Education

Invest in your comfort and invest in a whole house humidifier

Is the heat in your home blowing but you still don't feel warm? This could be a sign that your humidifier is not working properly. Every HVAC system needs to have a humidifier, as it works to keep you healthy by keeping the air quality in your home in good condition. Health problems can occur when the humidity level in your home is too low or too high, so it is really important to make sure your HVAC unit has a good humidifier. A good humidifier will also help you conserve energy. It's a good idea to perform a once-a-year maintenance check on your HVAC system, which should include a check of your humidifier to ensure its proper functioning.

Humidifiers and Energy Savings

If the humidity level in your home is too high in the summer then you won't be able to cool off, and you'll find yourself running the air conditioning more. If the humidity level is too low in the winter, you will not feel warm enough when the thermostat is set at an average temperature. This will result in having to turn up the thermostat to feel warmer, causing you to use more energy to stay warm. The constant running and adjusting of your thermostat will cost you a lot of money and use unnecessary energy. If you set your humidifier properly then you will actually be able to save money on your heating and cooling bills.

Humidifiers and Health Benefits

Humidifiers help provide a quality level of air in your home by stabilizing the humidity level. If the humidity is too low, the air in your home will be too dry and you won't be comfortable. In a home with low humidity, people tend to have dry skin and dry sinuses, which can result in other health problems such as an increased occurrence of colds and coughs. Low humidity levels also promote bacteria, viruses and other organic and non-organic things that can be hazardous to your health. Too much humidity is too much moisture, which can cause even more serious problems than low humidity. Excessive moisture in your air can promote mold and mildew growth, two problems that can worsen quickly with high moisture levels. The good news is that humidifying your home properly will alleviate any of these ill symptoms.

Additional Problems Caused by Dry Air

  • Static electricity is a direct result of dry air. In addition to causing painful shocks, it can damage computers and other electronic equipment.
  • Hardwood floors lose moisture and contract when the air in a home is extremely dry. This can cause the floor to separate at the seams.
  • Houseplants suffer from dryness caused by low humidity.
  • Wallpaper may peel at the edges if the air in a home is excessively dry.

Remember: Maintaining proper moisture levels in your home provides health benefits and helps to reduce energy costs! Call us at 614 423 7645 to make your home as comfortable as you can.


The Annual Maintenance plan

If maintenance is the most important aspect of home ownership, then prevention is perhaps the most important aspect of home maintenance. It’s always better to stop problems before they start, and when it comes to the furnace in your home, you can do that by making sure to have it inspected and maintained by a qualified HVAC technician every year.

"Prevention is better than cure" ~ Desiderios Erasmus

Here are a few reasons why it’s so important to have your furnace checked and serviced every year:

  • Annual furnace maintenance keeps your furnace running smoothly. The technician inspects parts, replaces ones that have worn out, lubricates parts that require it, checks the unit’s electrical wiring (he will let you know whether you need to call in an electrician), and so on. You wouldn’t put off the tune-up for your car. Think of this as a tune-up for your furnace.
  • Annual furnace maintenance improves efficiency. How? Here’s an example: in order to heat your home properly, the furnace pulls air through a filter. In time, the filter can become clogged with airborne particles, making the furnace work harder to move air through it. The furnace’s efficiency decreases, shortening its life and increasing your heating bill. But the filter is only one example. A furnace contains many other delicate parts that should be inspected and touched only by a qualified HVAC contractor.
  • Annual furnace maintenance protects your health and that of your family. Neglected, dirty filters can release mold spores and other toxic airborne particles into your home, causing respiratory problems and disease. A well-maintained system keeps the air clean and helps prevent such problems from occurring.
  • Annual furnace maintenance keeps the furnace working reliably. While there is no such thing as an absolute guarantee, annual inspection and maintenance of your furnace allows the technician to spot problems that may be small now but that could become serious if left untreated. The customers that we have maintenance agreements with in Central Ohio, where the temperature can sink as low as 10 degrees below zero (without taking wind chill into account), can tell you that the customer who calls every year for routine maintenance usually sounds a lot calmer than the customer they haven’t heard from in a few years whose furnace has suddenly stopped working in the middle of an Arctic cold snap.
  • Annual furnace maintenance helps you regulate the temperature in your home. The technician verifies and calibrates the furnace’s thermostat to make sure that the furnace heats your home properly and reliably.
  • Annual furnace maintenance saves lives. As part of normal operation, furnaces release carbon monoxide in their exhaust. When the furnace is working properly, carbon monoxide is channeled out of the home through an exhaust pipe. But leaks happen, and a carbon monoxide leak is dangerous because that particular gas is odorless and deadly. We at Integrity Heating And Air, LLC are fully licensed professionals and the furnace will be tested for leaks and computer analyzed as part of our routine maintenance.

