Posts

A Guide to Spring HVAC Maintenance

If you have an HVAC system in your home, there are a few things you should hire a professional technician to inspect at the start of each new year. After all, your HVAC needs important maintenance before every season.

Here’s a checklist that you can use in the spring to keep your HVAC up and running throughout the year. Although, be sure to keep in mind that it’s not safe for homeowners to perform most of these tasks on their own.

Check the Thermostat

Obviously, your thermostat is the main way you control your HVAC system. You use it to adjust your home or office to the right temperature. Whether or not you’re heating or cooling your space, this thermostat should show you an accurate indoor temperature. To test this, you can purchase another thermometer to make sure there isn’t a big difference. You can also program your thermostat to turn on and off at a certain time. Just make sure that it’s working properly.

Check the System Controls

Make sure all the controls are working correctly. The system should turn on or off when using the thermostat. If it’s not operating well, try changing the batteries in your controller. If a setting or function isn’t responding at all, you need an HVAC professional to take a closer look at it because this requires professional skills to troubleshoot.

Check All the Electrical Connections

This will require a certified HVAC technician to take a thorough look at your system. They will check the electrical connection and make sure the wires are attached to their connection points. Of course, while doing this, it’s best if they turn off the electricity that feeds directly to your HVAC. So, be prepared by knowing where the shut-off switch is. This allows them to check the wires safely, without the threat of being shocked or electrocuted.

Lubricate Moving Parts

A certified HVAC tech will also lubricate moving parts. They may use a bottle of machine oil or a specially formulated lubricant spray like WD-40. The little applicator straw will help them get into cramped areas that need extra lubrication. An HVAC tech will focus on motors that have moving parts, such as the fan axils and heating blower. It’s best to leave this job to a pro.

Change the Filters

Every HVAC system has filters that need to be changed on a regular basis. These filters trap dust and pollen that can infiltrate your home. Unfortunately, they accumulate over time, so you need to have them replaced every now and then. It also puts some extra strain on your HVAC system, causing poor airflow as a result. Spring is the perfect time to take care of this because all the plants are about to bloom and spread their pollen.

Inspect the Condensation Drain

Inspecting the condensation drain is important before cleaning it. A trained HVAC tech will remove anything that’s collected in the drain. If your drain is clogged, it can cause overflowing water, which can ruin your HVAC and cause other kinds of damage. You should have this done before spring. Trapped water may become stagnant, which means you could find yourself dealing with mold and humidity issues in your home.

Air Conditioning Maintenance

Since spring is right around the corner, you’ll likely be using the air conditioner again in the coming weeks. This means that you should make sure that it’s running as efficiently as it should. Here’s what a certified HVAC tech can do to prepare your AC for warmer weather.

Clean and Adjust the Blowers

Your HVAC system should produce excellent airflow, so having the blower inspected by a specialist is a must before the weather heats up. This includes cleaning off dust or any built-up sediment that covers the parts. A professional will use a vacuum brush to get into spots where you can’t easily reach on your own. They may also use something that looks like a paint brush to sweep out the dust inside the edges of the blowers. This is a soft tool that won’t damage anything.

Check the Fluid Levels

Don’t check fluid levels on your own. The potential to leak dangerous freon/ refrigerant into the air is high and harmful. An HVAC professional will check the levels and add more if it has dropped. Having too little fluid can affect your air conditioner’s efficiency, leading to increased energy costs.

Clean Off the Coils

You need to have the coils cleaned off, too. They connect to the condenser of your air conditioner. These coils play a huge part in cooling your home, and if they are covered with dust and dirt, they won’t function properly. Even though your HVAC has a cover, outdoor air can still pass through your home, carrying all sorts of contaminants with it. A certified HVAC technician will also remove things like spider webs and debris with a clean paint brush.

Other Helpful Tips to Follow:

Turn Off Water to the Furnace Humidifier

Since you aren’t going to be using the heater function anymore you need to have the furnace’s water supply turned off. If you have an HVAC that includes this type of add on, it needs to be shut off. There will be a simple exterior valve that can be closed to keep water from getting into the humidifier itself. An HVAC professional can look this over and make sure everything is in order.

Check the HVAC for the Remaining Level

It doesn’t hurt to have a pro give your HVA equipment a once-over to see how level it’s sitting. They will inspect the ground around it for any signs of leaning or soil settling. Earthquakes can often cause the soil in your yard to settle over time and unintentionally cause your HVAC to lean very slightly.

