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5 Ways to Suffer Less from Summer Allergies – Air Conditioner Service Can Help

 During the late spring and summer seasons, many people can experience an increase in allergy symptoms, for those with regular allergy problems this tends to be the worst season for flare ups. This is due to the increase of pollen in the air. It is nearly impossible to escape air-born allergies, but you can limit your exposure to allergies with a few simple tips.

 

Avoid high pollen count

pollen
don’t be fooled by it’s beauty!

The pollen count and other allergens are highest during days that are dry, breezy, or just really warm. Limit outdoor activity to early mornings, evenings, and windless days. Stay indoors when possible with windows closed, especially on windy days.

 

Run the air conditioner and use a HEPA filter

hepafilter
a typical hepa filter

Avoid the urge to “air out” the house. Keep your windows and doors closed when your allergies are bothering you. Use the air conditioner to keep the temperature cool. Invest in a high-efficiency particulate accumulator filter, known as a HEPA filter, that will remove most of the pollen from the air. In addition, portable devices that can be used in individual rooms are especially helpful in reducing animal allergens.  McCalls offers regular air conditioning service plans that includes regular inspection of filters and systems.  You can read about our air conditioner service plans here.

 

Use and maintain the air conditioner in your car

car air conditioner
brrr!

While driving with the windows or top down can be appealing for warmer months, it is a sure way to induce allergy symptoms. When out during the day avoid having the windows down while in the car. Run the air conditioner and use the “re-circulate” setting. Make sure you have the car serviced regularly to remove any mold or dust that may form in the system.

 

Get some relief with nasal spray

nose diagram
keep it clean!

To help with the relief of allergies, keep nasal spray with you. Cleanse your nose out periodically. Many sprays are available over the counter at local stores. Allergy medications are also available for those that tend to suffer daily with severe allergies. Decongestants and antihistamines can relieve symptoms but consult a doctor before use.

 

Dealing with Indoor allergens

vacuum cleaner
no that’s not a hockey puck, it’s a vacuum!

Keep indoor allergens at a minimum and keep your home comfortable. Besides running the air conditioning, take a few more steps. Use a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. If there are pets in the house, keep them well groomed. Avoid irritants such as chemicals that can worsen airborne allergy symptoms during flare-ups. These include insect sprays, tobacco smoke, air pollution, and fresh paint.

Regular Air Conditioner / HVAC Maintenance Can Save You Money

air conditioner

It is important for all homeowners to consider the regular care and maintenance of a home’s air conditioning, or HVAC system. The proper maintenance will not only save energy, but will also save you money. A well maintained system will keep a home comfortable and will ensure the system is running as it was intended to.

The regular steps in maintaining an HVAC system are fairly simple:

  • Check the filter every month. The filter is usually located in a grille on the wall or ceiling, usually in a hallway.
  • Clean or replace the filter at least every three months.
  • Remove debris such as leaves and dust from the outside unit.
  • Check the thermostat.
  • Have the system scheduled for tune-ups twice a year. Once in the spring and once in the fall.
HVAC
Reducing energy saves money!

By performing these tasks the system will run efficiently and save you money. The unit will not have to work as hard to pump the air throughout the house, thus saving energy and keeping the bill lower. The harder a unit has to work the more energy that is consumed, this is one way that our energy bill gets higher than usual.

 

Maintenance reduces repair costs

With the proper care you are preventing the possibilities of repairs. Regular cleaning and inspections of wires and fan blades will help things functioning right and reduce the chances of dealing with repairs. Repairs can be costly and stressful, especially in the hot seasons.

Inspect the ductwork periodically for punctures, leaks, and blockages. Make sure there is nothing that can fall and puncture the lines.Check for leaks. Leaks can be costly, plus that much needed air is being released into areas that do not need it. Leaks usually happen at the joints and bends. Blockages make the system work harder and will increase the energy bills. Check for debris in the ductwork. Usually a collection of moisture occurs where a blockage is found.

HVAC repair
More maintenance means a longer life!

Having to replace a system prematurely will be costly. If you can avoid replacement as long as possible it will save you money in the long run. You are losing money if your system is being replaced in only a couple years, or in half the time it is expected to last. Maintaining the HVAC system will ensure that it reaches it’s maximum intended life expectancy before you have to replace it.

Perhaps you need to call a professional, but aren’t exactly sure! Check out our article on “when to have AC repair”

How to Finance an HVAC System

Keeping the family  cool in the summer and warm in winter is high on the list of any homeowner. Yet the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system  is the most expensive part of the home outside the actual structure. Getting the money to replace or upgrade an HVAC system can be difficult but there are ways to do it and all it takes is a little bit of research and planning.

