How Zone Control Could Save You Money on Heating in Kennesaw

December 11th, 2014 by David Roussel

Despite their popularity, central forced air heating systems have a number of systemic problems. They do the job decently enough, sure, but they are a “one size fits all” solution with all the negatives that go with it. Some homeowners opt for entirely new systems to get around these issues. For those that don’t want to invest that much money, however, an effective solution can be found in zone control. Let’s take a closer look at the issues with central forced air heating, and the ways that zone control systems can mitigate them.

Central Heating Problems

The core problem with central heating is that it is simply inefficient most of the time. The whole system is controlled by a single thermostat, usually installed in a hallway close to the center of the house. This is done to prevent the thermostat from being affected by temperature fluctuations in the outer areas. The thermostat cannot sense the temperature levels throughout the house, of course. It can only register temperatures in its general vicinity.

When the thermostat finally does turn the heat on, the heat is directed to all rooms throughout the house. There is no way to direct the heat to the one or two rooms that are actually occupied. Instead, the entire house receives heat until the thermostat is satisfied. Not only does this waste energy (and thus, money) but it can create wide temperature fluctuations in rooms further away from the thermostat.

Zone Control

Zone control attempts to rectify this inefficiency through the installation of buffers in the ducts leading to each room. These buffers can either open or close, controlling air flow to that room and directing it to other areas. Each of these buffers can be linked to its own thermostat, allowing individual rooms to be set to individual temperatures.

This solves the inefficiency problem that central systems struggle with. Multiple thermostats assure that each room is kept comfortable, while directing air flow to where it is actually needed. This prevents the massive waste of energy that most central forced air heating systems perpetuate.

If you’d like to know more about zone control, call South Air Inc. Our heating professionals cover all of Kennesaw.

Could these Symptoms Indicate an Indoor Air Quality Problem?

December 1st, 2014 by David Roussel

A lot of people attribute various health symptoms to allergies, flu season, and any number of other causes. What often gets left out of that list, however, is poor indoor air quality. Most homeowners never consider the possibility that their indoor air might be what’s affecting their health in such a negative way. Fortunately, we’ve assembled this short list of ways to tell if your indoor air might be a problem.

Increase in Allergy Attacks

Coughing, sneezing, painful sinuses, itching eyes, all symptoms that are altogether too familiar to allergy sufferers. If you’re outside in the middle of spring, this sort of thing is likely not out of the ordinary. When you start experiencing these symptoms inside, however, you should pay more attention. Pollen, dust, pet dander, and all sorts of other allergens can be circulated throughout the house by any forced air heater or air conditioner. These allergens often become trapped in the home, provoking allergic reactions again and again over time. If you’re experiencing severe allergy symptoms, especially if the frequency increases when inside, you likely have an indoor air quality problem.

Increase in Illness

If you’ve ever had to share a house with a sick person, you know how difficult it can be to stay healthy and avoid contamination. Viruses and bacteria are circulated through a home’s ductwork just as easily, if not more so, than allergens like dust and pollen. These germs can often live for astonishingly long periods of time while airborne, until they have the opportunity to infect someone and spread. If you seem to have an increase in the frequency of minor illnesses like the common cold or flu, it may be because of bad indoor air quality.

Sudden Nausea, Dizziness, or Fatigue

The most serious of indicators, suddenly experiencing nausea, dizziness, or fatigue could be a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless toxic gas, which is created by combustion heating systems. If inhaled, it restricts the ability of the body to acquire oxygen. At high enough levels, it can kill. If you start experiencing any of these symptoms for no apparent reason, leave the house and call emergency services.

If you’re experiencing problems with your air quality, call South Air Inc. Our indoor air quality professionals cover all of Mableton.

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2014 by David Roussel

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at South Air Inc., we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

What Exactly Is a Media Filter?

November 17th, 2014 by David Roussel

Most HVAC systems offer some sort of protection against particles which could otherwise infiltrate the air you breathe. Your heating and air conditioning system sucks in air through the vents before it is conditioned, but this air could contain allergens and irritants that aggravate many respiratory issues. Luckily, a good filter can trap some of these particles, but is your filter effective enough?