When to Do It

The best time to have your furnace inspected is at the end of the summer or in the early autumn, before the weather turns cold. Call us for an appointment today 614 423 7645.


Split System Air Conditioners

Everyone likes to come home to a refreshingly cool house in the summertime heat and humidity. While not everyone is fortunate enough to have central air conditioning, many people utilize window units. Still, there are places in your home that are not fit for window air conditioner units. If you’re looking for an unobtrusive way to bring more cool air into your home, a split air conditioner system might be the perfect answer for your temperature-regulating problems.

What is a Split Air Conditioner System?

A split air conditioner consists of two main parts: the outdoor unit and the indoor unit. The outdoor unit is installed on or near the wall outside of the room or space that you wish to cool. The unit houses the compressor, condenser coil and the expansion coil or capillary tubing. The sleek-looking indoor unit contains the cooling coil, a long blower and an air filter.

How is a Split Air Conditioner Different From Other A/C Units?

A split air conditioner does not require major installation work because it does not require ductwork. Rather, the indoor and outdoor units are connected with a set of electrical wires and tubing. This is good for your wallet and the environment. The ductwork required for many traditional A/C units generally increases energy expenditures, as many centralized A/C units lose a lot of energy due to heat exchange in the air duct system. So, without a duct system, there is very little opportunity for heat or energy loss in a split air conditioner system.

Benefits of a Split Air Conditioning System

This kind of air conditioner system has many advantages over traditional air conditioners. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is the quiet performance of a split air conditioner system. The parts of an air conditioner that make the most noise are the compressor and the fan that cools the condenser. In a split system, the compressor and fan for the condenser are located outside of the room being cooled and therefore the major sources of noise are removed - unlike with window units.

Another benefit of a split air conditioner system is that you can opt for a multi-split system, where you can have more than one indoor unit connected to a single outdoor unit. This makes it easy to cool multiple rooms or maintain the temperature throughout a large room through the use of two indoor cooling units.

A split air conditioner is an efficient and cost-effective way to cool your home. It should be noted that the initial cost of this kind of air conditioning unit is significantly higher than a window unit and it does require professional installation. However, the amount of money you will save on your energy bills as well as the longevity of the unit will make it worth your while in the end.

Call us for an appointment today 614 423 7645.


Mini Splits can be the answer

Stay cool this summer, even if a conventional central air conditioning system - or a window unit - is out of the question. There are other options. There are two distinct type of units which are both referred to as "mini air conditioners." The first, and most common, is a ductless air conditioner system, and the second is a portable air conditioning unit.

Mini Split Air Conditioners: Ductless A/C

A ductless air conditioning systems does more than solve the problem of not having ducts; it also offers a few advantages over regular central air systems. Since it operates on zones, mini air conditioners offer homeowners the ability to set different zones to different temperatures. For example, if the kitchen, dining room and living room operate on one zone, it can be set to a cooler temperature than, say, an office area which may not be in use as often. Being able to regulate indoor climate saves money on electric bills, is less taxing to your system and is kinder to the environment.

