Energy Savings

10 Steps to a Green Home

The effort to build and live green is not going away. In fact, energy efficiency will just continue to be more important as we move away from fossil fuels and find alternative, more efficient energy sources. But right now, there's a lot you can do to have a green home. Have a look at some of these tips and adapt them in your dwelling space.

1. Change the air filter frequently. A dirty air filter makes your HVAC system work harder. Change the filter as often as is needed.

2. Switch to a permanent, washable air filter. This eliminates having to dispose of filters, which end up in the landfill. Make sure you clean it so it works properly.

3. Seal air leaks. You'll get greater energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint by sealing air leaks around plumbing, light switches, baseboards, doors and windows.

4. Use a programmable or Wi-fi thermostat. Set your schedule to reduce power use during the day when everyone's gone and at night when they are asleep. Stick to the schedule.

5. Reduce humidity in the home in summer. A humid home can make you feel warm so you use more energy to cool. Fix plumbing leaks, reduce shower times, and install exhaust ventilation to reduce relative humidity.

6. Look into solar solutions. Look into installing energy-efficient solar lights and other solar solutions around the home to reduce energy use. You may even want to install solar batteries for all your energy use.

7. Fix air duct leaks. If your air ducts are leaking, you're losing conditioned air. Have them checked out during HVAC maintenance.

8. Install efficient windows. Install double pane, efficient windows recommended by Energy Star to reduce solar radiation in the home, and to keep cold winds out.

9. Install window tinting. This can help reduce solar radiation in the home.

10. Install Energy Star appliances. As your older appliances wear out, look for efficient Energy Star-rated replacements.

For more on creating a green home, and to schedule repairs, maintenance and installations, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow.

Air Conditioning

What Are Swamp Coolers?

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A swamp cooler is a type of cooling system that relies on water evaporation to cool the air. Also known as evaporative coolers, these devices cool incoming air by as much as 30 degrees F. They’re the most energy efficient way to cool, as long as the humidity is low.

The coolers pump water over absorbent pads. A fan inside the cooler pulls air through the pads. The air blows through the home to cool it. Some coolers use thermostats to turn on and off. How much they cool is completely dependent on the weather. They are most effective in arid regions like Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Texas.

Their Benefits

  • An evaporative cooler uses about four times less electricity than an air conditioner.

  • The coolers cost much less than central air conditioners.

  • Swamp coolers pull in a constant stream of fresh air and run quietly.

Ideal Applications

The easiest kind of home to cool with an evaporative cooler is a ranch-style single-story home. They can cool two-story homes, but the airflow needs to be balanced to assure adequate cooling for the upstairs. Larger homes require larger coolers. They’re also good for spot-cooling a garage or outbuilding.

Their Limitations

  • Evaporative coolers are extremely effective in arid climates when the dew point is below 55 degrees F. Swamp coolers are not nearly as effective as the humidity rises.

  • They also require venting. The air they pull in has to exit your home through windows, doors, or up ducts.

  • They raise the humidity levels indoors. As humidity increases, so does mold growth. Dust mites also thrive in humid conditions. Anyone sensitive to or allergic to either should consult his physician before installing a swamp cooler.

  • They require more maintenance than air conditioners even though they're mechanically much simpler than A/C units and heat pumps.

A swamp cooler can provide comfortable and efficient cooling during the spring and fall in the Broken Arrow region. If you’d like to learn more about these appliances, contact Air Assurance. We provide HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Dehumidifiers

5 Home Dehumidifier Benefits

The air in your Broken Arrow home can get awfully sticky in times of high rainfall, particularly in the summertime when it's warm. Whenever the humidity climbs above 50-55 percent you may find yourself wishing there was a way to keep it under control.

It's always a good idea to check your home for moisture leaks in the roof and in the plumbing, and to make sure your air filter is regularly changed so that the HVAC system does a good job of removing moisture from the air. But what if your home remains too humid? A dehumidifier can be the answer.

Read on to find out more about dehumidifier benefits.

1. Prevents mold, mildew and fungus.

Whenever relative humidity is more than 50 percent, you have a greater chance of developing mold, mildew and fungus in your home. These organisms reproduce by means of spores and can spread rapidly, destroying drywall, wood and fabrics. Mold, mildew and fungus are also the source of unpleasant odors.

