Hurricanes & Your HVAC

Hurricanes & Your HVAC

June is right around the corner, and we understand that hurricane season might not have crossed your mind… YET. But it’s always better to be ahead of the curve and, in this case, you don’t want to get caught in the rain trying to prepare your HVAC system for a hurricane at the last second.

As May comes to a close, you’ll want to start to prepare for the upcoming season by learning about hurricane maintenance for your HVAC system sooner rather than later when the first named system is about to barrel its way to the Sunshine State.

Here’s what you need to know about how to take care of your HVAC should a hurricane head your way:

Cool Your Home First

You definitely should not be trying to cool your home in the middle of a hurricane. Be sure to cool your home by several degrees prior to the storm hitting the area. Once set to the proper indoor temperature, you’ll want to turn off the electricity and/or unplug your unit in order to avoid the danger that accompanies power surges and lightning strikes.

Secure Your Outdoor Unit

You don’t want the hurricane-force winds to take your outdoor unit with it, so be sure to get outside and secure all of the bolts around your HVAC system’s base and consider investing in condenser straps. If flooding is a concern in your home’s area, see if there is any way that you might elevate your unit in a timely manner. Finally, if there are any other pieces of unsecured outdoor equipment, be sure to bring them inside.

Before The Storm Checklist

  1. Turn off your breakers — this includes your indoor air handler, furnace, AC system, and heat pump
  2. Turn off your gas
  3. Double check your outdoor unit, as stated above.

After The Storm Checklist

  1. Do not turn on your HVAC system immediately following the storm. First, have it inspected by a professional.
  2. Conduct a basic, preliminary inspection yourself. Look to see if your unit has experienced any external damage. If there are carbon deposits, charred metal or refrigerant leaks, the area around the unit is hazardous and you need to stay away from it.
  3. Follow this specific item-by-item safety guide provided by The Air-Conditioning, Heat and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) following Hurricane Sandy.

When you get through several hurricane seasons without too many hiccups, it can be easy to feel increasingly lax about storm preparation. But even if the greater Jacksonville area isn’t hit directly, it is still widely susceptible to flooding, as well as both the storm and power surges that are associated with a hurricane’s outer bands. Hurricane preparation is crucial and arming yourself with knowledge is the best way to enter June this year.

If you have any other questions about maintaining or improving your HVAC system prior to the start of the 2019 hurricane season, be sure to contact us at Bold City Heating and Air today. We’ll ensure that you don’t just experience the bold difference — but the safe one as well!

Spring Is In The Air: Maintaining Indoor Air Quality

Spring Is In The Air: Maintaining Indoor Air Quality

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.”

And as the spring season rolls in, so, too, do all of the allergens that can make you sniffle, sneeze, and battle your asthma.

So, what exactly can you do to ensure that you’re maintaining a healthy standard of indoor air quality? Here are our suggestions:

Regularly Clean Your Duct and Ventilation Systems

One of the most effective ways of maintaining indoor air quality is to start fresh and take whatever dust or pollutants might already be present out of circulation. Before the spring season progresses too far, you’ll want to invest in cleaning out your ventilation system, as well as your ducts. According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, dander, dust, and other pollutants are pulled into your HVAC system, circulated 5 to 7 times a day on average, and then become clogged in your ductwork. Cleaning those systems out regularly is key in maintaining your home’s air quality balance.

Invest In A Dehumidifier

You might not be able to control the Florida humidity outside, but the good news is that you can control the humidity in your home. When there’s too much moisture indoors, bacteria and mold are likely to grow in areas that are hidden from view, and then those particles are circulated throughout your AC system. Especially as we move from a “hot” spring to a “sweltering” summer, you’ll want to cut down on the humidity that creeps through all of the spots in your home that are in need of sealing… and a dehumidifier will help you do just that.

