From the Blog

How to maintain a heat pump

Homeowners who have heat pumps systems in their homes know the many benefits they provide. While it is economical to use a heat pumps split system, they still need to be maintained like a traditional gas furnace.

By implementing just two simple habits, you can deliver the type of care necessary for your heat pumps to work efficiently while extending its lifespan.

Heat Pumps Maintenance
Heat pumps maintenance is an important part of caring for your heating system. Heat pumps maintenance should be done twice a year, in between major seasons.

Maintenance helps prevent expensive repairs and permanent damages. Since the heat pumps system works around the clock, it is exceptionally important that specialized care is provided.

During the maintenance call, your heat pumps contractor:

Removes buildup and obstruction inside the heat pumps split system
Tests safety switches, gauges and meters
Resets pressure settings on refrigerant coils
Tests motors and belts
Measures airflow
Changes the air filter
Maintenance also gives your heat pumps contractor the opportunity to speak to you about how the system has changed. Because the system changes as it ages, homeowners should also adjust their usage pattern accordingly.

Clean Out the Heat Pumps’ Outdoor Unit

The heat pumps system relies on outdoor air to adequately heat and cool the home. So, it is important that the heat pumps unit is located in the right place. When it was first installed, your heat pumps contractor most likely chose the best location. However, with time, outdoor settings change.

Homeowners might find that their heat pumps unit has been covered with broken branches, is near a trash bin or around other organic waste. This may hurt the efficiency of your heat pumps system since it has to work doubly hard to filter through the mess. It might also create resistance in airflow, slowing down the air conditioning process.

For these reasons, homeowners are encouraged to closely monitor their heat pumps’ outdoor unit. Position the heat pumps off the ground and away from any plants, trash, dirt or even snow. Clearing the area around the heat pumps also prevents damages.

Keep drains and pipes free of buildup. As efficient as the heat pumps system is, any type of blockage could easily reduce efficiency up to 25 percent.

If you are unsure how to handle your heat pumps and care for the system from home, contact your HVAC contractor. He or she can provide additional help to make your heat pumps last.

Care for Your Heat Pumps with 3D Air Services
Our experts lead in heating and air conditioning installations, repairs, maintenance and air quality services.

3D Air Services  heat pumps contractors guarantee genuine customer service and top technical care. We aim for your total satisfaction.

Schedule a maintenance call. Contact one of our friendly representatives. You can also book an appointment online at your convenience.

205-664-3501

3dairserve.com

3D Air proudly serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Jemison and everywhere in between.

 

Why you’re furnace needs mainteance.

[Read more…]

How to sleep like a baby

Good news for those who always toss and turn at night: your thermostat is the key to a good night’s sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation a cool room, around 65 degrees, makes for the best sleep..

Here’s why.

Why you sleep best in a cool room

Your body’s core temperature naturally decreases and increases as part of its normal sleep-wake rhythm, according to a study by BioMed Central.

“Sleep is most likely to occur when (core body temperature) decreases, while it hardly occurs during the increasing phases,” the study says.

So, lowering the core body temperature gets you closer to “sleep mode.”

And lowering your room’s air temperature is one way to do that.

Basically, think of your bedroom like a cave: It should be cool, quiet and dark.

4 simple ways to help you sleep cooler

Here are a few ways to help lower your core body temperature so that you can sleep soundly.

Set a programmable thermostat. Program a programmable thermostat to lower to around 65 every night so you never have to worry about it. If you’re uncomfortable at 65 degrees, feel free to move it up to 68 or 70.

Turn on your ceiling fan. The air circulation from the fan will help evaporate sweat off your skin, taking heat away from your body (that’s called evaporative cooling).

Drink ice-cold water. Drinking a few sips of ice-cold water at night will cool your core temperature, leaving you more comfortable.

Shower before you go to bed. While the shower will initially heat you up, you’ll experience rapid evaporative cooling when you get out, lowering your core body temperature as a result.

For info on programmable thermostats  call 3D Air Services at 664-3501 or email us service@3dairserve.com

  1. 3D Air Services proudly serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between.

Why my filter gets so dirty?

As a homeowner, you probably already know that replacing your AC air filter is a recurring job.

The simple rule is to replace them as soon as they get dirty.

But how do you know when you’re replacing them too frequently (and wasting money on replacement filters)?

The answer really depends on the kind of filter you’re using.

