Archives for indoor air quality

Solutions For a Dusty Home and HVAC System

Dirt, dust, and debris can enter your Berks County home in a variety of ways. Whether you have a family that enjoys playing outside, furry friends that track in dirt or live in the woods, you may find that your home gets messy pretty quickly. 

One factor that can bring in a significant amount of dust is your HVAC system. Therefore, if you are looking for ways to keep your home cleaner, this is one aspect you will want to pay attention too. B&L Ott near Reading, Pennsylvania is here to help with a variety of services and products that can help you keep your home clean. 

Why It Matters

Dust and dirt affect your comfort as well as your health. When your home is clean, the air smells fresher and you can breathe easy. On the other hand, when your home is dirty, you may find yourself sneezing often and are more likely to get sick. Dirt can also make you feel uncomfortable. It makes your skin feel ticklish or even itchy. With all this in mind, it is important to keep your home clean. Below are some ways you can help accomplish this. 

Your Filter

Your filter is one of the main components that trap dirt and prevent it from entering your home. However, you need to change or clean your filter regularly. The standard 1” filter should typically be changed on a monthly basis. High-efficiency filters last a bit longer, but it is still important to check them regularly. Overall, it is a good idea to check your filter often and change it whenever it gets covered with dust. 

Your Ducts

Your air ducts don’t block dirt like your air filter, but they are responsible for transporting the air throughout your home. Over time, dirt that your filter didn’t trap can settle in your air ducts. Then when your fan turns on, it can blow some of this dirt out into your home and make it dustier. 

Other dust particles will stay within your ducts and can block the air from entering your home. This makes your HVAC system run longer to reach your desired temperature. In this case, you may notice your energy bills rise and your HVAC system becoming more inefficient. 

Air Duct Cleaning 

To help prevent issues with dust and HVAC efficiency, it is important to have your air ducts cleaned by a professional HVAC contractor like B&L Ott. You should have them cleaned every 8-10 years, depending on one how much dirt is tracked into your home. 

B&L Ott uses the latest tools in duct cleaning technology. Our main tool is called the Air Scrubber Plus®. It cleans up to 99.9% of the harmful contaminants in your home and had been awarded the Space Foundation’s Certified Space Technology seal of approval. It will help get the dirt out of your ducts so your family can breathe easily and your HVAC system can run efficiently. 

B&L Ott Preventative Maintenance

Finally, it is also important to schedule preventative maintenance with B&L Ott. Not only does it help keep your system clean, but it also gives you a chance to find and repair small issues before they turn into costly repairs. It also gives you peace of mind that your system will work for you when you need it most. It keeps your system running at maximum efficiency and helps keep the dust out of your Berks County home. 

Contact B&L Ott Now! 

If you would like to schedule and service with B&L Ott, you can do so on our website here: https://otthvac.com/contact-us/. You can also call B&L Ott at 610-816-6026. With a little extra attention, your home will be cleaner so your family can be happier and healthier.

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Ways Humidity Affects Your Home and Family

When it comes to creating a comfortable Berks County home, it’s not all about temperature. Humidity actually plays a large role in you and your family’s comfort. There are many ways humidity can affect both the people in your home and your home furnishings. It is important to keep your home at an appropriate humidity level, somewhere between 35 and 60 percent. This way you can keep your family healthy and your home in good condition.

Both high and low humidity can affect your wallet. When your home humidity levels are too high or low, you can end up paying for doctor bills, having to repair your home, or replacing furniture. Knowing how humidity affects your home and family can help you avoid problems. Below you will find information on things to watch out for and solutions to keep your home comfortable.

Your Family

Your main concern with humidity should be your family’s health. There are a variety of ways humidity affects your body.

Lack of Humidity

When the air is dry, it steals moisture from your skin, leaving it dry and maybe a bit itchy. You may also notice chapped lips and static in your hair. While you can continually apply beauty and care products to help reverse these issues, it is more convenient to get a humidifier. If you need help choosing the right model for your home, talk to a knowledgeable technician from B&L Ott.

Dry air can also cause cracked sinuses, lead to bloody noses and a sore or scratchy throat. This also makes it easier to catch a cold as sticky membranes in your nose lose some of their ability to filter out germs and virus. This explains why people tend to get colds more often in the winter when the air is dry.

Too Much Humidity

Summers in Berks County are more humid and cause different comfort issues. High humidity makes the air feel hotter than it actually is. The air feels sticky or clammy, you will sweat more and your hair can get frizzy.

High humidity can also make your breath heavier and causes faster respiration. With the excess sweating, you lose fluids, salt, and electrolytes more quickly so it is important to stay hydrated and properly nourished. This is especially true when exercising. Too much activity in high humidity without hydration can lead to heat exhaustion or a heat stroke. High humidity can also lead to higher levels of dust mites, mold, and fungi. If anyone in your family has asthma or allergies, having B&L Ott install a dehumidifier may benefit them.

Your Furniture

You should also be concerned about your furniture when it comes to humidity levels. Levels that are too high or too low can damage your furniture, walls, floors and other possessions.

Lack of Humidity

Most B&L Ott customers have wood in their homes. They have wood floors, cabinets, tables, beds, chairs, and more. Wood is susceptible to low humidity. Dry air steals the moisture from the wood and can cause it to contract and shrink.  

Low humidity can also dry out and cause cracks in leather, wallpaper, and paintings. Other than that, it can make books and stamps dry and brittle, turn wine into swill, warp instruments until they are out of tune, and create static electricity that can ruin your electronic appliances.

Too Much Humidity

On the other hand, high humidity can cause mold and mildew to grow, especially in places with poor ventilation or high moisture. Pay close attention to areas such as your basement, attic, and bathroom. Mold can be difficult and expensive to get rid of.

Wood is also sensitive to high humidity. Too much moisture in the air can cause your wooden floorboards to buckle, swell, creek, strain, or even break.

Solutions

There are various ways you can help avoid the various issues listed above. This includes,

  • Making sure home is properly ventilated.
  • Making sure you have the right size HVAC system.
  • Making sure your system receives proper maintenance.
  • Look into humidifiers, dehumidifiers and other humidity products from B&L Ott.

If you need additional help solving the humidity issues in your home, contact B&L Ott for a consultation. We can help you find the best solutions for your Reading area home. You can contact us through our website or by calling, 610-816-6026.

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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.

Filters

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.

Colds

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: https://otthvac.com/contact-us/. 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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