Putting the "V" Back into HVAC: Ventilation Strategies and Successes

How To Insulate Your Exposed Ducts

Is your furnace in the basement or out in the garage? If so, you could be losing a lot of valuable heat through your ducts. This is a huge concern if you live in freezing climate. Basically, your furnace will be much less efficient and more expensive to run if your exposed ducts are not insulated. The ducts that run from your furnace into the walls of your home can vary in length. Obviously, the longer they are, the more heat loss you need to worry about. This article explains how you can insulate your ducts, no matter how long they are.

Using the Right Products

First, you need a few rolls of wool insulation. You should measure the circumference of the ducts to see how many feet you need to buy. You might want to double wrap your ducts, so keep this in mind. Also, you need to calculate how much need based on the width of the rolls. 16″ is a common width that works well with ducts. It is wide enough that it can be wrapped around bends and L-corners in the ducting. You also want some normal duct tape to secure the insulation. Wool insulation is very itchy so wear a long sleeve shirt, protective gloves and eyewear.

Tape the Duct Seams First

Before you apply the insulation, you should tape the seams between the individual duct sections. Air can leak through these seams, even after the ducts are insulated. In fact, once the ducts are insulated, you will not be able to find leaks or loose seams. So taping beforehand is a great precaution.

Applying the Insulation

Applying the insulation is relatively straightforward. You can wrap it around the duct in continuing, spiraling sections. But you should probably wrap and tape one section at a time. That is, wrap one piece all the way around the circumference of the duct, and then cut it and tape it down. Pull the insulation tight, but don’t stretch it out. If the wool fibers are stretched apart, they will not insulate as well. You should tape the edges of the insulation sections together. Basically, you don’t want any part of the ducting to be visible. If it’s covered by the wool, it will be protected from the cold air and heat loss.

This is a very cheap and simple way to make your furnace more efficient. Over the course of a couple hours, you can increase the efficiency of your system. Contact a company like Absolute Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning for more tips.

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Reducing Your Budget This Winter Through HVAC Mainteance

If you want to lower your heating costs during the cold months of the year, you should evaluate your HVAC system. The HVAC is used very often during the winter, especially if there is no other heating source in the home. These electrical systems can use a lot of power and be the source of high energy bills. The following are some things you can do to help keep your bills lower while also keeping your home nice and toasty.

Seal Air Leaks

Leaks that are left unsealed can decrease the temperature in a home. During the coldest part of the year, this can significantly cool your home, forcing the HVAC to work overtime. A simple leak can often be mistaken as a major defect in the entire system, which can result in an unneeded repair. When checking for leaks, look around the ceilings, doorframes, and around the chimney. Also look around the windows, in the doors, and any other opening to the home that may have some damage that led to a leak of exterior air into the home. To seal the leaks, use vinyl caulk to fill in any visible cracks.

Move the Thermostat

If your thermostat is located in a large open room in your home, it could be turning off and on more often than necessary to heat the home. The central location will struggle to remain heated while the other rooms in the house get overly warm. Instead, have your thermostat moved to a smaller room so that you can better regulate the heat in the home and decrease the stress on the HVAC.

Lower The Thermostat At Bedtime

While it may seem counter intuitive, reducing the thermostat at night while you sleep can be a very good way to save. There are less expensive ways to keep warm at night with the use of thermal sheets and electric blankets. This will help keep the heating use lower throughout much of the cold winter months. 

Perform Proper HVAC Maintenance

To keep your ultimate costs low, you should always perform regular maintenance on your HVAC system. Have your technician come evaluate the system before you need to use the system heavily. Not doing so can cause the system to work harder than necessary due to clogged filters, leaking ductwork, and so on.

Paying attention to your home’s heating use is a great way to reduce your budget. Be sure your system remains clean and healthy to avoid a loss of heat due to a damaged system this winter.

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What Health Issues Are Growing In Your Home’s Air Ducts?

One of the most potentially dangerous areas of your home is the air ducts. While you will probably never be in them, there are a number of health hazards that can hide out and live there. While there is no solid proof that general cleaning of air ducts to get out normal household dust will prevent diseases, you should consider having it done if there is anyone in the home with allergies, or if your family seems to be getting ill more frequently. Here are a few of the not-so-normal things that your air ducts may be harboring that can cause people to get sick.