How often you should replace your air filter

In general, the higher an air filter’s MERV rating, the more frequently you’ll need to replace it. So consider your filter’s rating if you think you’re replacing your filter too often.

Every filter has a MERV rating that refers to how many air contaminants it can catch. The higher the number (between 1 and 20), the fewer contaminants can pass through it.

Need a quick lesson on MERV ratings?

Now let’s take a look at the kinds of air filters available:

Fiberglass

These filters are typically 1” thick and made from spun fiberglass. Fiberglass filters typically need to be replaced about once a month.

Pleated

These filters are made from polyester or paper material. Pleated filters come in a variety of widths (typically from 1 to 6 inches thick).

In general, pleated filters should need to be replaced every 3 to 6 months.

Electrostatic

These filters technically never need to be replaced because they are washable. Air contaminants are trapped between positively and negatively charged materials.

You can expect to vacuum or wash your electrostatic filter at least once a month.

HEPA

HEPA filters are used in most home air purifying systems. They capture the most air contaminants and should be replaced every 12-18 months.

Why you’re replacing your filter more often

There are a number of reasons your filters get clogged and dirty more frequently than they should. Let’s take a look at some of them.

You’re leaving your thermostat fan set to ON

There are 2 options when it comes to your AC fan: AUTO and ON.

When you set your fan to ON, it runs 24/7. And when the air in your home circulates through your filter and AC system non-stop, it’s going to pick up dirt and air contaminants at a much faster rate.

What to do: Choose the fan setting that fits your situation and priorities.

If you have allergy and asthma sufferers in your home and you use a HEPA filter, use the ON setting while you’re home to remove more airborne contaminants and improve your air quality.

If air quality is less of a priority for you and your family, use the AUTO setting. This setting uses less energy, prevents indoor humidity and means you’ll need to change your filter less frequently.

You have many guests and/or pets

More people walking into your home increases the amount of dirt and contaminants in your home. Furry pets also introduce hair, dirt, and pet dander.

And the more contaminants floating around in your home, the faster your filter gets dirty.

What to do: Consider investing in a whole home air filtration system. These advanced filtration systems pick up the contaminants left behind by guests and pets but also have a long service life.

You have leaky air ducts

Leaks in your air ducts introduce dust and dirt from areas like your attic. The more dirt a leaky duct system brings into your home, the more dirt your air filter accumulates.

What to do: Have your ductwork inspected by a professional.

They’ll be able to either repair or replace your duct system to ensure your ducts are leak free, keeping your utility bills lower and preventing you from replacing your filter frequently.

Note: If you have leaky ducts, the unfortunate truth is that you are wasting money every month. According to ENERGYSTAR, the average home loses 20-30% of conditioned air through duct leaks.

3D Air Services proudly serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between.

For more information you can reach us at 205-664-3501


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How to avoid scams with HVAC Repairs

WATCH OUT FOR Birmingham HVAC SCAMS THIS SUMMER!

Talking about scams and dishonest business isn’t really a fun topic; and the fact that these kinds of things exist at all is pretty disheartening. But the truth of the matter is that it does happen. And you need to know how to spot Birmingham HVAC scammers!

At 3D Air Services there is absolutely nothing we take more seriously than protecting our patrons. When you need Birmingham HVAC services, you need a reliable and effective solution. Part of finding this is knowing exactly what to look for, and what to avoid.

HOW TO SPOT AN HVAC SCAM

The summer season unfortunately brings a lot of unsavory characters out of the woodwork. Be wary of any of the following situations:

Unsolicited visits. Professionals do not run around town looking for HVAC problems. When you need our help, you know who to call! If a stranger shows up at your door citing some oddball and sudden HVAC “emergency” that requires immediate attention, don’t be fooled. On the off chance that you’re just dealing with a good samaritan, go ahead and schedule a visit from HVAC professionals. But some off-the-street handyman that wants to come into your home should never be trusted.
“Cash up front” services. If your chosen HVAC technician wants full payment up front, you probably want to drop them. This is a common scam, and most of the time, you’ll never see this person (or your money) ever again. And be doubly wary of cash only services. We live in a modern world, and folks that only accept cash for contracted work probably aren’t pros.
Unprofessional behavior. Your HVAC expert doesn’t need to show up in a suit and tie speaking oxford english or anything, sure. But if you call in for service and the person that shows up is rude, uncouth, or given to withholding information, don’t work with them! Scammers aren’t often all that friendly, and if they are, it usually feels decidedly fake.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A Birmingham HVAC CONTRACTOR