Pour a Drain Cleaner into the Condensation Drain

A technician may also determine that it’s a good idea to pour a drain cleaner inside the drain to kill mold or mildew that grew during the winter months. Sometimes this can help control any smell coming up from the drain, which can seep into the entire HVAC system in your home.

Need an HVAC Professional?

Leave these essential HVAC maintenance tasks to a pro. If you need a professional to handle your spring maintenance, you can always seek help by searching for “HVAC companies near me.” A lot of homes have their own HVAC systems, but only a few maintain proper upkeep. This is really important for a lot of reasons. You could be breathing cleaner air, saving money, and enjoying greater peace of mind.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you’re from Palo Alto and other nearby areas, choose Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating and Air. We offer a wide variety of essential services, including 24-hour emergency HVAC service. For fast and reliable HVAC repair and maintenance, call us at 650-856-3405. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Top 7 Advantages to HEPA Filters

Are you suffering from allergies? Do you have concerns about your indoor air quality? Maybe you’ve been planning to invest in air cleaning devices. Whatever it is, you’ve come to the right place. At Palo Alto Plumbing, we offer reliable plumbing services, as well as installing HEPA filter systems to improve the health of your home.

After installing these air filters, you will notice a great difference in your home’s air quality. This is just one of the perks to HEPA filters, so read on to learn more.

What is a HEPA Filter?

For the basics, the acronym “HEPA” stands for “High-Efficiency Particulate Air,” which indicates a certain mechanical filter type. This type of filter was invented in the 1940s to help contain the spread of airborne radioactive contaminants. A filter is considered HEPA if it meets these standards.

  • According to U.S. Military Standard 282, HEPA filters should be tested, certified, and labeled.
  • HEPA filters should be able to trap minuscule particles as small as 0.3 micron particles.
  • They should have a minimum efficiency of 99.97% in the United States.

How Do HEPA Filters Work?

HEPA filters aren’t like the other air filters on the market. What separates them from the other models is the filter media. They’re made of thin glass fibers with activated carbon. These components keep the fibers thick, paper-like, and pleated. Now, there are a few ways that HEPA filters absorb unhealthy contaminants.

  • Contaminants come into contact with the filter material and get trapped.
  • Once the contaminants come within 1 diameter of the fibers, they’re drawn through and contained.
  • It forces air through a fine mesh that catches things like pet dander, pollen, and dust mites.
  • There’s not much chance that particles can pass through this filter type. In every 10,000 particles, there are only 3 particles that are unfiltered. This is because they’re too small and slip by.

Benefits of Installing HEPA Filter Systems

 

Naturally Treats Allergies

Allergies can cause health risks as well as discomfort for you and your family. If you’re prone to allergies, you’re more likely to experience respiratory complications due to poor indoor air quality. This can also include a stuffy or runny nose. What’s worse is that if you have a condition like asthma, dirt, dust, pollens, dander, and other small particles can aggravate your existing symptoms. You can use HEPA systems to trap allergens, ease your symptoms, and, hopefully, improve the health of everyone in your household.

Related Content: Tips for Improving & Maintaining Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

No Byproducts

Some businesses promote their air filters as some of the best picks on the market, but the reality is that they emit hidden harmful byproducts into your indoor air. This is what HEPA filters don’t have. These filter systems are designed to work efficiently without generating byproducts. It’s environmentally-friendly, and you can guarantee that they’re safe to use.

Easy Accessibility

HEPA filter systems are easily accessible to the public. You can find HEPA systems in various home appliances, such as air purifiers, humidifiers, vacuum cleaners, plumbing vents, and more. But make sure that you’re shopping with a reliable store.

Related Content: Home Appliance Updates That Are Worth the Investment

Best for Newborns

Do you have a baby at home? Parents may want to consider buying a HEPA filter system to protect their infants from allergies. These filters will purify the air and help prevent respiratory infections. Allergies can be prevalent among newborns. Their lungs are more vulnerable. This will also keep them safe from other respiratory issues as they grow.

