Tulsa and Broken Arrow

Efficiency, Featured

Energy-Efficient Windows

Energy-Efficient Windows | Air Assurance

Having energy-efficient windows installed in your Broken Arrow home can make a big difference in your heating and cooling bills. These come in a variety of designs and include different features that affect efficiency.

Types of Energy-Efficient Window Options

Energy-efficient window options include the following types:

  • Double-hung — These are a common type of window found in most homes. The bottom part of the window slides up when opened. A double-hung window offers decent efficiency, although air sometimes flows in between the window sliders.

  • Casement — These are ones that open out when you turn a crank. They offer high efficiency, as long as you make sure the seals and hinges on them are well maintained.

  • Picture — This is a large type of window that typically doesn’t open. Certain features can improve the efficiency of a picture window.

Energy-Efficient Window Features

The following features affect a window’s efficiency:

  • Low-E — Also known as low emissivity, this indicates how much heat a window can reflect. The more heat that is reflected, the more efficiency a window with this coating has.

  • Gas fills — Some windows have krypton or argon between glazing, which helps boost insulation and reduces heat transfer.

  • Double pane — A window with double panes offers better insulation and more efficiency than single-pane ones.

  • Frame material — A window’s material can affect its efficiency. Vinyl offers good insulation, while aluminum provides a lower amount of efficiency. Wood and fiberglass also offer decent efficiency, although wood contracts or expands with moisture and fiberglass can be costly.

Keep in mind that installation is also an important factor for improving window efficiency in your home. It’s important to make sure you hire professionals who do new window installations properly, or you’ll have heated air leaking out in winter and hot air from outside getting in during summer. Proper installation helps ensure that you have as much window efficiency as possible in your Broken Arrow home.

If you need to replace old windows with energy-efficient ones, contact Air Assurance. We offer window replacement services, as well as HVAC and plumbing 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: “SpeedKingz/Shutterstock”

Air Conditioning

The Annual A/C Inspection: Why You Shouldn't Skip It

HVAC industry experts recommend that air conditioning systems be inspected by a professional prior to Oklahoma’s hot summer weather. While there are some tasks a homeowner can take care of, the A/C inspection includes tasks only a professional is qualified to complete. Providing proper annual maintenance before the air conditioning is actually needed ensures the system will operate properly during the hottest weather. Skipping annual maintenance, on the other hand, puts the air conditioning system at risk for failure when you need it most.

The Annual A/C Inspection: Why You Shouldn't Skip It

The best time to schedule an annual inspection is while the weather is still cool, as once hot weather settles in scheduling service can be more difficult. The A/C inspection is your best protection against damage to the system from improperly functioning components. Your A/C technician checks the operation of all components, allowing minor problems to be resolved before they evolve into major repair issues.

Proper maintenance, beginning with the annual A/C inspection, saves money throughout the cooling season. First, it ensures the system is operating properly before the hot weather begins. Second, maintenance minimizes the odds of an A/C system failure during the hot weather, eliminating unnecessary emergency service calls. Third, proper service can significantly reduce the daily cost of operating your air conditioning. The Department of Energy reports that simply cleaning or replacing filters can reduce energy use by up to 15 percent. Industry figures suggest that correcting a refrigerant charge saves much more. An extended HVAC service plan can help greatly with controlling costs and minimizing emergency service calls.

To prepare for Oklahoma’s hottest months, contact Air Assurance for a complete A/C inspection. Our qualified technicians will carefully prepare your air conditioning system and provide advice on how to best minimize your air conditioning expenses during our hottest months.

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). 

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Air Conditioning, Service & Maintenance

Air Conditioning Season Is Ahead: Don't Skimp on Maintenance

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Spring in Broken Arrow means that cooling season is around the corner, and now is the time to schedule preventive maintenance on your air conditioning unit. Annual preventive maintenance by a qualified HVAC technician isn't expensive, and it's an investment that will extend the life of your air conditioner, lower your energy costs and prevent breakdowns and expensive repairs. Your air conditioner tune-up will include these essential tasks:

  • Lubricating the motor to prevent friction.

  • Testing the controls to ensure your air conditioner cycles on and off properly.

  • Adjusting the refrigerant level and testing for leaks.

  • Flushing the condensate drain to prevent overflow.

  • Checking the blower motor and belts for wear.

  • Checking the voltage and amperage for efficiency.

  • Cleaning and tightening the electrical connections.

  • Cleaning the outdoor condensing unit.

  • Recording the operating pressures and temperatures.

  • Checking and adjusting the thermostat for accuracy.

  • Checking the ductwork for cracks and loose joints.