Air ducts can provide the ideal environment for mold spores to grow, especially when humidity is high. While some mold spores only pose a problem to those allergic to it, there are also some that affect everyone. Black mold can cause headaches, fatigue, a chronic cough, and problems with the respiratory system. If your family has the symptoms of a bad cold but can’t seem to get rid of it, you should have your home checked for mold. You may need to have two different inspections, one for the house and everything in it and one for the air ducts and HVAC system.


Even if you have no problem with pet mice or rats, having wild ones running around in the duct work can put your family at risk of getting a Hantavirus infection. The excrement and urine from the rodents living in your air ducts can cause this very serious disease. If anyone is exhibiting the symptoms of the flu, and keeps getting it after it appears to be gone, it could be Hantavirus. The virus can be picked up by the air going through the ducts and pushed out into the house where everyone can inhale it.


Dust, dander and pet hair in the house will be pulled into the HVAC system through the return air vent. They will then be dispersed through the house when the air is pushed through the HVAC system. This will not affect those lucky enough to be allergy-free, but can be deadly to anyone with allergies.

If you notice dust particles shooting out of the air vents in your home, you cannot be sure it is not carrying some type of germ too. Contact a company that does professional air duct cleaning, such as Dick  Kearsley Service Center. The technician will be able to let you know if there is something hiding out in there that can hurt you. 

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Three Ways Your Pets Might Be Damaging Your Air Conditioning Unit

If your air conditioning unit hasn’t been working as well as you would like, there is a chance that your pets might be the culprit. Pets can inadvertently do damage or cause your AC unit to work overtime. Here are three things your pet might be doing that are causing damage to your AC unit and how to avoid them.

1. Shedding Fur and Dander

If your cat or dog sheds quite a bit, this can make your AC unit less efficient by blocking vents and filling up air filters. Pets tend to shed more when the weather heats up, right when you will be cranking up the AC the most. Change air filters more often than recommended if you have furry friends. Another way to clear unwanted fur is to add vacuuming AC vents to your cleaning routine. If you can have your pets groomed or their fur clipped more often, this will help them track in less fur that leads to clogged vents.

2. Urinating on External AC Unit

Not all AC problems stem inside of the home. If your dog or cat is urinating on the AC unit outside of your home, this can do both superficial and real damage to your AC unit’s overall efficiency. Urine can leave unsightly stains on your exterior unit. Over time this can corrode through to the inner workings of your AC unit and cause damages that will need to be looked at by an air conditioning repair specialist. Dogs and cats both want to lay claim to their territory, so be sure to hose down the area around your AC unit. This will keep this area clear of continued markings from your pets and other animal visitors.

3. AC Overuse in Summer for Furry Guys

If you have pets that really feel the heat in the summer, you might be more apt to leave your AC unit on at lower temperatures during the day just for them. Leaving your AC unit on throughout the day and night during heat waves can cause your air conditioning unit to need maintenance more often, especially with an older unit. You might also have an industrious pet that lies on air conditioning vents, leading to disrupted airflow efficiency throughout the house. Try to think of alternatives that can help an overheated dog or cat. Get your pet’s fur trimmed, install fans, or invest in cooling mats for your pets in the summer to give your AC unit a break.

If your pet might be causing your AC unit to work inefficiently, just remember that your pets don’t know any better. It is up to you to take steps to ensure that your pet doesn’t inadvertently cause damage to your AC unit. You can co-exist with your pet and your AC in the summer if you are proactive about their needs.

For more information about making your AC unit last, see Tropic Air Conditioning INC or your local AC specialist.

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Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs A New Filter

If you are not familiar with your air conditioner’s maintenance needs, you may not realize that the filter should be replaced every one to six months. The exact frequency with which you should replace the filter varies based on the number of filters your air conditioner has, the type of filter, how often you run the unit and how dirty the air is where you live. However, if you have failed to do this, your unit will begin to give you signs that a filter change is overdue. If you are experiencing any of these problems, change your air conditioning filter as quickly as possible.

Your Air Conditioner is Running for Longer

One of the signs that your air conditioner filter is full is that your air conditioner is running for longer than it normally does. You probably have a general idea of how long your air conditioner cycles on and off for. If it seems like your air conditioner has been running a lot longer than normal, it probably has. When the filter is full, less air can pass through the filter. This means your air conditioner has less air to cool and blow into your home, which means your home takes a lot longer to cool. Replacing the filter can help immediately solve this problem.

Your Home Seems to Be Getting Dustier Faster

The other sign that a home’s air conditioner filter needs to be replaced is that your home seems to be getting dustier faster. When a filter is full, it can’t filter all of the impurities from the air. This is because the filter can’t hold those items due to a lack of space. So instead, the impurities travel through the filter and into your home. This can lead to a noticeable accumulation of dust on your blinds, coffee table or on any vents you have. Replacing the filter regularly will prevent this from happening.

