Tulsa

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

What's Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality?

What's Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality?

Human activities such as cooking, cleaning, or building can increase or decrease the contaminants and particulates in your indoor air. However, there are other factors beyond your control that will influence the air quality inside your home. Here are some of those factors:

Accumulation of dust:

Dust is present in every home and is nearly impossible to eliminate completely. Dust consists of small fragments of dirt, fibers, and even dead skin cells. You can clean often and take other steps to reduce the presence of dust, but it will almost always be present.

Humidity:

Indoor humidity is measured by the amount of moisture in the air. Too little humidity can cause skin and eye irritation and other physical discomforts. High humidity can also be uncomfortable while increasing the chances of moisture damage to objects in the home. High moisture also makes it more likely for mold to develop.

Contaminated outdoor air:

If the amount of contaminants in the outdoor air is high, some of these contaminants will make their way into your home. These contaminants can include dust or dirt from roadways, pollen from flowers, odors from outdoor sources, and fumes from vehicles. A home with a tight envelope will keep out many of these contaminants, but some are still going to get in.

Pets:

Indoor pets can have a substantial effect on indoor air. Cats and dogs produce dander, which can be an allergen. Small pieces of pet fur are common on furniture, rugs, clothing, and other surfaces. The odor of litter boxes or pet accidents can also reduce indoor air quality.

Chemicals and fumes:

Some objects in homes, such as carpets or furniture, can emit chemical odors long after they've been purchased. If you have any types of chemicals stored indoors, such as cleaning supplies or pesticides, they can potentially leak and produce irritating odors.

Air Assurance provides Tulsa residence with expert HVAC services that maximize indoor comfort and household air quality. Contact us today for more information on how to keep your indoor air clean and free of contaminants that can affect your comfort and respiratory health.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about indoor air quality and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Featured, HVAC system

Winter Season Home Safety Precautions

Winter Season Home Safety Precautions

Winter is coming to Oklahoma, and that means practicing winter home safety. Some types of heating systems represent greater hazards than others, so be sure to be up on how to operate yours safely.

Furnace Checkup

At the start of the heating season, perform a few basic tasks, such as checking the furnace filter. A clean filter will help the furnace run more efficiently, promoting good airflow. Also make sure that there are no obstructions around the vents so that heated air can flow without hindrance and warm the room properly.It's always recommended to schedule a furnace checkup by a professional as you start the heating season. Your technician should perform several critical tasks, including these:

  • Check thermostat and controls, adjusting if needed.

  • Clean and adjust burners and pilot assembly.

  • Clean and adjust burners for most efficient operation.

  • Check for gas leaks.

  • Adjust tension in belts if needed.

  • Lubricate moving parts, particularly in the blower.

  • Inspect draft pipe and draft diverter.

  • Test manifold pressure.

  • Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks that might emit carbon monoxide, an odorless, tasteless, invisible byproduct of the combustion process.

Electrical Heating

With all types of electrical heating systems, make sure electrical connections are tight and frayed wires replaced. With heat pumps, make sure refrigerant levels are properly charged and that there are no obstructions on the outdoor compressor.

Fireplace

Check fireplace flues and chimneys, ensuring they are clean and clear of obstructions. Keep flammable objects well away from the fireplace. Place a screen cover in front of the flame so that no sparks fly out and start a fire in the living space.

Space Heaters

Keep space heaters a safe distance from furniture, bedding or any other objects that might catch fire. Make sure electrical connections are tight and that cords are not frayed.

Carbon Monoxide Monitors

Install carbon monoxide monitors in your home if you have any combustion-powered appliances. Install them on every floor at least 5 feet from the ground.To learn more about winter home safety, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow and Tulsa at 918-894-5760.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about winter home safety and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “openclipart-vectors/Pixabay”

Furnaces

Check Your Furnace's Readiness for Winter Usage

Check Your Furnace's Readiness for Winter Usage

With winter just around the corner in Oklahoma, now's the right time to start preparing your furnace or heat pump for the cold weather. This means both professional maintenance and do-it-yourself tasks, to make sure your forced-air heating system will be ready when the temperatures go south of freezing.

Preparing your heating system for winter early is a good idea since many HVAC businesses get very busy once cold weather arrives.

A professional furnace or heat pump maintenance visit will accomplish the following:

  • Enhance energy efficiency. An efficient furnace or heat pump will require less energy to provide comfortable heating than a system for which maintenance has been neglected.

  • Ensure safety. The technician will inspect and adjust your heating system to minimize the risk of fire or hazardous gas leaks in a combustion furnace, or electrical or refrigerant issues in a heat pump.

