Archives for indoor air quality

HVAC Tips for Homes with Pets

Adopting a pet changes your life. They create memories with you, fill your heart with joy, and become part of your family. You would do anything to protect your furry friend from harm and keep them happy. However, you also need to protect your home from pets with a mischievous nature. If you have a pet in your home, your HVAC system needs some extra attention to keep it running efficiently. Check out these useful B&L Ott tips to protect both your pet and your HVAC system!

Guarding Your HVAC System

Some pets have a tendency to chew on different HVAC components or use the outdoor unit as a fire hydrant. These issues can cause the outdoor coil to leak and lose refrigerant. Then your system will not be able to operate properly. You may end up needing costly repairs or even a system replacement. Contact B&L Ott in Berks County if you are experiencing any problems with your system.

Trane protects their outdoor unit with a special sloped coil guard. This guards your system against acidic urine. However, you should still take precautions to protect your system. The best way to protect your system is to keep your pets away from the unit. Fencing can also help you guard your outdoor unit.  You should talk to a B&L Ott specialist before installing a fence, though, as it can reduce airflow and damage your system.

Pet Hair

The inside of your HVAC system also needs attention. Pet hair and debris can cause internal damage without proper maintenance. It can clog standard filters as well as the indoor coil. This reduces the airflow and leads to decreased efficiency, performance, and reliability. B&L Ott recommends getting a high-efficiency air cleaner installed on your system. This will help trap pet hair before it enters your system. If you have any pet odors in your home, you may also want to talk to B&L Ott about installing the Trane Clean Effects or and Air Scrubber.


Filtration is crucial when we have pets. Not only do your pets shed hair and create pet dander, but they track in outside dirt and germs. Even short-haired pet’s fur will get pulled into your system. Changing your filter allows your system to breath. When the filter gets clogged, your system’s efficiency, air flow, and efficiency all decline. This also shortens the longevity of your system, costing you more in the long run.

When you have pets in your home, it is crucial to change your filter routinely. A standard 1” filter should be changed monthly; ignore any markings on the filter packaging that tell you otherwise. A 1″ filters should cost less than $10 per piece and are an absolutely critical component for your HVAC system’s performance. Despite what the packaging says, 1” filters do little to clean the air in your home. They are actually the bare minimum needed to keep your system operational. They are not helping the air quality in your home, though. Most models only stop the larger particles.

Get a Cleaner Home

When you have pets in your home, you may want some extra help keeping the air in your home clean. Below are some extra ways you can improve the air quality in your home and keep your HVAC system running efficiently. Contact B&L Ott to learn more.

Media Filter

A media filter is 5″ thick instead of 1″. It is 20 times more effective at cleaning the air. Instead of replacing the filter every 30 days, B&L Ott will check the filter every 6 months during preventive maintenance visits. A media filter typically requires replacement every 6-12 months. However, if you have multiple pets or pets with long hair, it may need to be changed 2-4 times per year.

Electronic Air Cleaner

An electronic air cleaner, like the Trane CleanEffects, will capture 99.98% of the particles in the air down to 0.1 microns in size. Be wary of a trick that many air filter manufacturers use. They say “99.9% efficient”, but may only be talking about large contaminants. They only tell you half of the story. Smaller contaminants may easily pass through their filter. A Trane CleanEffects will capture microscopic particles, 1/20 millionth the size of the period at the end of this sentence. It will capture dust, pollen, the flu virus, smoke, pet dander, odors, and more. This type of filter requires quarterly cleaning, performed by B&L Ott.

Air Purification vs. Air Filtration

indoor air cleanersAir filters do exactly what the name implies – they filter particles from the air that pass through the filter. But what about the air and particles that never make it to the filter? To really purify the air, you need an air purifier like the Air Scrubber. This device was originally developed for NASA to use on the International Space Station.

It uses specialized germicidal UV light waves along with a proprietary catalytic process to create enviro-scrubbing molecules of oxygen and hydrogen; just like nature’s outdoor scrubbers. This helps reach the air and particles that are not pulled through your HVAC system. It works 24/7 to reduce airborne and surface contaminants in your home. An Air Scrubber sends scrubbers into your home to reduce contaminants on surfaces as well as airborne pollutants. It is also highly effective on gasses, vapors, VOCs, and odors.

B&L Ott’s Preventative Maintenance Service

B&L Ott’s preventive maintenance service can make cleaning your home and HVAC system easy. All B&L Ott’s filtration options (other than 1″ filters) can make cleaning and maintenance easy for our customers because B&L Ott does everything for you. It’s that simple. A skilled technician can install a media filter, electronic air cleaner and/or an air purifier in just a few hours. If you sign up for our maintenance agreement, we will let you know when you are due for maintenance, schedule the appointment with you, and perform all necessary maintenance.

Better filtration can provide both long-term and short-term benefits. In the long run, you will keep your system running efficiently so your system lasts longer. Short-term, you will experience better system operation and cleaner air for your family and pets.

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B&L Ott’s Guide to Indoor Humidity

Everyone wants their home to be comfortable. It allows for better relaxation and a happier atmosphere. There are three main factors that contribute to indoor comfort. These are temperature, cleanliness, and humidity. Knowing about your home’s humidity is important. Humidity affects almost everything, including your family, pets, plants, and furniture. If you need help understanding your home’s humidity, check out B&L Ott’s guide for indoor humidity. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact us through our website or call us at 610-816-6026.