Schedule Your Home’s Regular HVAC Check-Up

The U.S. Department of Energy has reported that poor indoor air quality costs businesses up to $168 billion annually — but imagine what that might mean for your family’s wallet. If indoor air quality is a primary concern for you, one of the best moves you can make is to call your local professional to perform an air quality test and diagnose any preexisting HVAC problems you might otherwise be unaware of. Not only will this ensure that your home is checked through thoroughly, but you’ll know you’re walking away with a solid, long-term plan.

If you’re ready to tackle your home’s indoor air quality, call Bold City Heating and Air today to schedule an appointment! We’re here to keep your family healthy, your home safe, and to make sure you experience the bold difference, no matter the season.

Video Duct Inspections: What’s Going On Up There?

Video Duct Inspections: What’s Going On Up There?

When your ducts are out of whack, your home and health just might follow suit. After all, many Americans suffer from asthma, allergies, and other medical conditions that can be caused or exacerbated by poor air quality.

And as the Florida humidity nourishes the growth of fungus and mold during the summer, being able to effectively tackle the bacteria that might be flourishing in your house’s upper passageways isn’t just irritating—it can also be a physical challenge.

In other words, the key to maintaining your home’s indoor air quality isn’t just cleaning the ducts, it’s knowing what, specifically is going on up there.

But just how can you lay eyes on a system that is out of your immediate reach?

By turning to video duct inspections.

Video duct inspections are pretty much exactly what they sound like: it’s the process of using a camera to view and diagnose HVAC or other air quality issues inside of your home.

Not only are video duct inspections efficient in that you can use special equipment to navigate a camera around the tight angles and tricky corners throughout your entire duct system, but they’re also cost-effective!

They help you catch potential problems in the early stages, providing you the opportunity to detect and fix any issues that might have otherwise wreaked havoc on your home—and your wallet—down the line.

After all, when you can’t see it, you can’t fix it.

Video duct inspections, in particular, grant you a detailed record of images and videos that will allow you to take your health and safety back into your own hands. And what’s more empowering than knowing your own home like the back of your hand (both inside and out)?

That’s where Bold City Heating and Air comes in. By offering our expert video duct inspections, we’re here to help you take control of your home and provide you with the best HVAC service in Northeast Florida. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and experience the bold difference!

Freshen Up Your Air Conditioner: Part 2

Freshen Up Your Air Conditioner: Part 2

Last week we began covering our checklist on properly preparing your air conditioning unit for another season of battling the blistering heat of summertime in Florida. We discussed the need to keep a tidy, debris-free area outside around your unit. We also explained how to check and clean you air conditioning unit’s drain line. Finally, we stressed how easy (yet also important) it is to change your filter each month.

This week, we will cover the final items left on our pre-summer air conditioning unit checklist. Follow along and you’ll have an air conditioning system that will help you stay cool all summer long!

Discoloration is not your friend. If you look up at your central air vents and notice discoloration around them, you are looking at a condensation issue. This could be caused by air ducts that don’t have enough (or any) duct insulation. It gets hot in your attic during the summer, and air ducts that are improperly insulated allow condensation to form when the hot air in your attic comes into contact with the air ducts that are circulating cool air throughout your home. This can lead to rot and further damage to your drywall and home insulation.

Don’t block return vents.Many people make rearranging their furniture a part of their annual spring cleaning routine. Most people know that blocking air conditioning supply vents will make it tougher to cool a room down. But surprisingly, many people don’t think twice about covering or blocking the return vents. This can lead to a myriad of potential problems for your air conditioning unit. Things like frozen coils and the extra effort your unit will require to try to cool your home can lead to diminished efficiency and potential failure of your air conditioning system.

Call in the pros.The most important thing to make a part of your annual routine maintenance checklist for your home air conditioning system is to schedule a semi-annual system maintenance with one of our trained and trusted professionals from Bold City Heating and Air. We can do everything on this list and more to make sure you and your family have your coolest summer ever this year, and in the years to come. Set an appointment today here on the website, or give us a call and we’ll set the appointment for you!