  • Repair small problems before they turn into big, expensive ones.

  • Ensure proper airflow so all parts of your home are evenly and comfortably heated.

What Happens During Professional Maintenance?

While different levels of maintenance are available, a comprehensive heating system maintenance visit will include an inspection of your equipment and air distribution system. The technician should clean and lubricate moving parts, check the thermostat, electrical connections and system controls, and perform appropriate diagnostic tests. They'll also replace the air filter if necessary.

With furnace maintenance, the technician will check and/or adjust the ignition system and combustion burners, making sure the burners aren't clogged. They'll check that the exhaust system is working correctly, among other things.If you have a heat pump, the technician should check the refrigerant level, ensure that heat-exchange coils are clean, and make sure the condensate drain system isn't clogged.

Homeowner maintenance steps include regular air filter checks, making sure the area around the heating appliance is clean and clear of clutter, and removing any items that might be blocking heating vents and registers.

To schedule a fall maintenance tune-up for your heating system, please contact us at Air Assurance, providing quality HVAC services to Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnaces and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “openclipart-vectors/Pixabay”

HVAC system

5 HVAC Considerations When Buying a House

5 HVAC Considerations When Buying a House

When you’re buying a house, it’s only human nature to pay attention to the look and feel of the home. It’s just as important to explore the HVAC system as well, since it’s likely the most expensive appliance in the home and the one that keeps you comfortable year-round.

  1. Find out its age. Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems age over time. As you inspect the home, write down the brand and model number if the homeowner can’t tell you its age. Any system that’s over 12 years old may need replacing sooner rather than later.

  2. What kind is it? In our region, homes might have a gas-pack HVAC system, which means it has a gas furnace and an air conditioner. Heat pumps are becoming more common and provide both cooling and heating by means of heat transfer. It’s important to know which type the home has.

  3. What’s the configuration and condition of the ductwork? The ductwork for the home may reveal some efficiency aspects of the home. Ductwork configurations that are simple and direct provide better efficiency, as do insulated ducts.Duct leakage is a common energy waster that can be fixed. Look for areas of dust around the registers to spot potential leakage. Have the HVAC system and its ductwork inspected by a licensed HVAC contractor if you’re serious about buying a house in particular.

  4. What’s its efficiency? The outdoor condenser’s cabinet may state the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of the cooling system, and the air handler indoors should have an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating inside the cabinet if the home has a gas furnace. Higher ratings for both indicate better efficiency.

  5. Has it been adequately serviced? Ask the homeowners for their receipts and records of professional HVAC maintenance and repairs. Routine maintenance increases the longevity and efficiency of all HVAC systems.

Paying attention to the HVAC system when buying a house will help you avoid surprises as you go forward, since this system is a crucial home appliance. To learn more, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about TOPIC and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Energy Star

Understanding Energy Star Guidelines

Understanding Energy Star Guidelines

Understanding what the Energy Star label means and how the program works helps you chose appliances that stand up to rigorous use and cut energy consumption. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) started the program in the 1990s, and it makes it easy to make product choices based on performance and efficiency.The DOE requires EnergyGuide labels on some major appliances like HVAC systems, water heaters, washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers because they have engineering differences that can improve their efficiency. Those labels tell you how much energy the appliance uses over the course of a year along with its cost based on average use and energy prices.

The products that exceed the standards for energy efficiency in each appliance group receive the Energy Star’s distinctive label found on the EnergyGuide label or the product itself. The DOE’s guidelines for the Energy Star include:

  • The product must demonstrate it performs well under a wide variety of operating conditions.

  • Consumers need to recoup the extra costs that high efficiency products carry over a reasonable time period.

  • The energy consumption of a product can be accurately measured and verified.

  • Labeling the product would help consumers differentiate that product from other less efficient models.

Besides major home appliances, you’ll find the Energy Star label on computers and peripherals, light bulbs and televisions. While every bit of energy saved is important, it’s especially important to look for the label on major appliances, especially heating and cooling equipment, because they use the bulk of energy consumed in homes.

The DOE also uses the product’s durability and versatility under varying conditions to award it the designation, another good reason to look for the label on major home appliances. Better quality often translates to increased dependability and a longer lifetime for high-ticket appliances, and those characteristics also save money over the long term.

