Air Tro, founded in 1969, provides a full range of air conditioning, heating and ventilation services to the greater Los Angeles area. Air-Tro is environmentally aware. Follow this blog for helpful HVAC tips.
AirTro, with its continuous mission to contribute to the community, is proud to support Altadena Guild‘s 2019 Home & Garden Tour entitled “Marvelous Midwick Drive” held last May 5, 2019. The event is to benefit the Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI), Huntington Hospital’s Altadena Guild Community Service Scholarship, and Constance G. Zahorik Appearance Center (CZAC).
Since 1951, the Altadena Guild of Huntington Memorial Hospital has raised over $2.3 million dollars to help the HMRI.
HMRI aims to enhance the care available in our community, but foster innovation, discoveries, and education that add quality years to the lives of people around the world. Meanwhile, CZAC helps women facing breast cancer to look and feel their best.
Air-Tro is proud to support those making a difference in our local community.
Mysterious HVAC Problems Could Be Caused by Leaking Ductwork
Sure the house looks nice, but what’s going on with the ductwork?
You can’t figure it out. Your thermostat opens in a new window seems to be working properly, you’ve streamlined your home to prevent needless energy waste and cut down on drafts. But still, your air conditioning never seems to be working effectively, even if it’s on when it should be. Your energy bills are higher than normal, but your indoor comfort always seems compromised. What the heck is the problem?
Have you checked your ductwork lately? The answer could be in faulty connections from duct to duct as cooled air (also known as “conditioned” air) passes through your system. If everything is working as it should be, most or all is coming through unobstructed and straight into your home. However, all it takes is one lost Los Angeles raccoon, a careless handyman or even continuous use of your system to cause a serious problem, especially if HVAC installation wasn’t done correctly in the first place.
Seals can be compromised, joints broken, and then you’re heating and cooling your attic, under the floor or the area behind your living room walls rather than interior living spaces. That’s nice if you happen to be a house spider or a mouse living back there, but for everyone else, it translates into a whole lot of wasted energy and little effective temperature control. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that up to 30% of your overall utility spend could be simply a result of air rushing into these unused spaces from ductwork gone bad.
But how to tell? Check these scenarios below to see if they apply to you.
Energy costs seem out of whack. Are you paying ridiculous amounts for heating and air conditioning? If you’ve already weatherproofed your home, fixing windows that won’t close, and eliminating cracks to the outside, and your utility bills still seem overly high for your geographical area, your payment history and your home size, it’s time to look at ductwork as a possible culprit.
Dust and dirt lurks throughout your home. Few people realize that malfunctioning ductwork could result in additional dust, dirt and environmental irritants blowing through their home. Broken seals, and improperly filtered air are both contributors. If your home seems dustier than normal, or you’re noticing funny smells, consider that your ductwork may have a break or a leak.
It’s also worth mentioning that bad ductwork can be dangerous, as it interferes with the appropriate venting opens in a new window of your appliances. Anything using gas (dryers, stoves, or water heaters) are typically vented with ductwork to send dangerous fumes outside. If your ductwork is broken, those fumes are going directly into your living areas.
Some rooms are harder to cool than others. People tend to blame this problem on home design, but quite often ductwork isn’t working properly in one area of your system, sending cooler air into your attic, basement or even outside instead of into the room in question. If you notice this, it’s time for a full HVAC checkup.
If any of these situations seem to be happening in your San Gabriel Valley home, it’s time for a full HVAC inspection opens in a new window from a licensed professional. The good news is that once it’s diagnosed, it can usually be fixed for a relatively low cost. Properly fitting ductwork will also result in lowered energy bills immediately, and enhanced indoor comfort. And in the world of HVAC repair and installation, that’s what’s known as a cool outcome!
Get the San Gabriel Valley’s number one resource for heating and air conditioning. Call Air-Tro today at (626) 357-3535.
Preventative System Maintenance Essential for Keeping Tenants Happy and Healthy
Temps in the San Gabriel Valley can be brutal almost any time of the year. For quality renters with their pick of high-end properties, indoor comfort is more than just a perk; it’s mandatory. If you’re not up to date on the ins and outs of the HVAC system installed in your new rental home, office or commercial building, consider yourself one step away from disaster should anything go wrong.
Luckily, you’re reading this blog, so you’re probably going to be okay. Follow the suggestions below and you’ll ensure repeat leases and a steady pipeline of potential tenants seeking out a property just like yours.
