When Should I Add Insulation to my Home?

If your home is not comfortable, has trouble maintaining temperature, or you are experiencing large heating or cooling bills, it may be time to add insulation to your home. Insulation helps control conduction, one of the ways heat flows through the home. One of the most common areas that homes can benefit from adding insulation is in the attic.

How Insulation Helps Control Heat Lost Through Conduction

The transfer of heat by contact with solid objects such as the walls, floor, ceiling, or roof is called conduction. Adding insulation in these areas to provide a good thermal barrier can help decrease the amount of heat transfer, which means cooler temperatures in the summer and warmer temperatures in the winter. HVAC systems will have to work less hard to maintain the desired temperature when less heating/cooling escapes through conduction.

How Insulation Performance is Measured

Insulation is rated by the amount of thermal resistance. This resistance, known as an R-value, refers to the amount of heat insulation can resist over time. A higher R-value indicates a higher heat resistance. Newer insulation has a higher R-value than old insulation that is probably already installed in your home. Adding additional layers of insulation can increase the R-value of your home and bring down heating and cooling costs.

Potential Benefits of Adding Insulation

Adding insulation to your home can have a number of benefits:

  • Decreased living costs;
  • Increased occupant comfort;
  • Decreased energy demand;
  • Decreased greenhouse gas emission; and
  • Lower energy bills.

Where to Add Additional Insulation

Adding additional insulation to the attic is critical because more heat travels through your ceiling than any other structure in the house. The attic is the most cost effective, quickest, and easiest place to add additional layers of insulation. You can measure your attic’s current insulation rating by measuring the thickness of the insulation in your attic and multiplying it by that insulation R-value.

Direct Heating and Cooling serves customers in the in the Ft. Myers and Cape Coral, FL areas. Please feel free to contact us at 239-217-4148 with any questions you may have regarding insulation.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


What Does a Humidistat Do?

A humidistat (also called a hygrostat) is a measurement device that helps to monitor and maintain the humidity level in the air. Humidistats are often found on portable humidifiers or combined air cleaner/humidifier units that can help manage the moisture level in your home. Maintaining a certain humidity level is often desirable for various health reasons.

How Does a Humidistat Work?

Humidistats contain a sensing element with two conductors. Variations in the relative moisture in the air cause electrical resistance. These two conductors measure the electrical resistance of the air and compare that measurement to known resistances that correspond to the humidity level in the air. The humidistat can then adjust the relative humidity of the air by turning the humidifier on or off depending on the humidity preferences.

Humidistats are often used in conjunction with hygrometers. A hygrometer gives humidity readings of a room like a humidistat but lacks the capability to maintain the desired humidity. Hygrometers are often used to check how a humidistat is functioning and if adjustments to the desired humidity level need to be made for certain spaces.

Where to Use a Humidistat?

Humidistats are generally used in humidity-related devices like stand alone humidifiers and dehumidifiers, though they can be used with HVAC systems to help regulate airflow and maintain desired humidity in certain rooms or spaces. Humidistats are often used in crawl spaces to control ventilation fans to keep humidity down.

Maintaining a proper moisture balance in your home is critical to prevent over-humidifying, which can result in mold spores. A home that is too dry can also be uncomfortable. Adding a humidistat to your current HVAC system can help make your home more livable.

Who can benefit from a Humidistat?

If you live in Florida seasonally, or are a “snowbird” a humidistat is ideal for your home. The humidistat will regulate your home based on humidity rather than temperature, thus resulting in your air conditioning turning on less, lowering your energy bills.

The recommended humidity level for a home is from 45 to 60 percent. Factors that can influence this level are climate, weather, outside temperature, and insulation. Adding a humidifier or dehumidifier along with a humidistat can help maintain a humidity level in the acceptable range if your home does not fall within it. Combining a humidistat with a hygrometer can help you achieve optimum results.

Special pricing is available on humidistats from Direct Heating and Cooling. Call us today for the latest special. 

Direct Heating and Cooling serves customers in the in the Ft. Myers and Cape Cora/contactl, FL areas. Please feel free to contact us at 239-567-9661 with any questions regarding humidistats.

 

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


How to Prevent Mold Growth Indoors in Florida

Types of Mold

The type of mold in your home can only accurately be determined by a mold remediator and with proper testing.

Here are some common types of mold:

Some molds can produce chemicals called “mycotoxins.” These molds are common and can cause unique health conditions. Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra) is a type of greenish-black mold that grows on materials such as wood, ceiling tiles, drywall, and sheetrock that have been come moist or water damaged.