HVAC systems that earn the Energy Star label pay for themselves in lower operating costs and many have features that enhance comfort. To learn more, contact Air Assurance, providing top-notch HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about Energy Star guidelines and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “PublicDomain/Wikipedia”

Featured, HVAC system

Smart HVAC Systems: What You Should Know

Smart HVAC Systems: What You Should Know

In your busy life, the temperature and comfort level of your home is just one more thing to worry about. How high or low is your thermostat set? Is it heating or cooling your home adequately? Are you sending air to a bunch of empty rooms? And how much energy is all of this costing?Fortunately, there's a way to deal with all of these issues automatically. It's called a smart HVAC system, and it can make your home comfortable without your having to think about it. Here are some features that can help make an HVAC system smart.

  • Thermostat. A smart thermostat does more than just read and program the temperature. It measures both temperature and humidity, and can even tell how many people are in a room. The more people, the more heat they generate. Whereas if there's no one in a particular room, it doesn't need air at that moment. Either way, a smart thermostat can adjust accordingly.

  • Air and ventilation. Once the thermostat determines each room's comfort needs, the ventilation system sends the appropriate amount of air. If one room is too cold, air can be diverted from that area and sent to another section that's still too hot. This is standard for zoning systems. But a smart system can also tell if any one zone is using more energy than it should. Maybe a vent is blocked, causing the system to work harder to cool that room. Maybe someone adjusted their zone's thermostat significantly lower than the others. A smart HVAC system can detect these things and let you know what's going on.

  • Compressor and air handler. These are the two HVAC features that use the most energy. Therefore, a smart system monitors their use and makes sure they run only when they're needed. Additionally, it can adjust their use based on time, monitoring usage during peak hours to reduce energy consumption both for you and your community.

To learn more about how a smart HVAC system can benefit your home, contact us at Air Assurance. We're Broken Arrow's trusted source for quality HVAC solutions.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Ramdlon/Pixabay”

Energy Evaluations, Featured

Back to Basics: Air Conditioner Ratings

Back to Basics: Air Conditioner Ratings

Air conditioner ratings are an essential tool when you're looking to replace your home's central cooling system. These scientific metrics measure how efficiently an A/C converts electricity into cooling. With HVAC efficiency improving exponentially in recent years, understanding air conditioner ratings is crucial in order to save energy on home cooling over the long run.

For common split-system central air conditioning systems, the most common rating is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). To calculate the SEER number, the cooling output of a central A/C is divided by the electricity that flows into it. The higher the resulting number, the more efficient the cooling. However, higher cooling efficiency doesn't come cheap. You'll pay upfront for a high-SEER air conditioning, but in the long run you will save money on lower operating costs. Plus, a system that cools your home more efficiently and quickly will be more comfortable. In general, the hotter and longer an area's cooling season, the better sense it makes to invest in a higher-efficiency A/C or heat pump.

The federal government has minimum efficiency ratings for A/Cs and heat pumps (as well as heating systems). For a split-system central air conditioner, the SEER must be at least 13 (with the minimum at SEER 14 for a split-system heat pump). The U.S. Department of Energy and EPA require a minimum SEER of 15 before split-system A/Cs and heat pumps can qualify for the coveted Energy Star.

Only 10 or 15 years ago, a central air conditioner likely only carried a 5 or 6 SEER number. This means if an old A/C is still cooling your home, you likely could save 20-40 percent on cooling costs by upgrading to an Energy Star-qualified A/C or heat pump.

The technology that enables such high cooling efficiency levels includes variable-speed blower and air handlers motors and scroll compressors that modulate the system's level of operation. You can enhance A/C efficiency yourself by weatherproofing your home – sealing air leaks and upgrading insulation.

For help selecting an energy-efficient cooling system for your Broken Arrow-area home, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”

Air Conditioning, Featured

How to Address Condensate Drain Problems

How to Address Condensate Drain Problems

On humid summer days, your air conditioner is doing double duty, not only cooling your home but also removing moisture that would otherwise make you feel sticky. That moisture condenses from vapor and is exhausted through a part of the A/C known as the condensate drain.

As with any other component of the air conditioner, things can go wrong with this drain. Here's some basic information for understanding condensate drain issues.

Leaks

Over time, condensate drains can develop leaks, both in the line and in the drain pan. These parts should be checked regularly and replaced as needed so that you can avoid damaging leaks and even flooding.

The drains can also become plugged up by sludge composed of moisture, mold and dirt. Plugged drains likewise cause leaks and flooding.

Blocked Trap

Your drain has a trap similar to the kitchen or bathroom drain, where a U-shaped section of pipe holds water continuously, blocking gases from the sewer line. If the water supply to this trap becomes blocked and the trap dries out, gases may enter the home.