Most of the time, a professional HVAC contractor is pretty easy to spot. When you’re looking for a trustworthy and dependable service, be sure they have:

Credentials. Licensing and insurance are clear hallmarks of a real, professional business. If you’re planning on getting some Birmingham HVAC service, make sure your chosen service experts are actually experts!
Marks and branding. When a 3D Air service vehicle rolls up, you know it’s us. It’s the same for most proper businesses. Uniforms, verifiable business cards, branded vehicles; all of these things are signs that you’re dealing with a real business and not a fly-by-night scammer.
Good reviews. It’s the technological age, and computers are a common part of most United States homes. Use this to your advantage! Seek out testimonials and reviews from actual customers online (they’re pretty easy to find) to see whether or not previous experiences with the company have been positive.

3D Air Services Proud History and Reputation

3D Air Services is mid-sized, locally owned company with a combined 115 years experience in our leadership staff. We strive to be the leader in the delivery of quality, efficiency, and service to our customers in the heating, air conditioning, and indoor air quality systems.  3D Air Services proudly serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between. You can leave us a review on our Google Review Page or Facebook Page.

How You Are Killing Your Air Conditioner

How You Are Killing Your Air Conditioner

Every summer we get calls from Birmingham homeowners who have accidentally killed their air conditioners.  Yes, it is true on How You Are Killing Your Air Conditioner.

The cause of death? Suffocation.

Air conditioners, like people, can suffocate when you restrict the airflow in or out of them. So how do homeowners suffocate their air conditioners? Well, there are 3 common ways.

Covering your air conditioner’s outdoor unit

Decorative AC Cover

Photo Credit Menards.com

Why this is bad: The outside unit’s job is to dump heat from your home to the outside air. And to do this efficiently, it needs a lot of air. A decorative cover (like the one below) restricts airflow to the air conditioner and can kill your AC’s compressor.

The compressor is the heart of your air conditioning system. If it dies and isn’t covered by warranty, the repair will be very expensive. In many cases, you’ll be better off replacing the whole outdoor unit.

A decorative AC cover that will kill your compressor. Do NOT buy!

How to fix it: Remove anything blocking airflow to your outdoor air conditioner unit, including bushes, overhanging tree branches or decorative covers.

Not changing the air filter

dirty_air_filters

Photo Credit unitedfilter.com

Why this is bad: When your air filter gets too dirty, the dirt blocks airflow into the air conditioner. This makes your air conditioner work harder to distribute air. And that can cause problems like:

  • Overheated indoor fan motor overheating
  • Frozen air conditioner (literally)
  • Dead compressor
  • How to fix it: Change your air filter regularly. We recommend checking it every month and changing it whenever it looks dirty.

Notice how the filter on the right is looking dirty? Replace it now.

Closing air vents

Why this is bad: Closing vents in your home is bad for the same reason that a dirty filter is bad: it makes your air conditioner work much harder than it should. And it leads to the same problems:

  • Overheated indoor fan motor overheating
  • Frozen air conditioner (literally)
  • Dead compressor
  • Find out more about Why You Shouldn’t Close Your Air Conditioning Vents to Save Energy

How to fix it: Keep your air vents open. And make sure none of them are blocked by furniture or drapes.

Prevent summer AC deaths with a tune-up

So that’s how you can prevent accidentally killing your air conditioner. But there’s more you can do to prevent a breakdown. Have a professional take a look at your air conditioner and get it ready for summer. Schedule an AC tune-up with 3D Air Services.

3D Air Services proudly serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between. Give us a call to schedule your appointment 664-3501

How a air cleaner works.

If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans that suffer from frustrating, sneezy allergy issues, you likely know a bit about air cleaners. Or if you don’t you probably should! Which is why the experts at 3D Air Services thought it would be a good idea to put one of our favorite air quality improvement devices on the menu for today!

At 3D Air, we prize our ability to improve the air quality in your home. Our experts can bring you cleaner, more comfortable air when you need it most. Air quality is at a premium these days, and we’re ready to deliver! But what exactly is an air cleaner. And better yet, how does it work?
What are air cleaners?

Those in the business of air quality have made it known that the air in your home is basically the same is it is outdoors. With the exception that the air in your home is up to one hundred times more concentrated. That means more dust, debris and pollen than outdoors by orders of magnitude.

