From the Blog

Indoor air quality & asthma.

Does anyone in your family suffer from asthma? If so, you probably know that symptoms of the disease can vary depending on a person’s surroundings. There are certain triggers that bring on asthma symptoms, and the key to making the condition more manageable is limiting a person’s exposure to those triggers, especially at home. Today we’re going to talk about how cleaning your home’s air can eliminate asthma triggers and help improve the symptoms for anyone in your home who suffers from asthma!

Asthma triggers that are commonly found at home

People are exposed to asthma triggers via contaminants in the air that they breathe. Often times, those contaminants are present in higher quantities indoors than they are outdoors. That’s because homes and buildings tend to be tightly sealed, which traps contaminants inside with nowhere to go.

Some of the most common asthma triggers that are found in the air in homes include:

Dust mites
Pet dander
High humidity
Chemicals from cleaners and other household products
How to clean your home’s air and reduce asthma triggers

By removing the asthma triggers listed above from your home’s air, people in your home who suffer from asthma will breathe much easier and asthma attacks can be much less frequent. Some of the best strategies for cleaning your homes air and removing asthma triggers include:

Installing an air cleaner. A standard air filter’s primary job is to protect your furnace and air conditioner from dirt buildup. As a side effect of that job, it can remove small quantities of asthma triggers from your home’s air. However, a standard filter is not nearly as effective at removing contaminants from your home’s air as an air cleaner, which is designed with the health of your family in mind. An air cleaner can remove up to 99 percent of the asthma triggers in your home’s air, including tiny contaminants that would flow right past a standard air filter. Installing an air cleaner is the number one way to relieve asthma symptoms at home.
Changing your air filter regularly. If you do have a standard filter installed in your home, it’s important to change it on a regular basis. If your filter is dirty, it will not effectively remove asthma triggers like dust and pet dander from your home’s air. Check your filter once per month and change it as needed.
Keeping your home clean. Another good way to keep your home’s air clean is to remove contaminants at their source. About once per week, perform routine cleaning tasks like vacuuming, wiping dusty surfaces (with a wet rag rather than a duster) and washing your bedding. This will limit the amount of asthma triggers that can get carried away into your home’s airflow.
Taking good care of your cooling system. High humidity is a known asthma trigger, and one of the best ways to keep your home’s humidity levels under control is to take good care of your air conditioner. That’s because common problems like dirty cooling coils and a clogged condensate drain will impair your system’s ability to remove moisture from your home’s air. Make sure to get your air conditioner tuned-up once per year and give 3D Air Services a call as soon as you expect any problems with your  system.

3D Air Services recommends a indoor air quality or IAQ package of the Aprilaire Air Cleaner matches with the Guardian Air Purifier. The Aprilaire greatly reduces dust and the Guardian kills mold, bacteria, & viruses in the air.

 

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

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

 

How Humidity Effects Your Home

imageWhen your air conditioner is running, it’s not just cooling down your home; it is lowering humidity levels as well. That’s because when heat is removed from air moisture is released in the form of condensation. So if something goes wrong with your air conditioner, your home’s humidity levels can get too high and cause all kinds of issues. Today we’re going to talk about the effects of high humidity levels at home and what you can do to ensure your air conditioner can effectively remove moisture from the air!

The effects of high humidity at home Comfort and efficiency issues. When humidity levels are high, homes tend to feel warmer than they actually are. As a result, many people lower their thermostat settings to compensate for the uncomfortable environment. This is a waste of energy because your air conditioner will have to work harder to make your home feel comfortable.
Unhealthy air. Airborne contaminants like bacteria, viruses and dust mites tend to thrive in areas of high humidity. Not only does this increase the likelihood of people in your home getting sick, but it also makes symptoms worse for people who suffer from asthma or allergies.
Excess condensation. High humidity means there is excess moisture in the air. This tends to be most visible on your windows where you can see condensation dripping down the glass. If this happens for a prolonged period of time, it can damage wooden frames and nearby walls.
Damage to furniture. When there is a lot of moisture in the air, wooden furniture can get damp and stained. In severe cases, this can cause permanent damage.
Damage to musical instruments. Humidity can be a huge problem for instruments that are made of wood, such as guitars and violins. The moisture in the air causes the wood to swell, which can cause glue joints to fail, finish to lift, and neck angles to go bad.
Spoiled food. Certain foods can go bad quickly if humidity levels are high. This is most problematic for food that you would normally store in a cabinet or on the counter, such as bread and starchy vegetables.
Keep humidity levels under control by taking care of your air conditioner

The best way to ensure that humidity levels stay under control during summer is to take good care of your air conditioner. If your air conditioner is dirty, experiencing operational issues or having problems with the condensate line, it will not be able to remove moisture as effectively as it should. By scheduling annual tune-ups and regularly changing your air filter, you can greatly help avoid problems like these and keep your home’s humidity at the right levels.