Mold

Your A/C's condensate drain stays moist most of the time. This sets up perfect conditions for the creation of mold. A malfunctioning blower or a dirty air filter can exacerbate these conditions, and before you know it, mold has colonized your air conditioner, and mold spores are being dispersed through the HVAC ductwork and into the home.

The best way to avoid any of these problems is to schedule regular HVAC maintenance every year. Your service tech should include the condensate drain in the inspection, checking for clogs, leaks and other issues.

Some homeowners with handyman skills feel competent to inspect the drain themselves, and use a wet/dry vacuum to clean out the sludge or blockage. Be sure if you do the work yourself, you're on the lookout for holes or other damage to the drain and the pan and have them replaced.To find out more about condensate drain issues, contact Air Assurance. We specialize in quality service to our customers in Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Featured, Plumbing

Water Shutoff Valves 101

Water Shutoff Valves 101

The first step of solving many plumbing problems is usually turning off the water shutoff valve. If you'd like to tackle these problems successfully when they arise, start by checking out the shutoff valves in your home. Let's look at the types of valves you'll most probably come across.

Gate Valve

This valve has a machined inner mechanism. To turn it on or off, you'll have to turn its circular head, which in turn raises or lowers a metal gate. The gate blocks water flow when it's in its lowest position. Water flows freely when the gate is in its highest position. The valve should be completely open or completely closed. Opening it partially will cause it to wear away and fail over time.

Washered Valve

This is the most common water shutoff valve. You're likely to find it in your toilet, sinks and outdoor sillcocks. It comes in different sizes and is usually round or oval shaped. It has a rubber washer that compresses onto a metal seat when you turn the valve's handle to shut off water flow. The valve will leak when the washer wears out. Replacing the washer is easy, but you have to ensure you get a rightly sized one.

Ball Valve

This is the least problematic valve. You'll most likely find it under sinks and toilets. It has a straight lever handle that only makes a quarter turn. In the open position, the handle is parallel to your pipes and in the closed position, it's perpendicular. Instead of a washer, it has a machined ball with a hole. It shuts off water when it's aligned such that the hole is perpendicular to water flow.If you're proactive about keeping your plumbing system healthy, it will be beneficial to identify the types of shutoff valves you have and where they're located. To learn more about the water shutoff valve types, please contact us at Air Assurance. We've proudly served the Broken Arrow area for more than 30 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “PublicDomainArchive/Pixabay”

Featured, Filtration

What to Know About Water Filtration Systems

What to Know About Water Filtration Systems

If your home is plagued with poor water quality, a whole-home filtration system can offer a solution. There are three main technologies used today to improve water quality: a chemical process, UV light or a filtering medium. These methods are effective at addressing specific issues such as hard water, excessive sediment, bacteria and other biological contaminants, or chemical additives like chlorine.

Owning a Water Filtration System Offers Numerous Benefits

A big benefit of installing this kind of system is that it ensures better quality water in every area of your home. The unit is installed on the main water line where it enters the building, so the incoming supply gets sent through it before flowing along to your fixtures, faucets and appliances.

When you have a whole-home system in place, you'll reap other benefits too, including:

  • Safer water with no unpleasant smell or taste: When bacteria, viruses and other biological contaminants are killed, and added chemicals like chlorine removed, you'll have a clean, healthy water supply that smells and tastes good.

  • Extended life for your plumbing system and appliances: Eliminating minerals that cause scale buildup lengthens the service life of your water-using appliances and plumbing system and preserves good water pressure.

  • A hedge against municipal supply problems: You can rest easy knowing you have safe, clean water when a municipal supply contamination, broken main or other such problem occurs.

Choosing the Right System is Essential

Before you decide on a type of system, get your water tested to pinpoint the exact quality issues you need to address. Then, talk to an experienced professional plumber who can recommend the right solution to match your needs.

  • To clear out sediment, a reverse osmosis system is best.

  • For softening hard water, you need an ion exchange unit.

  • A UV light is used to kill bacteria, viruses and other biological contaminants.

  • To eliminate odors and improve taste, activated-carbon or oxidizing units are recommended.

  • For multiple issues, there are multi-stage systems that combine different technologies.

For expert advice about installing a water filtration system in your Broken Arrow home, contact us at Air Assurance today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “ronymichaud/Pixabay”

Featured, Zoning Systems

How Can a Zoning System Benefit You?

How Can a Zoning System Benefit You?

If you live in a home with more than one level, odds are you could benefit from a zoning system. Other special circumstances in a home also make HVAC zoning a good idea.