2. Makes home's occupants feel more comfortable.

Warmer air holds more moisture than cool air, so that in the summer, a home's occupants may feel uncomfortable as the relative humidity climbs. A dehumidifier can dry the air out sufficiently that the occupants feel cooler.

3. Saves money on air conditioning utility bills.

The dryer the air, the cooler a home's occupants will feel, and the less likely they will be to turn down the air conditioner thermostat to a cooler temperature. By using a dehumidifier, you keep the humidity levels down and the home's occupants are more content at higher temperatures. Also, the wetter the air, the harder the A/C has to work to dehumidify the return air. A dehumidifier helps the A/C do its job, so that you use less energy.

4. Reduces the presence of dust mites.

Dust mites flourish in humid settings. By reducing humidity, you can make conditions less hospitable for these microscopic creatures, which are the source of allergic reactions.

To start reaping dehumidifier benefits in your home, contact Air Assurance. We serve Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Air Conditioning

AC Dangers: What You Should Never Do

Your HVAC is a sturdy piece of machinery, and is designed to withstand a lot of heavy use over the years. But it also should be handled with care, as certain practices will result in damage and expensive breakdowns. Some malfunctions that can occur with your HVAC can also lead to damage to your home, or danger to its occupants. Read on and learn about A/C dangers.

1. Neglect changing the air filter.

A dirty air filter will slow down air flow so that your system cannot cool properly. You will use more energy, and you may eventually cause a breakdown. Further, a dirty filter will not effectively filter the air going into your system, so that parts may become dirty (thus, burning hotter and causing friction), and also so that air won't be properly cleaned.

2. Turn the thermostat down so the A/C runs continuously.

This practice will put a lot of stress on your system, so that parts break down and you will need to do more frequent repairs.

3. Close off dampers in rooms.

Some homeowners think this practice saves money on energy by not air conditioning rooms, when in fact it creates negative pressure and makes the air conditioner run inefficiently. It can also stress the equipment so that you have more frequent breakdowns.

4. Open windows while the A/C is running.

Central air conditioners are designed to run with all windows and doors closed, and the home should be air sealed for maximum efficiency. Otherwise, you'll be wasting energy and causing the A/C to work harder than it should.

5. Neglect frayed electric wiring.

Always have your HVAC tech check the wiring during preventative maintenance visits. If frayed or old, it should be replaced, as bad wires can result in fires.

6. Neglect a plugged condensate drain.

When these drains get clogged (and they always do eventually), flooding in the home can result.

For more on A/C dangers, or to schedule maintenance, repairs or equipment installations, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow.

HVAC System

What Is a Manual J Load Calculation?

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Some HVAC terms are easy to understand while others may leave you scratching your head. For many Broken Arrow area homeowners, Manual J load calculation is definitely in the latter category. Not only is it the first step towards choosing the right HVAC system for your home, but it’s also an essential step.

Developed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, Manual J load calculation offers homeowners and contractors a way to properly size up a home’s HVAC needs and design an HVAC system that offers the best performance and efficiency match.

How Manual J Benefits Your Home

Different homes have different heating and cooling requirements and it’s easy to choose an HVAC unit that’s ill-equipped to handle your home. Depending on the age-old “rule of thumb” often results in an HVAC system that’s either underpowered or overpowered for the given environment. The former can make your home unbearable during the summer while the latter wastes energy while increasing overall discomfort.

Manual J lets contractors choose the right HVAC system by calculating a home’s precise heating and cooling needs. A typical Manual J calculation takes many of the following factors into account:

  • Square footage

  • Building materials

  • Location and directional orientation

  • Heat gain and loss throughout the entire home

  • Current HVAC system size and type

  • Insulation levels

  • Window types

  • Duct leakage

Using specially designed software, contractors can recommend an HVAC system that provides optimal comfort without using too much energy or wearing out early. Manual J load calculations are commonly done in conjunction with other ACCA design protocols, including Manual S equipment selection and Manual D ductwork design.

No HVAC system replacement should start without a Manual J load calculation. Contact Air Assurance today and let us take care of your heating and cooling needs, using the latest in modern HVAC technology.