The one-inch blue fiber throwaway filters that come standard with an air conditioning or heating system may not be the best way to rid your home of air contaminants, particularly if someone in your household suffers from allergies. A lot of these have a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) of about 1-4, and, since the rating system goes up to 16, this means they only remove select contaminants of a larger size. Many experts recommend supplementing your HVAC system with a media filter, which is usually stored in a box and then installed as part of the HVAC filtration. The synthetic media used to filter out particles is superior to other filters, and many of these media filters have a much higher MERV than a standard filter.

Much of the effectiveness of these filters comes from their pleated design. Non-pleated air filters certainly provide some level of protection against air pollution, but this wasn’t even necessarily the original intention behind their creation. Filters were made to keep particles from damaging the components of an HVAC system, so their design does not always create the best conditions for indoor air quality management.

A pleated air filter exposes the air that enters the system to a greater surface area, which allows it to collect more particles and last a longer period of time. You likely won’t have to replace it as often as a standard filter, which makes the small extra cost worth it. Furthermore, this design does not interfere with airflow, so you won’t have to worry about an ineffective or inefficient heating or air conditioning system.

South Air Inc. offers media filter services so you can be sure the asthma and allergy sufferers in your home remain protected. Contact us today to hear more about media filters in Vinings.

When Is the Right Time to Schedule Heating System Maintenance?

November 10th, 2014 by David Roussel

You probably already know that your heating system is not designed to go long periods of time without regular maintenance. What you may not know, however, is when you should actually schedule maintenance. Read on for an explanation of when you should schedule heating maintenance, and why.

Fall Heating Maintenance

The best time to conduct maintenance on your heating system is shortly before you plan on increasing its usage. Since winter is the season when you are most likely to heavily utilize your heating system, fall is the prime season for heating maintenance. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is that fall maintenance ensures the health of your heating system before a time where you will rely on it the most. If your heater breaks during the summer, it’s usually not a big deal. If it breaks during the winter, however, you will likely care a great deal.

The second reason is that the longer it’s been since your last maintenance appointment, the more likely it is that your system will break down under winter demand. When that happens, you could be forced to wait days for a technician, all without having any heat in your home.

Any Time Something Comes Up

It would be great if your heating system could just save up all its problems for the day that your HVAC technician came by for maintenance. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Stuff goes wrong in heating systems all the time, even with regular maintenance. Parts start to wear down and eventually break. Occasional freak circumstances will create problems that need to be dealt with. So, the best time to schedule heating maintenance is also when you feel that something is wrong. Don’t just leave problems you’ve noticed until that year’s annual maintenance check. That will only make the problem worse and more expensive to fix.

If you haven’t scheduled your annual maintenance yet, or you’re having problems with your heater, call South Air Inc. We provide heating system maintenance services all over Atlanta.

What Can a Home Comfort Energy Management System Do for You?

November 3rd, 2014 by David Roussel

We’ve all been in a situation where we wish we could access the appliances in our home even though we’re far away. Perhaps you leave home for the day only to remember you never turned off the light switches in the bathroom. Maybe you’ve left the air conditioner on, or you’ve forgotten to program it to switch on before you arrive home. Perhaps you’ll be running late from work, and would like your heating system to start up at a later hour than usual.

With a home comfort energy management system, you can finally do just that. Home comfort energy management is a great way to monitor the electrical appliances in your home even when you’re away from home. We’ll install compatible products in your home that can be controlled via an application on your smart phone or tablet, or from a computer with internet access.

With this installation, you can even track your daily usage, so that you can make smart decisions about how often and at which time of day you run the appliances and fixtures in your home. And this can help you to save a lot of money. A lot of homeowners make small errors in their daily energy consumption that end up having a huge impact on their energy bills. Leaving the lights on for a few hours while you shop, running the washing machine at peak hours, and keeping your HVAC system on while you’re away can all result in hundreds of dollars in energy costs. One place where this is particularly important is the air conditioning system. An AC can take up nearly half of your energy bill, but when you monitor your usage throughout the day, you can decide when to keep it on, when to shut it off, and find an efficient temperature to set while you’re away.