With a zoning system, the home is divided into two or more separate areas, in which the rooms share climate conditions. Using separate thermostats and automated duct dampers, the homeowner can control temperatures (and sometimes the humidity) in the separate zones. The dampers open when the thermostat calls for more heating or cooling, and close when the set temperature has been achieved.

In a home with just one thermostat, temperatures throughout the house are affected, for better or worse, by climate conditions or comfort preferences in the room where the thermostat is located. This is usually a living room or hallway on the main floor.

In a multi-floor home, this means a finished basement will stay chilly in the winter, since the thermostat in the living room shuts down the heat long before the basement is comfortable. Likewise, in the summer, upstairs and loft bedrooms never cool off since the A/C shuts down when the desired temperature is reached on the main floor. Homeowners resort to unsatisfactory solutions such as loud and clanky room air conditioners and energy-sucking space heaters.

Other situations that result in variable temperatures in a home include rooms or sections made with different building materials, more or fewer windows, orientation to the sun, and vaulted ceilings, among many others.Following are some basic benefits of a zoning system:

  • You'll save energy (and money at the end of the month) by not heating or cooling unoccupied areas.

  • Family harmony will prevail when different family members aren't arguing over the thermostat. If they don't like the temperature in one area in the house, they can move to another.

  • You shouldn't have to tolerate a home where some rooms or areas are uncomfortable without space heating or cooling. Whole-house comfort should be a given.

To talk to an expert about a zoning system for your Broken Arrow area home, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Energy Savings, Featured

Use Ceiling Fans to Improve Cooling Efficiency

Use Ceiling Fans to Improve Cooling Efficiency

Your residential cooling system shoulders most of the burden of keeping your indoor living spaces comfortable. This can lead to some significant utility bills, however, as your air conditioner or heat pump works to keep up with cooling demand. By using ceiling fans in rooms where you and your family gather most often, you can reduce those bills and increase cooling efficiency.

Why Use a Ceiling Fan?

Ceiling fans provide a way to increase air circulation in the rooms where they are used. This helps move cool air that has settled near the floor, recirculating already conditioned air and giving it a second chance to reduce the temperature in the room.

The drafts of air from ceiling fans also provide direct cooling when they make contact with your body. The air from your ceiling fan helps perspiration evaporate on your skin, which carries away heat and keeps you cool. This effect makes the room feel cooler than it actually is, allowing you to run your air conditioner at a lower level while still maintaining consistent comfort.

Considerations When Using a Ceiling Fan

  • When using a ceiling fan, remember that the drafts created by the fan must make contact with your body for the cooling effect to take place. A ceiling fan doesn't cool a room. It cools a person.

  • Fan blade rotation should be adjusted to allow the fan to send down into the room below. This is most effective at directed drafts where they are needed. In the winter, you can switch fan blade direction to boost heating system performance.

  • Make sure there is enough clearance between the fan and the space below it to allow safe operation. Fan blades should be mounted at about seven feet or higher, and there should be 18 inches of space between the walls and blade tips.

Air Assurance provides top-quality heating and cooling services to customers in and around Tulsa. Contact us today for more information on how you can use a ceiling fan to boost cooling system efficiency and keep your indoor living environment more comfortable.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “eak_kk/Pixabay”

Featured, Service & Maintenance

Back-to-School Tips for Your HVAC System

Back-to-School Tips for Your HVAC System

A great way to remember it's time for fall HVAC maintenance is to tie it in with back-to-school activities. Once the kids have started their fall routines, they'll be out of the house more, and you'll have an opportunity to make some energy-saving adjustments and perform some maintenance that will keep your HVAC system in good shape for the season ahead.

1. Adjust your programmable thermostat.

If you spent the entire summer adjusting the thermostat manually, maybe it's time you looked at more efficient operation. If you have a programmable thermostat and you're not using it in an efficient way, then it's time to start. While it's still warm, program the thermostat up a few degrees at night and when the house is unoccupied. As the weather cools, set the thermostat a few degrees lower for those times.

2. Change the air filter.

The change of seasons is always a good time to change the air filter. You probably won't need the HVAC system to run the HVAC that much until the cold weather sets in, but keep a clean filter in it so you'll be ready when it's time to turn the furnace on. A clean filter ensures your system runs more efficiently, and that parts are less subject to friction and wear.

3. Clean up around the compressor.

Perhaps you won't be using the air conditioner much longer, but take a look around the outdoor compressor and make sure it's got plenty of clearance for air flow. Trim branches and limbs within two feet of the unit. Clear away leaves and other debris. Trim weeds and grass.

