Why Should You Get a Dehumidifier?

What Is Humidity?

Humidity is essentially the measure of water vapor in the air. Most commonly referred to as relative humidity, this measure is generally expressed as a percentage, with 100% being the maximum amount of water vapor the air can hold at a given temperature. Beyond that maximum limit, the vapor condenses into liquid. 

Warmer air can hold more water vapor than cold air, hence why it’s called “relative” humidity. 50% humidity will feel a lot muggier on a hot summer day than on a frigid winter morning because the actual amount of vapor in the air is higher in hotter weather.

The ideal indoor humidity level is between 30-60%. Going above or below can have negative effects on the home and the health of everyone in it. For example, excessive humidity can lead to mold growth, the propagation of bacteria, and warped or rotted wood. So it benefits homeowners to understand and manage their home’s humidity levels. That’s where a dehumidifier comes in.

What Do Dehumidifiers Do?

humidifierAs the name suggests, dehumidifiers remove water vapor from the air, lowering humidity levels. There are two main types of dehumidifiers – refrigerative dehumidifiers and desiccant dehumidifiers.

Refrigerative dehumidifiers draw air over metal coils filled with chemical refrigerant that cools the air. As the air cools, its relative humidity rises to 100% (since cold air can’t hold as much moisture), and the water vapor turns into condensation on the coils. The dry air is then heated to its former temperature by a second set of coils and blown back into the surrounding space. A home’s air conditioner does the same thing, except it doesn’t heat the air back up before blowing it into the house.

Desiccant dehumidifiers are less common but still quite effective. These blow air over a desiccant such as silica gel, which naturally absorbs moisture from the air without having to cool it. In both types of dehumidifiers, the captured moisture is typically drained into a basin that needs to be periodically emptied except for whole-home dehumidifiers, which are installed in tandem with the home’s HVAC system and feature a condensate drain line that releases the water outside.

How To Tell if the Home Needs a Dehumidifier

humidifierSome thermostats feature humidity sensors and display the home’s relative humidity directly on the thermostat face next to the temperature. However, this isn’t always the case. Homeowners may be flying blind when it comes to their indoor humidity. So here are a few common signs of excess humidity in the house:

  • Condensation on windows.
  • Damp carpet or upholstery.
  • Visible mold growth.
  • Musty smell or mildew odor.
  • Warped wood or drywall.
  • Bubbling paint or wallpaper.
  • Chips, crackers, or cookies get stale/soft days after opening.
  • Bread, fruit or other perishables get moldy or spoil faster than normal.

If homeowners notice any of these signs, it’s time to get a dehumidifier before the excess moisture causes further damage.

Benefits of a Dehumidifier

Whether a portable or whole-house model, a dehumidifier can be a game-changing addition to the home. Controlling indoor humidity levels with a dehumidifier can:

  • Improve indoor air quality by preventing harmful mold and bacteria growth and making the air easier to breathe.
  • Discourage pests such as dust mites and termites (which thrive in moist environments).
  • Protect the home and belongings from moisture damage. Hardwood floors, furniture, electronics, and musical instruments will last longer and remain in good condition with appropriate humidity levels.
  • Make the home more comfortable.
  • Help food last longer and keep its desired texture.
  • Prevent musty odors.

With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why a dehumidifier is a good idea in homes with high humidity. Homeowners who suspect they may need to reduce their home’s indoor moisture levels would do well to contact a trusted HVAC technician to determine what kind of dehumidifier is right for them!

About Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning

Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning has over 20 years of experience serving the residents of Tyler, TX, and the surrounding areas. They offer straightforward pricing, trustworthy technicians, and top-of-the-line customer service. Call them today for dehumidifier services in Tyler, TX.

Kick Off the School Year with Some Air Duct Basics

Air Duct Cleaning

Air ducts are present in many homes with centralized air conditioning. These metal tunnels, usually located in the ceiling or walls, divert cool air to different parts of the house. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that air ducts can last for years without major problems but advises cleaning them as needed to maintain the home’s indoor air quality.