First, if there’s an outdoor condenser opens in a new window, make sure it is free of leaves, branches, or other litter. It’s essential this component remains unobstructed and out of the way of other rooftop equipment or outdoor clutter. Remember, restricted airflow around your condenser will translate into less cool air going into your commercial building or rental home. It also puts more strain on the system, risking later, expensive breakdowns.
Start up a schedule of regular air filter opens in a new window changes. Swapping them out every three months is a general rule for forced-air equipment that encompasses both heating and air conditioning components. What kind of filter to get? It should be listed in the installation manual. Alternately, visit your system’s manufacturer online for more information.
Once you’ve taken care of these aspects of an initial inspection, it’s time call the experts in for further review. A qualified, professional HVAC technician will take extra care to clean all coils from dirt, debris and buildup that can in time damage or destroy your equipment. The tech should also inspect all mechanical parts, check electrical fittings, and if you have an economizer (a common HVAC add-on in California commercial buildings), run tests to see if it’s working correctly. As you might expect, poorly installed or maintained HVAC can have expensive, unpleasant effects later. Along with system breakdowns, air quality can suffer, creating bad smells, mold opens in a new window, or even worse. And in this era of heightened environmental awareness, landlords simply cannot risk tenant conflicts by compromising indoor air quality. News travels fast among renters in any commercial building or residential property. The specter of unhealthy air can quickly become a legal problem as well as a deterrent to tenancy.
Your HVAC professional will examine refrigerant levels, drain lines, hoses and connectors too. With regular attention to even the smallest elements of your commercial system, you’ll avoid expensive complications, save energy and keep your utility costs low. We know commercial business owners; property managers and landlords have plenty to think about in operating their business. That’s why consistent HVAC maintenance is a cornerstone to your success.
Do you own a commercial building or rental property? Call Air-Tro today to help you enhance your investment with HVAC at peak performance. Call us at (626) 357-3535.
Air-Tro was proud to support Loyola High School’s opens in a new window Hodgkins Family Scholarship in memory of Thomas P. Hodgkins ’56. This scholarship provides outstanding Jesuit education to students who otherwise might not be able to attend Loyola.
Air-Tro is proud to support those making a difference in our local community.
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) Is A Thing and You Should Probably Know About It
When it comes to selecting what air filter will be the most effective, we’ll admit the process can be confusing for people. Very confusing. In fact, if you’ve decided to replace the HVAC filters opens in a new window yourself, one trip to the hardware store can feel like four years at a major university. Choices abound, all with these pesky “MERV” ratings attached to the label. Is the highest rating the best? How do they rate it? And who the heck is Merv?
Blame the folks in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Honestly, they’re just trying to help. These minimum efficiency reporting values measure how well an air filter can trap .3 to .10 micron-size particles from the air that passes through it. As you might guess, most pollens, household irritants like pet dander and cigarette smoke, molds, and plain old dirt happen to float around at exactly this size. And an air filter with a MERV rating opens in a new window of just 7-12 will remove quite a bit of this environmental garbage from the air you breathe. That’s what most residential systems recommend, and what you should look for at the store.
Now, because we’re a species of overachievers, you may think that higher MERV ratings are even better. If your filter already is at a 7-12 rating and the scale goes up to 16, why not go for it and buy a filter at the top of the MERV scale? After all, filters with a 13-16 MERV rating are used in hospitals opens in a new window and other environments where sanitary conditions are paramount, so why wouldn’t you want that same standard at your home or office?
Here’s the rub. It doesn’t quite work that way. The higher the rating, the less porous the filter. Filters with a 13-16 MERV rating block quite a bit of airflow, to the point that special equipment that can accommodate this resistance is needed. For the average home HVAC system, a high-rated MERV filter could actually put a strain on your furnace and/or air conditioner, to the point of breakdown. Air pressure imbalances occur, and the end result is poorer air quality than you would have achieved with a lower rated filter. In other words, don’t choose a filter that wasn’t designed to work with your HVAC system. Leave the super-specialized air filtration systems to the hospitals and environments that depend upon them.
Still worried about air quality? When you understand the secrets of MERV, you can remain vigilant against environmental pollution by changing your standard filters every three to six months to maximize their effectiveness. Once you check with a professional HVAC specialize to ascertain the exact size and model you should be getting, you can look around for the lowest price to buy in bulk, either online or at a big box store. Make appropriate MERV-rated air filter changes a regular part of your HVAC maintenance, and you’ll enjoy indoor comfort and great air quality all year round.