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

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

 

Common sources of heat gain

Air conditioners don’t technically “produce” cool air. Instead, they remove heat from your home’s air in order to cool it down. So the more heat that your home contains, the harimageder your air conditioner will have to work to keep your home comfortable. “Heat gain” is a term that’s used to describe heat that is added to your home from an indoor or outdoor source. Today we’re going to talk about  of the most common sources of heat gain in your home so that you can help minimize their effects and improve the comfort and efficiency levels in your home!

Common sources of heat gain in Birmingham area homes

Sunlight shining through windows. When the sun is shining on a hot summer day, its rays can beam right through your windows and add a significant amount of heat to your home. There are a few different ways you can help limit this source of heat gain. First, you can close the drapes and blinds on your windows to block out the sun during the day. Second, you can provide shade to your windows by either installing awnings or planting trees near them. Third, you can install more efficient windows that are designed to reduce air leakage and minimize heat gain.
Sunlight beaming down on your roof. In most homes, the attic on the top level is not a conditioned space. As a result, an attic can get extremely hot during the day when the sun beats down on your roof. This heat can infiltrate downwards into your home’s living spaces, resulting in heat gain. You can minimize this source of heat gain by improving insulation levels in your attic so that heat doesn’t make it through the attic floor.
Cooking activities. Most cooking activities involve some sort of heat-producing appliance, whether that be the oven, the stove or a crockpot. While you are cooking with those appliances, heat is constantly being added to your kitchen and warming up the other surrounding rooms. You can limit this source of heat gain by using your microwave as an alternative whenever possible or taking your cooking completely outside onto your grill.
Indoor appliances. Lamps, computers, washing machines, dishwashers and driers are just a few examples of the types of heat-producing appliances that can be found in almost every home. You should use these appliances wisely in order to minimize the amount of heat gain that they can produce. Make sure to turn off lamps, computers and other electronics when they are not in use, and try as best you can to only do laundry or the dishes at night when it’s cooler outside.
Showers. The hot water that we use in the shower produces water vapor that can quickly heat up a bathroom and also seep outside to the surrounding rooms. The easiest ways to limit this source of heat gain are to take shorter showers and make sure to run your bathroom’s ventilation fan while you are bathing.
People. Human bodies naturally give off heat, which is why the amount off people in your family is something we take into account when sizing an air conditioner for your home. This is a source of heat gain that’s usually out of your control, but you can help minimize it by spending more time outside, especially when you are hosting a lot of guests.

For any other questions call us at 205-664-3501 or email us at , service@3dairserve.com

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

 

Turning off my air conditioner?

If you talk to your friends or search around the Internet, it seems like everyone has a different opinion about what you should do with your air conditioner when you’re away from home. Is it a good idea to shut off your system completely or should you raise your thermostat setting instead? Also, what should be done with your air conditioner during severe weather? Today we’re going to offer our expert opinion on these issues by answering the question, “Should I ever turn off my air conditioner?”

Should I turn off my air conditioner when I leave for work?

First, we’ll address the most common situation in this debate. Many homes are unoccupied during the weekdays when family members are at work or school. Can you save energy by turning off your air conditioner during those hours?

Of course you can save energy by shutting off your air conditioner, because your system won’t consume energy when it’s not being used. The problem arises when you get home and turn your air conditioner back on. If you leave your system off throughout the day, temperature levels in your home will consistently rise. Temperatures will get so high, in fact, that the amount of energy it takes to cool your home back down to a comfortable level will cancel out any energy that you saved by leaving your system off.

In addition to efficiency issues, there are other side effects of turning off your A/C during the day. If you have pets, for example, it might be unsafe for them to be left alone in the heat during the day. Also, the last thing you want during a hard day at work is to come home to a hot and humid home. You might have to wait a few hours before your home cools back down a comfortable level.

Instead of turning off your air conditioner when you leave for work, we suggest raising your normal thermostat setting by about 2-3 degrees to save energy while you’re away.

Should I turn off my air conditioner when I go on vacation?

Many people consider shutting off their air conditioners before they leave for vacation. Not only will this amplify the problems listed above, but it can also lead to even more serious issues.

By leaving off your air conditioner for days at a time, nothing will be done to control humidity levels inside your home. If humidity levels are high for an extended period of time, wooden furniture can warp, paint and wallpaper can peel, condensation can stain your walls and ceilings and your home can develop a musty smell.

Another issue with leaving your air conditioner off during vacation is that your refrigerator will have to work extremely hard because the area surrounding it will be hot. Not only will this increase your energy bills, but it can also damage your refrigerator or cause it to leak water.

Instead of turning off your air conditioner before you leave for vacation, we suggest setting your thermostat to around 78-80 degrees.

Should I turn off my air conditioner during a storm?

Air conditioners are built to withstand the elements outside, so you should not be concerned with running your system when it’s rainy or windy.