Without ducts to blow air through and without an attached compressor, you might be wondering how such a system works. It’s simple. A compressor unit sits outside and a line for refrigerant, condensation and electrical runs between this unit and interior zone units. It is a lot like a miniature split-unit central air system, hence the name. Units are controlled by remote controls.

Mini-split air conditioners offer homeowners a great deal of control. Central air cools an entire house to a specific temperature, but a mini A/C system allows each zone to be set individually for ultimate interior climate control and energy efficiency. Since they don’t rely on duct work, mini air conditioners are ideal for room additions, attic conversions, sunrooms and other spaces that may not be serviceable by a central air conditioning unit. Another advantage, particularly for room additions, is that units with heat pumps are also available.

The biggest disadvantage is price. A mini split air conditioner runs $1,500-$2,000 per 12,000 BTUs (or per ton), which will cool 450-550 square feet. This is twice as much as a window unit. They also need to be professionally placed and installed. A professional will be able to place units for maximum impact. Systems with one to four indoor zone units are available. The indoor units are long and slim and usually hung high on the wall. New lines also run on the outside of your home. Some models have a main supply area that can be installed in the ceiling and ducted to different rooms of the home.

Portable Air Conditioner Units

Aside from window units, which can pose a security issue as well as an eye sore, there is only one other kind of truly portable air conditioner. These are generally referred to as PACs, though some people refer to them as mini ACs. These are freestanding units that cool a room approximately as well as a window unit does. These units look a lot like dehumidifiers. They must be manually drained or drained out of a window using a window kit. Some units are self-evaporating and require no drainage.

When reading online reviews about portable air conditioner units, the biggest complaint was the noise and the cost. Expect to pay more for a portable unit than a window A/C. Portable units also require twice the amount of BTUs to cool the same size space.

Many people use portable, or mini, air conditioners in places that aren't serviced, or aren't serviced well, by central air, such as a garage, room addition or sunroom. Expect to pay a minimum of $400 for a basic unit and over $1,000 for a sophisticated one that features self-evaporation, an independent dehumidifier, a quality air filter, an adjustable thermostat and more.

If central air isn't an option and a homeowner association, apartment complex or historical society doesn't allow window units, homeowners and renters still have the option to stay cool at home in the summer with mini air conditioners.

Call us for a free estimate and evaluation 614 423 7645.


Air Conditioner Maintenance

Like so many mechanical systems in our homes, air conditioners always get used when we need them but are otherwise roundly ignored... until there’s a problem. That’s when we call a service professional and start praying that the bill won’t be too high. With air conditioners, neglecting routine maintenance leads to decreased efficiency (in other words, higher utility bills) and, often, premature failure of expensive parts.

For most homes, the rule of thumb is to have your central A/C system checked once a year by Integrity Heating and Air, LLC. The checklist below covers the basic items a routine air conditioner maintenance call should include. In addition to the annual service, it’s important to check on a couple of things each month during the cooling season. This is something you can do yourself in just a few minutes.

Annual Air Conditioner Maintenance Checklist:

1. Clean the outdoor condenser coils and indoor evaporator units.

The coil is made up of the refrigerant lines and surrounding radiator-like fins that line the cabinet of your outdoor A/C unit. The evaporator is the interior counterpart to the outdoor unit and has its own coil. Dirt and debris on the coils reduce efficiency and stress the system’s mechanical parts. Lack of maintenance may lead to premature compressor failure.

2. Check the refrigerant level.

An improper amount of refrigerant (Freon, in most systems) makes a compressor work too hard, reducing the efficiency and longevity of the system.

3. Inspect the drain pans and condensate drains.

Drains must be unobstructed and clean to ensure excess moisture is not trapped in the units or inside the house.

4. Check outdoor fan motor and blades and indoor blower assembly.

The fan on the outdoor unit pulls air in through the coil fins. The indoor blower is the fan unit (motor, fan wheel and housing) on your furnace. Older blowers may include a drive belt that should be inspected and adjusted or replaced as needed.