HVAC System

The Best HVAC System for a Multifamily Home

If you thought finding the best HVAC system for a single-family home was tough, imaging having to find one that meets the needs of multiple families. Choosing the best HVAC system for multifamily homes is a challenge that countless developers and building owners face often. Not only is there the short-term cost of procurement and installation involved, but there are also long-term implications to consider.

Your Options for Multifamily HVAC

There are plenty of choices at your disposal when it comes to finding the right HVAC system for multifamily homes. Most systems come in the form of centralized and decentralized systems, each with their own pros and cons:

  • Centralized HVAC systems consist of a single unit located in the building’s basement or penthouse. Popular in high-rises and other large multifamily buildings, these systems are typically more energy efficient than their decentralized counterparts, but more expensive to install and maintain.

  • Decentralized HVAC systems consist of separate units designated for each family or building unit. Installation and maintenance are more cost-effective, but these systems lack the maximum efficiency that centralized units offer.

Two-pipe and four-pipe heating and cooling systems are common examples of centralized HVAC systems. Other examples include hot water baseboard and geothermal systems. The latter offers the greatest efficiency of all centralized HVAC systems due to its energy source.

Wall-mounted air conditioners and electric baseboard heating units represent decentralized HVAC systems. Packaged thermal air conditioners and self-contained forced air units are also commonly used in decentralized applications.

Crucial Factors to Consider

Important factors including building size and layout, unit airtightness and the stack effect’s impact on building airflow can easily influence your choice for a multifamily HVAC system. Don’t forget that when it comes to maintaining HVAC systems for multifamily homes, the responsibilities for maintenance and upkeep fall on the landlord, as per the Oklahoma Landlord-Tenant Act.

If you need help choosing the best HVAC system for multifamily homes, turn to the experts at Air Assurance, helping Broken Arrow property owners with their HVAC needs since 1985.

HVAC System

HVAC for Luxury Living

HVAC systems for luxury homes are important for more than just maximizing comfort. They're crucial for proper maintenance of furnishings, finishes, artwork, and everything else in the houses. By failing to choose a quality unit, you could end up with devastating consequences for your expensive decor. Let's take a closer look at what HVAC for luxury living entails.

Zoned System

It's not easy to keep everything and everyone in a large home comfortable. Elevated temperatures can dry out and crack your irreplaceable wooden furnishings. The room containing your paintings and art collection may need a temperature of around 70 degrees. And let's not forget you'll need more cooling for your home gym and heat for an elderly family member or baby in a different room.

Fortunately, you can heat and cool your luxury property simultaneously with a zoned HVAC system.

Humidity Control

Excess moisture makes moldings and woodwork warp. It also leads to mold growth, which can destroy your photographs, paintings, wallpaper, upholstery, rugs, and draperies. Excessively low humidity can cause materials like ivory, paper, papyrus, and wood to dry out, contract, and become more fragile.

Consider whole-home dehumidification in the summer and humidification in the winter.

Smart Home Technology

Having to adjust numerous TVs, audio zones, lights, and climate zones spread across different rooms or buildings on your property every day is a daunting task. That's why smart home technology is a lifesaver.

You need an HVAC system with smart controls to let you adjust the temperature and even track energy usage from your phone or tablet on the go.

Air Purification

Your luxury property needs an upscale living atmosphere. Air purification systems like germicidal lights and whole-home air purifiers remove airborne contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and mold spores, which can cause health problems to your family and guests and damage your property.

By installing an advanced HVAC for luxury living, you'll have a truly luxurious experience in your home. If you want to modernize your HVAC system to suit your upscale living needs in the Broken Arrow area, contact us at Air Assurance.

HVAC System

These 5 HVAC Sounds Indicate Problems for Your HVAC

Do you hear strange sounds from your HVAC system? These sounds can be a sign of severe issues. A standard operating unit may make only an occasional click when turning on and off. When you hear some other unusual sounds, however, it may be time to call our professional company to help you out. Here are some noises you never want to hear from your HVAC system.

1. Loud Banging, Rattling, or Thumping Noises

Any loud noise can indicate an issue with the assembly or the motor. If something is loose, you will hear several rattling noises from your system. Heavy banging and clanking sounds are signs that a component has broken loose. If you hear any of these noises, you need to contact our trained technicians for an inspection.