With a Nexia™ Home Intelligence System from Trane you can track more than just your electrical appliances. You can lock or unlock your front door, check on your kids and pets, and manage your home security system—all from a single location on your phone or tablet.

South Air Inc. is a proud supplier and installer of the Nexia™ Home Intelligence System from Trane, Nexia™-certified products and compatible products.

Call South Air Inc. today to learn how you can get the best in home comfort energy management in Marietta and the surrounding areas.

Why You May Need a Whole House Humidifier

October 27th, 2014 by David Roussel

Georgia is well-known for its often humid and muggy climate. Dealing with high humidity in a house is often a priority to ensure both the comfort of the people inside and protection of building material from water damage and mildew. Whole house dehumidifiers are immensely helpful in creating the right balance of indoor moisture.

But what about the opposite problem: low humidity? Yes, this can be a concern in Georgia, especially with air conditioners working hard during the long summer season. Air conditioners draw moisture from the air and can sometimes make it too dry inside a home, and low humidity can cause as many problems as high humidity. If your home’s humidity is unbalanced because of dry air, you should call the professionals at South Air Inc. to install a whole house humidifier in Atlanta, GA to take care of your worries. Do not try to install one on your own: it requires trained experts to find the correct size of humidifier and install it correctly so your home has the ideal indoor moisture balance.

Reasons you should consider a whole house humidifier

  • Health issues: Dry air can lead to a number of health concerns in a home. Dryness causes skin cracking and eye irritation, sore throats, and also dries out sinuses and mucus membranes. This in turn causes another wellness problem: the ease of the transfer of airborne colds and flus. A number of viruses also thrive in dry environments. If your home seems to be suffering from health concerns related to dry air, call for specialists to install a humidifier.
  • Property damage: Dry air draws moisture rapidly from surfaces, and this is problematic for many materials—particularly wood. A home with low humidity will start to suffer from peeling wallpaper and paint, and wood surfaces will begin to crack. This is a major danger for valuable antiques as well as precision musical instruments. Balanced humidity is important for protecting your property.
  • Cold weather discomfort: Georgia isn’t always warm. When the cold weather arrives, low humidity can turn into a serious comfort problem. The same way that dry air draws moisture from objects in your home, it will draw the moisture—and the heat—out of your body, making the temperatures in your home feel colder. You will need to turn up your heating system and running more often to maintain basic comfort, and this will mean higher bills. You’ll feel warmer and pay reduced monthly costs with a whole house humidifier at work.

Although you can purchase single-room humidifiers at stores, these are not effective solutions for an entire home. It takes indoor air quality experts, such as our team at South Air Inc. to install a whole house humidifier in Atlanta, GA that will give you the health, comfort, and property protection against the problems of dry air.

For more information on how a whole house humidifier can benefit you this winter, or to set up an appointment, simply contact South Air Inc. today. You’ll be glad you did! 

The Advantages of Water Source Heat Pumps in Acworth

October 20th, 2014 by David Roussel

Water-source heat pumps are ideal for heating and cooling large spaces with multiple units, such as apartment complexes, or for those looking to save a lot of money on their utility bills every month. Water source heat pumps work a lot like regular heat pumps, except they use a source of water to move heat from one area to the other instead of pulling heat from the air.

How It Works

Air source heat pumps are the most common types of heat pump for residential usage. These contain an outside compressor unit and an indoor unit. In cooling mode, the heat pump moves refrigerant from the inside to the outdoors, collecting heat from the air in your home and releasing it outside. In the winter, refrigerant moves in the other direction, absorbing any heat from the outside and moving it into your home. A large outdoor fan helps heat to dissipate and helps to cool the condenser coil that assists in the heat exchange process.

A water source heat pump uses water to draw and expel heat instead of air. This water is drawn from an outdoor water loop, which may be a ground loop, a lake loop or water supplied from a well. This water is used to cool the refrigerant in place of an outdoor fan.

Advantages

  • Exceptional Efficiency: Because there are fewer moving parts, most notable of which is the absence of the large outdoor fan, water source heat pumps are some of the most efficient systems available today.
  • High Performance: You won’t lose any of the performance you’d expect from your air conditioning and heating system either, as these can be just as powerful as a standard central air conditioning system, particularly in mild climates like ours.
  • Long Lifespan: Water source heat pumps may last over 20 years, an improvement over traditional AC, which usually only lasts 10-15.