Freshen Up Your Air Conditioner

Freshen Up Your Air Conditioner

April is chugging along and as temperatures continue to rise, the hum of air conditioning units will begin to sing louder as the Florida summer gets closer and closer. Since we’re smack dab in the middle of spring cleaning season, it would be a prudent part of your plan to get ready for summer to make sure your home’s air conditioning system is also freshened up for the extensive use it will see in the coming months. Here’s a helpful list of things to check up and check out to make sure you have a nice, cool season ahead of you this year.

Give your unit room to breathe. A clean, well kept area outside of your home around your condenser will help the machine run properly. Make sure to clean any debris around your unit that might have accumulated over fall and winter. Trim back overgrown shrubbery and pull any unruly weeds from around the perimeter as well.

Check your drain line. Another thing to be mindful of when preparing your air conditioning system for summer is maintaining a clean drain line. Take a look at the drain pan, located inside the air handler. Using a flashlight (if necessary), check the opening of the condensation drain line for anything that would clog the line. Next, clean the drain pan out, noting any condensation in the pan. If you find condensation in the pan, it is possible that your line is clogged. You can pour a cup of bleach in the access opening of the drain line to help eradicate any mold, mildew or algae that has formed in the line.

Restock your filter cache. The monthly filter change is one of the easiest (and also most forgotten) things you can do to ensure proper maintenance and operation of your home air conditioning system. It can be as easy as setting a monthly reminder in your phone, or marking your calendar. Your air conditioning system circulates a tremendous volume of air each day, and with that air comes dust, pollen and pet dander. Over time, these particles can accumulate in the ducts and restrict air flow, and also cause your unit to work harder than it needs to — which can lead to costly repairs if left unchecked.

We’ve given you a few things to add to your spring cleaning checklist. Come back next week for a few more money-saving tips on your air conditioning maintenance, or give us a call and we can schedule an HVAC professional to help you in person!

Knocking Allergens out of Your Home

Knocking Allergens out of Your Home

Spring is in full swing and around here, that means it’s peak allergy season. Everytime you step outside, you can see the evidence that Mother Nature is waking up from her winter nap by the yellow sheen of pollen that coats most every vehicle on the block. Pet fur is being shed by the pound and with all the dust getting kicked up cleaning out the house it’s a veritable category 5 sneeze-a-caine waiting to explode at any minute!

Ok, maybe we are being slightly melodramatic here, but it is that time of year where allergies are wreaking havoc on many of us, so your friends at Bold City Heating and Air are here to share a few tips with you. Here are some ways you can pack an extra punch when it comes to knocking allergens out of your home this season.

Beating back allergies starts from the ground up. Properly cleaning your floors is a critical battleground in the war against allergens. Between pets, kids, and your own two feet the floor of your home is a haven for all the little things that can cause problems for your health. Dirt, dust, pollen and pet dander have ample places to accumulate, especially if you have carpet. Weekly vacuuming and dusting are a big help. Look for a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Annual carpet shampooing can help defend against build-up of allergens as well. Keeping your pets clean and well-groomed is beneficial, too.

Dust with technique and breathe easier. Remember that movie “The Karate Kid”? An older janitor teaches a young man about life through karate…..and chores. Now these dusting tips won’t help you become a black belt in karate, but they will help you kick some extra dust out of your dojo. Use a good, absorbent cloth that will not just move dust particles around, but actually trap them and remove them from surfaces. Another great tip is to turn your thermostat to ON instead of AUTO while you dust. This will help trap the dust that doesn’t end up in your cloth in your filtration system instead of just getting blown all through the house. Don’t forget to turn it back to auto when you’re done!

Call on your friends. Speaking of your AC, don’t hesitate to call on your trusted professionals to make sure your HVAC system is cleaned and well-maintained annually. This will help keep potential airborne particles from giving you and your families fits when Spring brings the sneezes and stuffy noses. Bold City Heating and Air is your team to call on when your ready to tackle those Spring cleaning duties the right way. We will ensure your HVAC system is running smooth and running clean, and that will keep you and your family stay cooler this year.