Some strains of Stachybotrys chartarum can produce mycotoxins. Stachybotrys is wet and not airborne if it dries it may become airborne and cause exposure. Though there are many types of molds, they should all be treated the same when it comes to removal and health risks.

Hazards of Mold

Exposure to mold can cause four types of health problems: allergic illness, irritant effects, infection, and/or toxic effects. People who are sensitive to molds can experience symptoms such as nasal and sinus irritation or congestion, dry hacking cough, skin rashes, wheezing, and watery eyes. People who are allergic to molds can have more serious symptoms such as shortness of breath and hay-fever-like symptoms. Many types of molds can trigger asthma attacks. Headaches, mood swings, memory issues, body aches and nosebleeds are also reported as complaints due to molds.

How to Prevent Mold Growth

Mold cannot grow without water. The easiest way to prevent mold from growing and spreading is to control dampness. Keeping a clean and dry home is key. Moisture levels below 60 percent are ideal and keeping cooking and bathing areas well ventilated also helps control mold.

Mold can begin growing in standing water in as little as 24 hours. Other ways to prevent mold growth include:

  • Cleaning up spills and drying spills within 24 hours;
  • Using a humidistat to regulate and monitor humidity levels; and,
  • Remove carpeting in bathrooms or basements.

How to Clean Mold

Mold should be cleaned as soon as it is noticed. As a general rule, if the moldy area is less than 10 square feet, you can clean the mold yourself (in most cases). If you are going to clean mold, you should take necessary precautions to protect yourself from injecting mold spores. Gloves, goggles, and some form of mask should be worn. Persons who clean mold should be free of allergies. Small areas of mold should be cleaned with a detergent, soapy water, or commercial mold cleaner. In some cases, the mold may require heavier cleaners such as bleach or biocides. Once the mold has been cleaned it should be thoroughly dried. All sponges, rags, etc. used to clean mold should be thrown out and not reused. If the mold returns or spreads, this could indicate a leak or underlying problem. If this is the case, you may need professional assistance.

Direct Heating and Cooling serves customers in the in the Ft. Meyers and Cape Coral, FL areas. Please feel free to contact us at 239-217-4148 with any questions you may have about dealing with and preventing mold growth in your home.

 

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


When is it Time to Get a New AC System?

There are a number reasons to replace your current AC system, check out our checklist to see if it is time to consider replacing your current system.

Factor 1: Consider the Age of Your System

The age of your heating and cooling unit plays a large role in determining whether it is necessary to replace the unit entirely or if maintenance is needed. If your unit is 10 to 12 years old (or more), then you can consider it replaceable, as it has fulfilled its life expectancy. New air conditioning systems are much more efficient and environmentally friendly and can save you money. Upgrading can be a great way to bring down your electricity bill and keep your home more comfortable. Energy Star units can save an estimated 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

Factor 2: Consider the Estimated Cost of Repairs

As a general rule in the HVAC industry, if the cost of repairing your current AC system equals or exceeds 50 percent of the value of your current system then it is time to replace.

Factor 3: Does Your Repair Exceed the $5,000 Rule?

If you don’t know or can’t determine the value of your current AC system, you can use the $5,000 rule to determine if you should replace your system. Start by taking the age of your current air conditioning system in years and multiplying it by the cost of the repairs needed. If this amount is more than $5,000, then we recommend replacing your system. For example, if your system is eight years old and the cost to repair it is $400 dollars, then your $5,000 rule cost is $3,200, and it is advisable to repair instead of replacing.

Factor 4: Reliability

If your current system requires frequent repairs, it might be time to upgrade. Repairs performed out of warranty can add up, and the downtime without AC can help justify the cost of a new unit.

Factor 5: R-22 and Coolant Leaksdirect heating and cooling, cape coral, fl, HVAC, Air Conditioner, Freon

If your AC system requires additional refrigerant, it might be time to consider upgrading. Refilling and topping off a system with R-22, also called Freon, can be costly, with average prices ranging from $550 to $1,000 according to AC experts. Once your system develops a leak, the compressor will eventually go out, which can cost up to $2,000.

R-22 is also rising in price since the EPA has decided to phase it out in favor of R-410A, which is more efficient and better for the environment. Production of systems that use R-22 stopped in 2010, so if your unit was made before this, it is probably charged with R-22.
Direct Heating and Cooling serves customers in the in the Ft. Meyers and Cape Coral, FL areas. Please feel free to contact us at 239-217-4148 with any questions about AC system replacement or service.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


When to Get Your Ducts Cleaned and Why

Duct Cleaning in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FLOne of the services that has skyrocketed in popularity recently is air duct cleaning. Almost everyone knows someone who has scheduled this service. If you’re like many homeowners, you might wonder why you should have professionals clean your home’s air ducts and when to schedule this work.