To keep their HVAC systems running smoothly and indoor air quality ideal, homeowners should know some basic things about their air ducts and when to clean them.

Signs That It’s Time to Clean Those Air Ducts

bad smellsThe EPA notes that one doesn’t have to clean their home’s air ducts regularly but that homeowners should have them professionally cleaned on an “as needed” basis. Signs that it’s time to have the air ducts cleaned include:

  • Weak airflow: If air weakly blows through the home’s vents, this could point to debris in the air ducts themselves blocking airflow.
  • Rodent and bug infestations: Some critters can make their homes inside air ducts. Here, they can leave behind waste, eggs, and carcasses. Not only can these materials make the air unsafe to breathe, but they can also contribute to additional problems in the future.
  • Bad smells: If foul odors are coming from the air ducts, this could mean that mold or mildew is growing in the ducts.
  • It’s been a while since the last cleaning: If one can’t remember the last time they cleaned their air ducts, they should get on it by calling a professional.

These are just some signs that one should get their air ducts cleaned. Other signs, such as an unusually high power bill and excessive humidity, can also warrant a cleaning.

Three Benefits of Professional Air Duct Cleaning

energy savingsSome of the benefits of cleaning the home’s air ducts are:

  • Reducing allergens: Over time, dust, pollen, and dander can build up inside the home’s air ducts. This can lead to respiratory problems, such as asthma, allergies, coughing, sneezing, and headaches. Clean ducts reduce the symptoms of these respiratory issues and help homeowners stay healthier.
  • Energy savings: Dirty air ducts cause the air conditioner to work “overtime.” This can lead to higher energy bills, so duct cleaning can help lower them again.
  • Less mold growth: Over time, mold can grow in air ducts. As noted, this can lead to a host of health complications. The mold can also spread to other parts of the home, causing drywall damage, for example. Cleaning the air ducts removes the mold and helps families breathe clean air again.

Homeowners Can Help Keep Their Air Ducts Clean

Homeowners can help keep their air ducts clean in between professional cleanings by:

  • Vacuuming regularly: Using an efficient vacuum can prevent dust and dander from building up inside the home’s air ducts.
  • Changing the AC’s air filter once a year: EnergyStar notes that homeowners should replace their AC units’ air filters at least every three months. Doing so allows the air conditioner to work properly and helps prevent dirt from building up inside the air ducts.

About Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning

Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning has over 20 years of experience serving the community of Tyler, TX, and the surrounding areas. They provide straightforward pricing, on-time service, and trustworthy technicians. Call them today for air duct cleaning and repair in Tyler, TX.

Air Conditioner Refrigerant FAQs

AC Refrigerant Explained

AC refrigerant is an important part of how air conditioning systems run. Homeowners should have a basic knowledge of what refrigerant is and how it works so they can better maintain their heating and air conditioning units. 

Refrigerant transforms between a gas and a liquid inside the air conditioner’s evaporator coils. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the air that blows over the metal coils. As the refrigerant warms up, it turns from a gas back into a liquid. The compressor coils outside recirculate the refrigerant through the system. 

What Type of Refrigerant to Use?

fridgerantThere are multiple different types of refrigerants used in modern air conditioners. Refrigerants are not interchangeable, and using the wrong one could damage the air conditioner. Homeowners can check what kind of refrigerant their air conditioner uses by looking at the appliance sticker or user manual.

AC units that were made before 2010 likely use a refrigerant called R-22, or Freon. However, in 2010 Freon was recalled for its link to environmental damage. Homeowners still unsure of what kind of refrigerant their HVAC unit uses should consult with a trusted local technician. 

Why Does AC Refrigerant Leak?

hvacRefrigerant is a combination of chemicals used in air conditioners to change the temperature of the air. Problems with the air conditioner could create a refrigerant leak. There are multiple reasons why the refrigerant may begin to leak inside the air conditioner, such as rust, wear and tear, and pinholes in the coils. 