Air cleaners, or air purifiers, address the issue by reducing or outright removing common allergens in the home; particularly those that your HVAC system can’t handle. For reference, common heating and cooling systems can only filter out particles around 10 microns. That means they handle lots of particulate matter, but by no means all of it. For all of the rest, there are air cleaners!

How does an air cleaner work?

When it comes to how they operate, there are two “big” forms of air purification: Those that work by way of filters, and ones that use electrical attraction. There are actually tons of purifier technologies, but today we’ll stick with the big guns. Both systems work fine, but they work in very different ways:

Air Filters

These are the most commonly used, and generally considered to be the most dependable purification system. They essentially work much the same as a sieve. Air is cycled into the system by way of fans, or working in tandem with your HVAC system. The air is then passed through a filter, or series of filters to “scrub” out particles that your heating and cooling system won’t catch (as in, most of the allergy-causing and exacerbating stuff).

Electrical Attraction

This type of cleaner breaks down into multiple further types: electrostatic precipitating cleaners, electret filters, and negative ion generators. But they all basic on basically the same principle. Without getting too bogged down in a science lesson, the basic gist is that air is drawn into the system by way of fans. The taken in air is then electrically charged in a way that produces opposite charges; one for clean air, and one for nasty dust, debris and dander particles. The undesirable bits are then attracted to metal plates in the system, and trapped there while the clean air returns to your home.

Which air cleaner is best?

Well, that’s up for a bit of a debate. The best answer is the one that works best for you, and works best in tandem with your heating and cooling system. Not really sure what that means? No worries, the experts at 3D Air can help! Our specialists can help you figure out which system meets your goals best!

Give us a call at 664-3501 or email us at service@3dairserve.com

We proudly serve Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between.

Unbalanced room temperatures?

With the heat fast approaching here in Birmingham,  it maybe time to start dealing with the unbalanced room temperatures again.  Here are some things to look at to help you’re air conditioner not over work.

If you’ve got a room or two that’s colder or hotter than others in your home, then you have one (or both) of these two problems:

  • Air balancing/airflow issues
  • Losing/gaining too much heat in that room

Air balancing is the process of adjusting the amount of cooled and heated air being delivered to each room in your home. Due to improper installation, your system may be unbalanced. Or you may have accidentally done something that’s impeding airflow to certain rooms in your home.

Heat gain/loss is inevitable for every room in your home. But some rooms gain/lose too much heat due to a variety of issues.

In this article, we’ll explain problems that fall into one of these two categories, and then explain how to fix them.

 

Problems you can solve

Dirty filter
A dirty filter blocks return airflow into your heating and cooling system, preventing enough air from being delivered to other rooms. Change the filter if it looks like this one on the right:


Clean filter (left) next to a dirty filter (right)

 

Closed/blocked supply air vents 
You know all those metal grates with levers? Those are supply air vents. Find them and ensure that they’re open. Also, make sure they’re not being blocked by dust, drapes or furniture.


A supply vent that’s open—as it should be.

 

Windows are open or cracked open
Open windows allow your conditioned air to leave and unconditioned air to get inside. Make sure the window is fully shut.

Leaving shades open 
While open shades gives you a nice view and plenty of sunlight, it also allows heat to come and go as it pleases in your home. This causes the room where the window is located to be hotter or cooler than others. By shutting the shades, you’ll keep out more heat in the summer and keep more of it inside during the winter.

Problems an HVAC professional needs to fix

Air duct leaks 
The room may be too hot or cold because too much air is being lost through the duct system due to air leaks.

This problem is pretty common. According to ENERGY STAR, the typical house loses 20-30% of the air that’s moving through the duct system due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. The result? Higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.


Leaks in the supply ducts.

 

Kinks in flexduct
Flexduct is soft ductwork that can bend. If that ductwork gets smushed or kinked, it’ll struggle to deliver air to whatever room it’s connected to. Think of moving air through kinked flexduct like trying to breath through a straw where someone has pinched the straw in the middle.


Some flex duct in a ceiling.

 

Duct damper issues
Duct dampers are valves that control where air can and cannot go in your home. Issues with these dampers can cause your home to be unbalanced, causing some rooms to be hotter or colder than others.

Old, leaky single-pane windows
Single-pane windows (those with only a single layer of glass) often leave your rooms feeling chilly and dry in cold weather and overheated in warm weather. See a window professional about replacing them with energy efficient double-pane glass windows, which have two layers of glass.