Air conditioning maintenance doesn't end with your annual tuneup. Throughout the cooling season, there are several things you should do to keep your air conditioner operating efficiently:

  • Inspect your air filter each month, and replace it when it's dirty. Your air filter is your first defense against dust buildup in your system, which can inhibit efficiency and cause expensive damage. A clean air filter will also improve your indoor-air quality.

  • Keep your outdoor unit clean. Remove debris such as grass and weeds that can restrict airflow, and hose down the unit regularly to remove dirt.

  • Keep the area around your indoor unit clean and free of obstructions.

  • Make sure your supply and return registers aren't blocked by furniture or drapes, and don't close off more than 20 percent of your registers to save money on energy costs. Blocked registers impede airflow to your system and can cause overheating.

For more expert advice on air conditioning maintenance or to schedule a tune-up with an expert technician, contact Air Assurance. We have proudly served the Broken Arrow area since 1985.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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

HVAC system

11 HVAC Terms Every Tulsa Area Homeowner Should Know

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When it comes to heating and cooling a Tulsa-area home, homeowners are at a disadvantage. Why? HVAC terms require time to understand them, and heating and cooling is generally not an area of expertise for the average homeowner. With just a little knowledge under your belt, however, you can use these HVAC terms to effectively communicate with your HVAC technician the next time your equipment requires service or repair, or you’re ready to upgrade. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), the cooling efficiency rating that reveals a unit’s performance capacity. This rating is used with central air conditioning and heat pumps

  • Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), the rating used to show the efficiency potential for furnaces (and boilers)

  • Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF), the heating term used to show a heat pump’s potential for heating efficiency

  • Air handler, the unit that’s located indoors. Consisting of a motor and a fan, the air handler pushes conditioned air into the home

  • Condenser, or the heat exchanger, employed in air conditioning and heat pump systems to condense refrigerant into a liquid, which facilities heat transfer

  • Heat exchanger, a separate component of the furnace that helps to transfer heat that’s generated by the burners

  • Ductwork, the system of interconnected pipes that snake throughout your home to supply conditioned air to the living spaces

  • Ventilation system, a mechanical device that encourages air circulation in the home, and facilitates the equal exchange of outgoing and incoming air

  • Air filter, the device that filters out impurities from the air before that air supply moves into the heating/cooling system

  • Load calculation, a method for calculating the home’s unique heating and cooling load, which is used to help the contractor select the right-sized system

  • Manual D, the methodology employed when sizing ductwork

  • Manual S, the method used to size the heating or cooling system, used in conjunction with the load calculation

With a few HVAC terms under your belt, contact Air Assurance Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for more information about installing, repairing or maintaining your home’s heating and cooling systems. We've served homeowners in greater Broken Arrow for nearly 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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

How's Your Home's Indoor Air Quality? Three Factors To Focus On For Improvement

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Do you need a proven, easy strategy for improving indoor air quality in your greater Broken Arrow home? The experts have weighed in, and the following three steps are proven to boost air quality in the average home. You can rely on these tips, provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Source control

Removing the sources of contaminants in your home is perhaps the easiest, most effective way to promote healthful indoor air quality. And it won’t cost you anything. Start by going through your home, room by room, and eliminate sources of contaminants like home furnishings with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), harsh cleaning chemicals, and more. Schedule a professional service appointment to have all of the combustible equipment in your home evaluated for greenhouse gas emissions. In most cases, this equipment can be adjusted to lower emissions, and ensure that carbon monoxide and other gases are safely vented outside.

Ventilation

In new homes, and those that have been retrofitted to improve energy efficiency, an airtight seal around the home’s envelope is ideal, as it promotes energy savings, but it actually works counter to healthful indoor air quality. That’s because a tight home keeps heated and cooled air inside, but it also prevents contaminants from finding a way out of the home. To promote optimal air circulation, and to provide a means to usher contaminants out and deliver fresh air into the home, employ a mechanical ventilation system. Running exhaust fans helps, but it's not a comprehensive solution. Homeowners may need to install a whole-house ventilation system to promote a healthful indoor environment.

Air cleaning

In many cases, particularly in homes where allergy or asthma sufferers reside, employing an air-cleaning device encourages better air quality. Before purchasing a system, know what allergens are troublesome for home occupants, and test indoor air for the presence of specific contaminants. Then, select an air cleaner that directly targets problematic pollutants.  There are even air cleaning devices that can control viruses and bacteria!