The First Step
Obviously what is needed depends on if one is replacing an older unit or adding to an existing system. Luckily for most people, the former is more likely and has the best chance of there being programs to help defray the cost. There are both state and federal programs out there which are there to help homeowners upgrade older HVAC systems for newer, greener and energy efficient models. However there are many that this is done.

Tax Credits for a New HVAC System Savannah, GA

Tax Credits
The most common method is through tax credits. There is the Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency program which helps lessen the cost of many types of HVAC systems. Many states have similar programs which can be compared via the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. (DSIRE) The advantage to this site is that it not only lists state programs but also incentive programs sponsored by local utilities. Many larger cities also have their own programs.

 

Grants from HUD for HVAC SystemHome Loans/Equity
One can take a small home loan by borrowing against the home’s equity. This could be done via a normal banking lender or could be done through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) home improvement loan program.

 

 

 

HHS Grants for HVAC FinancingGrant Programs
There are also many governmental and utility sponsored grant programs (some of which will show up on the DSIRE website) for low income families. At the federal level, there is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which aim to help reduce heating/cooling bills via newer and more energy efficient HVAC models.

 

 

Emergency Grants

Not every HVAC upgrade is planned. There are many difference grant programs which are targeted towards those whose system suddenly fails and needs to be replaced especially in the winter. While most are offered by governments or utilities, many are available from church and charity organizations. These emergency grants are usually to the tune of $1,000 which won’t pay for a full HVAC system but can certainly go towards helping paying that months mortgage!

 

Not sure who to go to for an installation, or more info on HVAC matters? Check out how to find the right HVAC professionals for you, HERE.

When To Have AC Repair

Even if you’re diligent about air conditioner maintenance and you have your HVAC system inspected every season, you still need to pay attention to it. (for tips on every day maintenance, check out our article “Regular Air Conditioner / HVAC Maintenance Can Save You Money”)

By monitoring your air conditioner performance, you’ll know exactly when it’s time for a minor ac repair, before it turns into a major costly headache. You just need to keep your senses about you!

Too Hot Or Too Cold?

For example, your sense of touch is your is instrumental in evaluating your air conditioner performance. If your body feels too hot or too cold, it’s obvious you have an air conditioner system in need of service.

The most common two causes of an air conditioner system that leaves you cold (or hot) are system components that are not operating properly, and faulty ducts. In either case, it’s time to call in the professionals. Likewise, if you feel too damp in the summer or too dry in the winter inside your home, check for leaks in the ducts that may be causing these humidity problems.

Is Your Home Too Dusty?

If you can see excessive dust in your home, the culprit may be leaky ducts that re-distribute musty air and particles from your attic and crawl spaces. Needless to say, poor indoor air quality affects your health and can wreak havoc with your respiratory system.

Consult a HVAC professional to see if cleaning and sealing your ducts will solve the problem.

Is Your Air Conditioner System Too Noisy?

You are definitely in need of ac repair when the noise of your air conditioner is so loud that it drowns out ambient sounds. Unlike people, air conditioners should get noisier as they age.

You have even more to worry about if you hear nothing. An old thermostat (no batteries) makes a distinctive click when you turn it on. If you don’t hear the click, call in the ac repair experts.

Many air conditioning issues stem from lack of maintenance, so be sure to have your ac system serviced anytime you experience any of the symptoms above, even if you suspect a problem but you’re not sure.

Keeping Safe While Keeping Warm – Furnaces

It’s cold outside.

If you’re in Savannah or anywhere in the Low Country you’ve probably had your heat blowing at least a few times during this recent cold snap. Here are some things you should be thinking about as you keep warm this winter.

Neglecting your furnace can be costly and even dangerous.  You can save yourself considerable headache just by taking a few minutes to inspect your furnace or by hiring a heating and air conditioning professional to do scheduled maintenance on your furnace every year.

The first time you turn on your furnace you might have smelled a burning smell.  This is generally nothing to worry about.  If you have a heat pump, it is normal for some dust to have accumulated during the warm months.  That dust will probably burn off harmlessly the first time you turn your furnace on. If the smell does not go away quickly, or you see actual smoke, it may be something more serious than dust, and you should probably call or professional for further inspection.

Even if your home heating system is not producing significant smoke, there are still parts of your furnace which should be inspected and cleaned every year.  Igniters, sensors, and gas burners should be checked at least once a year.

Igniters should be cleaned every cold season.  Sensors should be cleaned and inspected as well.  If a heat sensor is dirty or malfunctioning, it can wreak havoc with your family’s comfort and your heating bill. Gas burners are probably the element of your heating system which is most important to check.

A rusted gas burner can allow carbon monoxide to leak into your home.  Carbon monoxide is toxic colorless and odorless gas which is created during the heating process of a gas furnace.  When the gas burner is intact, the carbon monoxide is disposed of harmlessly.