2. Squealing and Screeching

Motor bearing problems or broken belts will make a loud screeching sound. If your belt is loose, you will need to replace it immediately. Once the belt snaps, it can cause the blower to malfunction. Squealing noises occur when parts have lost lubrication. A little oil to the motor and components can help to stop these annoying sounds.

3. Thwapping

What's thwapping? It's similar to the sound of a baseball card in the spokes of a bicycle. This sound indicates that something is stuck in the blower blades. You want to remove this obstruction to prevent any damages to the motor or blades.

4. Repeating Clicking Sounds

When you hear an occasional clicking sound, that sound is normal for the operation of the system. If you hear continuous clicking sounds, that is not a good sign. Clicking sounds might be a sign of a bad compressor or a panel. If that is the case, you will need to replace those parts.

5. Rattling From the Compressor

A fully functioning compressor will not make any rattling sounds. Rattling sounds means that the motor could be failing on your system. If you hear a loud rattling sound, your part might be broken and need replacement. Any noise from the compressor needs to be inspected by a trained technician.

If you hear these sounds from your system, you need to schedule a service call from a professional HVAC company. Our trained technicians will perform a full point inspection of your system. Call [company_name] in Broken Arrow, OK, to schedule a visit today. We also offer plumbing and indoor air quality services.

Thermostats

Thermostat Reading the Wrong Temperature?

Does your home feel blazingly hot but your thermostat reads only 74 degrees? Sometimes, your thermostat can say one thing yet the temperature in your house is entirely different. However, before you call an HVAC technician to complain about a broken air conditioning unit, check if the cause of the problem is something you can easily solve.

Here are some of the common causes of a thermostat reading wrong temperature.

Dirty Air Filter

Your air filter can clog up fast if you have shedding pets or a cold air return in a high-traffic room. A clogged filter will hamper your A/C unit's cooling ability. It can also affect whether or not the unit turns on without involving your thermostat. Replace your air filters regularly.

Dirty Thermostat

Dirt is also problematic for thermostats. A dirty thermostat will have a difficult time reading the correct temperature inside your home. To clean it, remove the cover and gently dust the inside parts using a soft brush.

Wrong Settings

Have you set the temperature without checking whether your thermostat is set to cool or heat? With incorrect settings in place, your A/C system won't turn on and function as expected. Verify that your thermostat settings are suitable for the season.

Dying Batteries

A thermostat does its job quietly, so it's easy for you to set it and forget that its batteries may be dead or dying. Change the batteries and check if normal operation is restored.

Bad Location

Your thermostat will read the wrong temperature if it isn't located in your home's most optimal place. If it's located near drafts or heat sources, or it's in an area that isn't centrally located, you may need to have it moved.

If you can't fix your thermostat problems, contact an HVAC professional soonest possible. A malfunctioning thermostat can lead to inefficient A/C operation and high energy bills.

If you're in the Broken Arrow area and need help with a thermostat reading wrong temperature, contact us at Air Assurance. With over 30 years of experience, you can be sure that we'll solve all your HVAC issues.

Air Conditioning

A Guide to Fixing Cold Spots in Your Home

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If you're like most of the households across the country, running your A/C will soon become a daily activity. Some of you are probably going to notice that certain areas are a lot colder then others, so we thought we'd give you a few simple tips on fixing cold spots right away.

Repair Any Damage to Ductwork

Since ductwork is absolutely essential for the proper cooling of your home, any damage that it experiences will affect airflow. Carefully examine all areas of the ductwork for issues like holes and tears, and don't hesitate to call a technician for additional assistance. Repairs to the ductwork will balance everything again, which will cut down on cold spots.

Install a Zoning System

Cold spots are often caused by the fact that certain rooms take a lot less time to cool off than others do, yet a traditional HVAC system will continue to run until the warmer rooms are cooled off. By upgrading to a zoning system, you can use a central control unit and multiple thermostats to focus your cooling needs on specific areas of your home that you designate.

Unblock Your Home’s Vents

When objects like furniture and boxes are placed in front of or on top of your vents, then this impeded airflow will often cause these rooms to be more difficult to cool off while others get too cold. The solution, luckily, is very simple. All you need to do is check each vent and make sure that there are no obstructions.