5. Check compressor and refrigerant tubing.

Slow leaks may be found and corrected before major damage is incurred.

6. Lubricate moving parts (as applicable).

Older A/C units often have ports on fan motors, compressors and other parts for adding lubrication periodically. Newer models typically have sealed parts that don’t need to be lubed.

7. Inspect all electrical controls, wiring and connections.

All electrical components and hookups should be checked for soundness, wear and damage.

8. Inspect and clean or replace air filters.

9. Run a general system test.

Your technician should turn on the A/C system to check operating functions such as the starting cycle and shut-off control, check for unusual noises or odors, and measure indoor/outdoor temperatures and system pressures as needed.

10. Check ductwork for leaks and other problems.

A duct inspection is not needed every year and may not be included with a standard system checkup, but air leakage in ductwork is one of the main causes of inefficiency in forced-air A/C and heating systems. It’s a good idea to have your ductwork assessed and sealed and/or insulated in problems areas, as needed.

Monthly Maintenance During the Cooling Season

Now for a couple of things that you can do to help keep your A/C in good shape while you’re using it most: First, check the furnace filter each month, and replace it as soon as necessary. And second, check the outdoor condenser unit and remove all leaves, grass clippings and other debris from the sides and top of the cabinet. Cut back shrubs and other vegetation as needed to maintain a minimum of 2 feet of clearance on all sides of the unit. This ensures adequate airflow to the condenser coil.

Tips for Scheduling Service

The best time to us for an annual air conditioner maintenance checkup is in early spring or at least well before the cooling season really kicks in. If you wait until summer, the pros are booked to their fan blades with emergency repairs and installation jobs.


How Much does it cost?

In the summer months, an air conditioner can be a lifesaver. Whether you’re purchasing your first or replacing an existing one, it’s important to know what you need and what the costs will be.

What Kind of A/C do You Need?

There are two types of central air conditioning systems: A split system, which has a condenser unit outside and an evaporator unit inside, and a packaged system, in which the compressor and evaporator are in a single outdoor unit. Mini Split units do not require duct work, while packaged units and split units do.

Adding central air conditioning to a home with an existing forced-air heating system in a 2,000-square-foot house averages $3,500 - $4,500. If ducts need to be added, the cost can double, and a split unit is the way to go. As opposed to window units, a ductless system is quieter, and can also heat your home.

Another benefit of a split system is that you can opt for a multi-split system, in which you can have more than one indoor unit connected to a single outdoor unit. This makes it easy to cool multiple rooms or maintain the temperature throughout a large room through the use of two indoor cooling units. Single zone Mini Split units can run from $3,000 - $5,000.

How Big A Unit Should I Buy?

An air conditioners’ cooling ability is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour, in tons. It’s important to select the right sized unit, for both economical and efficiency concerns. An inadequate air conditioner will not cool your home on a particularly hot day, and you run the risk of shorting a fuse, and having to hire an electrician. On the other hand, an overly-powerful air conditioner will cycle off too frequently and not dehumidify the air properly.

The size of your house and the quality of the insulation are important factors for selecting the proper sized central air conditioning system for your home.

A rough estimate puts the required BTU at 1 ton of capacity for every 400 square feet of living space. For example, a 2,000-square-foot house would require a 3-3.5 ton air conditioning system. Integrity Heating and Air, LLC can properly evaluate your home’s needs.

Another factor in the price of a central air conditioning system is its energy efficiency rating. The SEER rating is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER rating, the higher the central air conditioner's cooling efficiency and the less electricity it will use, but the more expensive it will be to purchase.

An additional factor to consider is the bel rating, or decibel level the unit produces. Units with a lower bel rating are typically priced higher.

However you choose to cool your home and get out of the heat, contact us at 614 423 7645 before purchase.