Earth is calling, are you ready to answer?

Earth is calling, are you ready to answer?

With Earth Day coming up this month, now is the perfect time to reevaluate your HVAC system to look for ways to save energy, making your home as efficient as possible. In most cases, heating and cooling components are the most substantial energy inputs for most residences, so it’s an area where cutting back can have a significant impact not only on your energy bill, but also our planet’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Get ready for Earth Day with these planet friendly tips for your HVAC system:

Tune it up: It’s important to service your air conditioning unit when the seasons change, so you know that everything is working at peak efficiency. No one wants to waste energy, especially due to preventable causes such as system malfunction, duct obstruction or simply a dirty filter.

Climate control: Having a set, energy efficient temperature in your home can help minimize your consumption, and reduce your impact on climate change. So, if you can take the heat of an indoor temperature of 78 degrees or higher, not only will you save money but you will also reduce your energy usage. If you have a whole house fan, opening up the house in the mornings and turning on ceiling fans can also bring the temperature down, without using your AC. Smart thermostats are also a great way to manage your energy consumption – and it takes all the thinking out of home temperature management. These devices have been shown to shave hundreds of dollars off annual energy bills.

Fortify the homefront: Heating and cooling does little good if you can’t keep it inside your house! Most homes that lack proper insulation usually lose their hard earned indoor climate through the roof, walls or windows. So, if you’re wondering whether your home is properly insulated, check with the experts. A quick spray insulation could be an inexpensive way to beef up your indoor climate retention, saving you money and sweat. Add in a quick sweep to check any cracks around windows or doors, to seal up any pesky leaks with some weather stripping, for good measure.

Tricks for “passive cooling”: When the summer sun starts to heat up your home, you can reduce the load on your air conditioner with some strategic shading. Try closing the curtains over sunny windows during the day to turn the heat away, then opening the windows at night so the cooler air can help draw down the temperature in your house.

For more helpful advice on HVAC seasonal transitions, have one of our professionals perform an energy audit in order to know exactly where changes could be beneficial to your home and for the planet. Call Bold City Heating & Air for more energy-saving tips or visit our AC services page here to see how we can help. You can also call us anytime at (904) 299-8684.

The Debate Is Over: Science Has Officially Found the Perfect Temperature.

The Debate Is Over: Science Has Officially Found the Perfect Temperature.

Researchers from Helsinki University of Technology, in partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, devoted their time, smarts and money to determine whether indoor temperature affects productivity; and if so, how? We found this information fascinating and clearly relevant to our line of work, so we would like to share with you the study’s findings and at which temperature you can be most effective!

The study begins by explaining that temperature is one of the fundamental characteristics of our indoor environment. Based on personal experience, we have all had different reactions to extreme heat or cold – too much heat makes you sweat, and too much cold makes you shiver. Either way, you’re left feeling uncomfortable and therefore, less productive than you could be.

So, without further ado, here’s the good stuff. The findings showed that temperature did indeed have an impact on productivity in a professional setting, and the magic number was 71.6°F. That was the temperature where participants were most productive, when subjected to a variety of basic and unbiased indicators of performance that are likely to be relevant in office type work. Things like resolving customer service calls and solving basic math equations; leaving out industrial workers, because that type of work is less objective and more reliant on physical ability. They then calculated the percentage of performance change – per degree increase in temperature – collected the stats and then analyzed the calculated work performance with temperature. That’s how they did it, to find the most optimum indoor temperature for productivity and comfort (of course, we’re assuming the comfort part, but it makes sense to us).

The results themselves showed that while participating in the series of ‘work’ tests, participants’ productivity levels increased as the temperature rose (up to 69.8-71.6°F degrees), and then decreased when the temperature increased above 73.4-75.2°F, showing an ideal productivity level when the temperature was 71.6°F. It’s a pretty cool thing to be able to learn these things about the human body and what helps us succeed.