For expert assistance developing an indoor air quality strategy unique to your home, contact Air Assurance Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We've served homeowners in greater Broken Arrow for nearly 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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Preventative Maintenance

Regular Preventive Maintenance Encourages Energy Savings

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Most of the tasks involved with preventive maintenance should be left to the pros. However, there are a few steps homeowners can take to care for their cooling systems. With warmer weather just ahead, now’s the time to schedule preventive maintenance with your local HVAC expert, and learn what you should be doing to keep the system in good operating condition. Both tasks ultimately ensure optimal operating efficiency and energy savings.

Preventive maintenance tasks your HVAC technician will perform include:

  • Checking the system’s refrigerant charge, and adjusting it as necessary.

  • Inspecting the refrigerant lines, ensuring that they don’t leak.

  • Cleaning the components to remove dirt buildup.

  • Inspecting the condition of components such as the fan motor and blades, the coil, the drain line, compressor, condenser and evaporator.

  • Checking the control box, wiring, relays, circuit boards and more for wear and tear.

  • Checking the airflow over the air handler.

  • Measuring the temperature differentials on the supply and return side of the ductwork.

  • Checking the overall safety of the system as it operates.

Here's how homeowners can participate in preventive maintenance before and during the cooling season:

  • Before starting up the air conditioner for the first time, install a new air filter.

  • Over the season, check the air filter regularly, about once a month, and install a new one as necessary. A dirty filter will block airflow into the A/C, and decrease operating capacity.

  • Keep the outdoor unit free from obstructions like grass clippings, leaves and so forth that also impede airflow.

With regularity, preventive maintenance offers more benefits to homeowners than just energy savings. By providing your system with the care it needs, you’ll largely bypass costly repairs that are common when homeowners neglect to maintain their air conditioners. You’ll also extend the life of the A/C, as experts agree that a system that’s well cared for will last longer, often for as much as five years.

Contact the experts at Air Assurance Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today to schedule preseason preventive maintenance for your air conditioner. We've served homeowners in greater Broken Arrow for nearly 30 years. Give us call today or visit our website for more information.

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). 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Heat Pumps, Service & Maintenance

The Heat Pump in Your Tulsa Home Needs Seasonal Maintenance

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Most homeowners know that their heat pumps require seasonal maintenance. However, you may be neglecting to schedule the service, especially if you aren’t convinced it provides long-term value. Learn the tasks your heat pump technician will perform during a seasonal tune-up, and see just why investing in maintenance offers proven, long-term benefits.

Here are just some of the tasks your technician will perform during maintenance:

  • Identify components that are wearing out, and replace parts as necessary.

  • Check the ductwork, ensuring that the duct's joints don’t leak; install insulation around ducts located in the basement or attic.

  • Test the system’s airflow, making adjustments as needed.

  • Clean all the components like the coils, giving heat transfer a boost.

  • Test the refrigerant charge, adding more refrigerant if the charge is below manufacturer’s specs.

  • Clean electric terminals, tightening connections and lubricating the motor’s bearings.

  • Calibrate the thermostat to ensure correct temperature readings.

  • Check the control sequence, making sure that the heat pump’s heating mode is locked out when the thermostat is set to cool.

  • Clean the condensate drain, identifying obstructions that lead to water damage.

These are the primary benefits the service affords:

  • Lower operating costs -- With a seasonal check, the technician is able to keep all of the components in peak operating condition, so the unit performs efficiently. Over the years, you’ll pay less to operate the system than you would if you neglected to service it.

  • Fewer repairs – A neglected system will eventually break down, and you’ll likely pay for costly repairs to get the heat pump running again. Preseason tune-ups allow the technician to identify worn components before they break down, which means you’ll pay for a part replacement only, which typically costs less.

  • Better comfort – When you keep your system in good shape with regular maintenance, it will not only operate more efficiently, but it will be able to keep your home comfort at optimal levels, regardless of the outdoor conditions—or how hot it gets.

Air Assurance Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing has served homeowners in greater Broken Arrow for more than 30 years. Give us a call today to schedule preseason maintenance for your heat pump.

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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Utilities

Your Utility Bill: Why It Pays to Pay Attention

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When you pay your utility bill, if you are like most people you probably just scan the front page for the amount you owe. You may notice that your utility bills vary from month to month. Understanding more about your bill may help you save money over time or give you clues on how you can lower your utility bill this season.

If your home uses natural gas to power the heating system, you may notice a monthly variance in your bill even if you keep the thermostat consistent. While some fluctuation is normal based on increasing usage throughout the country, major variations in monthly utility bills may be a clue that your furnace is not functioning efficiently. At Air Assurance, we make it easy to select and replace old heating systems. You may even be eligible for a Federal Tax Credit to help offset your cost. Our Local Utilities even offer their own rebates for replacing your furnace with newer, high efficiency models in order to offset the cost and provide lower energy usage.

