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Air conditioning units work hard to keep you comfortable in the hot Texas summer.

To stay cool, it’s important to perform routine maintenance on your HVAC unit to ensure that it has a long useful life.

The benefits of HVAC maintenance

The biggest benefit of performing routine maintenance is to protect the investment you’ve already made. Installing a new HVAC unit can be pricey, so performing routine maintenance keeps your HVAC working at optimum levels.

Better yet, licensed HVAC technicians are trained to notice potential problems before they become huge, expensive headaches.

Another benefit is that having your AC unit running optimally can help reduce your energy bills during the summer—and who doesn’t like saving money?

Starting in the spring, we recommend scheduling a complete inspection of your AC before the heat of the summer begins. During this inspection, your technician should:

  • Clean/replace filters
  • Clean the condenser and evaporator
  • Check your electrical components
  • Check your refrigerant levels
  • Calibrating the thermostat
  • Oiling any motor components

Performing this check in the spring not only helps to ensure your home will be cool once summer hits, but it’s also likely to be cheaper. Many HVAC companies run spring cleaning specials and their summer prices will be more expensive.

As the calendar turns toward summer—if you’ve had preventative maintenance—you’ll only have to worry about keeping a watch out for any unusual problems that arise.

Let Richmond’s Air keep your HVAC unit running at its peak. Contact us today to schedule an AC check up before summer hits Houston.

The post Spring Cleaning Includes Seasonal HVAC Maintenance appeared first on Richmonds Air Houston.

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Keeping your home warm in the winter can be expensive. Luckily, however, there are some tricks you can employ that can help save you money while getting the max efficiency out of your furnace or heating system

Below are eight FREE ways you can lower your monthly winter heating bills. While they may seem like insignificant changes, these easy eight steps can gradually help lower your winter heating bill. The best part of all is you don’t even have to spend money!

1. Lower your thermostat

Simply lowering your thermostat can save you upward of 3 percent per degree per 24-hour period. Luckily, even if you can’t commit to lowering the temperature for a whole day, you’ll save 1 percent for every 8 hours. 

2. Wear socks

If you’re on the fence about lowering your thermostat, remember that you can always stay warm and cozy by putting on a pair of fuzzy socks or a sweater to keep yourself warm. 

3. Insulate your windows

A good deal of residential heat loss happens through windows. You can help reduce this loss by opening the curtains and shades of windows that face south during daylight hours to capitalize on the sun’s warmth. Don’t forget to close your blinds and curtains once the sun sets for better insulation during a chilly night. 

4. When not in use, keep your chimney flue shut

Keeping your chimney flue open is the same as keeping a window cracked. Keeping it closed when you’re not using it will help keep warm air in. While you’re at it, make sure your dryer vent is properly closed, too. 

5. Keep your doors shut

When not occupied, shut the doors to the rooms in your home. Why keep them warm if they’re not in use? When a room is occupied, a closed door will help capitalize on heat.

6. Don’t let clutter block vents or radiators

This also includes rugs or furniture. Your home’s vents work to keep warm air circulating in your home. Blocking the vents prevents warm air from reaching you and it’s unsafe for these objects to be too close to heat sources. 

7. Utilize your ceiling fans

Keeping a fan on low and setting it to circulate the air upward (clockwise) will force rising warmer air downward. 

8. Clean your vents and radiators

The dust in your home can act as a natural insulator. This means that if your vents or radiators are covered in dust, it will restrict warm air flow. 

If your heating bill remains unusually high despite these tips, we recommend giving Richmond’s Air a call to see how we can improve your system’s efficiency. We serve the entire Houston area.

The post 8 Free Ways to Lower Your Home’s Winter Heating Bill appeared first on Richmonds Air Houston.

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By now everyone is familiar with the concept of secondhand smoke and the dangers that it presents.

What many people may not realize is that thirdhand cigarette smoke that can be harmful as well. 