Ensure your HVAC system is filtering out pollutants and saving energy. Call Air-Tro today. We’ve been keeping California comfortable since 1969. (626) 357-3535.
AirTro is proud to support MAFA’s 55th Celebrate the Arts Show & ChalkFest to be held on October 5, 2019. MAFA is an all-volunteer non-profit organization whose key goals are to promote local artists and provide mentoring that encourages our young people to experience art.
With the theme of “Art Changes the World”, this year’s chalk festival will feature over 40 booths of local fine artists demonstrating and displaying their work, art by Mt. Sierra College students, and kids art and teen urban art activities. It will also bring quality live entertainment on the Station Square Park stage and popular food trucks and restaurants.
Installation, Maintenance, Repair, and The Pictures We Found This Week Online
When it comes to heating and air conditioning, the San Gabriel Valley has spoken. Only Air-Tro has won Reader’s Choice awards year after year from customers just like you. Thank you for your vote of confidence! Family owned and operated since we started in 1969, we carefully screen and hire only the most qualified team members for our long-term staff of HVAC professionals. And we don’t just offer expert advice and up to date product information, but rather, we strive to provide extra value with every visit. We’ll help save you money by streamlining your heating and air conditioning to conserve energy, work more efficiently and avoid racking up unnecessary utility bills, all without sacrificing indoor comfort.
Here are some memes we found online that we hope you’ll enjoy.
Does this happen to you? Could be a thermostat problem. Take advantage of the latest in energy saving HVAC technology by installing a new Smart Thermostat opens in a new window, one that lets you maintain the perfect temperature throughout the day inside your commercial building or at home. It also allows you to customize HVAC functioning to your busy schedule. Why heat or cool your home or building if it’s empty? Ensure indoor comfort only when you need it, and avoid costly utility overages with this easy fix.
When it comes to summer in Pasadena, who can really work comfortably without HVAC? Don’t make your tenants suffer through hot days outside without the latest in comfort technology on the inside of your building. Effective air conditioning is always an asset, ensuring repeat leases and adding overall value to your commercial property. For homeowners, it’s a no-brainer. Ask any realtor. HVAC is always desirable opens in a new window for home shoppers, especially in the San Gabriel Valley. Treat your family to a heating and air conditioning system that works at peak performance throughout the year.
Do your employees fight over the indoor temperature in the office? It’s a frequent beef for many workers. Some people always seem to be cold, while others are always too warm. If this is a problem for your commercial building, consider a ductless mini split system. Popular in Europe and throughout Asia for many years, this convenient, energy saving HVAC technology is now taking off here in the States. Individual zones around each ductless mini split system allow tenants to control their area for maximum comfort. One room might be made warm, while another could be left cool. Super energy efficient and easily installed, ductless mini splits opens in a new window may make sense for your commercial building.
And this one? Gosh. We don’t even know. Props for innovation, though.
Whatever your heating and air conditioning needs, Air Tro has you covered. Call us today at (626) 357-3535
Indoor Comfort Matters for Pets Too, According to the Experts
We here in Monrovia, Bradbury, La Canada and Duarte all know you should never leave a dog or other animal inside the car during the warmer months. No matter how balmy it may seem outside, the indoor of an automobile can heat up even in early spring to lethal levels for Fluffy or Fido.
But have you considered what a hot living space does to animals? Some people might assert that pets don’t need air conditioning (or extra heat in the winter) here in California, but according to the experts, that’s not actually true.
According to Dr. Kimberly May, Veterinary Medicine Association spokesperson, pet owners should be vigilant in monitoring their pets during the warmer months. In a recent interview, she said, “Keep an eye on your pet and see where your pet hangs out. If your dog is constantly by the AC vent, opens in a new window you probably shouldn’t turn it off. But if you see the dog sitting in the sunlight, you might have a little more leeway.”
Dr. Helen Myers of the ASPCA echoes this advice. She explains that dogs need even more cooling opens in a new window than cats, as they generate more internal heat. Furthermore, all older pets or those who struggle with chronic illnesses, or obesity are also more sensitive to temperature. After all, animals can only cool themselves by panting, a process of swapping out warm air from their lungs for the cooler air outside their bodies. When the air outside is warmer than their internal air, they are susceptible to heat stroke.
Rabbits and hamsters are also extremely sensitive to hot temperatures, and should always be kept indoors during heat waves. Exotic pets like reptiles and even amphibians are also subject to heat stress and dehydration.