4. Schedule fall maintenance.

No need to wait till the cold weather arrives and your HVAC service pro is booked to the max. Schedule fall maintenance ahead so you have a jump on replacements or repairs. Be sure your service tech looks at the heat exchanger and burners of your furnace to ensure proper combustion.

To learn more about back-to-school season maintenance for your HVAC system, contact Air Assurance. We serve Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Featured, HVAC system, Service & Maintenance

A Timeline for HVAC Maintenance and Replacements

A Timeline for HVAC Maintenance and Replacements

HVAC systems are sophisticated machines that, hopefully, keep your home comfortable year-round. If you are like many homeowners, you may have questions about maintaining your system, how long it should last, or even how often you should change your furnace filter. That's normal. Read on to get a clear picture of the suggested HVAC maintenance timeline and the average service life.

HVAC Service Life

The service life of an HVAC system depends on many factors. The first factor is the quality of the installation. Installing an HVAC system entails calculating your home's load, sizing the HVAC units, and a ductwork evaluation for sizing, repairs, or replacement.The second factor for estimating service life is the manufacturing quality of any HVAC unit. In the long run, it's best to stick with a reputable, factory-authorized HVAC contractor that offers a good warranty and workmanship guarantee.

Lastly, the quality and frequency of HVAC maintenance determines how long your HVAC system lasts before you need to replace it. Following are widely accepted estimates of expected service life for common HVAC units:

  • Central air conditioner: 10 to 15 years

  • Central heat pump: 10 to 15 years

  • Geothermal heat pump: Indoor components 25 years and outdoor ground loop 50 years

  • Furnace: 15 to 20 years

  • Ductless mini split: 20 to 30 years

  • Ductwork: Metal ducts may last a lifetime

HVAC Maintenance Timeline

Scheduled professional HVAC preventive maintenance is a win-win situation to boost your comfort and save money by minimizing repairs and lowering energy bills. Your HVAC technician should visit your home in the spring and fall so you don't have to call him or her for repairs in the summer and winter!Following is a suggested HVAC maintenance timeline:

  • Central air conditioner: Every spring

  • Central heat pump: Every spring and fall

  • Geothermal heat pump: Every spring and fall

  • Furnace: Every fall

  • Ductless mini split: Every spring or fall

  • Ductwork: Every spring or fall

Don't push back your HVAC maintenance timeline or you may be replacing it sooner rather than later. Contact Air Assurance in Broken Arrow to schedule regular service today!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Clker-Free-Vector-Images/pixabay”

Featured, Insulation

Insulation is Important in Warm Summer Weather, Too

Insulation is Important in Warm Summer Weather, Too

When we're trying to prepare our homes for the winter cold, one tactic we turn to is insulation. When you have enough in the right places around your house, you have a much easier time staying warm.

But what about in the summer? Usually, people are trying to cool their house in the summer, not keep heat in. Does that mean insulation is useless in the summer?

Definitely not! Insulation is just as important in the summer as in the winter. As strange as it sounds, insulation is doing the same job during both seasons. It just has a different result depending on the weather.

How Insulation Works

Insulation works on the principle that hot air will try to move where it's colder until the temperatures are equal. In the winter, the hot air in your home tries to reach the cold air outdoors. In the summer, the hot air outdoors tries to reach the cold air indoors. No matter which way the hot air is moving, insulation slows it down. The thicker the insulation you have, the slower the hot air is able to move.

Choosing the Right Insulation

When you are choosing an insulation for your home, you'll want to look at the insulation's R-value. This number is based on the insulation's density, thickness, and what type of material it's made from. If you're not sure what the best R-value is for your needs, your HVAC contractor can advise you.

You can also discuss with your contractor what type of insulation will work best in the areas you're wanting to insulate. Some common types include:

  • Blanket insulation

  • Blown (loose-fill) insulation

  • Foam insulation

Foam insulation comes in boards as well as in an injectable, expanding form that can effectively seal off awkward areas.

Each type of insulation has its pros and cons in terms of cost, life span, and effectiveness. Whatever you end up choosing, you can rest assured that it will help keep your home more comfortable year-round.

Need some help figuring out if you have enough insulation in your Broken Arrow area home? Contact Air Assurance today!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “AKuptsova/pixabay”

Featured, NATE Certification, Technicians

Verifying That an HVAC Company is Reputable

Verifying That an HVAC Company is Reputable

The search for the right HVAC company can be daunting if you don't know what qualifications to look for. Here are some recommendations to help you sort through the competitors and find a reputable company that can provide quality results.