The only time you might consider turning off your air conditioner is when there is a lot of lightning nearby. Shutting off your system may help protect your system from a power surge, but you should be sure to turn your system back on as soon as the storm passes. Better yet, ask 3D Air Services about installing a surge protector for your air conditioner and furnace. A surge protector will protect your heating and cooling system from power surges so that you truly never have to worry about shutting it off.

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

3D Air Services serves Birmingham, Pelham, Alabaster, Hoover, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between. We are open 8-6 with emergency service available.

 

 

Reduce indoor humidity.

Next to the actual temperature indoors, humidity levels play the second biggest role in your home’s comfort levels. When humidity levels are high, your home feels warmer, the air feels thicker and your body often feels sweatier. Luckily, there are many things you can do to keep your home’s humidity levels at a manageable level during the humid summers here in the Birmingham area. Today we’re going to help you do that by talking about how to reduce indoor humidity levels!

How to reduce indoor humidity levels during summer

Run your air conditioner. When your air conditioner is running, it is the performing two jobs: cooling your home and dehumidifying your air. As warm and humid air is blown over your air conditioner’s evaporator coils, moisture is released from the air and humidity levels go down. Although we don’t suggest lowering your thermostat setting just so your air conditioner can dehumidify your home, it’s nice to know that your system is helping take care of the problem while it’s operating!
Install the right sized air conditioner. Air conditioners can only effectively dehumidify your air if they are sized properly for your home. Oversized air conditioners have very brief cooling cycles, which doesn’t give them enough time to remove moisture from your home’s air. Always make sure you work with a high-quality contractor like 3D Air Services for your air conditioner installations so you can avoid this problem!
Use ventilation fans. Your home likely has ventilation fans installed in your bathrooms and kitchen, and possibly a few other rooms. You should run these fans whenever you are doing something in those rooms that produces moisture, such as showering in the bathroom or cooking in the kitchen. Ventilation fans will remove water vapor and moisture from the air and dispense it directly outside so that they don’t affect humidity levels in the rest of your home.
Run washer and dryer at night. Your washer and dryer give off a lot of moisture into the air while they are operating. That’s why it’s a good idea to only run these appliances at night when the humidity levels in your home are already lower. In addition, consider cracking the window open in your laundry room while you’re running your washer and dryer to allow humidity to ventilate outdoors.
Shorten your showers. When you are showering, water vapor is consistently released into the air. This can seep out of the bathroom and affect the humidity in other parts of your home. You can help reduce the amount of moisture that’s released into the air by shortening your showers during summer. This will also help save energy and water!
Get a tune-up for your air conditioner. A poorly-maintained air conditioner is not nearly as effective at reducing indoor humidity levels as a well-maintained system. During a tune-up from 3D Air Services, we’ll perform tasks like cleaning your cooling coils and inspecting your condensate drain so that your system can effectively remove moisture from the air and drain it out of your home.

For any other questions call 3D Air Services at 664-3501 or email us at service@3dairserve.com We are open 8-6 with emergency service available.

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

 

 

How to use air conditioning at night.

Summer days here in the Birmingham area can be hot and muggy, but nighttime offers us a bit of relief with milder temperatures and lower humidity levels. So when it comes to using your air conditioner, what kinds of adjustments can you make at night to take advantage of the milder weather outside? Today we’re going to answer that question by talking about four tips for using air conditioning at night!

4 tips for using air conditioning at night in your Birmingham area home

Raise your thermostat temperature before bed. One of the easiest times of the day to conserve energy is during the hours that you spend sleeping. For one, the temperature outside is typically the coolest during these hours, so our air conditioners do not need to work as hard. In addition, our sleeping bodies are not as affected by slightly warmer temperatures like we are when we’re awake. Try raising your thermostat setting 2-3 degrees before you go to bed and see whether or not it affects your sleep. Most people will find that it doesn’t. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it so that it automatically raises your thermostat when you go to bed and then changes it back to a cooler setting that’s ready for you by the time you wake up.
Turn off electronics before going to bed. Our homes are filled with electronics these days, and they can add a surprising amount of heat to our homes even when they are not in use. Since you’re not going to be using any electronics while you’re sleeping, turn off and/or unplug things like computers, TV’s and lamps before you go to bed. This will help ease the load on your air conditioner while you sleep.
Use bedroom fans. If you find that raising your thermostat temperature before bed leads to an uncomfortable night’s sleep, try turning on a bedroom fan. Many bedroom fans are located right above the bed, which means they blow air directly onto us while we sleep. This wind-chill effect can keep you cool while using a higher thermostat setting to save energy during the sleeping hours.
Open windows on cooler nights. On the cooler summer nights of the year, consider opening up your windows to let some cool air in and give your air conditioner a break. This will also allow you to ventilate moist and humid air that might have built up in your home during the day and stuck around at night.

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

3D Air Services is open 8-6 with emergency service available. We serve Birmingham, Alabaster, Pelham, Hoover, Helena, Vestavia, Calera, Mountain Brook, Jemison, Gardendale  and areas in between.