Thirdhand smoke is the particles that linger from cigarette smoke. These particles can remain on surfaces for years. What’s more, there’s evidence that these particles can be sucked into your home’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) unit and then spread around your home. 

Studies are just beginning on the effects of thirdhand smoke. However, the information already gathered over the last decade shows that thirdhand smoke does contain toxic and/or cancer-causing chemicals. 

HVAC units come into play by moving these particles around a room or home. This means that any designated outdoor smoking area that is close enough to a building could let in smoke particles that can then be sucked in by the HVAC unit and then circulated around the building. 

Eliminating thirdhand smoke

Unsurprisingly, the easiest way to avoid thirdhand smoke is to not smoke, but this is easier said than done for many long-term smokers. The next best solution is to smoke as far away from doors and windows as you can outside.

If going outside to smoke isn’t an option for you, there are still some things you can do to help keep your home and HVAC unit cleaner.

Frequent filter changes

Air filters are the first line of defense against the particles flying around your home. They’re good at trapping things like contaminants. Once your air filter has filled, it will let particles slip through.

If you’re diligent about changing your filters, it should go a long way to making your home’s indoor air quality cleaner and healthier.

Use air sanitizers

There are two main types of air sanitizers. Some work to chemically eat odors in a space, while others that clean naturally such as baking soda. Consider buying some for your home if you’re concerned about thirdhand smoke.

Dust your surfaces

Periodically dusting your home’s surfaces can eliminate some of the particles that would otherwise be picked up and circulated around your home. While you’re at it, make sure to vacuum, too. These particles will also accumulate in your carpeting.

Clean your ducts

After all this cleaning, you should also consider cleaning your HVAC ducts. This is also important if you’ve recently quit smoking because your ducts will still have contaminants and/or residue in them.

If you require making sure your home’s HVAC system is clean and efficient, don’t hesitate to contact us. Richmond’s Air offers the best heating and AC repair service in Houston, Texas and beyond.

The post Cigarette Smoke and Its Impact on Your HVAC System’s Health appeared first on Richmonds Air Houston.

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It can be a big transition for your home’s HVAC system to transition from cooling your home in the summer to warming your home in the winter. For this reason, it’s important for you to perform a fall/winter weather checklist on your home’s unit before flipping that switch from cooling to heating. 

Below are five tips you should consider to ensure your family is safe and warm this winter. 

1. Check your air filters

You should already change your air filters every 1-3 months depending on your home activities and any allergies. If you’ve gotten behind, it’s a good idea to start your winter HVAC preparations by changing your filter. Very dirty filters will keep the airflow of your system restricted and it will affect the efficiency of your unit. 

2. Check how well your system is performing

If your HVAC is entering its golden years, it’s time to consider whether it’s time to replace the system. Once an HVAC system reaches 10 years old, it’s efficiency drops to between 40 and 60 percent. Luckily, if your unit is more than 10 years old, the technology of gas furnaces has improved enough that some models boast as high as 97% efficiency. 

3. Change your thermostat

Upgrading your system to include a smart or programmable thermostat can save you a lot of money if you program it properly. To reap the biggest benefits, program your thermostat to a lower temperature when you’re not home.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the savings can be to the tune of 1% for each degree as long as it’s for an eight-hour period of time.  4. Insulate the attic

Insulating your attic is one of the easiest ways to keep your HVAC running optimally. According to EnergyStar.gov, attic insulation needs to be deep enough to keep you from seeing the floor joists.

5. Get a professional inspection

Even the handiest person can’t do everything, so it’s also a good idea to hire a professional to inspect your HVAC unit during the transition period between cooling and heating. A good HVAC professional will inspect:

  • Belts
  • Contacts
  • Electrical switches
  • Filters
  • Gas pressure
  • Motors
  • Refrigerant levels
  • Safety switches

Following any of these tips will help keep your home warm and safe this winter.

As always, feel free to give Richmond’s Air a call to have one of our professionals come give your HVAC unit a professional tune-up.