So, if you’re looking to be more productive today, go ahead and give it a try – but it’s also important to keep in mind that just because a temp is proven to help us be productive, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for electricity bills and expenses. So if you’re interested in trying this trick, test it for a couple hours, and then make sure to return your temp to the most energy efficient setting you have. And if you have any questions for us, give Bold City Heating & Air a call 904.299.8684 or contact us here.

Space Heaters: Good Idea, or Energy Sucker?

Space Heaters: Good Idea, or Energy Sucker?

Are you a fan of space heaters? Some people love them, and small dogs too, those little guys can never get enough of that concentrated blasting of heat. But when is using a space heater a good idea, and at what point will it start adding up? It might relieve some of the house heating burden from your furnace and warm your immediate vicinity, but at a certain point, those little suckers will run up the electricity bill faster than you can say Chihuahua. Lucky for us, the U.S. Department of Energy did a study, effectively generating a cost/benefit analysis of space heater use, and we would like to share those findings with you, so you can stay informed and make the best decisions for your workspace, home and wallet.

So where’s the line where space heaters actually make sense?

Well, according to the Department of Energy, space heaters “can be less expensive to use if you only want to heat one room or supplement inadequate heating in one room.” So, if you generally spend most of your time in one room of the house, or plan on getting some work done in your home office: turning the thermostat down, and plugging in a space heater to warm up one small area could be cost effective. But it’s a slippery slope, because if you forget to turn it off, you’ll have one hot room, and a very high energy bill.

This is what we know, space heaters can provide some much needed comfort when your joints start to hurt, but they are not more cost-effective than central heating systems when used for larger areas. Another statistic the government shared is that, when used to heat a whole home or business, gas furnaces use 43% less energy than using electric space heaters.

So, before you consider using space heaters to solve your spacial heating issues, think about why you even want one to begin with. Are you uncomfortable with your current situation? Why might that be? A good way to answer these questions would be to give your friends at Bold City Heating & Air a call 904.299.8684. We can come out and assess your system and give you tips on how to use it more effectively and efficiently to stay comfortable all season long.

If you would like to know more about keeping your home and air, fresh and clean contact us anytime at Bold City Heating & Air. We are happy to help! Give us a call 904.299.8684 and be sure to check our list of specials, because right now we are offering $30 off a system tune-up (regularly $99, now only $69). Experience the BOLD difference.

Spring Cleaning Advice

Spring Cleaning Advice

Spring is right around the corner! This year, it’s going to officially show its lovely face on Wednesday, March 20. So with that being said, we’ve got a spring cleaning hack we would like to share with you, for when the time comes to clean house!

Being cooped up all winter, with the weather being less humid, and our skin getting dry… You don’t want us to share the numbers when it comes to dead skin cells, but let’s just say, right around this time of year, we’re living in the THICK of it. Whether we see them or not, we shed tens of thousands of skin cells every minute!!! And because we don’t see all of it, dusting and cleaning up might not be a huge priority. Well, it should be. And in the spirit of spring, we’ve got a trick up our skincell-covered sleeves we’d like to share with you.

You know how the fan setting on your thermostat can control the blower? Usually, it is recommended that you leave it set to AUTO, to conserve energy and only heat or cool when the temperature rises or falls. Well, here’s our little secret, adjusting your thermostat blower setting can aid in dusting your home!

When you are ready to get to it, and you’ve laid out all your cleaning supplies – switch your thermostat blower to ON, and then get to work! You want the constant circulation for when you are cleaning. You see, as you start dusting or vacuuming, all that dust (and all the aforementioned skin cells) gets kicked up into the air, and because the air is circulating, it’s immediately sucked into the return vent! It guarantees a higher success rate of all that dust getting captured by the air filter. Then, of course, when you’re done, please remember to switch the thermostat back to AUTO.

If you would like to know more about keeping your home and air, fresh and clean contact us anytime at Bold City Heating & Air. We are happy to help! Give us a call 904.299.8684 and be sure to check our list of specials, because right now we are offering $30 off a system tune-up (regularly $99, now only $69). Experience the BOLD difference.