Minimizes the Impact of Smoking

If someone in your family smokes, you should install an air filter. A HEPA system can remove smoke particles and contaminants from the air. Without an air purifier, rooms will be polluted with dirty air, leaving your family members at higher risk. The smoke can further affect babies and elderly people. This is one of the most common forms of secondhand smoke, which can sometimes be more deadly than firsthand exposure.

Neutralizes Bad Odors

Chemicals like gas and formaldehyde can spread across an enclosed space and cause a foul odor. These chemicals are typically classified as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which you can find in air fresheners, aerosol sprays and even paint. VOCs can also cause headaches, nausea, and even breathing difficulties.

Now, HEPA filters don’t simply mask unpleasant odors. They get rid of them by trapping bad air pollutants.

Protection From Pet Allergies

If you have furry four-legged friends at home, it’s best to invest in HEPA filters. Pet allergens and pet hair linger on your furniture and other places, like carpet. This pollutes your indoor air quality and can cause allergies. If you’re already allergic, it can even worsen your symptoms.

Protection From Asthma

Poor air quality can worsen asthma. Even if you suffer from this respiratory condition, you can install a HEPA system to help ease your symptoms. Clean and purified air can also help boost uninterrupted sleep.

Plumbing and HVAC

Although HEPA isn’t a common term associated with plumbing and HVAC services, it’s a great tool to improve your living space. Instead of dust and other allergens, these filters trap bacteria and pathogens that thrive and breed in your plumbing systems.

Implementing this filtration system is not easy to do on your own, though. It’s best to hire the right plumbing company to get it up and running smoothly.

HEPA Filter Systems

Air cleaning devices can improve your overall indoor air quality. You can begin improving your living space with a HEPA filter system to maximize the benefits. These systems will not only clean your indoor air, but also work to keep your home a safe and sanitized place for your family. In the long run, you may also see a drop in your energy consumption.

If you’re planning to use HEPA filters, it’s important to choose a reliable specialist. At Palo Alto Plumbing, our seasoned professionals have the experience you need to ensure a flawless installation, better efficiency, and lasting results. Call us at 650-856-3400 for more information.

How Palo Alto Maintains Exceptional Customer Service

We at Palo Alto hold good customer service in the same regard as the products that we offer and our technical capabilities. In this blog, your local HVAC and plumbing contractor shares insight on how we maintain professionalism and quality customer service during service calls.

Sewer Backup

We Respect Our Customers’ Time

Time is a truly valuable resource, and we at Palo Alto understand how it can make or break business relationships, which is why we make it a point to be on time for our appointments, commit to our promised deadlines and ensure completion of our work as scheduled.  Our experience in performing HVAC and plumbing services lets us estimate completion times with accuracy.

We Set Customer Expectations

In the event of unavoidable delays—usually due to weather or supplier-related issues—we make sure our customers are aware of them. We also provide the most accurate quotes possible, while setting their expectations regarding things such as unexpected repairs, which are usually due to hidden problems that don’t get discovered until plumbing or HVAC installation is already underway. Setting expectations also includes explaining the scope of the work to our customers. While the nature of the work involves a lot of technical terms, we take the time to explain as best we can what we’ll do to our customers’ HVAC or plumbing system, why we’re doing it and what the benefits will be once we’re done. Sometimes HVAC and plumbing work can disrupt daily routines; knowing the scope of work can help our customers minimize such disruptions.

We Follow Up With Our Customers

Once the job is completed, we follow up with an email or phone call to make sure our customers are 100% satisfied. We understand that not all homeowners are familiar with the intricacies of a new HVAC system, so we make it a point to answer follow-up questions, as well as offer care and maintenance tips.

We Keep a Professional Look

Service appointments are informal meetings, but you probably don’t want a shabbily-dressed HVAC technician or plumber showing up for your appointment. Each one of our team members dress for the occasion, with clothing that bears our logo.

Call Palo Alto for Your HVAC and Plumbing Needs

Palo Alto is your leading provider of plumbing and HVAC services. Experience our exceptional customer service by giving us a call at (650) 856-3400 or filling out our contact form. We serve customers in East Palo Alto, CA, and nearby areas.

HVAC Best Practices

As with most other upgrades, your HVAC system is an investment, which means you’ll want it to last for as long as possible. One way to make this happen is with proper operation and regular maintenance. However, there are other good practices that can help keep your system in top condition.Sewer Leak

Let our experienced heating and cooling specialists at Palo Alto show you what to do and what not to do when it comes to your HVAC system.