The post 5 HVAC Maintenance Tips to Ensure Your Furnace is Winter Ready appeared first on Richmonds Air Houston.

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Winter is coming. Are you ready?

With winter comes cold temperatures and the last thing you want at a time like this is to turn on your furnace only to find that it’s not working properly. Don’t wait until you’re faced with a frigid night to check your furnace; run through this heating equipment checklist to ensure your ready to roll.

We’ve broken our heating equipment checklist below into two kinds of tasks: those you can easily DIY and those that require you to call an HVAC professional.

DIY furnace tasks

Some tasks are safe enough for anyone handy to do for themselves and save money. These include:

Replace your furnace filters

Inspect and clean/change your filter about once a month, or as needed. Doing so will both reduce the risk of damaging your equipment and can help you save on energy costs.

Inspect your ductwork

Since your ducts work for both heating and cooling you may need to open or close registers in different areas of your home to optimize heating. You should also inspect your ducts and look for improper seals and reseal any that require it.

Clean your heat exchanger

Remove any corrosion, dirt and/or soot from your heating system and clean the heat exchanger itself. This will help to maintain optimum heating levels.

Check your vents for blockages

You should inspect your inside vents for any clutter around them. Clutter near vents not only blocks the flow of warm air but can also become a fire hazard.

Check your programmable thermostat

You can test your thermostat by forcing your furnace to kick-on during the test. This could require you to turn up the heat to 80 degrees. You know the test was successful if the heat kicks on. If it doesn’t, then you will need to troubleshoot.

Check the fuel levels

If you have a propane or oil furnace, check the fuel levels and make sure they’re optimally filled.

Call in a professional

Some tasks, on the other hand, require more technical knowledge and require a professional. We recommend giving us a call for the following services:

Remove blockages

A certified HVAC technicians can check blowers, ducts, filters and indoor coils for obstructions and remove any blockages if necessary.

Lubricate moving parts

Lubrication is important because without it there’s too much friction in the motors, which will increase the amount of energy required for them to function properly. Over time, this will lead to your equipment breaking down faster than normal. During this service, it’s also good to have your tech check your belts for wear and tightness.

Inspect equipment

This is especially true if you have a gas or oil furnace. Your tech should check all connections, the gas pressure, heat exchangers and burner combustion and ensure they’re all in good working order. Improperly functioning equipment could result in a fire or inefficiency.

Examine connections

Like your system’s electronic terminals. Your tech should also clean and tighten this and any other connections. Additionally, it’s important to have them re-apply a non-conductive coating on these connections.

Utilize this heating equipment checklist and give us a call at Richmond’s Air to ensure that your home remains warm all winter long.

The post A Winter Furnace Checklist for Houston Homeowners appeared first on Richmonds Air Houston.

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In your search for a new air conditioning unit or furnace, you may have run across the acronym BTU, and if you are outside the world of heating and cooling jargon, you’re probably unfamiliar with it.

What is BTU?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. British Thermal Units are units of measurement for energy, and these units are used to measure the amount of energy that it takes to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In other industries, the joule is used to determine these numbers; however, BTUs are often used when dealing with furnaces and AC units.

Why does this matter?

The amount of BTUs in a particular heating or cooling unit will directly correlate with the cooling and heating capacity of that unit. Using BTU as a measuring stick can help you differentiate the capacities of similar units. Buying a unit with an appropriate BTU for your home can help you maximize the unit’s power to fit your needs.

How many BTUs is right for me?

The amount of BTUs that is right for your home will depend on the size of your home, your insulation quality, your ceiling height, and numerous other factors. A professional HVAC inspection is a great place to start when figuring out which unit size is right for you.

If you’d like to see how your HVAC systems measure up, Richmond’s Air can help. We service all of Houston’s surrounding areas for A/C and heat installation and maintenance.

Call us today to schedule an appointment.

The post What is BTU & What Does it Mean for Your AC/Furnace? appeared first on Richmonds Air Houston.

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