Finding the Right HVAC Company

  1. Ask friends and family for recommendations. This is where you start. Ask why your acquaintances are recommending the consultant that they use. Call several of these recommended companies and ask for references. Call the references and ask if jobs were completed in a reasonable time, and if the work was satisfactory.

  2. Call the Better Business Bureau. Find out if the company you're interested in has had complaints filed against it, and if so, why. Also consider any good reviews issued by the BBB.

  3. Read the online reviews with reservations. Many online sites offer a forum for reviewing a customer's experience with a company. But, bear in mind that some reviewers have an ax to grind, while other, more positive reviews might be posted by someone with an interest in promoting the company more than it deserves.

  4. Check out certifications. HVAC industry certifications may be a sign of the company's professionalism. For instance, proclaiming that the company's technicians are NATE- (North American Technician's Excellence) certified signifies the technicians have been rigorously tested and qualified by the highest standards in the industry. Membership in the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) means the company has a stake in maintaining top professional standards.

  5. Ask about licensing, bonding, and insurance. Oklahoma HVAC contractors are required to be properly licensed. Often, the contractor must be bonded and insured to qualify for a license. You should be sure your HVAC professional has liability insurance to protect your home in case a worker is injured or damage occurs.

  6. Avoid contractors who give estimates over the phone. For the best results, HVAC contractors should always come to your home to assess repairs or installations, and give you a written estimate.

Contact Air Assurance for more information on hiring a reputable HVAC company. We serve Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/pixabay”

Featured, Solar

Reduce A/C Costs With Solar Shades

Reduce A/C Costs With Solar Shades

As the A/C blasts away at the oppressive heat of summer, your power bills fly through the roof. It seems like you’re left with two choices: turn it down and sweat, or leave it at a comfortable level and break the bank. Solar shades provide one attractive option to stay cool and keep money in your pocket.

What Are Solar Shades?

Solar shades are window coverings that are designed to block UV radiation from entering a home, along with most of the heat from direct sunlight. Though lightweight compared to traditional insulated window covering panels, the solar shade offers a marked reduction in heat transfer throughout the year.

What Do They Look Like?

Unlike solid and often dark blackout curtains or insulated panels, solar shades bring an airy feeling to a room because natural light can still enter. In fact, some solar shade designs allow a perfectly unobstructed view of the outdoors while keeping your home comfort costs down. They are available in a wide range of neutral colors and chic, modern designs.

How Will They Benefit My Home?

For a solution that costs relatively little, solar shades offer a lot of different benefits aside from lower energy bills. These include:

  • Reduced damage from UV rays inside the house. From faded upholstery to a higher risk of skin cancer, excessive UV is bad news in your interior spaces.

  • Fewer “hot spots” throughout your home. Ever had the thermometer show a perfect indoor temperature, yet you’re still uncomfortably warm? That’s often caused by weak points in your home’s insulation – usually inefficient windows – that allow the outdoor heat to seep in.

  • Lower A/C maintenance costs. The less you run your air conditioning unit, the less seasonal maintenance it requires.

  • Less glare on interior surfaces. Direct sunlight bounces off of TV screens, mirrors, glass, and other reflective surfaces, causing painfully bright spots. Solar shades reduce eye strain and discomfort by preventing too-bright light from entering your home.

For more information on solar shades and other ways to reduce cooling costs in your Broken Arrow home, contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “OpenClipart-Vectors_pixabay”

Air Conditioning, Featured

Troubleshooting for Air Conditioners

Troubleshooting for Air Conditioners

There are so many parts and components to your air conditioner system, you may not know how to begin to fix it should something go wrong. While most A/C problems require the expertise of your HVAC pro, there are some issues that you may troubleshoot before making the call.

Troubleshooting Tips

Is your thermostat in the "cool" position? Check one more time to make sure. If your A/C isn't powering on, check to see if a breaker has tripped inside the circuit box.One of the most basic components of your A/C, yet one of the most important, is the air filter. A clogged air filter may cause your unit to run off and on repeatedly, overheat other parts, and even cause early failure. Take a look at your filter, which is typically located behind the return grille, to see if it needs to be changed.Next on your troubleshooting list is the outdoor unit. If weeds, leaves, grass clippings, and/or other obstructions are blocking free airflow to the unit, it won't be able to cool as it should.