Thermostat Care

Every once in a while you might notice that your HVAC system isn’t providing the same quality of heating or cooling that you’re used to. While this could mean problems with the unit itself, more often than not the thermostat simply needs recalibrated. Have a professional calibrate the thermostat as part of your annual or seasonal HVAC maintenance to avoid future problems.

Changing Filters

Air filters are your first line of defense against dust, pollen and other contaminants in the air. Unfortunately, because of the way they function, they’re extremely prone to clogging up. Visually inspect your furnace or air filters and make sure to change them at least once every 30 to 90 days, or more often if needed.

Removing Obstructions

Your outdoor unit is the primary supply of fresh outdoor air for your HVAC system. Covering it up or blocking it in with shrubbery can greatly affect your air circulation, so it’s best to keep any landscaping or debris that might cause damage clear of the unit. In addition, try not to place anything too close to the condensers to prevent problems and potentially expensive repairs.

DIY Fixes

You might think you’re saving money by attempting to repair your HVAC system yourself, but it’s very likely you could actually be making things much worse. Always trust a professional to handle all your heating and cooling concerns. They’ll have the right tools and training to properly perform repairs, inspections and tune-ups.

Call Palo Alto Today to Get the Best HVAC Service

Keep your system running efficiently and problem-free with the help of our professionals at Palo Alto, your trusted heating and air conditioning service provider. Give us a call at (650) 856-3400 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation and request a free estimate today. We serve homeowners in Palo Alto.

The Benefits of Working With Bryant® Factory-Authorized Dealers

We here at Palo Alto are proud of our designation as a Bryant® Factory-Authorized Dealer. Not only do we offer some of the best heating and cooling systems in the country, our team of certified plumbers and HVAC technicians are also dedicated to doing whatever it takes to provide exceptional customer service. Here’s an overview of the benefits of working with Bryant Factory-Authorized Dealers.

Basement Remodeling: Is Your HVAC System in the Way?

Do you have an unfinished basement that isn’t being utilized? This year, you may want to consider having it completed. According to Remodeling Magazine, finished basements can give you as much as a 70% return on your investment, not to mention provide additional space for a bedroom or two, another living area, a game room or whatever else you want to tranform the space into. Moreover, a basement remodel is often 10 to 15% cheaper than getting a room addition. This means you can have the same amount of space but with a much lower price tag.

The Basics of Warm Air Heating Furnaces

Warm air heating systems are a popular heating and air conditioning option for most homes. They heat the air by using oil, electricity, or natural gas in a furnace. The air is then distributed throughout the home out of ductwork that spread out across the floor and ceilings and is then blown out in vents, registers, and wall or ceiling supplies to control the temperature of a particular area. The cycle is pretty straightforward but there are a few nuances which could help you understand issues that can arise from this particular system. Read more

Top 4 Things to Know When Buying an Air Conditioner

Buying any appliance, especially an air conditioning unit, isn’t as simple as purchasing a pair of shoes or a dress. You don’t really get to know the unit until you’ve installed it, used it, and experienced its effects for a while.

The Importance of Choosing the Correct Air Filter for Your Home HVAC System

Using the wrong air filter can affect your heating and air conditioning’s performance and energy efficiency. We recommend consulting with AC professionals before choosing your air filter if you want to prevent future problems with your system.

What You Should Know Before You Replace Your A/C

Are you considering whether or not your air conditioner could stand to be replaced/? Maybe your A/c has quit working as efficiently, or you’re after a more energy efficient unit and and you think now might be a great time to get a replacement.  Or, maybe you’ve never thought twice about your A/C and have no idea what you should do.

Whatever your reason for considering upgrading your air conditioner, you’ll want to be prepared with the correct information before making a decision. Check out this handy post to ensure that you are making the right choice when it comes to A/C replacement.

Advice Before Replacing Your Air Conditioner

Advice Replace Air Conditioner

Still Have Questions? Call Us Today!

If you’re still unsure whether a new air conditioner is right for you, we can help. At Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating and Air, our goal is to save homeowners money with better energy efficiency, exclusive savings on services, as well as financing and rebates. We don’t want finances to stand in between you and your comfort at home! Call us today to get in touch with an A/C expert to learn more about the variety of options you have when it comes to upgrading your home’s cooling system: 650-856-3400.