Did you know that the price of energy fluctuates throughout the day? An easy way to save money on your monthly electric bill is to find out when the peak usage hours are and decrease your energy usage during these times. Many utility companies offer reduced rates for off-peak hours. Many factors can lead to overuse of energy in your home. Having a properly functioning air-conditioning system is one way to regulate your energy usage. A simple pre-season tune-up can save you big money in the long run. A qualified inspector can inform you if your cooling system is functioning properly. He or she may suggest that you install a programmable thermostat to save on cooling costs or inform you if you would benefit from other services like duct cleaning or insulation. Again, ask Air Assurance how your local utility companies are providing rebates for different energy upgrades to your existing equipment, or by replacing your old inefficient systems.

You can schedule a system inspection and tune-up with Air Assurance quickly and easily online or call us at 918-894-5760. For more expert advice about saving money on your utility bill and other issues related to home comfort, please feel free to contact us. Air Assurance has been serving the Greater Tulsa Metropolitan area since 1985.

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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). 

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Air Conditioning

Ductless Mini Splits Offer 5 Worthwhile Benefits For Broken Arrow Area Homeowners

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Ductless mini splits are the result of technological advancements in heating and cooling that allow homeowners to deliver conditioned air into nearly any space. Long used in other countries like Japan and Europe, ductless mini splits are gaining ground in the U.S. for good reason. Learn their  advantages, and then give mini splits a second look when upgrading.

  • Easy installation – Ductless systems deliver conditioned air into the home with individual air handlers installed in each room, instead of relying on ducts. Therefore, mini splits can go where ductwork can’t. One outdoor condenser connects to four indoor air handlers, which can be installed high up on walls or tucked into dropped ceilings. Floor-standing models are also available.

  • Efficiency Ductless mini splits score high in efficiency, with Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings that are competitive with central air conditioning. Further, mini splits often reach higher operational efficiencies, because they aren’t subject to the energy losses from ductwork.

  • Two-in-one – Purchase a ductless mini split heat pump, and you’ll get a two-in-one system that provides both heating and cooling. Heat pumps source heat in the air, and then move it into the home, and they provide efficient cooling in the summer, and heating in winter when temperatures are above freezing.

  • Zoning – With individual air handlers installed in the rooms, you can control the output of each one separately. As a result, ductless mini splits are a type of zoning system, allowing you to keep the heating on in one space, while turning off the heating in unused spaces.

  • Comfort – Often, home design leads to differing heating and cooling loads in various rooms of the home. For optimal comfort, some rooms require more conditioned air than others, and ductless systems allow you to control how much conditioned air each room receives. This is an advantage when installed, for instance, on the second floor, where rooms require less heating and more cooling than the first floor to stay comfortable.

For more information about ductless mini splits, contact Air Assurance Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We've served homeowners in greater Broken Arrow for nearly 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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Programmable, Thermostats

How To Use Programmable Thermostats For Greater Energy Savings

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Programmable thermostats are one of the primary solutions experts, like those at the Department of Energy, encourage homeowners to use to advance energy savings, while promoting optimal home comfort. However, achieving the goal of savings requires that homeowners follow some key tips when selecting a device, and then setting it. Here’s what you need to know.

Selection

In order to follow through on best practices for setting programmable thermostats listed below, homeowners must first select the right device. Most programmable thermostats allow you to schedule four different temperature settings over the course of the day, which jibe with how most people live their lives. Most homeowners are home for a short time in the morning, gone for the majority of the day, return home around 6 p.m., and then go to sleep. Some thermostats now have wi-fi connectivity, which allows you to access your themostat from anywhere via computer, smart phone, or tablet.  This allows you to always have control just in case you forget, or when plans change that are different from your regular schedule.

Programmable thermostats differ in terms of how often you can change these settings from day to day. This is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to selecting a device. If you purchase a thermostat that only allows for one daily program from Sunday to Saturday, but your schedule changes with every day, you probably won't achieve optimal savings, because you'll likely change the settings frequently to accommodate changes in your schedule. Below, you'll see why changing the settings is not desirable.

Settings

With the right device in hand, you can begin setting it for energy savings. Here’s how:

  • Program at least one setback in winter (or set forward in summer) for an eight-hour period. Many homeowners do this at night, or also during the day. This is the guiding principle for savings.

  • Estimate 1 percent savings for every 1 degree that you dial back/forward the temperature.

  • Frequent use of the hold button, which lets you bypass the next scheduled setting, tends to negate energy savings that consistent setbacks/forwards deliver.