What Exactly Does Duct Cleaning Involve?

Professional duct service cleans the intake, return, and supply ducts placed throughout a home. Service providers use special brushes, blowers, and vacuums to accomplish this. A complete service includes thoroughly cleaning your air handler, registers, motors, fans, housing, grilles, and HVAC system coils.
It takes two to five hours to clean ducts in an average home. The job might take more than a day in larger residences with many ducts.
Modern construction methods account in large part for the need for this service. They have made homes more airtight than ever, shutting out outside air. Indoor air is three to five times as contaminated with pollutants, allergens, and irritants than outdoor air. Since the average American family now spends up to 90 percent of its time indoors, exposure to these undesirables can be significant.

Why is Air Duct Cleaning Necessary? 

There are many important reasons to have your home’s air ducts cleaned. Here are the major ones:

Someone in the household has special health needs.

One or more occupants might suffer from asthma, airborne allergies, or allergies to pet dander. Seniors suffering from respiratory conditions are typically sensitive to airborne irritants. Tobacco smoke is additional consideration.

There’s mold in your home.

If significant mold growth is visible inside ducts or other parts of your home’s HVAC system, duct cleaning is in order.

You have a vermin infestation.

Think insects or rodents. Check for nesting in the ducts or other parts of the system.

Ducts appear clogged. 

In registers, you can see hunks of dust and debris that invade your home’s air.

You want energy savings. 

Many energy audits show that up to 40 percent of energy that heats or cools a home is wasted. Contaminants in the system force it to work harder and shorten its life. Clean HVAC systems have less work to do to maintain a desired temperature than those with dirty ducts.

 

When Is the Right Time?

A number of events call for a professional air duct cleaning:

You just bought a new home.

Debris in new construction is lurking in all sorts of places. Drywall dust is common. Avoid exposure by having the air ducts cleaned before you move into your new residence.

You recently completed a renovation.

Even a significant remodeling project leaves behind debris that can spread throughout a home through the HVAC system.

You’re ready to sell your residence. 

Adding a recent duct cleaning service to the list of maintenance items you’ve completed is a plus for prospective buyers. How an owner has taken care of a home can easily make or break a sale.

You’ve experienced water contamination or damage. 

Flooding, a hole in the roof, or other events that affect your home or its HVAC system mean it’s time to have ducts professionally cleaned.

Someone develops an unexplained illness suggesting an allergy. 

You’ve already taken all the important steps to decontaminate your residence, but a household member still has unexplained symptoms that resemble allergic reactions. An air duct cleaning can reveal whether your home’s HVAC system was the culprit.
Hiring a professional to clean your air ducts is an investment in your home and in your well-being. It’s also important to clean and change filters on schedule, have regular HVAC inspections, and keep moisture out of places where it doesn’t belong.


Blog Courtesy of Preston Guyton, Direct Heating and Coolinga native of the Grand Strand and Broker in Charge/Managing Partner of CRG Companies.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Ultraviolet Lights Can Clean the Air

Ultraviolet Lights in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FL

Micro particles such as dust, dirt, mold and fungi accumulate on your heating and cooling system. When it operates, these particles are spread through all the rooms of your home or business. Direct Heating and Cooling installation of an ultraviolet (UV) light to eliminate much of the contamination and improve indoor air quality.

Why DO I NEED UV LIGHTS?

Over time mold, mildew and bacteria can build up in a HVAC’s air handler.  Filters work well to remove large particles of dust from the air, but micro particles like mold spores, mildew, and bacteria cannot be trapped effectively with filters alone. UV lights will kill micro particles as they pass through the airflow.

HVAC ultraviolet lights can benefit you and your family in many ways. They:

  • Control mold and bacteria
  • Reduce colds and flues – germs are not re-circulated by HVAC system
  • Reduce smells / odors
  • Remove VOCs
  • Are more effective in humid climates than dry climates
  • Reduce clogging in condensate drain lines by preventing algae growth.
  • Maintain a cleaner coil, improving cooling efficiency
  • Provide cost savings by reducing your electricity bills

ARE ULTRAVIOLET LIGHTS SAFE?

Since 1903 ultraviolet lights have been widely adapted for all kinds of uses: sterilizing hospitals, sterilizing water, and germicidal lamps in food establishments. It is a proven safe and effective technology and is now available to provide these same benefits in the home.