Professional Service

Your A/C relies on electrical parts and signals for it to operate correctly. So, if your unit isn't powering on, and the circuit breaker is fine, your HVAC pro needs to be called. Other problems that require professional diagnostics are unusual noises, such as grinding, squealing, rattling, or thumping. If your system is making any of these noises, turn it off and call your HVAC pro.There are many possible problems relating your A/C unit if it is operating but not cooling. Your HVAC pro should check the following:

  • Refrigerant charge needs to be measured to ensure optimal levels.

  • Diagnostic tests are performed on the compressor to detect faulty parts.

  • The blower motor is tested as well.

  • The drainage system and evaporator coil are inspected for obstructions that could make your system leak water.

If your air conditioner is on the fritz, don't sweat it! Contact the professionals at Air Assurance for immediate service. We've proudly served homeowners of Broken Arrow and surrounding areas for more than 30 years!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/pixabay"

Efficiency, Featured

How to Read the EnergyGuide Label

Different Types of Plumbing Pipes

Different Types of Plumbing Pipes

When you’re shopping for new HVAC equipment and home appliances, fixtures, and electronics, how can you be sure you’re buying quality merchandise? These days, when it comes to such products, “quality” applies to both performance and energy efficiency. Regarding the latter factor — how well the product uses or saves energy — the Energy Star label and EnergyGuide label both provide essential information about a product’s energy efficiency. Both are the result of a program coordinated between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy.

Energy Star Label

This familiar blue label can be found on a wide range of energy-using products that meet minimum standards set by the federal government. These include water heaters, TVs, refrigerators, A/Cs and heat pumps, windows, and insulation, among many others. An Energy Star-certified product must achieve the following:

  • Provide substantial energy savings throughout the country.

  • Come with features and performance demanded by customers. In effect, energy efficiency can’t come at the cost of other characteristics of quality.

  • If the Energy Star product costs more than a similar product with less energy efficiency, the product must provide energy savings that more than compensate for that extra cost.

  • Technology in a qualifying product must be available from more than one manufacturer.

  • The product’s energy use must be measurable and verifiable.

EnergyGuide Label

The EnergyGuide label differs from the Energy Star logo in that it doesn’t signify a superior product. Rather, the EnergyGuide label – affixed by manufacturers to most appliances – provides hard data about that product’s energy use, as compared to other, similar products. This includes the product's annual energy consumption and operating costs.Information on the label includes:

  1. Maker, model number, and appliance size.

  2. Estimated yearly operating cost, based on the average of electricity costs throughout the country.

  3. Whether the product has qualified for the aforementioned Energy Star.

  4. Estimated consumption of electricity every year.

  5. Key features of this particular model class.

For more information on the Energy Star and EnergyGuide labels, please contact us at Air Assurance, providing quality HVAC services in the Broken Arrow area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Public Domain/Wikipedia”

Featured, NATE Certification, Technicians

Look for a Tech With These HVAC Certifications

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Choosing an experienced and skilled HVAC contractor to repair, install, and service the HVAC equipment in your home ensures your family's comfort and safety. A reliable contractor not only stays up-to-date on industry standards themselves, they also make sure that every technician they employ has current certifications that demonstrate their knowledge, training and experience. Here are some key HVAC certifications to look for in an technician so you can have peace of mind that your costly and critically important comfort equipment is in good hands.

State Licensing

In Oklahoma, HVAC technicians must be licensed through the Construction Industries Board (CIB). Applicants must pass an in-depth exam and meet the board's strict educational and work experience requirements. The HVAC company they work for should also be licensed and have the state-required surety bond and liability insurance coverage in place. You can verify an HVAC contractor or technician's license right on the CIB's website.

NATE Certification

Reputable HVAC companies insist that their technicians are certified through the industry-leading North American Technician Excellence (NATE). To gain certification through this nonprofit testing organization, technicians have to pass a stringent core exam on their general industry knowledge, along with a specialty exam in their choice of either service or installation.

HVAC Excellence Certification

Another prominent independent testing organization, HVAC Excellence offers certification for technicians at either the professional or master specialist level. Technicians who obtain a professional-level certification have two years of relevant industry experience and have passed a rigorous exam. To achieve master specialist certification, technicians must have three years of practical experience in addition to passing the exam.

EPA 608 Certification

In order to install, repair or service air conditioners or heat pumps that contain refrigerants like R-22 or R-410A, HVAC technicians need to be certified through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the certification requirements in Section 608 of the EPA's Clean Air Act, technicians must pass core and specialty testing to assess their knowledge on industry best practices for service and refrigerant reclamation.

To learn more about the importance of HVAC certifications, contact the Broken Arrow comfort pros at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC certifications and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “ArtsyBee/pixabay”