Fan speed too slow
A professional may need to speed up your blower’s rpm to match the demand of your home.

3D Air Services proudly serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Calera and everywhere in between.

For all other questions you can call us at 664-3501 or email us at service@3dairserve.com

Struggling air conditioner?

It’s fixing to be hot here in Birmingham, real hot!

And if you’re finding out that your air conditioner can’t keep up, we’ve got you covered. Here are 2 steps to helping improve your AC’s cooling abilities.

Step 1: Keep the heat out

Your air conditioner removes heat from your home. So any time you let heat back in, you’re making it work harder than it needs to. Here are some tips to keep the hot air outside.

Keep windows and doors shut. When you’re leaving, quickly walk through the door and shut it behind you. And it should go without saying that your windows should be closed, also.
Block out the sun. A lot of heat makes its way into your home through your windows. Keep it out by using solar screens and heavy-duty curtains.
Seal air leaks. The areas in your home that are air conditioned should be as air-tight as possible. Take a look in your crawlspace, basement or attic for major air holes like these in the building envelope.
Try some no-cook meals. Your stove and oven create a lot of heat in your home. Try some no-cook meals and use your microwave instead of your oven.

Step 2: Make your air conditioner’s life easier

Next, you need to make sure your air conditioner is operating as efficiently as it can so that it can get you as much cool air as possible. That means:

Change the air filter. Too many homeowners leave their air filter in their AC way too long. This blocks air flow and basically suffocates your air conditioner.
Fix leaky and disconnected ducts. It’s possible that your ducts lose 30% of the air traveling through them because of leaks and other problems. So instead of cooling your home, that air is cooling your attic or other unconditioned space.
Clear the space around your outside unit. Tall weeds, shrubs, bushes and debris around your outside air conditioning unit decreases airflow, making it difficult for the unit to ‘dump’ the heat from your home.
Get the AC professionally cleaned. If the coils in your air conditioner get dirty, they can make it more difficult for your air conditioner to cool your home. It’s one of the reasons most manufacturers recommend an annual AC tune-up.
Open up ALL the vents. Don’t close vents in unused rooms. Closing vents to lower energy bills is dated advice that should be ignored.

3D Air Services proudly serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Calera and everywhere on between. For questions call is at (205)664-3501 or email us at service@3dairserve.com

Air conditioner blowing hot?

Trying to stay cool in an Birmingham home, There’s nothing worse than sitting in your home and realizing that your air conditioner is blowing hot air–especially during the sickeningly hot summer months.

Even though It’s not summer yet, you don’t want to look for answers for why your air conditioner isn’t working when you’re burning up inside your home. It’s best to know the reasons ahead of time so you’ll know how to avoid them or when to call a professional.

So what causes this annoying phenomena? Here are 4 common reasons:

1) Thermostat turned to heat mode

Ok, this might be a huge “duh” but if you’re getting hot air, you might have accidentally flipped your thermostat to “heat” mode. It happens to all of us. If that’s the case, switch it back to “cool” and you’re good to go.

2) Dirty evaporator coil caused by a dirty air filter

Chances are, your thermostat is set to cool, and you’re still getting hot air. Now what?

The cause could be a dirty evaporator coil caused by a dirty air filter. This keeps your air conditioner from properly cooling your home. You can change the filter, but you’ll need a professional to clean the evaporator coil.

3) Outside AC unit not properly maintained

Walk outside and look at your air conditioner’s outside condenser unit. What do you see?

Is there anything blocking the condenser coils air flow? Are they blocked with dirt and debris?

If so, this seriously impacts your air conditioner’s cooling ability.

Cleaning the condenser coils needs to be a regular activity during the summertime.

4) Low on refrigerant/Freon

This is the usual culprit. Your air conditioner needs a proper refrigerant (usually Freon) charge to cool your home.

So a Freon leak can leave you feeling the heat since you’ll have a complete loss of cold air.

You can tell if your air conditioner doesn’t have enough Freon if ice forms on the inside and outside units.

Getting a Freon charge is best left to a professional.

Get AC maintenance done during the spring

Keeping an eye on these problems will not only will this keep your air conditioner from blowing hot air, it will also prevent a costly breakdown. And the last thing you want is a breakdown during summer.

So it only makes sense to get preventative maintenance done during the spring before it gets too hot.

3D Air Services proudly serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Calera and everywhere in between.