Homeowners who’d like expert help using programmable thermostats for greater energy savings should contact Air Assurance Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We've served homeowners in greater Broken Arrow nearly 30 years. We’re happy to get your household on the road to savings, comfort and a lower carbon footprint.

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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Water Heaters

3 Easy Ways To Make Your Water Heater More Efficient

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It pays to lower water heater operating costs. The Department of Energy estimates that in most households, the cost to heat water comes in second only to heating and cooling costs. To reduce your household’s dependence on natural resources, and save more energy dollars each month, consider the ways you can make your existing water heater more efficient.

  • Keep heat inside the water heater – Older water heaters are prone to energy losses through the tank wall. Standby energy loss through the tank wall have been an acceptable standard over the years; however, technology advancements now allow water-heater manufacturers to employ high-efficiency insulation in the tank walls. Short of purchasing a new system, homeowners can also save by installing a specially designed insulating jacket/blanket on the exterior of the heater tank to retain heat. This insulating barrier will prevent heat from moving through it, which not only improves the system’s efficiency, but it will also mean more consistent water temperatures too.

  • Stop heat loss through pipes – When you turn on a faucet or hot-water appliance in the home, the water heater’s outlet pipe opens to allow hot water to flow out. However, this hot water generally travels through cold pipes, especially if the surrounding air temperatures are cool. If your water heater is installed in the basement, this is likely the case in your home. Stop heat loss by applying insulation to the initial 3 feet of pipe extending out of the system. Using heat traps also improves the system’s efficiency, preventing hot water from escaping when cold water flows into the tank.

  • Maintain the system – Simply put, homeowners who maintain their water heaters every year ensure peak performance from the system. In addition to professional maintenance, homeowners can flush out the water heater’s tank in between visits. If you’re not familiar with this process, ask your technician to show you how during the next service appointment.

For more tips on lowering water heater operating costs, or to ask about upgrades, contact Air Assurance Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today! We've served homeowners in greater Broken Arrow 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). 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Avoid Sick Building Syndrome With BBJ MicroBiocide

Professional treatment using BBJ MicroBiocide by an HVAC company experienced with eradicating and preventing sick building syndrome issues is just what the doctor ordered for improving the health of your home and its occupants, and for boosting the performance of heating, cooling and ventilation systems.What is sick building syndrome?Sick building syndrome is a term and condition associated with poor indoor air quality (IAQ) that contributes to health ailments and symptoms, such as exacerbated respiratory issues, and repeated exposure to viruses, mold spores, allergens and other airborne contaminants, of unsuspecting household occupants. Moreover, these harmful contaminants accumulate on HVAC equipment which compounds the problem when left unchecked.BBJ MicroBiocideThe same airborne contaminants that circulate through the living spaces, and accumulate on surfaces inside your home are likely accumulating inside the HVAC system. The damp surface of the indoor evaporator coil, air handler components, drainage system and ductwork have a knack for attracting a host of airborne contaminants, and nurturing their growth and proliferation.BBJ MicroBiocide is a professional-grade treatment solution applied to the surfaces of HVAC components. These are the benefits of using BBJ MicroBiocide:

  • Helps prevent mold, mildew, bacteria and viruses from attaching to surfaces, growing and spreading through the living spaces

  • Reduces allergies and respiratory issues associated with organic compounds

  • Improves heating and cooling performance by maintaining contaminant-free surfaces, which promotes free heat exchange at the evaporator coil, resulting in lower energy bills and longer system lifespan

  • Enhances airflow through the duct system

  • Helps eliminate drainage issues which could cause water damage inside a home

  • Inhibits rust and corrosion of system components

Professional preventive maintenanceProfessional preventive maintenance is vital for maintaining peak performance and health of HVAC systems. When organic and inorganic contaminants accumulate on HVAC components, performance suffers throughout the systems, such as inefficient heat exchange and drainage issues. It's important that you choose an HVAC company that takes specific measures to ensure peak performance from HVAC equipment, and improves IAQ in your home.For more information about the benefits of BBJ MicroBiocide, or to schedule IAQ testing, contact Air Assurance  in the Greater Tulsa Metropolitan 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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Geothermal

Geothermal Installation Types: Open Loop Vs. Closed Loop Systems

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The loop system in your geothermal installation is the extensive network of pipes buried in the ground (in a ground-source system) or submerged in water (in a water-source system) where the temperature stays consistent year round. An antifreeze solution or water is circulated through the loop. The heat pump components of the geothermal installation extracts heat from the loop for indoor heating and transfers heat from your indoor environment to it for home cooling.There are two main types of loop systems available for your geothermal installation:

  • Closed loop:Closed loop systems are used in both ground and water-source applications. They are, as their name suggests, closed off, which means the antifreeze solution stays within the pipes. Horizontal closed-loop systems are the most common. These use a loop system that covers several square feet of horizontal ground area. Vertical loop systems are used where there is not a lot of open ground available for installing the loop system. The loop is installed in a series of deep vertical holes drilled into the ground, usually about 100 to 400 feet deep and set 20 feet apart. Vertical loops are also used where the soil is rocky, where the topsoil is thin or where horizontal loops are impractical.