Airborne particles of air freshener, perfume, and aerosol sprays can make their way into the AC unit through the ventilation system. The acidic nature of the chemicals can create tiny pinholes in the coils where refrigerant leaks out. Corrosion of the metal coils from rust can also create a refrigerant leak. Coil cleaning as part of routine air conditioner maintenance will help prevent refrigerant leaks. 

When to Call a Professional for a Refrigerant Leak?

Homeowners should know the signs of a refrigerant leak so they can immediately reach out to a professional. When handled early, a refrigerant leak is an easy fix for an experienced HVAC technician. However, the refrigerant leak could lead to a complete system breakdown if left in disrepair. Refrigerant leaks can also cause a spike in utility bills.

Ice forming on the air conditioner and frozen coils are both signs of a refrigerant leak. Other symptoms include reduced cooling capabilities and strange noises coming from the air conditioner. The air conditioner might make hissing or gurgling noises as it struggles to function. Homeowners should contact a professional for help as soon as the first signs of a refrigerant leak are noticed. 

About Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning

Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning has over 20 years of experience serving the community of Tyler, TX, and the surrounding areas. They provide straightforward pricing, 24-hour emergency service, and financing. Call them today for air conditioning services in Tyler, TX.

A Quick Guide to HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning)

What Does HVAC Stand For?

  • Heating 
  • Ventilation
  • Air 
  • Conditioning

HVAC is an abbreviation for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Heating and air conditioning refer to the temperature control of indoor spaces, and ventilation refers to the circulation of air through the home and indoor air quality. 

The HVAC industry has worked diligently to develop the efficient HVAC units found in modern homes. Heating, cooling, and ventilation are important parts of maintaining a healthy and comfortable home. In this blog post, HVAC experts share the basics that homeowners should know about heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units. 

How Does an HVAC System Work?

Homeowners should have a basic overview of how their HVAC system works. Most modern homes use a central air system, which distributes air to each room in the house through ductwork. HVAC systems include furnaces for heating and air conditioners for cooling the home. 

Modern home furnaces burn oil, gas, or propane to produce heat. Some heating systems use electricity or geothermal transfer to heat the home. Heat pump systems are extremely efficient for homes in moderate climates.

Ventilation is the part of the HVAC system that pushes the air throughout the home. The ventilation system includes components such as fans, vents, air filters, and ductwork. Ventilation is important for maintaining healthy indoor air quality and distributing air. 

Important Parts of the HVAC Systemcoil

  • Thermostat
  • Ductwork
  • Evaporator coil
  • Heat pump 
  • Furnace 
  • Air Filters

The thermostat controls the overall function of the HVAC system by turning on the heating or cooling to maintain the desired temperature. The furnace and air conditioner connect to ductwork that distributes the air through vents at the thermostat’s command. 

Most homes have both an indoor and outdoor component to their HVAC system. Air conditioners use evaporator coils containing refrigerant to cool the air, and then the heat and moisture are released via the outdoor unit. 

The ventilation of the HVAC system would not be complete without an air filter. An air filter is a mesh screen placed over the HVAC unit’s air intake to keep debris such as dust, dirt, and pet hair from getting sucked into the unit. Air filters are essential for protecting the indoor air quality inside the home. They should be replaced around every three months or more frequently, depending on the filter type or if allergy sufferers live in the house. 

filter

What Is HVAC Maintenance?

One of the best things homeowners can do for their HVAC systems is schedule routine HVAC maintenance with a qualified expert. Homeowners should always have a trusted local HVAC company a phone call away in case of an HVAC emergency. 

HVAC maintenance appointments include cleaning the air conditioning coils, changing the air filters, cleaning the inside of the unit, and checking for broken parts. During maintenance appointments, the technician will have a chance to fix small problems early before they get out of hand. 

Most HVAC maintenance should be left up to a qualified HVAC technician, but homeowners can change their air filters themselves. Changing an air filter at homet can take less than ten minutes. Changing the air filter on time can improve the performance and longevity of the HVAC system.  

About Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning

Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning has over 20 years of experience serving its neighbors in Tyler, TX, and the surrounding areas. They offer straightforward pricing, 24-hour emergency services, financing, and a membership that includes perks like discounts and routine maintenance on heating and air conditioning units. Call them today for heating or air conditioning services in Tyler, TX

How To Find a Reliable AC Repair Company

Three Things To Know About Finding Quality Home Improvement Help 

When homeowners type in “AC service near me,” they’re faced with hundreds of options claiming to deliver quality service. But how does one find the right skilled professionals for the job? It’s all about doing research, asking around, and scheduling appointments sooner rather than later. 

Hiring the wrong person for the job can mean wasted money, time, and effort. However, by keeping the following three things in mind, one can find a professional AC service company in no time. 

Leave Certain Tasks to Professionals

Unless homeowners have an in-depth knowledge of how air conditioning units work, they shouldn’t attempt any repairs or certain maintenance tasks on their own. Even if they’ve watched dozens of DIY YouTube videos, a small mistake could jeopardize the entire system. 

That’s why certain jobs should be left to the professionals. A skilled technician will have access to: 

  • Specialized tools, such as leak detecting devices 
  • A network of consultants they can call on 
  • Lessons learned through years of experience and training

When vetting an air conditioning company, homeowners should look for the certifications, licenses, and insurance information on their website. These things can provide important information that can help make an informed decision. 

Do Some Research Online reviews

It’s the 21st century, so there is no longer a need to flip through a newspaper for AC service recommendations. Instead, whip out a phone and turn to Google. However, Google Reviews isn’t the only way to find reviews of home improvement services. To get a comprehensive look at what an AC company has to offer, homeowners should peruse: 

  • Yelp: Yelp is one of the oldest review websites out there. If an AC company is listed on Yelp, it has tons of reviews. Whether they’re positive or negative is a different story. 
  • Angi: Angi (formerly known as “Angie’s List”) provides comprehensive reviews about big and small businesses. 
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB): Founded in 1912, the BBB has one goal: to protect consumers from unscrupulous companies. A company’s BBB profile will likely include how long the company’s been in business, whether anyone has filed a formal complaint, and whether any complaints have been resolved. 
  • Social media: Social media is a treasure trove when looking for reliable services. Facebook, Instagram, and NextDoor all offer unique insights from users in the area. 

Word-of-mouth references should also be considered. One’s friends, family, and neighbors may offer helpful insight into which AC company can get the job done. 

professional

Schedule Appointments Sooner Rather than Later 

AC repair companies get very busy during the summer because people frequently find issues with their systems after using the AC due to the heat. Companies with solid reputations will likely get booked quickly based on their reputation alone. 

To ensure they get the best possible service, homeowners should make an appointment immediately after selecting an AC repair company. It’s good to schedule service now in the spring, allowing homeowners to relax knowing that their AC issues will be resolved in time for summer.  

About Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning 

Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning has over 20 years of experience serving the residents of Tyler, TX, and Smith County. They provide on-time service, straightforward pricing, and 24/7 emergency service. Call them today for air conditioning services in Tyler, TX.

Complete Guide to Improving Indoor Air Quality

Three Tips to Help You Breathe Easier This Spring

Spring is finally here, and along with warmer weather comes the influx of seasonal allergies from flowers and tree pollen. Spring cleaning can include the air too. The air we breathe is full of invisible floating particles of dust, dander, pollen, and other allergens. It can be hard to control the outdoor climate, but homeowners can take steps to improve air quality and breathe easier indoors. These three tips for improving indoor air quality can help homeowners achieve cleaner air and help prevent symptoms of seasonal allergies. 

Get More House Plantsplants

Studies have shown that having a multitude of houseplants indoors can help purify the air. Plants create energy through photosynthesis, drawing carbon dioxide from the air and turning it into oxygen. Humans exhale carbon dioxide and inhale oxygen, so having plants around is great for easier breathing. 

Having just one plant in the house does not make a difference in air quality, but having many houseplants will make an impact. Plants work as natural air purifiers, which is the perfect excuse to head to the store and invest in plants this spring. 

