From the Blog

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.

The silent killer, Carbon Monoxide

In typical Birmingham fashion, the temperatures have been pretty mild this winter season. No surprise there. Wearing shorts in January is quite a privilege, and is a tease for those who despise the cold weather. Unfortunately, we still have plenty of winter left to endure before we can put our coats away. That means our furnaces and fireplaces will be fired up to keep our homes warm and comfortable through the cold. Although the thought of a warm fireplace brings back even warmer memories, you must remember that the cost of comfort can come with a price. And we’re not talking about your utility bill.

Fireplace Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide Danger

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is colorless, odorless, and extremely deadly. And what’s most frightening about this silent killer, is how easy it is to be exposed to it. CO is the incomplete combustion of fuels, and is very prominent in auto exhaust, power tools, water heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, and more. You may be thinking, “If carbon monoxide is nearly undetectable by my senses, how will I know if I’m being exposed to it?” Your body will give you signals of distress when you are experiencing toxic amounts of CO.

Nausea Carbon Monoxide

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning typically involve nausea, severe headaches, impaired judgment, and more. The symptoms have been described as “flu-like,” minus some common Flu characteristics, such as fever or swollen lymph nodes. Sadly, many lives are lost when people fail to address these symptoms as exposure to carbon monoxide. More so, exposure to the gas can take lives while people are sleeping. This makes the situation even more frightening, because CO poisoning turns fatal alarmingly fast. So how do we protect ourselves and our loved ones from being poisoned in our own homes?

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

How Do I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Danger In My Home?

Carbon monoxide may be difficult to detect, but not impossible. Carbon monoxide detectors are an absolute must-have item for your home. The life-saving benefits and peace of mind highly outweigh any cost. You never know when an appliance may go bad, and start leaking carbon monoxide into your home. Carbon monoxide detectors will give you the warning you need to find fresh air and seek help. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t require too much heating use throughout the year, CO detectors are still a must, as carbon monoxide is a threat that can occur anytime.

For any questions call 3D Air Services at 664-3501 or email us at service&3dairserve.com

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

 

Furnace Safety Features

Burning gas comes with some inherent safety concerns. If it is not done in a controlled environment, there is always the possibility of a fire, an explosion or the release of carbon monoxide into the air. That’s why gas furnaces come with a number of safety devices that protect your home and your family in the event that something goes wrong with your system. Today we’re going to help familiarize you with these devices by talking about five safety features that are included inside a furnace!

5 furnace safety features that protect your home from a malfunctioning system

Limit switch. A limit switch is located just above a furnace’s heat exchanger and just below the supply plenum. Its job is to measure the temperature outside of your furnace’s combustion chamber. If the limit switch detects flames or temperatures that are too high, that means that flames are reaching outside of the combustion chamber, which is a fire hazard. When the limit switch is activated, it immediately shuts off the gas supply to your furnace in order to prevent flames from spreading or carbon monoxide from getting into your home’s air. Your furnace will have to be reset by a professional before it is turned back on.
Thermocouple. In older furnaces with traditional pilot lights, the thermocouple is a safety device that checks whether or not the pilot light is burning properly. The thermocouple is connected to the gas valve that leads to the pilot light and has a sensor that detects heat from the burning flame. If the flame goes out or is burning weakly, the thermocouple shuts off the gas supply to the pilot light in order to prevent gas from leaking into other parts of your furnace.
Mercury flame sensor. Newer furnaces have intermittent pilot lights or electronic ignitions instead of traditional pilot lights. In these systems, a mercury flame sensor is used to perform the same job as the thermocouple.
Air pressure switch. Modern day furnaces have a small fan called a draft inducer that runs after each heating cycle. This fan blows leftover gas out of the combustion chamber in order to clear it out before the next heating cycle. The draft inducer has a safety device called an air pressure switch that measures how much air is being blown by the inducer. If it detects that the pressure is too low, it shuts off the gas supply to the system in order to prevent gas from building up inside of the combustion chamber.
Carbon monoxide detectors. Although carbon monoxide detectors are not part of your furnace, they are closely linked to your furnace’s safety because they will warn you if your system has a carbon monoxide leak. 3D Air Services offers low level carbon monoxide detectors that can detect much lower levels of carbon monoxide than store-bought detectors, and they will warn you as CO is building up in your air instead of waiting until it’s already at a dangerous level.

For any other questions call 3D Air Services at 664-3501 or email us at service@3dairserve.com

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

 

Benefits of a Furnace Tune up.

Although it doesn’t yet feel like it outside, the heating season has begun here at 3D Air Services. That’s because we have started performing furnace tune-ups for our clients in order to get their homes ready for the upcoming heating season. Scheduling an annual furnace tune-up is essential for every home, even if you didn’t encounter any problems with your system last year. Today we’re going to explain why annual professional maintenance is so important for your family and your home by talking about six benefits of getting a furnace tune-up from 3D Air Services!

6 benefits of getting a furnace tune-up from 3D Air Services.