  • Open loop: In an open loop system, water from a well, pond, lake or aquifer is used instead of the antifreeze solution within the loop. The water circulates through the heat pump. After heat is extracted from or transferred to the water, it returns to the original source, to a recharge well, or to a surface discharge and drainage system. To use an open-loop system, you must have a sufficient supply of water available to sustain its operation. In addition, the water must meet local regulations covering groundwater discharge and pollution.

For nearly three decades, Air Assurance has been a leading source of professional HVAC services in Tulsa and the surrounding communities. Contact us today for more information on the options available for your geothermal installation and for expert advice on whether an open loop or closed loop system will work best for your needs.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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Insulation

Insulation: What's The Difference Between Cellulose And Fiberglass?

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Choosing between cellulose and fiberglass insulation remains a hotly debated topic among homeowners, considering that these two are very common and affordable insulation options. Both materials have advantages and limitations, so let's take a look at the main differences to determine which type works best for your home and why. CompositionCellulose is made from shredded recycled paper mixed with chemicals to bind the fibers together and reduce the flammability of the material. Fiberglass, on the other hand, is made from recycled glass and sand.Fire Resistance When exposed to high temperatures, fiberglass will melt but will not catch fire. Cellulose, while made of paper, is treated with fire retardants to prevent combustion. However, these chemicals could leach out over time and decrease the material's ability to resist fire.SettlingFiberglass rolls and batts do not have settling issues. The loose-fill type, however, will settle slightly over time, although the settling is negligible. Cellulose material, on the other hand, can settle by as much as 20 percent, thus affecting the final thickness of the material and requiring an additional layer.Low Temperature PerformanceFiberglass loses heat more quickly than cellulose and often registers a lower R-value in cold weather.MoistureWater is used for installing cellulose insulation, so vapor retarders are added. It has to be completely dry before the wall cavity is closed up. Otherwise, the material will absorb moisture and become susceptible to rotting. Fiberglass does not have this issue.InstallationMost DIY projects involve fiberglass because it is easy to cut and install. It does, however, require careful, meticulous attention to install properly, which takes time. With cellulose, however, the process is quicker provided you have an insulation blower and you are not likely to do a sloppy job.So which type of insulation is right for you? Let our technicians at Air Assurance  help you decide. We have been providing top quality products and services to our clients in Broken Arrow for nearly 30 years. We can work with you to identify the best solutions for your needs.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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Furnaces

Furnace Replacement On Your List? High-Efficiency Is The Way To Go

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When facing a furnace replacement, homeowners are wise to consider high-efficiency systems. They not only offer higher energy savings, but they also generate a higher return on investment in terms of lower lifetime costs, fewer repairs and a longer life span. Here’s what you need to know about high-efficiency furnaces, along with a rundown of their key benefits.

How is furnace efficiency rated?

The Department of Energy outlines minimum efficiency standards for heating and cooling systems, which begin at 78 percent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). AFUE shows a system’s capacity to generate heat based on the fuel it consumes. High-efficiency systems generally begin at 90 percent AFUE, so this particular rating would offer 90 percent heat production for the fuel consumed, while 10 percent is lost.

What are the benefits of choosing a high-efficiency furnace replacement?

Manufacturers generally employ high-tech features to allow furnaces to reach higher efficiencies. Some features also promote improved comfort.

  • Multi-stage gas valves regulate the flow of fuel into the furnace, allowing it to consume less fuel when the home’s heating load is lower. It also promotes consistent temperatures in the home.

  • Variable-speed air handlers adjust the speed at which heated air is delivered, also responding to the home’s heating load on a minute-by-minute basis. In general, this component is designed to run continuously over the course of the day to boost comfort and save energy.

  • Dual heat exchangers in condensing units capture a majority of the heat in combustion gases as they condense, greatly boosting the efficiency of the furnace. In standard systems, energy in combustion gases is simply lost up the flue.