If your air conditioner is running for longer than it should or your home is getting dustier faster, you should replace the filter in your air conditioning unit. However, these problems may also be indicative of other problems. A unit that runs for an extended period of time may be trying to tell you that the refrigerant is running low or that the fans are improperly working. And more dust coming into your home may be a sign that your duct work needs to be cleaned. If replacing the filter doesn’t solve your air conditioning problems, contact an air conditioning service for an inspection.

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Call An HVAC Contractor If You Notice These Three Issues With Your Air Conditioner

It’s a comforting feeling to know that your home’s air conditioner is running properly, especially when the weather forecast indicates that a heat wave is just around the corner. However, a broken-down air conditioner can quickly turn your cool and comfortable home into an environment that is hot and sweaty. It’s worthwhile to be aware of the early warning signs that indicate something with the air conditioner isn’t right. Upon noticing these symptoms, you can quickly have a licensed HVAC contractor visit your home to diagnose the problem and get it repaired in a timely manner. Here are three issues that should prompt you to call your contractor.

Reduced Flow Of Air

While it’s possible that a closed air vent is causing a lack of airflow in the room in question, there are a variety of other issues that can cause this issue. The simplest is likely a blocked air filter, which is a likely culprit if you haven’t taken the time to replace the filter on a consistent basis.

However, reduced airflow can also be indicative of a problem with the unit’s blower or even a blockage in one of your home’s air ducts. Regardless of the exact reason for the issue, your local HVAC contractor will be able to determine the cause and perform the necessary repairs to get the air conditioner working optimally again.

Home Not Cooling Down

Although things such as leaving your windows and doors open and running hot appliances can slow your air conditioner’s ability to cool down your home in a timely manner, it’s time to get your HVAC contractor on the phone if you’re noticing that it’s taking an excessively long time for the temperature to decrease in your living quarters. When your air conditioner isn’t cooling your home, it could be a sign of a problem with the condenser unit. Dealing with the problem promptly can reduce the risk of further damage to the condenser.

Rattling Noise

Although your air conditioner isn’t exactly silent when it runs, you shouldn’t hear any noise beyond the sound of air moving and a gentle humming sound in the background. If you begin to hear a metallic-sounding rattle, it’s a sign that the system might have loose parts somewhere. If left unattended, the parts can continue to loosen until they fail, which can put you in need of a major repair. It’s best to have your contractor–like one from D & W Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.–look at the system right away. 

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About Inefficient Heating & Cooling From An HVAC System

Are you lost as to why your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system has stopped reaching the temperature on the thermostat? When there are both heating and cooling problems from an HVAC system, there are a few different parts that can be the cause. Discover in this article why the HVAC system is not heating or cooling your house efficiently anymore.

There is a Problem with the Air Duct System

When there is inefficiency experienced with heating and cooling your home at the same time, it can mean that there is a problem with air flowing through the duct system. The problem can be as simple as you needing to hire a contractor to clean the air ducts out, especially if you have never had it done before. There might be a lot of dirt or rodent droppings in the air ducts that is creating a blockage and preventing air from flowing to the fullest extent. Rodent carcasses can also be in the ducts if you have a problem with them infesting your house. In the worst case scenario, it is possible that the air ducts are cracked and need to be replaced instead of cleaned.

The Thermostat is Not Working Correctly

If the thermostat to your HVAC system is damaged, it can easily interfere with the efficiency of heating and cooling your home. No matter how good of a condition other parts of the HVAC system are, nothing will work unless the thermostat works. There might be something wrong with the needle in the thermostat, which can cause you to set the temperature inaccurately. A broken thermostat needle can be replaced with a new one if it is the problem. If the entire thermostat is damaged, a contractor can install a new one for you. Your HVAC system should then begin being more efficient.

The System Heat Pump Doesn’t Work Right

Although it may seem like a heat pump is only used for warming up your house, it is also used for the air conditioning part of the HVAC system as well. Basically, a heat pump is the part of the system that exchanges warm air between the interior and exterior of your house. The pump is able to bring in warm air from outside when the heater is on (if it’s not too cold outside), and can pull warm air out of your house when the air conditioner is on. You might need to get the pump cleaned or replaced. Talk to an HVAC contractor (like Drew Green Heating & Cooling) to find out why your system is so inefficient!

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