If you own an apartment building or condos in Acworth, or if you have a water source heat pump for your home, there are very few companies that can service your water source heat pump. It’s imperative to choose professionals experienced in installing this type of air conditioning and heating system.

Whether you need repairs, a new unit, or maintenance to keep your Acworth water source heat pump running for years to come, call the experienced professionals at South Air Inc.

The Benefits of Professional Duct Sealing

October 13th, 2014 by David Roussel

Many homeowners who schedule air conditioning or heating repair are surprised to learn that the problem is actually within the ducts. The ductwork involved with forced-air heating and cooling systems is responsible for 20-30% of air lost in a typical home. Scheduling duct sealing in Vinings with duct specialists, like those at South Air Inc., is the best way to ensure that your ducts are working properly, and that you don’t spend too much on heating or cooling with a system that performs inadequately.

What Professional Duct Sealing Can Do for You

Professional duct sealing includes a thorough inspection of the ducts and an evaluation of the supply and return airflow. A technician reconnects any damaged ducts and straightens any tangled ductwork if you happen to have the flexible sort. Finally, the ducts are sealed and may be checked for further problems that could lead to energy loss. Here are some benefits to you:

  • Better Performance from your HVAC System: With duct leaks, you simply won’t get the performance you need from your HVAC system, even if you have the most efficient unit on the market. If you have a professional seal the ducts, you may notice a much more comfortable living space.
  • More Efficient Heating and Cooling: Your HVAC system suffers as a result of poorly sealed ducts. As air leaks through holes in the ducts, your AC or heater must work harder and run for a longer time to attempt to get your home to the desired temperature. This means that you’re paying extra to cool an unoccupied space, such as a crawlspace, without the performance you would otherwise expect from such a high cost.
  • Better Indoor Air Quality: Finally, indoor air quality may improve as a result of duct cleaning. Leaky ducts may allow pollutants to enter through from some of the dirtiest areas of your home.

It may be difficult to tell whether you need duct sealing services, so you may choose to schedule inspection to ensure your particular issue is a result of poorly sealed ducts. In general, however, you can tell your home may be in need of professional services if you notice hot or cold spots around the home, an increase in your bills, or rooms that just never seem comfortable enough.

For comprehensive duct sealing services in Vinings, call the residential ductwork experts at South Air Inc. today!

The Importance of Electric Furnace Maintenance in Sandy Springs

October 6th, 2014 by David Roussel

An electric furnace possesses a number of advantages over traditional gas and wood burning furnaces. Fire hazards are reduced, due to the elimination of combustion as a method for heat. Toxic combustion gases are also eliminated. Just like any system, however, your electric furnace will need regular maintenance to function properly. Let’s take a look at some of the important maintenance areas in your furnace.

Air Filters

Just like all forced air systems, the air filter is necessary to ensure that your heating coil is protected from dust and debris. If the air filter becomes too dirty, it will be unable to protect your heating coil, causing it to lose heating efficiency. Your air filter should be cleaned or replaced at least once a month. Technically, you could do this yourself. Just to be safe, though, call a professional if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Thermostat

The thermostat controls the entire heating system, and if it malfunctions, it can easily prevent the furnace from working properly. Make sure that the temperature is set properly, and that the heat is turned on. If everything is set correctly, but the furnace is acting strangely, call a professional right away.

Power Supply

Unlike other furnaces, you don’t need to worry about a pilot light going out or burners getting dirty. You do, however, still need to make sure that your furnace is receiving enough power. If your furnace doesn’t seem to be supplying enough heat, the unit could be having power supply issues. If the furnace doesn’t turn on at all, the breaker circuit might have been tripped. If that isn’t the case, have a professional examine the power lines to find the problem.

Though an electric furnace has many differences from other heating systems, it also shares some of the same maintenance issues. Remember, regardless of your heating system, have it checked at least once a year.

If you need your electric furnace checked for maintenance issues, call South Air Inc. Our technicians are experts in electric furnace maintenance.