When choosing a high-efficiency system as your furnace replacement, you stand to gain in terms of:

  • Higher energy savings

  • Improved home comfort

  • Fewer repairs and a longer life span, as the components of the furnace are subject to less wear and tear. Furnace wear increases greatly from the demand placed on the unit as it starts and stops.

  • Local Utilities often offer rebates for higher efficiency furnaces. Currently, Oklahoma Natural Gas has up to $550 for a 96% AFUE furnace upgrade.

Air Assurance Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing has served homeowners in greater Broken Arrow for more than 30 years, and we're happy to help with your furnace replacement.

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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Heat Pumps

Heat Pump Too Frosty? Some Tips For Keeping It Ice-Free

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It doesn’t take a snow storm to cause the heat pump condenser coil to ice over. Something as simple as a clogged air filter could be to blame. If you have problems with your coil accumulating ice, read through these causes for ice accumulation, and some troubleshooting tips to remedy the problem before you call in the pros. In heating mode, the refrigerant inside the outdoor condenser coil becomes extremely cold, while the refrigerant inside the indoor evaporator coil becomes extremely hot. This is heat exchange, and it’s the process that gives heat pumps up to 400 percent heating efficiency.However, when there is a glitch in the components which overburdens the system, efficiency and performance drop drastically, and the condenser coil ices over. These are some of the common issues for ice accumulation:

  • Airflow is blocked or hindered by a clogged air filter, dirty condenser coil, malfunctioning air handler, and snow and/or other debris blocking airflow at the outside cabinet.

  • Refrigerant charge is too high or low.

  • Demand defrost mode isn’t functioning properly (bad timer, sensor or relay).

  • Thermostat is faulty.

  • Electrical contacts are worn.

  • Air handler is malfunctioning or broken.

Except for specific electrical issues, or demand defrost malfunctions, all of these heat pump issues cause ice accumulation on the condenser coil by exerting too much stress on the system. Check all possible issues with hindered or blocked airflow. Ensure the outside cabinet has two or more feet of clearance on all sides. Check to see if the air handler is working.Significant issues, such as those involving faulty electrical components, thermostat or demand defrost malfunction, a sticky reversing valve or air handler issues, should be serviced by an HVAC professional. If after removing airflow obstructions, your heat pump still does not defrost properly, call your HVAC pro. Do not attempt to chip the ice away, or you may risk more serious damage.If you have any questions about your heat pump, or if you would like to schedule a service call, contact us at Air Assurance today. We proudly serve homeowners of the Greater Tulsa Metropolitan 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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Zoning Systems

Zoned Systems Deliver Cool Air, Warmth As Needed

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Have you ever found a room's perfect temperature, only to have the heating system suddenly switched off by someone else? This is one reason why zoning systems have become increasingly popular over the years. By allowing separate temperature controls in your Greater Tulsa Metropolitan area home, you'll have greater control over your comfort level.Physics makes a whole-house approach impracticalDue to the basic laws of physics, it is not possible to maintain the temperature of an entire home by using a whole-house heating or cooling system. Why? For the simple fact that heat rises, which means that the upper levels of your home will always be warmer than the lower levels. This is especially prevalent if you have a multi-story house with a basement. All you have to do is walk from your second floor down to the basement, and the difference will hit you like a cold slap in the face.Zoning systems solve the physics problemIt isn't good enough to set a temperature for your entire household. Your thermostat will turn on and off depending on the temperature in the room it's installed in, but won't adjust for any of the other areas of the house. Zoning systems work by the utilization of multiple thermostats, each assigned to a "zone." By dividing certain areas of your home into zones, you can easily maintain the desired temperature in each room.Zoning systems also solve the "people problem"Each person has a different idea of the ideal temperature. Some may like a constant feeling of warmth, while others might prefer that the heat goes off for a bit so they can cool off. No matter the preference, a zoning system will provide each member of your household with much better control over their individual comfort level. This means that one spouse can be just as comfortable reading a book upstairs as the one watching TV downstairs.For more expert advice about zoning systems, or for questions relating to home comfort, please contact the friendly professionals at Air Assurance Heating, Air Conditioning & Geothermal. We have been servicing the Greater Tulsa Metropolitan area since 1985.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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Air filters

