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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Humidifier Pros & Cons

The fall and winter months bring more than just colder temperatures to the Birmingham area; they are also accompanied by lower humidity levels. Low humidity can have all kinds of effects on your health and your home, but it can easily be controlled with the help of a humidifier. If you’re interested in installing a humidifier and can’t decide between a whole house and a portable model, the whole house humidifier pros and cons listed below should make your decision a breeze!

Whole house humidifier pros
Control the humidity of your entire house with one unit. Whole house humidifiers are installed as a part of your existing heating system. As a result, one unit will control the humidity levels of your entire home. Portable humidifiers, on the other hand, can only control the humidity of one room at a time. In order to match the effectiveness of a whole house humidifier, you’d either have to buy multiple portable units (which wastes energy and money) or drag a portable unit with you from room to room (which is not practical).
Require very little maintenance. The maintenance involved with a whole house humidifier is very minimal. Since it’s attached to your existing plumbing system, there is no need to add water every day like you have to with a portable unit. Portable units also require regular cleaning, which only needs to be done with a whole house unit about once a year.
Quiet and out of sight. Because they are installed with your heating system, whole house humidifiers are hidden away and virtually unnoticeable. Portable humidifiers can be noisy and are always on display, which is an eyesore for many homeowners.
Whole house humidifier cons
More expensive than portable units. Whole house humidifiers come with a higher sticker price than portable units. However, as you saw above, whole house models are more effective at controlling indoor humidity levels. Whole house humidifiers can also lower your energy bills because you feel warmer in a home with higher humidity, which allows you to lower your thermostat temperature.
Requires professional installation. Portable humidifiers can be used out-of-the-box, whereas whole house models must be installed by a professional like 3D Air Services. Once the unit is installed, however, it will require much less attention and maintenance than a portable model.

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.

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.

How many degrees a air conditioner will cool down?

There’s nothing quite like walking inside on a hot and muggy day and feeling that cool relief of an air conditioned home. By maintaining a much lower temperature in our home  than the temperature outside, our air conditioners are what make the hot summers in the Birmingham area manageable. But how much of a temperature difference can your air conditioner actually achieve between indoor and outdoor air? Today we’re going to talk about the maximum temperature drop that your air conditioner can handle between indoor and outdoor air what implications that has on your home’s thermostat settings!

How much can an air conditioner drop the temperature in your home?

Have you ever looked at your thermostat on an extremely hot day and noticed that it’s a few degrees warmer in your home than where your thermostat is set? You might think your air conditioner is just catching up, so you wait a few minutes while your system is running and check your thermostat again. To your surprise, it’s still warmer in your home than it’s supposed to be! Does this mean that your air conditioner isn’t working properly? Not so fast!

When air blows over your air conditioner’s cooling coils, the temperature of the air drops about 20 degrees. If your system were to cool down the temperature of your air any lower, the air coming out of your vents would be frigid and uncomfortable. What this means is that your air conditioner supports a maximum temperature drop of about 20 degrees between supply and return air.

On most days, a 20 degree temperature drop is perfectly fine and your home will stay right around the temperature at which you set your thermostat. On extremely hot days, however, your air conditioner might not be able to cool down your home to its normal temperature. If it’s 100 degrees outside, for example, your air conditioner might only be capable of cooling your home down to 80 degrees (although likely a bit lower since your indoor return air is usually cooler than the air outside).

Take an air conditioner’s maximum temperature drop in consideration when setting your thermostat

Now that you know about your air conditioner’s maximum temperature drop, you can use that information to choose the right thermostat setting when it’s extremely hot outside. If you know it’s going to be a very hot day, consider raising your thermostat setting a few degrees to ease the load on your air conditioner. This will help prevent your system from overheating and breaking down on a day when it’s already working overtime.

The worst thing you can do on an extremely hot day is to set your thermostat temperature even lower than usual in an attempt to make your home cooler. All this will do is force your air conditioner to work non-stop and will greatly increase the likelihood of something going wrong.

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

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

5 Reasons to Consider a new Thermostat

When to Replace Your Thermostat: 5 Situations When You Should Consider a New Unit
Thermostats are tightly integrated with your heating and cooling system, but that doesn’t mean you have to use the same thermostat throughout the lifetime of your furnace and air conditioner. In fact, there are a number of reasons why you might consider replacing your current thermostat even if you won’t be replacing your heating and cooling system any time soon. Today we’re going to talk about 5 situations when you should consider replacing your thermostat and how it can benefit your home!

5 situations when you should consider replacing your thermostat

You’re replacing your heating and cooling system. Perhaps the most obvious time that you’ll want to replace your thermostat is when you install a new heating and cooling system. It’s rare that you’ll want to keep the same thermostat when you switch to a new system for a couple of reasons. For one, your thermostat is likely old and there are sure to be much better models out there now than there were when your current thermostat was installed. Also, your current thermostat might not be compatible with the design and features of the system that you’re about to install.
You’re adding a zoning system. A zoning system divides your home into separate sections that each have their own thermostat. In addition to installing more thermostats in your home when you add a zoning system, you might need to replace your current thermostat. That’s because not every thermostat is compatible with a zoning system, so you’ll likely need to replace your current unit with a thermostat that can control zoned heating and cooling.
You have a manual thermostat. Do you have to walk up to your thermostat and change it manually every time that you want to adjust your home’s temperature levels? If so, you should consider replacing your manual thermostat with a programmable model. A programmable thermostat allows you to save different settings for different times of the day, and it will adjust itself automatically without you having to lift a finger.
You prefer a touchscreen display. We live in a digital world where most of our gadgets are controlled by touchscreens instead of manual buttons. Touchscreens are not only easier to use, but they also tend to look better on a wall. If you have an outdated dial or button thermostat, consider replacing it with one that has a touchscreen display.
You want to control your thermostat remotely. More and more appliances are being designed with “smart” capabilities that connect them to the Internet, and thermostats are no exception. If you’d like to monitor and adjust your home’s comfort levels remotely, consider replacing your thermostat with a Wi-Fi enabled model.