Myers advises: “Leaving the air circulating with fans or, better yet, leaving the air conditioning on will help to keep pets cool and healthy. Pets with short muzzles opens in a new window like pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats are at a higher risk of becoming overheated because they cannot effectively pant. These pets should be kept in rooms with air conditioning so they can stay cool.”
Obviously, here in the San Gabriel Valley and everywhere else, you should always ensure water is available for your pets at all times. Many animals won’t consume ice water, no matter how thirsty they are, so don’t risk it unless you’re sure your pet will drink it.
Sunburn, and serious, if not fatal consequences can befall any pet left outside during a Southern California heat wave. Surely that is never worth the risk.
The takeaway? As we make our way towards warmer weather, don’t forget about your pets’ indoor comfort too. A pet-friendly 78-80 degree setting on the thermostat is just fine for your animals, and the perfect way to ensure their health and happiness when you’re not home to play.
Keeping your air conditioning at peak performance this summer is better for your pets, and your pocketbook. Save energy and maintain indoor comfort with AirTro. Call us today at (626) 357-3535.
Monrovia Historic Preservation Group’s Historic Home Tour
Each year on the first Sunday in May, the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group sponsors a the “Historic Home Tour” in Monrovia. These homes represent the wide variety of vintage structures which helps make Monrovia a desirable place to live.
Visitors from outside the immediate area are delighted to discover this “gem” of a city of restored and well-maintained vintage homes. This year, almost 100 docents volunteered to share stories and histories with the tour goers, giving them a better understanding of the homes built during the first years of Monrovia opens in a new window, which was founded in 1886.
The MOHPG offers other types of tours including a walking tour and a motor tour. For more information visit their website at mohpg.org opens in a new window
The Monrovia Historic Preservation Group (MOHPG) seeks to preserve Monrovia’s architectural heritage through advocacy and actions that promote historic preservation.
Whether you require cold storage areas within your commercial space, you manufacture certain textiles or paper products, or even do some woodworking as a part of your San Gabriel Valley business, you know that reliable humidity control is a mission critical facet of your overall HVAC system. Choosing the right one, however, can be a challenge.
From Rialto to Los Angeles, Everybody Needs Humidity Control
Whether or not your business requires you to maintain appropriate refrigeration opens in a new window or manufacturing standards, did you know that keeping your building dry could require more than 30% of your HVAC’s cooling energy? Breaking that into a percentage of your utility bill outlay, that’s a lot. Understanding and selecting the right system is therefore extremely important.
When it comes to basic dehumidifying, certain types of equipment can be incorporated directly into an existing HVAC system and modulated by the same control panel. Stand-alone products also exist and are preferable under certain conditions. In general, humidity control products work in two ways.
Cooling: Some dehumidifiers eliminate moisture by cooling it, much like refrigerators do.
Absorptive: Other humidity control opens in a new windowequipment removes moisture using the process of absorption, or even adsorption (not a typo: this technique is defined as a process in which a solid converts liquid or gas molecules into a thin film.).
Dehumidifying Systems: Questions to Ask About
As you might imagine, determining the best humidity control techniques for your commercial building and business needs also depends on multiple factors. Your Air-Tro consultant will consider what kind of compressor you have, and whether its cooling capacity can match cooling load requirements effectively. Proper capacity modulation is extremely important.
Furthermore, does your existing HVAC equipment allow for integration with a dehumidification system, or is a third party, add-on product your only option? The latter can require additional installation time, cost and later, troubleshooting to ensure smooth operation. Finally, you’ll want a straightforward control panel. Simple parts and less complicated operation translate into fewer hassles, and lower maintenance costs down the line.
With careful planning by an HVAC specialist with seasoned expertise, dehumidifying equipment can be part of a sensible, cost effective HVAC system for any commercial building or business. However, it’s not something you want to leave to a handyman, operations manager or even the building’s architect or general contractor.
Make no mistake: even for office workers, having a pleasant, relatively dry and odorless work environment is always preferred. In fact, nothing detracts more from any commercial building than a musty smell opens in a new window or dampness. Mold and bacteria thrive within this kind of environment, affecting people, products and equipment negatively across the board.
Consider your options, and move ahead only with the right dehumidifying system for your space.
Since 1969, Air-Tro is the name commercial building owners and businesses trust with their HVAC systems. Call us today at (626) 357-3535.