVAC system depends on many factors, including the type of unit, the quality of the installation, and the level of maintenance. [company_name] is a heating & air conditioning company providing quality services. We offer a wide range of services including installation, repair, maintenance, and customer financing. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule a consultation!

RDHCEditorDifferent HVAC Systems and Their Lifespan
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