It will ensure your furnace will operate safely. This benefit alone is reason enough to schedule a tune-up every year. Your furnace burns natural gas to produce heat, which means your home can be a safety hazard if your system is malfunctioning. During a tune-up, we’ll perform a full safety inspection and fix problems that might lead to safety issues down the line, such as carbon monoxide leaks and fire hazards.
It will keep your system’s warranty intact. Most furnace warranties require you to have an annual tune-up performed on your system in order for the warranty to remain valid. That’s because furnace manufacturers understand how important annual tune-ups are to the performance and longevity of your system.
It will save money on your heating bills. Many of the tasks that we perform during your furnace tune-up will increase the efficiency of your system. This means that your heating bills this winter will be much lower than they would have been if you skipped out on a tune-up.
It will dramatically reduce the chance of your heat going out. If the heat goes out in your home in the middle of winter, your house will be extremely cold and it could put some of your family members in danger. Furnace tune-ups are as much about preventing future problems as they are about fixing existing problems, which is why a tune-up will make it unlikely that your home will be left without heat at any point this winter.
It will avoid the need for repairs that could have been prevented. Furnaces that don’t have annual tune-ups are much more likely to experience performance problems or completely break down during winter. Not only would this be an inconvenience for you, but it would also force you to spend money on repairs that likely could have been prevented during a tune-up. The small amount of money you spend on a tune-up will greatly reduce the likelihood that you’ll have to spend money on repairs down the road.
It will prevent long-term damage to your system. Scheduling annual tune-ups is one of the best ways to extend the life of your furnace. That’s because we perform tasks like cleaning your system, lubricating moving parts and checking connections that will keep all of your system’s parts in good working condition.

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

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

Furnace Efficiency

If you want to heat your home without breaking the bank, it takes morimagee than just a high efficiency furnace. Although having an efficient furnace is a great start, there are a number of other factors that influence the efficiency of your home. Below are five factors that can decrease the efficiency of your furnace and what you can do to avoid them.

5 factors that affect furnace efficiency
Lack of maintenance. If you don’t have annual maintenance performed on your furnace, it can become inefficient, unreliable and a safety hazard to your home. Homeowners who skip out on their annual tune-ups often experience increasingly high energy bills as the years go on. With annual maintenance, your furnace will be brought back up to its peak efficiency and consume less energy all winter long.
Dirty filters. When dirt and other airborne particles build up on your filter, it makes it much harder for your furnace to push air through your system. To make up for the blockage in airflow, your furnace works harder and consumes more energy. Make sure to change your filters regularly, especially this time of year when our fur naces are running consistently and particles build up on our filters quickly.
High thermostat settings. It is common knowledge that the higher you set your thermostat temperature, the more energy your furnace will consume. As we wrote previously in this blog, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort to save energy with your thermostat. Simply find the lowest settings you’re comfortable with and stick to an energy-saving schedule for your home temperatures throughout the week.
Not enough insulation. Insulation acts as a protective barrier between your home’s conditioned and unconditioned spaces. Without enough insulation, your home will have a hard time containing heat and your furnace will have to consume more energy to make up for it. Make sure your home is insulated to the proper R-value to avoid losing energy.
Air leaks. Warm air naturally travels toward colder temperatures. If you have air leaks in your home during winter, the warm air that your furnace produces will escape outside. Again, this will force your furnace to work harder and lead to a spike in your energy bills. Check for air leaks in your home and seal up any problem areas that you find.

For any other questions call 3D Air Services at 664-3501 or email us at service@3dairserve.com

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

New Furnace Mistakes.

Are you in the market for a new furnace? This can be quite a daunting process! There are many different furnaces to choose from, and the system you select (as well as the contractor you work with for the installation) can have a big impact on your home’s comfort and efficiency levels for years to come. Today we’re going to make the process a little easier by talking about some of the biggest furnace buying mistakes you can make and help you select the perfect heating system for your home!

4 big furnace buying mistakes to avoid when you’re in the market for a new system

Working with a low-cost, low-quality contractor. In many ways, choosing the right contractor is the most important part of buying a new furnace. There are low-quality contractors out there who will try to offer extremely low installation prices just to get your business, only to perform the installation poorly or install a system that isn’t sized right for your home. The mistakes that a bad contractor can make during a furnace installation will end up costing you a whole lot of money in the form of future repair costs and high heating bills. A high-quality contractor like 3D Air Services will match your home with the perfect heating system and perform the installation the right way so that your system will operate at its peak efficiency and performance levels.
Focusing on price alone. Another big mistake that some homeowners make is focusing too much on the initial price of the furnace that they choose. Although high-efficiency furnaces cost more up-front than mid-efficiency systems, a furnace with a high AFUE rating will save you money in the long run because it will result in lowering monthly heating bills for years to come. We know that the up-front cost of a furnace is important, but it should not be the only factor you consider when choosing a system.
Not thinking about fuel-type. Furnaces can use a variety of different heat sources, including natural gas, electricity and oil. Unless you install a heat pump, which is a highly-efficient electricity-powered heating system, the most efficient heat source for furnaces is natural gas. If your current furnace is not gas-powered, you should consider replacing it with one that is because natural gas is the least expensive heat source.
Not considering signing up for a maintenance agreement. You will spend good money on your new furnace, so it’s important to take good care of it throughout its operating life. One of the best ways to do that is by signing up for an HVAC maintenance agreement. 3D Air Services maintenance clubs include annual tune-ups for your furnace, in addition to other great time- and money-saving benefits. Signing up for a maintenance agreement will maximize your investment in your new system and ensure that it runs great for years to come.

For any other questions call 3D Air Services at 664-3501 or email us at service@3dairserve.com

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