Air Filter Know-How: Here's How They Work

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In the cold winters and hot summers, keeping a home well-insulated is key.  But as insulation becomes more efficient and less air is exchanged between your house and the outside environment, air quality may suffer.  In this article, we'll be going over one of the simplest ways to improve your air quality: the pleated air filter.Filters can be found in just about any appliance or machine that deals with air in an enclosed space, from automobiles and aircraft to home furnaces and air conditioners. Filters in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems intercept air as it flows through your home, sending the air through a fibrous material which catches and holds particles such as dust, bacteria, pollen, mold, and pet dander.  Pleated filters take this to another level of efficiency by pleating (partially folding) the material, resulting in a filter with much greater surface area.  This means that not only can the air filter catch more particles from the air, but their buildup is spread over a greater area, extending the filter's usable life.  The EPA notes that pleated filters also use a finer mesh fiber, trapping inhalable particles other filters might miss.Air filters come in various Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, or MERVs, and choosing a pleated filter with a high MERV value (above 10) is known to ease suffering from indoor allergens.  But even filters with MERV values of 6 or 8 can be a worthwhile investment for your home, offering significant advantages over panel (non-folded) filters.Remember that air filters should be checked monthly and changed quarterly to keep them operating at their highest efficiency.  As it filters out dust and particles from your home, the air filter will retain particle buildup, and its efficiency will slowly decrease.  If left unchecked for extended periods of time, filters may even clog and cause damage to your HVAC systems. Air Assurance has invested in making filters to their specifications in order to make sure the best air quality and air flow both exist for a great value.If you have any questions, contact us at our Air Assurance website or at (918) 615-5760.  We're proud to serve the Broken Arrow and Tulsa areas, and are ready to assist you with anything you might need.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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Insulation

Is Your Heat Seeping Out Of Your Windows? Insulation Tips That Will Save You Money

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Winter is in full force in Oklahoma and you could be spending more money on your heating bill than you need to be. Drafty windows are one of the top ways for heat to escape your home. Making sure that windows are properly insulated is the best way to increase the energy efficiency of your home.

Test the windows in your home for drafts. Place a candle or tissue next to the window. If your see the flame on the candle flicker, or if the tissue flutters, then that means there is a draft coming from the window. The window should be insulated to keep heat in.

Here are a few insulation tips to consider when preparing your home for the chill of winter.

  • Repair any cracked glass or damaged trim around the window. Most of the time drafts are caused by loose trim or the panels of the window. Replacing these or using caulk to seal the leaks will save a lot of heat. Like caulk, putty can be used to fill in cracks and air leaks in the wood paneling and trim work around the window.

  • Single pane windows are a big source of heat loss in older homes. To keep from replacing the glass you can buy window insulating plastic. This is a sheet of place that is cut to fit over the window. It is hung around the edges of the trim tightly, and left up all winter.

  • Another great insulation tip is to hang heavy curtains or drapes during the winter months. When coupled with storm windows and other insulation methods the drapes will help the home retain heat.

Saving money on utility bills is a big concern for many people, and by following a few insulation tips you can save a few bucks each month. You will also be a little warmer this winter. For more information on proper insulation of your home contact Air Assurance, providing quality service to the Tulsa metropolitan area for over 25 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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Carbon Monoxide, Sealing Air Leaks

Improperly Sealed Garage May Leak Carbon Monoxide Into Your Tulsa-Area Home

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When you have an attached garage, there's always a risk of carbon monoxide (CO) entering your home through the door that connects your home to the garage. Another less visible source of CO coming into your home lies at the wall that connects the garage and the house or an attic hatch in your garage. A study conducted by the Canadian government found that homes with attached garages had traces of benzene inside them, a byproduct of gasoline. Parking your car or other fuel-burning appliances like a lawn mower or snow blower can bring CO into your home. Besides the hazards of CO and byproducts from gas or diesel, storing yard chemicals or paints and solvents can also degrade your indoor air quality.In order to avoid having hazardous chemicals from the garage in your indoor air, employ these strategies to cut the risk:

  • Check the weatherstripping on the adjoining door and replace it if it's worn. Removing the residue from the old weatherstripping will give you a tighter seal when you apply the fresh product.

  • Inspect the sill and joist plates in the garage. Fill any cracks or crevices with caulk. If you have pipes, wires or cables that enter your home from the garage, look closely to be sure that there are no gaps that could bring in carbon monoxide. Anytime your HVAC system turns on, it could pull air through those points. Seal them with caulk or expanding foam if they're larger.

  • Look at the seal between the attic hatch and the ceiling in your garage. If your home has a forced air HVAC system and you have leaks in the ductwork, it's possible for the ducts to pull CO out of the garage and into your home. If your attic hatch isn't sealed, apply weatherstripping to tighten the connection or install an attic tent.

If you would like more information about the hazards of CO and an attached garage, or would like your ductwork tested for leaks, contact Air Assurance Heating, Air Conditioning & Geothermal. We've provided HVAC services for the Broken Arrow region since 1985.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). Image courtesy of Shutterstock