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

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

 

Effects of a dirty air conditioner?

What are the Effects of a Dirty Air Conditioner?
Dirt can be a nuisance anywhere in your home, but one place that it poses some of the biggest problems is mostly hidden from view: inside your air conditioner. Dirt buildup on your air conditioner can cause huge performance and efficiency problems, which is why you should take steps to keep your system clean. Today we’re going to help you do that by talking about the effects of a dirty air conditioner and what you can do to prevent dirt from building up on your system!

How does an air conditioner get dirty?

When your air conditioner is operating, it pulls in air from your rooms in order to be cooled. As this happens, any dirt that has built up in your rooms can get caught up in your system’s airflow. That dirt travels through your return ducts until it encounters your air filter. If you have a good and clean air filter, the dirt should get trapped by the filter and only clean air should move on past it. If your filter is dirty or inefficient, dirt can bypass your filter and build up on your air conditioner’s components.

Dirt can also build up on your air conditioner’s outdoor unit over time simply due to the fact that it operates outside where dirt and debris are constantly blown around.

What are the effects of a dirty air conditioner?

Airflow can get blocked. If your air filter is completely covered in dirt, your system’s airflow will be severely impaired. That’s because your air handler will have to work extremely hard to try to push air past the clogged filter. This will greatly increase your system’s energy consumption and can also damage your air handler.
Your air handler can slow down. When dirt builds up on your air handler’s fan’s blades, the blades will not be able to spin as fast. As a result, your fan might not be able to operate powerfully enough to meet your home’s airflow demands. Your fan will also consume more energy while attempting to make up for the lack of performance.
Your cooling coils can lose effectiveness. Inside your home, your air conditioner blows warm air over evaporator coils and the coils remove heat from that air. Meanwhile outside, your condensing unit blows air over condenser coils, transferring heat from your home to the air outside. If either sets of these coils have a layer of dirt on them, the transfer of heat will be much more difficult. This can impair the ability of your air conditioner to adequately cool your home and often leads to frozen evaporator coils.
Your thermostat can get improper readings. If your air conditioner is cycling a lot of dirt in your home’s air, that dirt can build up on your thermostat. This can cause your thermostat to give false temperature readings, which can make it nearly impossible to keep your home comfortable.
How can you prevent your air conditioner from getting dirty?

Get annual tune-ups for your air conditioner. During a tune-up, we’ll perform a full system cleaning on your air conditioner in order to remove any dirt that might have built up since your last maintenance appointment.
Change your air filter every month. Your air filter is responsible for protecting your air conditioner from dirt buildup. In order to ensure it can do its job properly, change your filter every month.
Regularly clean your home. By controlling dirt at its source, you can limit the amount of it that gets caught up in your home’s airflow. Sweeping, vacuuming and wiping your home’s surfaces will all help remove dirt from your home and limit the amount or dirt that your air conditioner is exposed to.

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.

 

 

Common Thermostat Issues

Your thermostat is one of your air conditioner’s most important components. It’s responsible for telling your air conditioner when to turn off and on, so if your unit is malfunctioning your home has a small chance of staying comfortable. Today we’re going to help you understand what can go wrong with your thermostat by talking about six common thermostat problems that you might encounter in your home!

6 common thermostat problems you might encounter in your Birmingham area home

1) Bad location. In order for your thermostat to get proper readings of your home’s temperature levels, it’s critical that it is installed in a good location. If your thermostat is located in direct sunlight, in a drafty area, near a heat-producing appliance or somewhere that’s not near the center of your home, the temperatures that it reads will likely be inaccurate. If your thermostat is reading the wrong temperatures, your air conditioner will turn on and off at the wrong times and your home will suffer from comfort and efficiency issues. Contact 3D Air Services if you suspect that your thermostat is in a bad spot in your home so that we can analyze its position and move it if necessary.
2)Electrical problems. Your thermostat communicates with your air conditioner through a series of wires that are connected to your system’s circuit board. If any of those wires are frayed, improperly connected or malfunctioning, your thermostat and air conditioner will have a hard time communicating with each other and your system might never know when to turn on or off. Electrical problems should be taken care of by a professional like 3D Air Services
3)Dirt buildup. Dirt buildup is problematic for many different parts of your air conditioner, and your thermostat is no exception. If you see evidence of dirt or dust on your thermostat, you can try to clean it up by removing the plastic housing and brushing the insides with a soft brush. Make sure not to interfere with any of the internal wirings.
4)Incompatible with your system. Thermostats are not one-size-fits-all. Many air conditioners require specific types of thermostats, especially if a system has advanced features like a zoning system. Contact 3D Air Services if you have questions about whether or not your thermostat is compatible with your specific system.
5)Dead batteries. Some thermostats use batteries as a backup power supply, while others run solely on batteries. If your thermostat is relying on batteries for power, it’s important to change the batteries at least a couple times per year. In addition, be sure to install a fresh pair of batteries whenever your thermostat is displaying a low-battery notification.
6)Old unit. Thermostats can last many years, but some homes have thermostats that are very outdated. This is especially true for homes with mercury-based thermostats, because mercury thermostats are not as accurate as today’s digital units. If your thermostat is outdated, replace it with a newer model that is more accurate and likely comes with other advanced features.

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

We are open 8-6 with emergency service available.

We proudly serve Birmingham, Alabaster, Helena, Hoover, Vestavia, calera, Hoover 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.