Seal Windows and Doors

The edges around your doors and windows are notorious for air leaks, which can quickly cause cold spots to develop. Depending on the size of the leak, you can seal these problem areas with either caulking, spray foam, or weatherstripping. But, don't forget to check for other areas in your home that may have leaks as well.

To learn more about fixing cold spots or other home comfort issues, please contact the HVAC professionals at Air Assurance. We’ve been servicing Broken Arrow and beyond for more than 30 years.

Air Conditioning

Is Air Conditioning Healthy?

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Air conditioning affects on health are overwhelmingly positive, particularly when you compare today’s living conditions to the past. While about 87% of American homes are air conditioned now, this wasn’t always the case. Up until the 1960s, residential air conditioning was rare and frequently not included even in newly constructed homes. As A/C has become a way of life, Americans have benefitted from more than just the comforting sensation of coolness on a hot day.

Here are some ways air conditioning affects on health have contributed to our higher standard of wellness.

Reduced heat hazards.

During summer heat waves in the past, uncontrolled indoor temperatures very commonly resulted in a high incidence of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke for individuals residing inside non-air conditioned homes. Extreme heat is especially dangerous for infants, small children and the elderly. The widespread emergence of home air conditioning has greatly reduced these health risks.

Healthy humidity control.

High indoor humidity is the source of potential health issues, including toxic mold growth that causes symptoms in susceptible individuals. Chronic moisture sources including high indoor humidity trigger dormant airborne mold spores into the active growth mode that causes illness in some residents exposed to it. The evaporator coil in your air conditioner continuously extracts water vapor from indoor air as part of the cooling process. This function inhibits indoor mold growth by keeping household humidity in the EPA-recommended range below 65%.

Cleaner indoor air quality.

Indoor airborne particulates—dust, lint, dirt and smoke particles—can be a source of irritation and allergic responses for many persons. As your air conditioner circulates cooling through the household ductwork, the air is also repeatedly cleaned by the system air filter. Particulate levels are kept lower and allergy-related symptoms are reduced. In a typical home air conditioning system, the entire air volume inside the house passes through the air filter multiple times eacg day. Remember to replace the air filter monthly throughout the cooling season to safeguard indoor air quality.

For more about air conditioning affects on health and maintaining optimum indoor comfort, contact the experts at Air Assurance.

Ductwork

HVAC Ductwork Basics

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Consistent temperature control and healthy indoor air quality throughout your home rely on HVAC ductwork basics to get the job done. The blower in a typical residential air handler continuously circulates over 1,000 cubic feet per minute of conditioned air as long as the system is cycled on.

Here are some HVAC ductwork basics that show how the elements work together—and how common problems sometimes arise.

  • Residential ductwork is actually two systems: supply ducts and return ducts.

  • Supply ducts deliver conditioned air to individual rooms, entering through a supply vent on an upper portion of a wall, close to the ceiling.

  • Return ducts remove air and convey it back to the air handler to be cooled or heated again. Some houses have return vents in every room, many others have only one central return vent often located in a central hallway.

  • Supply and return air volume in the ductwork system is balanced to ensure neutral air pressure inside each room—the optimum condition for temperature control and air quality.

  • Most ductwork is not visible in a typical home. Usually, the long spans are routed through areas such as the attic or crawl space. Shorter “branch” ducts that extend into rooms may be installed inside wall cavities.

  • Rigid ducts are usually fabricated of rectangular or round sheet metal. Flexible ducts consist of a wire internal coil covered by plastic.

Potential Duct Problems

As ductwork ages, air leaks may develop at joints and other points in the system. Loss of conditioned air into unconditioned zones such as the crawl space or attic is a major contributor to increased operating costs and poor cooling and heating performance. A professional duct inspection including pressure testing can determine the extent of leakage. Proven sealing techniques will restore leaky ductwork to standards.

Thermal gain or loss frequently affects airflow temperature in ducts routed through very hot or cold zones like the attic or crawl space. Insulating exposed ductwork in these unconditioned zones resolves the issue.

Ask the experts at Air Assurance for more about HVAC ductwork basics and professional duct service to maintain indoor comfort and efficiency.