 

scrubbers

 

 

Air Purifiers and Air Filters

Houseplants can help a little bit to keep the air clean, but for homeowners who are looking for more effective solutions to improve indoor air quality, an air purifier or air scrubber may be the best option. Air purifiers circulate the air through a filtration system that filters out contaminants and particles in the air. Some air scrubbers use UV light to kill viruses and bacteria that could be airborne. 

All HVAC systems use air filters to remove contaminants such as dust, hair, and dirt from the air before it gets sucked into the system’s air intake. Some air filters are better than others at cleaning the air. The smaller particles are often the most dangerous, but many air filters only filter out larger airborne particles. Investing in high-quality air filters for the air conditioning unit and changing them out often will help to keep the air cleaner indoors. 

AC Maintenance Is Important 

It is recommended to service the home air conditioning unit bi-annually to keep the system working at optimal efficiency. During the AC maintenance appointment, the technician will clean out the inside of the unit and remove any contaminants like dust or grime that may be impacting air quality. 

When the AC unit does its job properly, it distributes clean, cool air around the house. Doing AC maintenance helps to keep the unit working smoothly, keeps utility bills low, and improves indoor air quality. A dirty or malfunctioning air conditioning unit negatively impacts air quality. 

About StoneBridge Heating & Air Conditioning 

StoneBridge Heating & Air Conditioning has provided its neighbors in Tyler, TX, and Smith County with top-of-the-line service for over 20 years. They offer 24/7 emergency service, straightforward pricing, and on-time service. Call them today for indoor air quality services in Tyler, TX.

Learn About the Women Who Shaped the Heating and AC Industry

These Inspirational Women Changed Heating and Cooling with Their Contributions

Women in the HVAC industry stand out as trailblazers in the historically male-dominated profession. Despite there being fewer female HVAC technicians, women in the industry have been responsible for some of the most important inventions and advancements in technology. In this article, industry experts discuss the contributions of female inventors and engineers in the heating and cooling industry.

Women in the Cooling and Heating Industry Today

According to official labor statistics, women only make up a small percentage of the total workforce in the heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) industry. The number of female HVAC technicians and contractors is as low as 1.4% of the workforce. Many more women work in management and support positions at HVAC companies as well.

A lot of the women in the modern HVAC industry are in senior leadership positions or own their own companies. Women in HVAC also work behind the scenes as engineers and inventors to create the latest heating and cooling technological advancements. Keep reading to learn about two of the most influential women in the HVAC industry.

Alice H Walker

Learn About Alice H. Walker, Inventor of the First Gas Furnace

Alice H. Walker is one of the trailblazing women in the heating and cooling industry that changed the world. Faced with chopping wood to warm her home during the freezing New Jersey winter, she set out to create a better solution.

She came up with the first gas furnace, which used a series of ductwork to distribute warm air throughout the house. Her design was unlike any that came before and was the basis for modern central heating systems. She patented her design in 1919.

Unfortunately, Alice H. Walker passed away a year following the patenting of her groundbreaking design. Her original patent had a few design flaws that made it a safety hazard. Still, by drawing off of her original concept, future inventors were able to create what we now consider the modern central heating unit found in most modern homes.

Learn About Margaret Ingels, First Female Mechanical Engineer

Margaret IngelsMargaret Ingels was a trailblazer for women in the heating and cooling industry. She is one of the most famous female engineers because she was the first ever to become a mechanical engineer. Margaret Ingels was only the second woman in America to get a degree in engineering, and she remains an inspiration to women in engineering today

She was driven from a young age to become an engineer. While most women in the 1950s were set out to become housewives, Margaret Ingels was determined to take her life in a different direction. After graduating with her engineering degree, she went to work for six years developing air conditioning units in a laboratory.

She worked alongside heating and air conditioning specialists to create a modern air conditioning unit. Margaret Ingels is an inspiration for women in engineering and other male-dominated career paths.

About Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning

Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning is proud to serve its community with outstanding customer service, fair prices, and fast service appointments. They take the hassle out of scheduling an appointment with technicians for heating and AC installation, repairs, or maintenance. Give them a call today to talk with experienced heating and cooling professional in Tyler, TX!