If burners are allowed to rust or deteriorate the carbon monoxide can creep into the home’s ductwork and poison inhabitants with little or no warning. The rest of the winter promises to bring at least a bit more cool weather before spring.  Take the time to hire a heating and air conditioning professional to inspect your furnace to keep your home and your family safe all year long.

Feel like you’re spending too much on heat? Check out our article, “5 things to do which save money on your heat and air bill right now”

McCall’s Technicians are Nest Thermostat Certified Professionals

If you live anywhere in Savannah or the low country, a Nest thermostat can probably save you money.  About half of your energy bill can be traced directly to your thermostat.  A programmable thermostat can save you money, but only if you program it!  if you don’t know your family’s favorite thermostat settings throughout the day and at different times of the year, you might not be taking advantage of the programmable thermostat you bought. Enter the Nest thermostat.

Nest Thermostat in Savannah

Nest ThermostatThe Nest thermostat actually programs itself.  It remembers when you turn the heat up and down and has motion sensors to know when you are at home and when you are away.  It remembers what you like the setting to be when it is hot in the Savannah summers.  And it takes into consideration when you keep the heat off in the mild seasons in a Savannah fall or early spring.     In short, the Nest thermostat learns your behavior and your preferences in order to keep you most comfortable and save you the most money, and you don’t have to program a thing.  All that’s left is installation.

McCall’s Technicians are Certified Nest Installation Professionals

If you don’t like messing with the wires coming out of the walls in your home, or you’d just plain feel more comfortable knowing that work is being done by a heating and air conditioning professional, call us.  McCalls Heating and Air technicians are Nest Certified Professionals.  You can buy your Nest thermostat through us and we will take care of the installation.  If you’ve already bought your Nest thermostat online or elsewhere, we are still happy to help you install it.  Click here to schedule an installation or call us: 912-898-1888.

Using the Nest Thermostat with iPhone and Android

Nest Thermostat OnlineAfter the thermostat is installed you can control it from an iPhone, an Android phone, or any internet connection.  Even more than control, the Nest also records your energy history so that you can view and track energy performance online.  Here’s a link to all of the information you can track and see with the Nest thermostat.

 

Nest Smoke & CO Alarm

nest smoke alarmAsk us about the new Nest smoke alarm.  It’s as advanced and forward thinking as the thermostat.  As of this writing, the Nest Smoke Alarms are only in pre-order phase right now.  You can pre-order through McCall’s.  Just give us a call: 912-898-1888.

 

5 things to do which save money on your heat and air bill right now

A major financial expense revolves around the use of heating and air conditioning. Let’s face it, you want to be comfortable whether you are at work or at home and these environmental factors play an important role in accomplishing it. You can still enjoy a pleasant temperature without breaking your bank in heat and air bills by using a reputable heating and air conditioning service.Here are five tips from our professionals to get you started:

  1. Routinely change the filters. A poorly functioning filter not only decreases the ability of air to flow throughout the room, but forces the heating or cooling unit to work harder to accomplish half the results. A clean and well maintained filter system will keep the air flowing freely and effectively as well as provide the added benefit of diminishing air pollutants.
  2. Install a programmable thermostat. Having a programmable thermostat enables you to have greater control over not only the average temperatures, but how often and when your unit is being used. You will see an instant difference in your heating or cooling bill as you lower the use when you are not home, or sleeping.
  3. Set the thermostat to a higher or lower temperature. Changing your setting by just a few degrees higher or lower, depending upon the season, will provide a nice change to your utility bill.
  4. Consider a zoned temperature approach. If you have ever noticed that different areas of your home or business are warmer or cooler than other locations in the building, it may be a prudent choice to consider using a zoning system. These are designed to balance out the temperature variants, or create rooms which naturally are different from other areas within the dwelling. This leads to less fighting over the thermostat as each person attempts to get comfortable.
  5. Heating and air conditioning service for maintenance and repair. Having a trained and qualified technician provide seasonal maintenance and diligent repairs when needed will keep everyone comfortable and your unit working at peak performance.

Too often people will wait too long, or neglect to provide heating and air conditioning service to thier unit. It is far easier to keep a unit working properly than to suffer the added cost and hassle of needing to replace or repair a unit when it no longer works correctly.

Are you unsure about your heat services? Want more info? Contact McCalls heating and air, or check out our article on furnaces Here!

Signs That You Need Air Conditioner Repair in Savannah, GA

Air Conditioning RepairEveryone wants their air conditioning to work forever, but eventually air conditioner repair in Savannah is almost unavoidable. Even though it can work for years with proper maintenance, it doesn’t mean it will work properly. Does the fact that it’s still working during the hot weather of a Savannah summer must mean an air conditioning repair isn’t needed? Well, in a lot of instances an air conditioning repair is needed. In fact, just because a unit is working doesn’t mean it’s doing a proper cooling job. For instance, a spike in electric bills is a major sign that an air conditioning needs repair. High electric usage means that the unit is working twice as hard as it needs to cool the house. Here are five other signs an air conditioning repair is needed.

Air Conditioning Won’t Turn On

Yes, this is an obvious sign, but some people think it’s time to throw the entire unit away. It could be a faulty thermostat, tripped breaker or blown fuse.

The Unit Runs Continuously

A property owner may not notice at first. However, sooner or later the constant running of the air conditioner becomes annoying. A unit that properly works will turn on and shut off in response the temperature changes in the house. Once an individual hears the constant running, he should know it’s time for an air conditioning repair. If the sound doesn’t alert him, the high energy bill will.

Circuit Breaker Trips

When a person turns on an air conditioner, it’s supposed to stay on. However, a major air conditioner repair sign is when the circuit breaker or fuse in the home trips every time someone pushes the on button. There are many reasons for a tripped circuit. For instance, the unit may have a short circuit an air conditioning repair technician needs to fix. The home’s electrical system may not be able to hand the overload of energy that sudden occurs when the unit comes on or begins a cooling cycle.

The Unit Makes Noise

This noise is different from the constant running sign. It actually sounds like banging and clunking noises. Sometimes a homeowner thinks the loud noise is due to the unit’s age. It’s not. There could be a problem with the air conditioner’s compressor. The air conditioning repair problem happens over time, not all of a sudden because of lack of regular maintenance.

The Air Conditioner Fails to Cool the Property
Sometimes, a homeowner may turn on the unit and it stays on. However, she doesn’t notice the air becoming any cooler. It’s like standing outside on one of the worst summer days in Savannah. She may set the thermostat to a lower temperature to kick start the air conditioner, but it doesn’t work. It could be that the thermostat isn’t working properly. So, when the homeowner turns it to a lower temperature the thermostat doesn’t recognize the change.
If the thermostat is working properly, but there no air coming from the unit or vents, the possible air conditioning repair problems are with the compressor or fan motor. These parts are responsible for the unit’s air flow.

Many Savannah residents spend large sums of money on a new air conditioning unit when they can save money repairing the current one. Other residents may think their units work properly when they actually don’t. Regardless of the problem, it’s important to take care of any air conditioning repair problem when the signs are present rather than wait. An air conditioning problem that is not fixed now can lead to major repair problems later like during a heat wave when the unit is needed the most.

In order to avoid big repairs, it’s always best to perform daily or frequent maintenance; check out our blog article “Regular Air Conditioner / HVAC Maintenance Can Save You Money”

Call for an estimate 912-898-1888

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How to Choose an Air Conditioning Repair Company

air conditioning repair toolsWhat a relief it is to have a functioning A/C unit during the dog days of summer, but what happens when the same unit breaks down? Finding a reliable, affordable HVAC technician can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some helpful tips on how to choose an air conditioning repair company in your area, to help you stay cool and comfortable this summer.

Ask for recommendations. Friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members can be a great source of information. Ask around to see if anyone you know can recommend a company to you.

Check references. Any company worth hiring will be more than happy to provide you at least three local references. Be sure to call each one and have a list of questions prepared to ask such as:

  • Were you happy with the service?
  • Would you hire this company again?
  • Did the technician act in a professional manner?
  • Were you satisfied with the price?
  • Were the repairs done in a timely manner?

Certify the contractor has insurance. Insurance covers both parties in the event the contractor is injured during the time he is in your home. Ask to see the current certificate of insurance before choosing your air conditioner repair company, and verify that it is valid.

Obtain a written, detailed estimate. A verbal estimate isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Get everything in writing including parts and labor, and compare costs between companies. Keep in mind that the lowest estimate isn’t necessarily the best; be sure the contractor you hire fits all of your criteria.

Ensure the contractor is licensed. Ask for the contractor’s license number, and verify it with your local licensing board, making sure it is up to date and valid.

Inquire about warranties. Be sure to factor in to your decision the length of warranties offered on parts and labor, as part of a written guarantee.

Check the BBBWhile not everyone is registered with the Better Business Bureau, verify there are no complaints against your potential hire.

McCall's Heating and Air Conditioning RepairWhile choosing the right air conditioning repair company requires you to do a little investigative work, the end result is worth your efforts. Following the steps outlined above can help you find the right company, and have your A/C up and running again in no time.

Interested an HVAC system, but aren’t sure if you can afford the financing? Check out our article on HVAC financing Here