The technicians at Direct Heating and Cooling will recommend a small, self-contained system that remains separate from the electrical wires in your home or business. Installation is simple, and no alterations to your existing heating and cooling system are necessary.

HOW MUCH DO ULTRAVIOLET LIGHTS COST IN CAPE CORAL?

The cost to install ultraviolet lights in your home will depend on your system and your needs. To get an accurate cost for installing ultraviolet lights, obtain an estimate. You can call Direct Heating and Cooling today to schedule a free estimate for installing ultraviolet lights and learn about financing options.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Hurricane Season in Florida – June 1

Direct Heating and Cooling

Hurricane Season is Here

The media will soon be busy writing articles and broadcasting specials providing tips and checklists to help us prepare before a storm approaches. Their advice will tell us the importance of water, batteries, flashlights, radios, plywood, generators and gasoline in securing our homes and surviving during and after a storm, but none of them talk about the importance of protecting the largest and most expensive appliance in your home…your air conditioning system.

Residents in Cape Coral, Ft. Myers, and the Miami area should follow these few simple steps before, during and after a storm to ensure that your A/C system is ready and safely survives a hurricane:

Before the storm:

  1. Make sure that the outside condensing unit is safely secured to the concrete slab or roof curb/stand with the adequate number of hurricane approved code compliant metal tie-downs. If you are not sure whether or not you meet this requirement, schedule an appointment with us today and we can make sure that you do.
  2. Remove loose items such as patio furniture, potted plants, bicycles, pool toys and other outdoor items from the area around the outside condensing unit. These items can become airborne during a hurricane and cause impact damage to the equipment.

During the storm:

Turn the system completely off both at the thermostat and the circuit breaker. This will prevent damage to the equipment from electrical power surges and will prevent electrical shock and/or fire hazard in the event of flooding.

After the storm:

Make sure that it’s completely safe before restoring power to the system and turning the thermostat back on. This includes:

  1. Inspecting the unit to see that it is still secured to it slab or roof/curb stand and that the condensing unit was not damaged
  2. Allowing any flooding to recede
  3. Ensuring that all electrical wires and connections are undamaged.

Depending on the severity of the storm and the damage that it causes, it may be necessary to call a certified air conditioning repair contractor such as Direct Heating and Cooling to do a complete inspection of the system.

We all hope that we are spared a direct hit by a hurricane during this season, but just in case we aren’t, BE PREPARED, stay safe and rest assured in knowing that the professionals at Direct Heating and Cooling are always here to help if and when you need us!!!

 

 

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


What happens when a technician is on site?

THE FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD EXPECT

When an AC technician is on site, there are five basic things that they should all do. This list was created to help get the most out of your AC technician.

1. A General Safety CheckAir Conditioning Installation in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FL

A seasoned technician should go through the general safety checks on whichever system you currently have installed and look for any issues that could be dangerous to the resident(s). These general safety checks will include inspecting the heat exchanger for cracks, rust, or pits as to making sure that no harmful gasses are being exposed to the house. Small cracks or rust exposures have been known to be dangerous and we highly recommend you make sure your AC technician is doing his or her job. In a general safety check, they should also focus on if the system is working properly.

2. Any Repairs if Necessary

After a technician goes through the general safety check, they should repair anything that may be out of date or broken. Generally, repairs tend to be very minor and would require nothing more than a tightening of a screw or a replacement of a bolt.

3. Cleaning

Every technician should clean out areas that have had dirty or grim build up, especially in places that a homeowner can’t or probably will not access. Though general cleanliness such as dusting isn’t the technician’s jobs, they should search for and remove any rust or grim.

4. A Written Report

After the technician has finished the maintenance visit, he or she should give a written report summarizing all that was done to the unit. This includes any repairs, cleaning, replacements, or tightening. This is for reference just in case you may want to call and check on something later.

5. Any Questions You Have Will Be Answered

One the technician is done with the maintenance visit and has completed the written report; he or she should be able to answer any question you may have. No matter how trivial the question may be, the technician should be able to answer in a easy to understand way so you know what is going on. Also, if you ever ask for tips on preventative steps to keep your system running, they should be able to do so.

If you would like to contact Direct Heat and Cooling…
Phone: 239-217- 4148
URL: www.directheatingandcooling.biz
Address: 1227 Southeast 47 th Street Cape Coral, FL 33904

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Trouble Shooting an Air Conditioner

Before You Call

Before you call an Air Conditioner technician, which could run you upwards of a hundred dollars per hour, you should perform these simple troubleshooting techniques to make sure you can’t solve the problem.