Effects of Low Humidity

Lack of Comfort

When your home’s humidity is too low, you may notice a variety of side effects. Even if your thermostat is set between 68-72 degrees, you may feel like your home just isn’t warm. Your family may experience problems with dry skin, dry hair, or static. The ideal indoor winter environment has a humidity between 30%-40%. This level will allow more comfort and help keep your family healthy.

Dry Skin

During winter in Berks County, the air outside can steal the moisture from the air in your home. The air can also steal moisture from your body, usually from the skin. Moisture evaporates off of your skin and makes you feel cold. Our bodies are approximately 60% water so maintaining moisture in your body is important.


The air will also steal moisture from your mouth and sinus passages. This causes them to dry out and crack. Your lips dry out and get chapped. Your eyes and nose also get dry and itchy. The cracks allow germs to pass through and you end up getting a cold. This is one reason why it is more common to get sick in the winter.

Effects of High Humidity

Lack of Comfort

When summer hits the Leesport area, the humidity is high. Conversely to winter, the drier air in your home will steal the moisture from outside. This makes the air in your home feel sticky and clammy. Even if you have an air conditioner, it may not be dehumidifying properly. Your house may be reaching your desired temperature, but your home can still be uncomfortable due to excess humidity. If you don’t have an air conditioner or your system is not functioning properly, it can be uncomfortably warm and humid in your house.

Dehumidifying Your Home

B&L Ott can help you fix the problems of high humidity by air conditioning the home; cooling AND dehumidifying. We can install a whole-home humidifier. An upgraded thermostat will also provide more control over the humidity in your home. If you are using a dehumidifier in your basement, you should talk to us about a whole-home dehumidifier. A portable dehumidifier is not the answer, and it wastes a tremendous amount of energy.

How Humidity Affects Your Property

Humidity also affects the items in your home. Wood is highly sensitive to humidity. If you have wooden furniture, lack of humidity can cause the wood to shrink and crack. Conversely, excess humidity can cause wood to swell and expand. Your wood floors and cabinets may also buckle and warp. Musical instruments are greatly affected by moisture levels.

Your windows and doors may also begin to stick and become difficult to open. Too much moisture can cause rotting. Too little can cause windows to shrink and lose their effectiveness and efficiency. Having B&L Ott help you control the humidity levels in your home is the best way to keep your property in good condition. A new humidifier is much cheaper than having to replace your floors, doors, windows, and furniture.

What Models Does B&L Ott Recommend?

If you think you need a humidifier, talk to a trained B&L Ott comfort consultant. We can make the appropriate recommendations for your home and family. All of our systems are simple to use. One of our technicians will teach you everything you need to know. We will show you how to set the humidity and how to properly maintain your humidifier.

B&L Ott also recommends installing a professional-grade humidifier rather than a “homeowner version” found at a lower price in a big box store. These humidifiers may be cheaper, but they also have a greater failure rate. They also do not provide an accurate method of measuring and controlling humidity.

Getting a New Humidifier Installed by B&L Ott

The number one problem we see with humidifiers is homes that don’t have one and need one. The number two problem we see is bad installation practices. Even if you have a quality humidifier, if it is not installed properly, you may still experience problems.

Let B&L Ott help. A 30-minute conversation with one of our comfort specialists can provide you with the education you need to make an informed decision. We have all of the tools, training, and experience necessary to properly install this important device. You will receive a warranty, peace-of-mind, and a properly functioning humidifier.

Our options start at $840 for a basic model and installation typically takes 2-4 hours. You can rest assured that your new humidifier will be placed on the appropriate part of the system and tested to ensure proper operation. If you would like to schedule a consultation, you can do so here: You can also call 610-816-6026.

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Indoor Air Quality and Health

air conditioner repairDoes indoor air quality affect your health? More-so than you may think. Dry, polluted air in your home can cause sickness, allergies, and a range of other issues.

Effects of Poor Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality can become poor for a number of reasons, including:

  • Outdated duct work that gathers dust
  • Air filters that have not been changed
  • Lack of HVAC maintenance or cleaning
  • Mold in dirty equipment
  • Poor ventilation or humidifying

Dry, polluted indoor air can lead to a number of health issues, The problems are mainly respiratory ailments that affect the nose and throat. A dry respiratory system can cause frequent colds during the winter and allergies all year round.

The humidity in your home is one aspect that has a direct effect on health. The correct humidity can keep allergies and colds at bay. The optimal level is between 30 and 50 percent.

Sometimes everyday tasks help add humidity to our indoor air. Taking a bath or shower, washing dishes with hot water, or cooking on the stovetop can moisturize the air. However, if you are dealing with health issues of dry air, we highly recommend you install a humidifier. A humidifier can help correct any issue and maintain the perfect air moisture levels.

Mold is another issue that can affect the quality of your air and cause health problems. Mold can grow inside of HVAC equipment and ducts after long periods and being left alone. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, moisture may get trapped inside and lead to mold. Out staff can also inspect your HVAC equipment for mold and provide proper recommendations.

Test Indoor Air Quality in Berks County

Testing your indoor air quality is a good idea if you have any health concerns. Our skilled technicians visit homes across Berks County to make sure you air quality is adequate. They will evaluate the air, determine any needed changes, and make knowledgeable and personalized recommendations on products and service. These recommendations may include:

  • Minor HVAC maintenance
  • Addition or changing of air filters
  • Dehumidifier or ventilation installation
  • Other options based on your specific home

After the evaluation and service, you will see a big difference in the air quality of your home, breathe easier with comfort, and suffer less related health issues.

Contact B&L Ott HVAC to request service on your air quality today. Our trained technicians will make sure you feel comfortable in your own home. A thorough and accurate evaluation will help you maintain better air quality and optimal health.

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