  1. Check to See if it is RunningAir Conditioner Maintenance in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FL

The first thing you should do is check to see which AC vents the air isn’t coming out of. After this, you should check to see if the fan is running in the outside unit. Your problem may be as simple as a breaker being tripped. If the breaker has been tripped, just switch it off and back on. If it trips again, check the wiring being the ac unit to see if there are any obvious repairs that need to be made and repair as necessary.

  1. Is The Fan Blowing Out Hot Air?

If the fan is blowing out hot air on the outside unit, this is good but if it is not, you should try trouble switching the breaker again. If the unit is still not starting, check for a reset button on the AC unit. If AC Unit is still not powered, check to see if there is any faulty wiring on the back electric panel.

  1. Is There Ice?

If you see ice buildup on our around the unit, turn off the outside unit for a few hours to let it melt. After the ice has melted, turn it back on and after five minutes; check the copper pipes to see if they are cold. If it is not cold at all or icing over again, calling a repair man may be necessary due to FRU regulations.

  1. Bad Cooling?

If the outside unit is running perfectly but there seems to be no cooling, you should check the temperature gauge of the system. An accurate reading can only be assessed fifteen minutes or more after the unit has been running. What you should find is 59 degrees for a high efficiency unit and 65 to 68 degrees for an older unit. If the temperature is lower, the problem may be the refrigerant. If the temperature if higher, something could be wrong with the airflow. This could be caused by clogged air filters, small air duct systems, or improper installation design.

  1. If The Problem Persists

If the problem is not going away, it is time to get a professional involved. You should contact Direct Heating and Cooling.

Call: 239-217-4148

 

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Indoor Air Pollution

Air Quality in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FLIndoor air pollution affects many households, creating comfort and health problems minor to severe. Many sources contribute to indoor air pollution – combustible gasses, a poorly maintained air conditioning system, dust, chemical cleaning products, asbestos insulation, excess moisture, and more.

If a household member suffers allergies, it’s a strong indicator of an indoor pollution problem, but in some cases, air quality issues are not easily recognizable. Living in a home with air quality issues can lead to issues over time, including headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and eye, nose, and throat irritation – these symptoms are similar to cold and flu symptoms, and are often mistakenly wrote off as such. Long term, exposure to indoor air pollution created by combustible materials can cause a person to develop heart disease, respiratory disease, and even cancer.

HVAC solutions to cut indoor air pollution

Correcting indoor air pollution issues creates a healthier living environment for all in your household. One way Direct Heating and Cooling has experience treating a wide range of indoor air pollution issues. One way we create a cleaner home is through duct cleaning, which is an essential component of maintaining your air conditioning system. Our duct cleaning process includes three key steps to eliminate indoor pollutants:

  • Cleaning the evaporator coil of your air conditioner system
  • Performing fresh duct treatment
  • Applying microbiocide treatment

How do contaminants enter the duct system, creating the need for duct cleaning? Gaps, fallen sections of the duct, and other openings within the duct system allow contaminants to enter the duct work as well as your home. These disconnections also permit conditioned air to be deposited in areas other than your interior rooms, wasting as much as 30 percent of your heating and cooling energy and causing your system to overwork in order to deliver the warm or cool air you want.

Direct Heating and Cooling may recommend other HVAC indoor air quality solutions, based on the air pollution you face indoors.

  • Ultraviolet lights can be installed to work with your HVAC system, killing off existing mold and mildew while preventing their reoccurrence.
  • High-efficiency air filters and filtration systems trap pollutants, pulling them from your air supply. These products can reduce allergy symptoms by removing more allergens from the home.
  • Installing zoning systems can create balance and improve air quality throughout a home.
  • Dehumidifiers keep moisture levels in check throughout the home while cutting contaminant buildup throughout.

Reducing indoor air pollution

Here are some measures you can take to improve your indoor air quality:

  • Keep contaminants out of your home by performing air sealing. Caulk around plumbing and lighting fixtures with approved sealants.
  • Limit your appliance use to off-peak hours to save more energy.
  • Check that the insulation in your home meets current standards.
  • Switch to natural cleaners and air fresheners, rather than chemical solutions.
  • Open windows and doors to naturally ventilate your home.
  • Leave shoes at the door when entering the home.
  • Vacuum and clean surfaces more frequently.
  • Do not smoke in the home.
  • Use houseplants for natural air filtering.

Direct Heating and Cooling serves a large spread of customers – we’ve encountered and corrected a broad range of indoor air quality issues to give our customers cleaner, healthier indoor air. Whatever your issue may be, our team has experience implementing specific indoor air quality solutions that will correct your problematic conditions. Contact us today to discuss your indoor air quality needs!

 

 

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling