EV Home Charging

EV Home Charging

EV Home Charging Tops for EV Owners

If you have not heard, the Canadian and US governments have placed mandates on auto manufacturers to increase the production of electric vehicles (EVs). The regulations are real, which will be evident when you make your next vehicle purchase. Before making that purchase, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Vehicle Range

The most important question on car-buyer’s minds is “Will it get me where I want to go without losing charge?”

We are comfortable with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. We understand the gas gauge and fueling options are abundant (and sometimes entertaining). EV buyers need to understand the range of their vehicles.

  • The estimate of current EV options–that is from 100% charge to 0% charge—range between 200 and 400 miles per charge. That is roughly equivalent to the range of ICE vehicles.
  • Manufacturers recommend keeping the charge between 20% and 80% for best results, very similar to recommendations for ICEs.
  • The average driver in the US travels 15,000 miles per year or about 300 miles per week. Perhaps that helps put things into perspective.
  • Battery life for EVs should cover about 800,000 miles, another important comparison with engine life for ICEs.

Types of EVs

Not all EVs work function the same way.

  • BEVs–Battery-powered electric vehicles have massive batteries that store potential energy and power the vehicle without carbon emissions from the vehicle.
  • HEVs–Hybrid electric vehicles are dual-fuel vehicles, with both an internal combustion engine and a charging system that capture potential energy during the braking process and store it in batteries. The vehicle switches between the fuel sources as necessary.
  • PHEVs–Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are also dual-fuel vehicles, with an ICE, braking regeneration, and plug-in charging availability. The vehicle switches between the fuel sources as necessary.

Available EV Home Charging Options

Charging technology must advance ahead of EV battery technology, so keep researching this issue. Currently, there are three charging options available for EV owners. Here are some pros and cons for each option.

  • Type 1 EV Home Charging is available for every new EV sold. The vehicle comes with a 110-volt charging cable, essentially an extension cord designed to charge the EV. Since it must use a low-energy charge, it takes a while to charge—about 24 hours for 0 to 100% charge. However, it is extremely useful when traveling to remote locations since every residential outlet becomes a charging station.
  • Type 2 EV Home Charging stations are installed in secure residential spaces, such as garages. The charging cable is 240 volts, like a dryer or oven/range cable. It will require a dedicated circuit to the electrical service panel to avoid overloads. A full charge, from 0 to 100%, takes about 6 to 8 hours, allowing a full charge overnight.

The cost for Type 1 and 2 charging depends upon the cost of energy from your public utility; a full charge costs approximately $10 to $15.

  • Type 3 EV Home Charging stations are usually commercial charging stations, similar to gas stations. Batteries are charged very quickly: Type 3 charging takes only 20 to 30 minutes. As you might imagine, Type 3 charging is more expensive; a charge may cost between $25 and $50.

Most EV owners will use all three types of charging regularly, depending on travel patterns. It is important to learn the location of every Type 3 charging station in your vicinity and along common routes. Equally important is seriously considering installing a Type 2 charging station wherever the EV parks each night.

The Houston EV Home Charging Professionals

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your EV Home Charger questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our team of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, electrical safety, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Things to Know About EV Charging

Things to Know About EV Charging

EV Charging Tips Every EV Owner Should Know

A quick internet search concerning the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs) and you will find that:

  • The sale of EVs is both going up and going down.
  • The impact of EVs will both save and destroy the environment.
  • The electrical grid is both robust enough and inadequate to handle the current EV fleet.

It seems that statistics can be used to propel both sides of agendas at the same time. This is very confusing for anyone exploring an EV purchase.

If you are considering the purchase of an electric vehicle, here is some crucial information that can help your decision-making process.

Things to Know About Your EV Charging Range

Knowing the range available from a battery charge is the equivalent of knowing the MPG for an internal combustion engine vehicle. It tells how far the vehicle can go before it needs a refueling. A 30 MPG car with a ten-gallon tank will go approximately 300 miles before it runs out of gas. A fully charged EV with a 200-mile range will need to be recharged before that 200-mile range to reach the desired location.

  • Researchers are improving the range of EVs constantly: even inexpensive EVs boast of a 200-mile range, while some luxury models claim a 500-mile range.1
  • The average driver in the U.S. travels 18,500 miles per year; that is between 300 and 350 miles per week or 50 to 60 miles per day. When you determine how close you come to the average, you can determine how well an EV will meet your daily commute needs.
  • Battery manufacturers recommend keeping the battery charged at approximately 80% instead of 100%. This extends the life of the battery, improving the longevity of the battery/EV. If this principle is followed, it limits the daily range a little, so keep this in mind as well.
  • Battery life is an extension of range, and the projection looks good. The current expectation is for EV batteries to last between 15 and 20 years or between 100,000 and 200,000 miles. This estimate gives a good comparison to internal combustion engine vehicles.

Things to Know About EV Charging

Knowing the cost of charging is equivalent to knowing the price of unleaded gasoline; if local sources price unleaded at $4/gallon, 300 miles costs $40 for our sample gas-powered vehicle. With EVs, charging costs may vary.

  • EV car owners have the option of three charging levels; the charging cost and time of charge is different for each level.
  • Each EV comes with a Level 1 charging cord. This is a standard 120v cable with the proper connection for the vehicle. This allows EV owners to charge the vehicle anywhere a standard outlet connected to the power grid is available. However, the charge with a Level 1 charger is very slow; from 0 to 100% charge may take 24 hours.
  • Level 2 chargers must be installed by an electrician since they use 240v cables that are connected directly to an electric service panel. Level 3 chargers are not portable. Charging time for a battery-powered EV at 0% charge to 80% charge takes approximately 6 to 8 hours, and for plug-in hybrid vehicles, approximately 1 to 2 hours.
  • Level 3 chargers are usually commercial chargers, similar to a gas station for internal combustion engine cars. The charge rate is incredibly fast—between 15 and 55 minutes. While this is very convenient, Level 3 charging is hard on the battery and may reduce battery lifespan. It is important to locate Level 3 chargers in your vicinity or on your travel route.
  • The cost of charging varies considerably. Level 1 and 2 charging from 0 to 80% charge will cost approximately $10, while Level 3 charging can cost between $25 and $50.
  • Chances are, EV owners will use all three levels of charging during the 15 to 20 years of battery life.

Air Pro Electric has experienced electricians for installing a Level 2 EV charging station in your home.

The Houston EV Charging Installation Experts

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your EV Charging questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our team of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, electrical safety, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

 

1 https://www.motortrend.com/features/longest-range-electric-cars-evs/#:~:text=Even%20the%20cheapest%20EVs%20can,miles%20of%20range%20or%20more

Willowbrook AC Repair

Willowbrook AC Repair

Life Goes On Even if You Need Willowbrook AC Repair

Usually, the routines of daily life keep us very comfortable. We get up at about the same time each day and begin our grooming and breakfast patterns before leaving for either work or school. Routine gives us stability and contentment. When normal life is interrupted, it causes momentary chaos as we struggle with the new challenge.

A big part of our “daily routine” is waking up to conditioned space—warm, clean conditions during the fall and winter and cool, clean, and dry conditions during the spring and summer. A break in this routine is quite disagreeable and is to be avoided, and that includes a break in the routine of summertime air conditioning.

How Can You Tell You Need AC Repair?

Enough research and records are available to state air conditioning systems last about 15 to 20 years before replacement becomes necessary; a record of good maintenance can add 3 to 5 years to the useful life of systems. Evidence of gradual failure follows similar, recognizable patterns.

  • Loss of function. This might be noticed during an extended time of extremely hot temperatures, or it might surface when more remote spaces are not cooled by the regular cooling cycles. That would include upstairs spaces or rooms at the end of ductwork runs.
  • Increased humidity. As the air conditioner sends cool air into the home, moisture in the air condenses on the evaporator coils and falls into a drain pan. A diminishing system will fail to remove humidity, leaving the surfaces of walls and furniture to feel sticky. It has the same effect on human skin, just like when you are outside in the heat.
  • Rise in energy consumption. While the cost of energy is rising, a rapid rise in the amount of energy needed to complete cooling tasks indicates a major failure of function.

What Can You Do to Reduce AC Repair Costs?

Again, research reveals that attention and care are the best solutions for the prolonged usefulness of air conditioning systems.

  • General maintenance tasks, such as changing the air filter regularly and cleaning the condenser coil annually, significantly lengthen the useful life of air conditioners.
  • Professional maintenance, such as testing refrigerant levels and checking electrical sensors and controls, contributes to the efficiency of air conditioners, reducing the amount of stress on the system.
  • Paying attention to longevity gives homeowners a better idea of when to expect problems and failure. Families can plan replacement since it can significantly impact the budget, which is much preferred to an emergency replacement. Timing is vital.

What Can You Expect During an AC Repair Appointment?

An aging system exhibits a similar pattern of minor failures and repairs. Regular maintenance checkups will uncover most of these problems.

  • The biggest contribution to failures is use and time. The whole system turns on and off several times per hour, day and night, week after week. Wear and tear lead to most problems.
  • Freon, the refrigerant gas used in air conditioners, is held in a closed loop. When the pressure level drops it is because of a leak. The leak might be very small, but the loss of refrigerant is a serious issue. Make sure the leak is found and closed since the price of Freon has skyrocketed.
  • There are very few moving parts in the system; the major moving part is the blower motor/fan. Replacing the belt for the motor is a small issue, but make sure this piece of equipment is well-maintained.
  • The system uses a network of electrical sensors, switches, and controllers; they all depend on the network staying intact. Ignoring these parts can cause a cascade of failures.
  • Large component failure often becomes too expensive for old equipment; a wise economic decision will be to replace the system rather than further Willowbrook AC Repair to an old system.

Willowbrook AC Repair, Call the Experts!

With our four decades of experience as a Willowbrook AC Repair contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with your HVAC Repair needs.

We have several financing options available, including great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your AC repairs, Tune-up maintenance, and needs for HVAC Replacement.

AC Repair 77038

AC Repair 77038

3 AC Problems for AC Repair 77038

As the cooling season approaches in earnest, this is a great time to give your air conditioning system some preventative care to ensure it runs smoothly for the warm months to come. In South Texas, we increasingly depend on the AC for our health and comfort. While we can do without AC why would you if it was not necessary? Here are the top three AC problems to look for with your air conditioning system.

1 Delayed Maintenance

This is still the #1 cause of air conditioning problems, even though homeowners get plenty of reminders.

  • The simple task of changing the air filter regularly helps an AC system function properly and efficiently. Change the filter at least every three months—more if your locale has excessive airborne contaminants.
  • Air conditioning function requires metal coils to be exposed to large amounts of moving air; this must happen twice. The first location is the outdoor condenser unit. A central fan pulls air through a network of coiled tubing and very thin fins to quickly dissipate heat. Leaves, grass, dirt, and pollen fill in the gaps between the coils unless it is washed away. A garden hose is sufficient; do not use a power washer since this can damage the fins.
  • The evaporator coils are located inside the central air cabinet. Flip the breaker for the AC and remove the cover to expose the A-shaped network of tubes. This coil stays wet, and when dust encounters the wet surface, it sticks. No worries. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to wash it all away. Be sure to clean the drain pan below to prevent buildup or debris from clogging the drain line.

2 Leaking Refrigerant

Air conditioners use a refrigerant that works just like antifreeze in a vehicle; it collects heat and moves it to the outdoor environment. The product in air conditioners is commonly called Freon, but it refers to several product formulas.

  • The compression and release of Freon accounts for the movement of heat, and it ALWAYS responds the same way under the design pressures. Under pressure, Freon turns to a gas. When it is released, it reverts to a liquid.
  • When even a little Freon leaks away, the gas chemistry changes. Cold things now freeze the surrounding humidity. When more leaks away, air conditioning functions stop altogether.
  • Refrigerant gases can be quite expensive. Remember, recharging the Freon pressure without fixing the leak will result in the new Freon leaking away as well.

3 Aging Electronics

The components that move the refrigerant and the air necessary for air conditioning function are a series of switches, sensors, and motors. These parts experience micro-violence every time a cooling cycle begins, so they do wear out.

  • The thermostat on the wall is the ON/OFF switch for the HVAC system, powered by AA or AA batteries, which will need to be changed annually.
  • The electrical controls work in series—one switch triggers other switches and sensors. For this reason, when one control weakens or fails, it affects other controls and switches. This system needs to be checked annually so that weakened controls do not stress the rest of the system.
  • A blower motor moves a massive amount of air during each cooling cycle: the entire volume of the space recirculates about every two minutes. This powerful motor needs to be cleaned and maintained.

The best step for preventing these three problems is to schedule preventative maintenance annually.

The Experts For AC Repair 77038

With our four decades of experience as a Residential AC Repair 77038 contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skills and expertise to assist with HVAC Maintenance and answer questions about your AC system.

We have several financing options available, including great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, AC Repair 77038, and installation needs.

Electrical Panel Upgrade

Electrical Panel Upgrade

Electrical Panel Upgrade Tips for Homeowners

Having a do-it-yourself attitude about home improvements is generally considered a good thing. Large box stores provide most of the material needed, and plenty of video helpers provide detailed instructions for newbies. Changing a face plate, switch, or outlet with the proper technique might be accomplished by the inexperienced homeowner. However, some projects are dangerous and complex, requiring specialized training and equipment. Replacing a residential electric service panel is an example.

The electric aisle at the local box store can be quite confusing without a basic understanding of electrical acronyms. For example, amperes, volts, and watts are all measurements of various aspects of electricity.

  • Amperes or amps measure the volume of electricity passing through a circuit.
  • Volts measure the force or pressure of the electricity passing through a circuit.
  • Watts, derived by multiplying amps and volts, measure the energy generated by electricity.

These three measurements are used to distribute electricity throughout the home in proper quantities/qualities to the appropriate outlets.

Reasons for an Electrical Panel Upgrade

  • Older homes were constructed using the established building code, but the code changes over time. Very early service panels distributed 30 amps of electricity, and the current code requires a 100-amp service panel.
  • Service problems. Normal use of electricity should not cause fuses to blow or circuit breakers to trip. When normal activities interrupt the use of electricity, it may require the replacement of service panels with inadequate amperage.
  • Higher use. When home electricity use suddenly jumps, the electric service panel may need to be upgraded to accommodate the increased electricity use. Adding large appliances or an electric vehicle charger are good examples.
  • A room addition or a remodel that increases electricity use might also require a new panel.
  • A lightning strike, fire, or flooding might require the installation of a new service panel.

Many residential installations will upgrade the available electric service to 200 amps to ensure adequate power for future needs.

Code Changes

The newest electric code requires a couple of additional safety features for new service installations; implementation of these changes happens gradually, so ask your electrical contractor about these upgrades.

  • The use of ground fault circuit interrupter outlets and switches is enforced when an outlet or switch is installed within 6’ of a water source (toilet, sink, tub, etc.). This may affect the circuit breaker selection for a new panel.
  • Surge protectors as safety equipment are gradually being required. Even if the local code has not included this as a requirement, expect your contractor to recommend it.
  • An exterior emergency shutoff valve is also gradually being required. Even if the local code does not include this as a requirement, expect your contractor to recommend it.

The time required for a trained professional electrician to remove the old service panel and install a new service panel is approximately one workday. Expect the power to be interrupted during the entire project. The work will need to be inspected by the local building code enforcement agency, so this might require access on a second day. Other variables that might increase the length of installation time include.

  • Location of the panel
  • Building damage
  • Rewiring projects in conjunction with the installation
  • The size and complexity of the project

Considering an Electrical Panel Upgrade? We can help!

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Electrical Panel Upgrade questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our team of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, electrical safety, Electrical Panel Upgrade, and electrical installation needs.

 

Whole-house Generators Installation

Whole-house Generators

Whole-house Generators

As winter fades and springtime leaps onto the stage, the weather focus changes from dealing with cold temps to dealing with hot weather and the potential for severe storms. Texas experiences between 50 and 60 severe thunderstorms; statistically, a hurricane will strike somewhere in Texas in 3 out of 4 years. A significant consideration in preparing for severe weather is determining whether a generator would be a beneficial purchase. Here are a few considerations for those contemplating the purchase and installation of a generator.

The primary concern that drives this consideration is extreme weather: extreme cold in the winter and extreme storms during warm months. However, severe weather is not the only concern. Generators are useful during any peak usage power outages or other causes.

Whole-house Generators Choices

Portable vs. whole-house generators.

  • Portable options cost less and are not installed permanently. They can be used during weather events but can also be used remotely to power events without access to electric utilities. They can be connected to the residential electric service panel, or long extension cords can power specific appliances to customize their usefulness. A portable generator may require weather protection from heavy, driving rain. The generator and fuel supply will need to be stored until needed.
  • Standby generators cost more and are permanently installed but have a generation capacity that will power an entire home. The installation must be far enough from the home to prevent the exhaust from entering the home; local regulations may require that the installation be elevated to avoid floodwater. This choice will be wired to start automatically within seconds of a power outage. It will be wired directly to the electric service panel. The generation capacity will determine whether it powers the entire home or selected circuits. Standby generators are manufactured with weatherproof covers.
  • Both portable and standby generators are available with a variety of fuel types: natural gas, propane, and diesel-powered units are the most common. Standby generators can be hooked up to the local natural gas utility line. Propane and diesel-powered standby generators have larger tanks than portable generators but will need to be replenished as needed. Portable tanks are small and will need to be filled as necessary.

Whole-house Generators Installation

  • Portable generators are not permanently installed. When not in use, they will need to be stored in a remote location. Be sure to position a generator at least 20’ away from the residence and away from doors and windows to ensure the exhaust does not enter the home.

    The generator, fuel, and cables will need to be stored—preferably in a storage space away from the residence. The generator and cable connections will need to be sheltered from rain and wind. A cable connection can be permanently installed through the wall near the service panel. Make placement determinations and procedures ahead of time since you might be doing this setup in the rain.

  • Standby generators are a permanent structure installed a minimum of 20’ away from windows and doors. The fuel supply and cables for residential connection are usually buried. The unit is weatherproof and does not require auxiliary covering.

    It starts within seconds of detecting a power outage and shuts off automatically when power is restored, thanks to the transfer switch (more on this later). Local ordinances might require generators in low-lying locations to be elevated to ensure the generator is not submerged. Expect this installation to require professional installation.

  • Any generator connected to the electrical service panel requires the installation of a transfer switch. This switch disconnects the home’s power distribution from the power grid whenever the generator starts producing electricity, and it disconnects the generator from the service panel when the power grid is restored. This prevents the generator from electrifying the power grid while repairmen are working to restore power.

We would love to answer your questions about Whole-house Generators

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skills and expertise to help answer your Whole-house Generators Installation questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our team of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Home Generator Installation needs.

 

 

Commercial Air Conditioner System Air Filtration

Commercial Air Conditioner System Air Filtration

Commercial Air Conditioner System Air Filtration Maintenance

Before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, HVAC systems in commercial and industrial facilities focused primarily on the comfort of guests and staff. Air conditioning certainly makes indoor spaces more inviting during the heat and humidity of summers in the South. However, this event added the focus on mitigating dangers from biological dangers. Distancing and sanitizing practices were enhanced, and HVAC air filtration became a major emphasis. While the immediate danger has abated, the need to be vigilant remains.

Airborne Organic Matter

There are a variety of allergens, bacteria, and viruses moving about in both indoor and outdoor spaces. As people move in and out of these spaces, they bring these particles inside. Unless they are removed, the concentration of particles increases.

  • Most of these particles are simple allergens, such as pollen or mold spores.
  • These particles are heavier than air and fall to the surface. Good janitorial practices—dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and sanitizing remove most airborne particles.
  • The motion of air, people, and equipment stirs a small number of particles. Many of these particles are collected by the HVAC system and captured in the air filter.

Organic Matter Size

The danger of these organic particles varies. The size of these particles also varies greatly.

  • Pollen spores range between 2.5 and 25 microns
  • Mold spores range between 2 and 10 microns
  • Bacteria range between 1 and 2 microns in diameter and range between 5 and 10 microns in length
  • Viruses (the source of the COVID-19 illness) range between .02 micron and .5 micron

Air Filter Ratings

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) developed a rating system to measure the efficiency of air filters in removing airborne particles, the Minimum Efficiency Rating Value or MERV. (Don’t we just love acronyms?) MERV is expressed in the percentage of certain-sized particles removed:

  • MERV 8 removes 85% of particles 3 to 10 microns, enough to remove most pollen, mold, and bacteria.
  • MERV 9 removes 50% of particles 1 to 3 microns.
  • MERV 10-12 removes 64 to 89% of particles 1 to 3 microns.

These filters will remove most viruses but filters with openings small enough to capture all viruses pose a problem for normal air conditioner systems.

Air conditioners require the movement of massive amounts of air, especially for large commercial systems. A filter with extremely small openings restricts the flow of air enough to interfere with air conditioning function. These filters require blower motors that move an increased amount of air to both filter and cool the air.

  • The manufacturer’s manual will designate the appropriate range of air filter MERV.
  • A local HVAC technician can acquire the proper MERV filter for your system.
  • The proper MERV filter rating for your system is also available from ASHRAE.

Commercial Air Conditioner System Air Filtration Beyond Filters

If removing viruses and other small particles is important, speak with your commercial HVAC contractor concerning the availability of auxiliary products.

  • Ultraviolet light products are installed inside of the ductwork. Ultraviolet light disrupts the cell walls of viruses, bacteria, pollen, and mold. (That is what happens when we get a sunburn.) The dead cells are more easily captured by filters.
  • Ionizer filters do not kill cells. This product adds electrons to airborne particles and gives them an electric charge. Since opposite poles attract, a positively charged surface acts as a magnet and removes them from the air.

Let us help with your Commercial Air Conditioner System Air Filtration!

With our four decades of experience as a Commercial HVAC contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with Commercial Air Conditioner System Air Filtration questions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Commercial Air Conditioner System Air Filtration needs.

HVAC Maintenance: Ultimate Spring Checklist

HVAC Maintenance: Ultimate Spring Checklist

Ultimate Spring Checklist for HVAC Maintenance

We look forward to the coming Spring each year. Warm weather and plenty of sunshine make ball games, cookouts, and evenings on the deck, listening to songbirds and children, very pleasant. It is also an occasion to switch the thermostat from HEAT to COOL.

How long has it been since your air conditioner ran? Perhaps four or five months of inactivity should prompt you to give it a little pre-season care!

Do-it-yourself HVAC Maintenance Tasks

  • Replace your air filter. If you change your filter on schedule (about every three months), you will know the condition of your filter. The change to the cooling season is a good prompt for filter changes.

Air conditioners require great quantities of air to move across the refrigerant coils. Since dust and dander collect on the filter, it eventually clogs the filter, so make sure the filter is clean at the beginning of the cooling season.

  • Clean the condenser unit. The outdoor condenser unit has been collecting leaves, dust, and blowing debris, so make sure to clean it thoroughly. Remove the covers and use a garden hose to rinse away the accumulated dust and lawn clippings from the fall. The large fan on the inside pulls a lot of air through the network of coils to transfer heat; the dust and debris interfere with the heat transfer.
  • Clean the evaporator unit. Flip the breaker for the air conditioner and take the cover off the evaporator chamber. Spray a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water onto the evaporator coils. This loosens any dust particles from the coil for the same reason as the condenser coils—heat transfer.

The drain pan is situated under the coil. The moisture that is removed from the humid air drips into the drain pan. Clean away any debris from the drain pan; this can get caught in the drain line and result in an overflow. Pour the remaining solution into the pan. This prevents algae growth in the drain pan and line.

Professional Tasks

Some tasks need to be completed by a professional technician. Those tasks include:

  • Checking the Freon. The air conditioner cools by compressing refrigerant gas, often called Freon, and then releasing the pressure. Since the whole gas network is a closed system and the gas is under pressure, even a very small hole will allow all the gas to leak away. If the gas pressure is low, the technician will find and fix the leak, then replace the Freon.
  • Inspecting the thermostat. The thermostat is the switch for the air conditioner, and it also needs some care. They run on batteries, which need to be changed annually. The technician will use a thermometer to test and calibrate the thermostat setting.

This might be an ideal time to replace an old thermostat with a Smart thermostat. These thermostats are programmable and adaptive, and they have a cellphone app that allows customized comfort selections.

  • Test the Electronics. As the air conditioner cycles on and off, electricity slams through the switches and controllers very suddenly. While there are few moving parts, the constant cycling creates wear and tear. As a part of the maintenance visit, the technician will test the electronics for weaknesses.
  • Clean the vents. The ductwork for the air conditioning system will collect airborne particles that blow past the air filter. Over the years, the dust can build up and contribute to poor indoor air quality. Technicians can disturb the collected dust and vacuum it away; make sure to clean both the cold air returns and the supply vents. Vents should be cleaned every three to five years.

Let us help with your Spring HVAC Maintenance!

With our four decades of experience as an HVAC contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with HVAC Maintenance.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune-up maintenance, and Commercial HVAC Maintenance needs.

Benefits of a Smart Thermostat

Benefits of a Smart Thermostat

Smart Thermostat Features and Benefits

Change is good! We appreciate and even demand change. Change is good as long as the change is happening to someone else. Secretly, we hate and avoid changing ourselves. For this reason, a suggestion to change your thermostat to a Smart thermostat might not be well-received. However, there are some great benefits to installing this technology to assist with keeping the home comfortable and the HVAC system functioning efficiently.

Smart thermostats are readily available from hardware and home-improvement stores, but they are often available from your local electric utility company. As a bonus, they often install the thermostat at no cost. Why? Local electric utility companies understand Smart thermostats benefit their business model by reducing energy consumption. Reducing energy consumption avoids the highest energy generation—peak generation. This fact should encourage the potential reduction of energy consumption in your home. What are the further benefits?

Greater Comfort

Most homeowners set a heating or cooling temperature setting and do not often change the setting, even when customized changes could significantly increase family comfort.

  • Many people prefer to sleep in a cool room year-round but do not relish waking up in a cold room. A Smart thermostat is programmable; the overnight temperature can be scheduled lower with a 30-minute warming buffer each morning, anticipating the clock alarm.
  • This buffer can be used for any temperature change to welcome family members home.

Greater Efficiency

Temperature changes result in a reduction in energy consumption by reducing the call for hot or cold air. The family schedule is rather stable, allowing a scheduling of temperature changes in relation to the family schedule.

  • As mentioned above, evenings allow lengthy reductions in heating and cooling requirements.
  • The weekly schedule often leaves a home empty during the day while family members are at work or school. This is another good opportunity to reduce energy consumption.
  • If the HVAC system setting can be reduced by 8 degrees for at least 8 hours, energy consumption can be reduced by about 10%.1
  • If every home reduces energy consumption for heating and cooling by 10%, reliance on the most expensive energy—peak energy generation—will be reduced.

Mobile Access

If something changes and a family member returns home early, the temperature can be changed instantly with an app on a cell phone. If a power outage interrupts the HVAC system function or a problem with the system arrives while everyone is away, the app will give a notification instantly. In addition:

  • Maintenance tasks can be prompted, both air filter changes and annual maintenance calls.
  • The app also monitors energy use. If a sudden rise in energy consumption happens, it is often the result of a problem arising in the HVAC system. This notification would give time to schedule a repair visit from a technician.
  • A Smart thermostat will record temperature changes and recommend efficient temperature changes for the future, although a person must schedule the changes.

The level of comfort and control increases with a Smart thermostat. The reduction in energy consumption is realized by both the family and the local utility company. Perhaps this is a worthwhile change to consider.

Let us help with your Smart Thermostat Installation!

With our four decades of experience as an HVAC contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with and Smart Thermostat installation questions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune-up maintenance, and Commercial HVAC Maintenance needs.

 

1 https://www.consumerreports.org/appliances/thermostats/are-smart-thermostats-worth-it-a7822875275/#:~:text=There%20is%20good%20evidence%20that,percent%20on%20their%20utility%20bills

The Benefits of an EV Home Charger

EV Home Charger

EV Home Charger Benefits for EV Owners

The news about electric vehicles (EVs) seems to be mixed in recent days. Deciding on the purchase of a new EV might still be confusing, so here are a few EV Home Charger updates that might brighten up the path.

  • The cost of raw materials to produce EV batteries is coming down; the cost of EV batteries has dropped by 90% compared to 2008. Since batteries make up 40% of the cost of EVs, this is exceptionally good news for potential buyers. Automakers now offer several smaller vehicle options with a price tag below $40,000, putting the purchase price within reach of most buyers.
  • The number of manufacturers offering EVs is up. In 2003, only one made electric vehicles commercially. In 2024, 15 major automakers and 41 minor manufacturers have increased the selection of EVs worldwide. This also brings down the purchase price and satisfies many car buyers with brand loyalty.
  • The variety of models has also increased. For the first decade, manufacturers focused on small, economy models limited by the power and weight of heavy batteries. Manufacturers now offer pickup trucks and SUVs, as well as sporty, fast models (not quite “muscle cars.”) The extra power comes with a cost—they require more and larger batteries, and the added weight affects the mileage range. However, these options were not available during the early years of EV manufacturing.
  • New models are keeping up with the demand for amenities we so appreciate in vehicles. Larger, more powerful batteries produce fewer differences between EVs and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Better sensors are also available, giving drivers a better gauge of battery health. This is sure to produce greater consumer confidence concerning the remaining miles on the charge.

The trends are kind of a mixed bag. Certainly, auto manufacturers are doing their best to meet consumer expectations concerning electric vehicles. If these options are encouraging, there are a few things to remember as a potential EV owner.

  • The greatest fear remains “running out of charge.” If an ICE vehicle runs short on fuel, the fueling options are plentiful, but the charging infrastructure has not kept up with the demand.
  • The average daily commute is about 40 miles round-trip around the country. The average charge range for EVs is still over 200 miles per charge.
  • An EV Home Charger remains a wise option for EV owners. The EV Home Charger can be installed in a garage, and the vehicle receives a sufficient charge for tomorrow’s commute. This charging option is the most economical, often half the cost of commercial charging stations.

The Houston EV Home Charger Installation Experts

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your EV Home Charger questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our team of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, electrical safety, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Circuit Breaker Basics and Circuit Breaker Repair

Circuit Breaker Repair

What You Need to Know About Circuit Breaker Repair 

Should you visit the electrical aisle at your local home improvement box store, the varieties of circuit breakers might be surprising. If you need circuit breaker repair or you are replacing a breaker for your home, the decision might be overwhelming. Why all the choices, and what do they mean?

Circuit Breaker Repair and Knowledge Basics

Before electricity enters a home, the current is regulated by a utility transformer to ensure the flow of electricity is usable by appliances and devices.

  • Electric power is measured in voltage. A total of 240 volts comes into the electric service panel. Circuit breakers carry some of this power unchanged to large appliances such as the dryer or kitchen stove, while other breakers split the power to some circuits into 120-volt currents such as lights and media devices. Circuit breakers carrying 240 volts are called double pole breakers, and breakers carrying 120 volts are called single pole breakers.
  • Electric current is measured in amps. Circuit breakers also restrict the amps a circuit can carry, protecting the devices from a current overload. The common amperages for single pole breakers are 15 and 20 amps. Double pole breakers often carry 30 or 40 amps.

Some circuits may require specialty breakers, but these are the most common varieties.

Breaker Purpose

Circuit breakers are designed to regulate the flow of power and current. When electricity exceeds the designated power or current, the breaker is designed to trip, breaking the circuit. Circuit breakers replace fuses. Fuses accomplish the same function but are designed for one-time use only. Circuit breakers are reusable; a tripped breaker can be reset.

What causes a breaker to trip?

  • An overloaded circuit. When too many devices call for electricity, it can exceed the circuit design and cause devices to overheat. In extreme cases, an overheated circuit can cause a fire. When a circuit overloads, the breaker trips, stopping the flow of electricity. Before resetting the breaker, remove some of the devices, or the breaker will trip again.
  • A short circuit. Electricity must be contained within a designated path, a circuit. When electricity finds an alternative path to the home’s electrical network, it is called a short circuit. The breaker recognizes the incorrect path and trips. The breaker trips very quickly and for very good reasons. A short circuit will damage devices and can create a fire hazard.
  • A ground fault. Electricity must be contained within a designated path, a circuit. When electricity escapes from the circuit, the current does not return to the electric service panel. The breaker is designed to recognize this problem and trips very quickly. Free-flowing electricity will cause shock to anyone encountering the short, and it also poses a fire hazard.
  • An arc fault. Electricity must be contained within a designated path, a circuit. When an electrical connection is loose, it will cause a spark and jump to surrounding structures. The breaker recognizes that the current has been diverted and trips. An arc creates intense heat—between 5,000 and 35,0000 F- leaving a burn mark or discoloration when it happens in the open. Arc faults can cause burns and shock and create a fire hazard.

Circuit breakers are important safety features in any structure.

GFCI Outlets and Switches

Water is an extremely good conductor of electricity, and electricity seeks the path of least resistance. Whenever water and electrical circuits are in close proximity, building codes require ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) switches and outlets. Circuit breakers are fast, but GFCI breakers are more sensitive and much quicker.

  • GFCI will break the circuit with only a 4-milliamp current.
  • GFCI will break after 1/10th of a second.
  • GFCI will break the circuit at the switch or outlet instead of at the service panel.

Ground fault circuit interrupters are an additional level of safety used in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and around pools.

Circuit Breaker Repair is Definitely Not a DIY Project. Call the Experts

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Winter Electrical Safety questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our team of Electricians at 281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, electrical safety, Circuit Breaker Repair, and electrical installation needs.

Furnace Replacement: When to Know When It Is Time

Furnace Replacement: When to Know When It Is Time

Is It Time for a Furnace Replacement?

If you are reading this article, something has happened in your home to make you question whether your furnace can continue to handle the job of keeping the family warm. As a wise homeowner, you are gathering information to answer the question, “Was this a serious problem, or do I have time?”

Honestly, each home, each furnace system, and each budget are different, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer that will decide for you. However, we can provide enough general information that will lead a homeowner to get the specific information needed to ensure a wise decision. Here are the top 4 Furnace Replacement considerations that will catalyze further exploration.

Changes in Your Home That Can Cause You to Research a Furnace Replacement

When your present system was installed, a technician made some careful calculations and determined the correct “size” system to heat and cool a given space. If an addition was added or remodeling took place, changing the floor plan of the original structure can necessitate a change in the HVAC system. When the garage becomes a spare bedroom, the existing system was not designed to condition that space, and it may be inadequate for the task.

The Age of the Furnace

The average length of useful life for air conditioners is 15 to 20 years, and the average length of useful life for furnaces is 20 to 25 years. Many homeowners have no idea how old their HVAC system is, so that is the first place to start. If records or memory are lacking, find the make and model number on a major component and do an internet search. This gives you the manufacture date, not the installation date, but it is a start.

What goes on at 15 to 25 years that typically ends HVAC usefulness?

  • For natural gas-powered systems, water vapor from combustion can create rust on the burner assembly, heat exchanger, or exhaust stack. These are serious, life-threatening problems, so some will opt to replace the system rather than make repairs.
  • Heat pump (and air conditioning) systems use an electro-mechanical process that compresses gas (heating it) and releases it (cooling things off). The compression cycle removes heat from a home during the summer and collects heat from the outdoors during the winter. This process happens multiple times for each heating or cooling cycle, and the heating/cooling cycle will repeat 3 to 4 times per hour year-round. After 20 years, these mechanical parts show signs of wear and tear. In addition, the gas is under considerable pressure, so if it finds a flaw or cracks, it escapes very quickly. The same can be said for all electrical sensors, switches, and control mechanisms.

Completing regular maintenance can extend the useful life of these parts, but eventually, they will wear out.

Frequent Repairs

The wear and tear mentioned above results in brief interruptions of service, requiring a visit from a repair technician; this is not unusual. However, there are a couple of details that make helpful reminders.

  • The best-case scenario is finding a small problem before it becomes a big problem. A small problem creates stress and increases wear on other larger parts; the obvious example is a clogged air filter, which stresses and wears almost every other part. When the same part must be replaced every year, it may indicate there is a root problem that creates the found problem. Take note of this.
  • It is easy to handle the current repair without considering the larger picture. If you have frequent repairs, the cost of each repair might seem small. But the accumulation of the repair bills might be higher than you are aware of.

Rising Utility Bills

This is a little more difficult to determine, so don’t panic. As the furnace ages, it loses efficiency, but it might not be a problem yet. After all, energy prices are rising across the board, so a higher energy bill is a given. Since the utility bills are going to be higher each year, do a little research and discover whether the system is using substantially more energy than in years past.

Newer systems achieve much greater energy efficiency than old systems, so arm yourself with information that will help you determine whether a furnace replacement is worthwhile.

Want more information on Furnace Replacement, we can help!

With our four decades of experience as a furnace replacement contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the furnace replacement steps.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your furnace replacement and Repair, Tune-up maintenance, and Commercial HVAC Maintenance needs.

 

 

Winter Furnace Maintenance Tips

Winter Furnace Maintenance Tips

Winter Furnace Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Winter is here, evidenced by the drop in temperatures. Everyone in your home welcomes the warmth and safety that the furnace provides. It is running fine, with no problems, but, being a responsible homeowner, you are wondering if there is anything you can do to protect the system. Here are a few Furnace Maintenance steps that you can do.

Check Your Records

The information in your records concerning the system can be very beneficial.

  • Identify the year the HVAC system was installed. If it was installed before you bought the home, do an internet search of the make and model number found on the plaque. The average useful lifespan for HVAC systems ranges between 15 and 20 years. The age of the furnace can be very valuable information, helping to predict potential problems and predict a potential replacement range.
  • Examine the maintenance schedule; when was the last time the system was inspected and cleaned by a technician? For best results, the system needs to be inspected annually; the benefits are well-documented. A preventative maintenance call may be in order.
  • It is recommended that home ductwork be cleaned about every three to five years. Cleaning ducts can reduce the airborne particles in the air, improving indoor air quality.
  • Do you have a reminder prompt to change your air filter every three months?

Visual Inspections

You can do a lot by just observing the obvious parts of the HVAC system.

  • Check the air filter between replacement dates. This will alert you if the air filter is collecting a larger-than-normal amount of dust. A clogged filter can have a detrimental effect on the furnace.
  • Check for dust around the return air and supply vents. Return vents are a little higher than midway up the wall, and supply vents are generally close to the floor. Excess dust in these vents may indicate dirty vents or clogged filters.
  • With gas-powered furnaces, check the ignition and combustion chamber. Troubling sights would include black soot marks around the ignitor and rust on the burner. Either would be a precursor to ignition/burner problems.
  • If your system includes a heat pump, inspect the condenser unit outdoors. Make sure leaves or limbs have not blown around the unit. This debris can restrict the airflow necessary for heat transfer.
  • Observe the face plate of the thermostat and become familiar with its readings. The heat settings may include HEAT and EM or AUX HEAT, indicating heat pump or electric/gas-powered primary heat. If the setting does not reflect reality—higher or lower than what seems to be the current temperature. If something does not seem right, follow up with a repair call to a technician. Also, check for a low-battery indicator.

Listen Carefully

You have become very familiar with the normal sounds of home. Do you hear anything unusual?

  • How long does the heating cycle last? This will vary depending on the outside temperature and the insulation value of the home. A normal cycle may range between 10 and 15 minutes. A cycle longer than 30 minutes or more may indicate a problem unless experiencing an extremely cold snap.
  • Do you hear noises coming from the furnace that seem unusual? Banging, excessive clicking, or a loud hum? If these sounds persist, they may indicate a problem that needs to be addressed.

Use Your Sniffer

Unusual smells should be addressed immediately. Do not ignore:

  • A rotten egg smell, indicating a natural gas leak.
  • A burning smell, indicating something overheating.
  • A musty, molding smell, indicates excess moisture in the ductwork.

Want more information on Furnace Maintenance, we can help!

With our four decades of experience as a furnace maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the Furnace Installation steps.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Maintenance and Repair, Tune-up maintenance, and Commercial HVAC Maintenance needs.

 

Electrical Safety: Preparation for Winter Storms

Electrical Safety: Preparation for Winter Storms

Electrical Safety: Staying Safe During Winter Storms 

Extreme weather events and natural disasters are common enough, and homeowners are being increasingly challenged to prepare for the next potential events. If you are considering your emergency preparedness plans, consider these electrical safety plan details.

Gather Needed Electrical Safety Supplies

  • Drinking water for at least three days. Each family member will need between three quarts and one gallon, more if extremely active. Don’t forget the pet(s).
  • Cleaning water, including meal prep, sponge baths, and toilet flushing.
  • Ready-to-eat food for at least three days. Cooking may not be an option.
  • Medicine and medical supplies, like oxygen.
  • A small supply of cash. Retailers and banks may be out of commission for a few days.
  • Light sources, including flashlights and candles.
  • Portable chargers are fully charged. This will allow you to stay in contact with emergency services, families, and colleagues.

Consider A Whole-house Surge Protector

Many weather events include lightning and wind, resulting in massive power surges that can enter a residence, damaging wiring and appliances. A surge protector is a breaker between the power grid and the electric service panel, breaking the power circuit in the event of a power surge.

Explore a Whole-House Generator

Severe weather events often knock out the power grid for several days. A whole-house generator will generate sufficient electricity to power essential circuits and keep your family safe and secure. A generator will take significant planning ahead of the need.

  • The power needs of the family will determine the size of the generator.
  • The site for the generator will need to be planned and prepared. It must be installed at least 20’ from the home to prevent exhaust from entering the home. It is a permanent structure, so placement must be pre-determined to minimize its impact on the property use.
  • A generator requires fuel. Bringing the supply to the generator site or safe storage must be planned.
  • Some locales may require that the installation be elevated to avoid flash flood waters.
  • Permanent wiring must include a transfer switch. The transfer switch engages automatically when the power grid is interrupted, and the generator starts. This ensures that the generator does not electrify the power grid while repair personnel are attempting repairs.

A whole-house generator will start automatically when the power grid is interrupted and shut off when power is restored. If the building envelope remains intact, household activities can continue to function as normal. This increases the likelihood of safety, health, and comfort for the entire family. Communication may depend on the survival of the communication towers in the vicinity.

Electrical Safety – Stay Safe During Winter Storms

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Winter Electrical Safety questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, electrical safety, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Electrical Safety: Preparation for Winter Storms

Furnace Installation: Gas or Electric, Which is better?

Furnace Installation: Gas or Electric, Which is better?

Choosing the Right Furnace Installation for Your Home

What type of residential furnace installation should I choose for my home? That topic so rarely comes up that most homeowners are unfamiliar with the options and therefore unfamiliar with the pros and cons of the decision. The only times the subject arises are when a homeowner gets to customize new construction or during the replacement of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Heating a home accounts for about 29 to 45% of the home’s utility cost, so this decision has long-term significance for the family budget. Since these systems last for 15 to 20 years, the decision still does not come up very often. Here is the basic 411 for furnace choices.

Across the nation, some locations offer oil-powered boilers and furnaces, but in South Texas, there are two basic choices:

  • Natural gas and propane are readily available in most locations, and this is a viable option in most locations. A burner ignites the fuel and warm air is distributed throughout the house. These systems are only viable in locations with installed gas utility systems in place, so research the availability of gas in your neighborhood.
  • An electric-powered furnace is another option; electricity heats an element to warm air and the air is distributed throughout the house. An alternative configuration for electric furnaces is heat pump technology, which reverses the processes of air conditioning components to warm a home instead of cooling it. Electricity will be available in every neighborhood, so these systems are always an option.

Furnace Installation Initial Cost

The purchase price of the equipment and the price of installation are significantly different. The equipment for gas-powered systems is about 30 to 50% higher than electric and heat pump systems, but the cost of fuel to power the system can make up for the difference. The piping of a gas supply may also increase the installation cost of a gas-powered system.

Efficiency

Furnace efficiency is measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency or AFUE; again, there is a difference between the two system choices:

  • The AFUE measure for gas-powered furnaces ranges between 90 and 98.5%. That means a burner can retrieve almost all but not all the energy available in natural gas.
  • The AFUE measure for electric-powered furnaces is measured at 100%: all the energy available from electricity is retrieved in an electric furnace.
  • Air heat pumps remove heat from outside air and, for this function, do not generate heat. For this reason, they are not giving an AFUE rating, but a heating seasonal performance rating (HSPR), ranging between 6.8 and 10. This is similar to a SEER rating for air conditioners: the higher the HSPR, the better, and an 8.2 or above rating is desired. This technology is 3 to 6 times more efficient than a gas-powered system . . . when there is sufficient heat in the air to warm a house.However, when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it requires more energy to remove heat from the air than the energy required to generate heat. For this reason, heat pump systems are usually paired with another energy source.

Energy Cost

The cost of energy fluctuates over time, so energy costs require a little research. Electricity is sold by the kilowatt-hour and natural gas is sold by the cubic foot; make sure that you compare the cost of energy output for a better understanding.

  • Natural gas prices depend upon availability and transportation costs. South Texas produces natural gas, so gas prices are relatively low.
  • Electricity is in high demand for many tasks besides residential heating, so it generally costs more for the heating function than natural gas, which offsets the purchase/installation cost mentioned earlier.
  • Energy prices fluctuate with the weather, international events, and utility regulations. The best that can be done concerning the energy price factor is to determine the best solution for “decision day” and rest in your decision.

Maintenance

Electric—powered systems have a slight edge when it comes to maintenance and repairs. This allows a general statement to be made concerning system lifespans: gas-powered systems last closer to the 15-year range and electric-powered systems last closer to the 20-year range.

However, increasing the lifespan for both systems is dependent on regular, annual inspection and cleaning. A well-maintained system of either type will last longer than a poorly maintained system.

Want more information on Furnace Installation, we can help!

With our four decades of experience as a Furnace Installation contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the Furnace Installation steps.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune-up maintenance, and Commercial HVAC Maintenance needs.

 

6 Winter Electrical Hazards to Avoid

6 Winter Electrical Hazards to Avoid

Electrical Safety: Preparation for Winter Storms

Winter Electrical Hazards That Homeowners Need to Be Aware Of

The long-anticipated holiday season came with a great celebration and many gatherings of family and friends. Now follows the darker, colder winter weather for a few months. The colder temperatures, north winds, cold rain, and potential for ice and snow keep us inside most of the time.

We approach going outside as an adventure that we need to prepare for and stay inside for comfort and warmth. We also participate in activities that increase the frequency of residential fires, so let’s discuss the top six Winter Electrical Hazards that can cause a house fire.

Winter Electrical Hazards #1: Cooking

During the summertime, we often eat sandwiches and salads and cook outdoors, but in the wintertime, we focus on hot comfort foods. But cooking is a leading cause of residential fires, so be alert. Don’t leave the oven or stove in use but unattended for long stretches.

Burning the food might result in more than setting off the smoke alarm. This becomes especially true when frying food or cooking food with high-fat content since high heat can cause it to combust without a flame.

Should a small cooking fire happen, try to cover the cooking vessel quickly to smother the flame. Any type of fire extinguisher can be used, but do not use water to put a cooking fire out: the oil/fat/grease will float on top of the water and spread. If a cooking fire is beyond your ability to extinguish, evacuate the home and call 911.

Winter Electrical Hazards #2: Frozen Pipe Flooding

In Southeast Texas, most of the residential plumbing is located in our attics. As the temperature plummets, it can cause pipes to freeze, and burst, and flooding can occur. As a result, submerged live electrical outlets and water-soaked wiring due to flooding can be a serious electrical hazard.

Winter Electrical Hazards #3: “COLD” Wiring

Extreme cold can have a dramatic effect on your electrical wiring. The cold weather can cause the coatings and in some cases the wire itself to become brittle.

Winter Electrical Hazards #4: Outdoor Outlets

Having an outdoor outlet is a great luxury to have with many different uses. However, when the cold weather and sometimes ice and snow can create moisture in or around these outlets, it can result in a short circuit or electrical shock.

Winter Electrical Hazards #5: Auxiliary Heat

Whether for ambiance or comfort during extremely cold snaps, people often use space heaters of many varieties. However, we are generally unaccustomed to having these units in use, so they take extra precautions. First, learn how to use a fireplace, wood furnace, or wood stove.

Establish a process and follow the process each time. Keep screens closed to prevent embers from popping out. Get the chimney swept as often as required. Know when and how to extinguish a fire safely to protect both life and property.

The heating element for electric space heaters will glow red and reach temperatures that range between 800 and 15000 C, and while it is not an open flame, it is hot enough to ignite fires for most walls, flooring, furnishing, and accessories. Place electric space heaters at least 3 feet from other objects and place them away from high-traffic areas, such as hallways.

They can be fire and burn hazards around children and pets, so stay alert. Turn them off before exiting the building or going to sleep. Space heaters that produce heat from combustion MUST BE VENTILATED to avoid asphyxiation threats. This is one of the Winter Electrical Hazards that cause the most electrical fires during the winter months.

Winter Electrical Hazards #6: Faulty Wiring

Evidence of wiring trouble will manifest itself year-round, but it may become visible when occupants spend more time indoors. Pay attention when fuses blow or circuit breakers trip frequently and unexpectedly.

When family members experience arcing (sparking) when flipping a switch or plugging in a device, or when the face plates are discolored from past arcing, this problem needs to be addressed. Sometimes arcing might take the form of winking lights or wavering electrical function for devices. Do not ignore when a cord or device is extremely hot.

Extreme cold can have a dramatic effect on your electrical wiring. The cold weather can cause the coatings and in some cases the wire itself to become brittle.

Have Winter Electrical Hazards that need to be inspected? We can help!

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Winter Electrical Hazards questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

 

Power Outages: How to Prepare Your Home

Power Outages

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter Power Outages

Present-day homeownership seems to get more complex with every passing year and the weather in Texas does not make it easy. Weather-related events cause trouble at every turn and that includes an increasing number of power outages. Most Texas power outages in the last decade were weather-related and about 150 outages happen annually: thunderstorms with high winds and tornados, hurricanes, and the occasional cold snap with ice or snow account for most power outages.

Homeowners should make themselves very familiar with emergency preparedness plans prepared by organizations that focus on the aftermath of emergencies.1

Emergency Preparedness Kits for Power Outages

Agencies like the Red Cross suggest preparedness plans for emergencies in general, since the needs of any emergency are very similar, no matter the cause. A common-sense preparedness kit for power outages would include:

  • A three-day supply of drinking water for the family, plus water to flush toilets or cleaning hands,
  • A three-day supply of ready-to-eat food for the family. Include a can opener if it is required.
  • A battery-powered radio, clock, and several lights, along with extra batteries.
  • A first-aid kit that meets your family’s needs, including meds and supplies for current needs and emergency first-aid
  • Seasonal aids, such as blankets and cold-weather gear

Since we depend on digital devices, make sure to prepare remote charging packs for cell phones.

Emergency Preparedness Equipment for Power Outages

Beyond the preparedness supplies, preparedness equipment might need to be discussed.

  • Whole-home surge protectors are available to shield all home appliances, large and small, as well as building systems—the HVAC system, entertainment, and information systems. Power surges happen when lightning strikes any part of the grid or when wind makes repeated momentary disconnections. Surges are like hammer blows to sensitive electrical equipment. A surge protector is installed between the power grid and the electrical service panel in the home. It breaks the connection before the surge reaches the home.
  • Whole-house emergency generators should also be a part of the conversation. An emergency generator will automatically start seconds after the power outage. A switch will disconnect the home from the power grid while the generator is engaged to protect repair crews and other homes. Once the generator starts, all of the home’s circuits, or those that have been designated, will be energized. If all goes well, you might not realize a power outage has occurred.

Other Emergency Steps During Power Outages

Beyond supplies and equipment, your planning must be very versatile to handle a variety of situations

  • Your emergency plan might include an evacuation plan. If possible, do not wait until an emergency event to fuel the vehicles needed. Have a destination in mind, let people know of your plan, and plan an evacuation route.
  • It is important for you to locate the shutoff valves for home utilities—the water supply, natural gas, and electricity at the service panel, whether you shelter in place or evacuate.
  • If the weather event is predicted, your plans might include security measures, such as covering windows to protect from hurricane-force winds.
  • Make plans for communications, for both incoming and outgoing messages. Family and friends may make inquiries and cell phone coverage might be affected. Your family may need weather information or to learn of community reconstruction plans.

Want to know more about how to protect your home’s electrical system during a Power Outages, we can help!

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Power Outages questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Power Outages

1https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/atg/PDF_s/Preparedness___Disaster_Recovery/Disaster_Preparedness/Power_Outage/PowerOutage.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Proper Commercial HVAC Maintenance

Commercial HVAC Maintenance

Commercial HVAC Maintenance

Owning a home and having a passing familiarity with a residential heating and air conditioning system is a good foundation for understanding commercial HVAC systems. However, the size and complexity of commercial HVAC systems require much more information and expertise on hand to oversee this important building system. The time and training necessary to maintain them will stretch the average facility owner’s schedule and focus.

Residential and commercial systems have the same goals: maintaining a comfortable temperature, usually between 72- and 74 degrees Fahrenheit, and relative humidity between 40 and 60 percent. They both serve the same functions: heating, cooling, ventilation, and removing moisture from extremely humid air. As part of the ventilation process, the system removes airborne contaminants from the air, making it much healthier. Beyond that, the commercial systems are vastly different from residential systems.

Size and Complexity Plays a Role in Commercial HVAC Maintenance

The size of HVAC systems is dependent on facility size and building use.

  • A small retail shop in a strip mall might use a system similar in size to a residential system. However, a sprawling manufacturing plant or a 20-story office complex requires a much larger system or series of systems. Often, these systems work in tandem with other HVAC systems and are connected to electrical and fire protection systems.
  • Residential systems use only a few configurations; a simple list includes a central ductless system or a mini-split ductless system, with either electricity or natural gas-powered systems. The configurations of commercial systems seem boundless in fuel type, delivery method, and function process.

Basic Types of Commercial HVAC Systems

  • Mini-split ductless systems are very prevalent in commercial settings. These systems have an outdoor condenser unit, without an interior network of ducts. One condenser uses heat pump technology and brings heating and cooling to wall-mounted air-handler units in each space. Multiple spaces mean multiple thermostats and the comfort for each zone can be customized. Some large facilities use several of these mini-split systems together to efficiently condition lots of individual spaces.
  • Variable air volume (VAV) systems are beneficial for multi-room buildings with vastly different heating and cooling needs—a kitchen and a dining room, for instance. The VAV system pushes the same temperature air at different rates to create efficiently conditioned spaces.
  • Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems are useful for precise climate control. Is it necessary to heat one room and cool another? Or cool one room and leave an adjacent room unconditioned?
  • Constant air volume (CAV) is excellent for large, open spaces with the need for a continual supply of fresh air at the right temperature. These spaces usually have a lot of people milling about and lots of activities.
  • Heat pump systems function in the same manner as residential units, but the scale is often much larger. They do not generate heat or cold but move heat. During a cooling cycle, excess heat is transferred from the inside to the outside and the process is reduced for heating, capturing heat from the outside and bringing it into the inside. They are particularly effective in mild climates without extreme temperatures.

Proper Commercial HVAC Maintenance

The first step to maintaining a large HVAC system might be to locate all the rooftop units, the air handler room, the compressors, chillers, and boilers for the system(s). Maintenance will require identifying the filter sizes, and the refrigerant or fuels in use, and establishing an installation date for major components.

If you have neither the time nor expertise to adequately perform Commercial HVAC Maintenance, recruit some help from experienced technicians with specific training for systems like yours.

Want more information about Commercial HVAC Maintenance, we can help!

With our four decades of experience as a Commercial HVAC Maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to obtain an Energy-Efficient Commercial HVAC.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune Up maintenance, and Commercial HVAC Maintenance needs.

Commercial HVAC Maintenance

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners Best Uses

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners

Top Situation When Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners Are a Great Option

Each home is unique; even identical homes built by the same firm in the same subdivision will be slightly different. If your unique home has heating or cooling problems that the existing HVAC system does not improve, a mini-split ductless system might provide the solution you seek.

A central heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system transports conditioned air from a cabinet to distant spaces via a network of sheet metal ducts. It is a very efficient method of making a home comfortable, but remember, each home is unique, so it might not meet every need.

A mini-split ductless consists of two major components: an outdoor compressor/condenser unit and various room-sized air-handler units. The refrigerant gas—responsible for heating and cooling—is transported on the exterior of the home to the air-handlers. No ducts, so no wall demolition. No interior cabinet is necessary. Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners provide heating and cooling solutions for some unique, problematic realities.

Older Homes

Many homes built before the 1960s were constructed without central, ducted heating and air conditioning systems. In some settings, attics or basements can be used for ducted systems. But when these are not viable options, a mini-split system might avoid major demolish and remodeling.

New Spaces

Each central heating and cooling system is sized to meet the needs of the existing spaces when the system is installed. Adding new space to existing space affects the performance of the system and the comfort of the whole house. Adding ductwork to the new space might not yield the desired results for the new or existing space. Adding a small mini-split system might be a viable option.

This includes adding a separate living space, such as a studio apartment, which can benefit from this technology. The small, separate living space should have comfort controls that are separated from the rest of the home.

Troublesome Spaces

Often, a room at the end of a long duct run receives inadequate conditioned air; it is usually the coldest AND hottest room in the house, depending on the season. Mini-split systems can improve comfort in these uncomfortable spaces.

An often-overlooked function of HVAC systems is removing moisture from indoor air during hot, humid summer days. There are some spaces, such as basements, that are uncomfortably humid, that can benefit from a mini-split system.

Preference Zoning

Families are made up of individuals, and sometimes the comfort preferences of individuals are very diverse. Bodies “feel” 720 differently. Seventy-two degrees feels different in the summer than it does in the winter. Some like to sleep in a cold room, and others like to sleep toasty warm. A mini-split system allows zoned control: each zone has a thermostat, providing individual comfort control.

This technology has great potential to solve difficult heating and cooling problems, especially problems that cannot be solved by central air, or ducted systems. They can be installed for new construction, during remodeling, or room addition projects. They can be installed as a replacement for ducted systems at the end of a central air lifespan.

Maintenance on mini-split systems is about the same as for central systems. Each air-handler unit will have an air filter that will need to be cleaned or replaced regularly—about every three months. The whole system needs a thorough cleaning and inspection annually.

Are Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners Right for Your Home?

With our four decades of experience as a Houston HVAC Upgrade and furnace maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with your Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners needs.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all your AC repairs, Tune-up maintenance, and Ductless Mini-Split Air conditioners installation needs.

 

Electrical Repairs Common to Older Homes

Common Electrical Repairs for Aging Homes

Common Electrical Repairs for Aging Homes

If you are a vintage home enthusiast or find yourself trying to update an older home, an obvious challenge will be outdated building systems. Particularly troublesome is the original electrical wiring. It is hard to believe, but when it was installed, it was state-of-the-art technology. But technology changes over time, and that is certainly true with wiring. Safer products have become standard for modern construction, and society has benefited from the changes.

Whether you are trying to restore a vintage home—keeping the original character, or you are trying to update a vintage home to meet present needs, you are likely to experience some struggles with outdated electrical wiring. Here are some of the most common Electrical Repairs you will encounter:

Electrical Repairs: Outdated Wiring

The current standard of residential wiring uses three conductor copper wiring, with two hot wires and one neutral or ground wire, with multiple layers of plastic insulative coating. However, this technology became standard in the late 1970s: homes built before that time used an older technology.

  • Homes built between the 1880s and the 1940s used knob and tube wiring: Two conductor copper wires (no ground wire) wrapped in cloth or rubber. Although building code does not require knob and tube technology to be removed from an existing home, some problems make this very desirable. First, rubber insulation breaks down over the years and can expose live wires to flammable materials. Second, modern appliances are manufactured with a ground wire to prevent shock and electrocution. Knob and tube wiring does not accommodate the safety ground feature, leaving occupants vulnerable without their knowledge. Third, making changes without expertise can make modifications more dangerous; DIY remodeling with knob and tube wiring can be hazardous.
  • Homes built between the 1960s and 1970s may have used three conductor aluminum wiring, two hot, and one ground wire. There was a building boom during a time when copper was very expensive, so aluminum was substituted for copper. Aluminum is great for some applications—it is still used for power transmission wires since aluminum is lighter than copper and carries more current by weight than copper. However, two problems developed. First, electrochemical corrosion occurs when two dissimilar metals encounter each other. Corrosion happens within confined spaces and goes unnoticed for a long time. Second, residential current causes thermal expansion—the wires expand and contract with use. Both problems lead to short-circuits and often result in home fires.

Rewiring without opening every wall takes skill. Seek an experienced electrician for the best results.

Electrical Repairs: Undersized Service Panel

The electric service panel receives electricity from the public utility, splits the current into separate circuits, and transports the current around the home. Since electricity had limited applications in earlier times, the amount of current brought into the original service panel of vintage homes was much smaller.

  • Before the 1950s, service panels received 30 amps and used replaceable fuses. Service was limited to 120 volts, so it would not serve modern dryers, electric ranges, or HVAC systems.
  • Between 1950 and 1965, the service panel received 60-amp service, which would accommodate 220-volt appliances.
  • In the 1960s, service panels were manufactured to receive 100-amp, 220-volt service.

Do not be surprised to learn that 100-amp/220-volt service is inadequate for your family’s needs.

Electrical Repairs: Faulty Connections

Whether because of substandard wiring, poor installation, or inferior repairs, electrical connections can be faulty and dangerous.

  • If a switch, outlet, or appliance is hot to the touch.
  • If lights frequently blink.
  • If a connection sparks.
  • If visual evidence of a spark marks a switch or outlet.

These are fire hazards and indicate faulty connections that need to be repaired by a licensed electrician.

Electrical Repairs: Outdated Fixtures

If you intend to keep the architectural distinctiveness of a vintage home but are concerned about vintage light fixtures, the fixtures can be rewired to meet modern standards.

To explore your options further, request an inspection by an experienced, licensed electrician.

If you have an older home, let us help with your electrical repairs!

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your electrical repairs.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Home Generator Installation – Part 2

Home Generator Installation

What you need to know after your Home Generator Installation

Often, a significant power outage initiates an investigation by a homeowner into a whole-house generator. Since this decision will become complex and difficult, we wrote this two-part series of articles to walk homeowners through the process, from assessment of the need to maintaining an installed generator. In Part One, we covered:

  • The necessary need assessment, to determine the right generator.
  • The site selection process maximizes the generator’s utility with little interruption of available space.
  • The preparation of the site and generator installation.

Part Two will cover what happens inside after the Home Generator Installation onsite. Some of the preparation of the home’s electrical system can happen simultaneously with the outdoor preparation but cannot be connected until the generator is securely in place.

Connecting the Generator After Home Generator Installation

The generator installation team completed an assessment of your home, which included an analysis of the circuits and power usage. If the budget is insufficient to purchase a whole-house generator, electrical circuits will be prioritized for emergencies. Circuits that power seldom-used spaces might be left off the emergency circuit plan. Circuits that power security functions—such as lights, food storage, and HVAC functions will have priority. The assessment determined the generator output needed for the emergency plan; those circuits will be connected directly to the generator.

A conduit and cable will be buried, leading from the generator to the closest access to the electrical service panel, so technicians will need access to this portion of the house. If the home has an old or underperforming electrical service panel, this might be required as a part of the installation process. However, the generator is not ready for service yet.

Home Generator Installation Transfer Switch

Currently, the home is connected directly to a utility power grid. If the generator comes on now while the home is connected to the power grid, power can flow from the generator to the power grid. This is a very dangerous proposition, since repair technicians trying to restore power will not be expecting downed lines to be live, and disastrous injuries and death can result. This power can also flow to nearby homes, creating dangers for your closest neighbors. For this reason, the generator is connected directly to a transfer switch.

A transfer switch has sensors that detect a sudden loss of power and will respond in a matter of seconds.

  • First, the connection to the power grid is disconnected.
  • Second, the emergency generator is started, sending power to the designated circuits or the whole house as previously planned.
  • Power will flow as planned until the power grid circuit is restored. The sensor will detect the power grid, turn off the generator, and reestablish the connection with the power grid.

These steps are taken automatically to ensure a near-seamless flow of electricity.

Home Generator Installation Post-Connection

After the generator is connected to the transfer switch, the emergency system will be tested to ensure everything is connected properly. The fuel, electrical connections, transfer switch, and predetermined emergency circuits will need to function as planned in an emergency, so a simulation will test the system. If the system is determined to function properly, the project will be considered a success.

We would love to answer your questions about Home Generator Installation.

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skills and expertise to help answer your Home Generator Installation questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our team of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Home Generator Installation needs.

Furnace Maintenance Tips For Home Owners

Furnace Maintenance

Furnace Maintenance That Every Homeowner Needs to Know About

As the American continent developed and folks settled into the land, homeownership became a reality for more and more people. When you combine homeownership and a sense of independence, it results in a protective, do-it-yourself perspective. Ordinary people learn unusual tasks to take care of their own property.

However, it isn’t easy to consider residential furnace maintenance as a do-it-yourself project, especially a gas-powered furnace. While there remain some tasks that HVAC technicians must accomplish, here are some tasks that homeowners can accomplish.

Supply Line Furnace Maintenance

If the gas supply has been turned off during the summer months, inspect the supply line and valve before turning the gas to the ON position. Follow the gas line to the furnace and locate the valve. With a soft bristle non-metallic brush, clean away any corrosion from the exterior. Ensure the valve turns freely–in an emergency, the gas may need to be shut off quickly.

Furnace Maintenance: Cleaning the Cabinet

At the electrical service panel, close the circuit market Furnace or HVAC. This protects you from electrical shock. Bolts hold a couple of panels in place. Remove the bolts and remove the panels to access the interior. Use the brush attachment on a shop vac and gently vacuum away dust from every surface that can be reached.

Give attention to the fins of the blower motor and the drip pan. During the cooling season, this drip pan collects the humidity the air conditioner removes from indoor air. Vacuum away dust and rust that may lead to a clogged drain line next spring. As you vacuum, be careful not to dislocate wire connections or dislodge components. Reconnect or tighten any poorly connected wires.

If you can view the rear portion of the blower fan, observe the condition of the drive belt. Look for cracks or fraying on the belt. Replacing the belt yourself is not advisable without serious mechanical skill. Make note of its condition and bring it to the attention of the technician during the next service call.

Restore the panels and tighten the bolts.

Furnace Maintenance: Change the Air Filter

Hopefully, you have changed the air filter frequently over the years and are familiar with its location. However, take a closer look and understand why it is placed in that spot. Air returns are scattered around the home and when the heating (or cooling) cycle begins, the entire volume of the home is pulled through this site and the filter. This happens about every 2 minutes of the cycle; if that doesn’t impress you, it should.

Since this extreme volume moves quickly through the filter, it is important to change the filter often—every three months is a starting point. By your observation, you may realize the filter needs to be changed more often. A clogged filter will severely slow the airflow and put increasing stress on the furnace to perform properly.

Other Furnace Maintenance Tasks

Most thermostats are battery-powered, so the batteries will need to be replaced annually. Hopefully, this is a familiar task since batteries should be replaced in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to keep your home safe.

While you might not be able to reach the majority of your ductwork for cleaning, clean the sections that you can reach. Make sure the registers and returns are uncovered, allowing the free flow of air.

While there are many tasks that an observant homeowner can do, there are some tasks that must be completed by a technician. These include inspecting the ignition source, the burner unit, the heat exchanger, and the exhaust vent. The same attention will be paid to electrical controls and switches to ensure the system functions efficiently.

Complete your Furnace Maintenance in Time for Winter

With our four decades of experience as a Houston HVAC Upgrade and furnace maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with your HVAC Replacement needs.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your AC repairs, Tune-up maintenance, and needs for HVAC Replacement.

 

HVAC replacement or HVAC Repair?

HVAC replacement or HVAC Repair

Deciding Between HVAC replacement or HVAC repair

During the fall, it is not unusual to have temperature swings that require both the air conditioning and heater on the same day. This highlights how dependent we have become on our HVAC system for comfort and health, and it would be terrible to do without it for several days or weeks.

Whenever a repair is necessary, it might elicit some concern about eventual replacement. How will you know when it is time to replace rather than repair the system? Here are the top HVAC replacement vs HVAC Repair indicators that will help you make a wise decision when that time comes.

Know the Age of Your System

Major air conditioner components have an average lifespan of 15 years, while furnace components will last a little longer, about 20 years. If you know when your system was installed, it will give you an idea of when the system should be replaced. While it is possible to replace the air conditioner without changing the furnace, it is most common to replace both at once.

Technological Advances

In recent years, researchers have produced advanced refrigerant gases—the key to air conditioning and heat pump heating. Older gases have been determined to be hazardous to the environment and will no longer be manufactured.

Therefore, if your aging system leaks an outdated refrigerant gas, replacement may be quite expensive or impossible. If you need to determine the refrigerant gas of your system, research the make and model number online.

If your system is ten years old or older, technological advances in new systems will significantly reduce energy consumption and therefore reduce the cost of heating/cooling.

Incentives

Government agencies and local utilities offer financial incentives for replacing aging systems. Government agencies are encouraging lower carbon emissions. Local utilities can reduce their cost by producing less energy. One HVAC system with improved efficiency does not make a difference, but encouraging many improved systems will make a difference.

These incentives will not cover the entire cost of a system replacement, but they will definitely help most family budgets.

HVAC Replacement or HVAC Repair Costs

Complex repair cost calculators are available but are not necessary. A few indicators will help you determine that the required repair is too expensive.

  • First, determine the replacement cost for your current system, including installation cost. A ballpark figure is sufficient.
  • Second, record the timing and cost of various repairs over time. Do not include costs for maintenance or cleaning calls since these should be scheduled for both existing and new systems.
  • Third, watch for components that need to be replaced every year or so, or one repair that leads to another, more expensive repair.
  • Finally, as the system ages, anticipate a major, expensive repair that rivals the cost of replacement.

These indicators should prepare a homeowner to determine when a repair is too expensive.

Family Comfort

An aging system may also lose efficiency to the point where your family is uncomfortable—too hot in the summer or too cool in the winter—may be the deciding factor in your decision. An aging system may also negatively impact the indoor air quality in a home, making the space uncomfortably humid, dry, or have a musty smell.

These factors will give homeowners adequate information for deciding to forgo the repair in favor of a system replacement.

Trying to decide between an HVAC replacement or an HVAC repair? We can help!

With our four decades of experience as a Houston HVAC Upgrade and furnace maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with your HVAC Replacement needs.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your AC repairs, Tune-up maintenance, and needs for HVAC Replacement.

HVAC replacement or HVAC Repair

 

Home Generator Installation – Part 1

Home Generator Installation

3 Home Generator Installation Considerations You Need to Know

Often, it is a significant power outage that initiates an investigation by a homeowner into a whole-house generator. It does not take much research to learn that this decision is quite complex and difficult. This two-part article walks homeowners through the process, from assessment of the need to maintaining an installed generator. Let’s get started!

The greatest threat of a lengthy power outage comes from severe weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and in some locations, heavy snowfalls. These events damage the power grid in multiple locations, requiring repair personnel to complete all the damage before restoring power to the whole grid.

Beyond the power grid, other infrastructure—water, fuel supplies, grocery supplies, and health care are also affected. Installing an emergency generator is done to encircle a home with a level of security and safety, and while it does not guarantee safety, it is a good protective measure.

Is this a do-it-yourself project? Well, the amperage needed ranges between 100 and 200 amps; one must be prepared to wire high voltage/high amp connections. It will require buried gas utilities or expertise in the safe storage of an ample supply of gasoline, in addition to knowledge about building code ordinances. To install an emergency generator, it will require more than a “jack of all trades.”

Assessing the Need for a Home Generator Installation

Sales staff will sell you what you ask for. Professional contractors will walk a client through the assessment process:

  • The size of the generator required to fully power your home
  • Appropriate location options for the generator unit. The generator will need to be at least 20’ away from doors and windows to prevent exhaust fumes from entering indoor spaces. The right location will need to match the outdoor aesthetics of the home and not interrupt foot traffic for family members.
  • A contractor will know if local ordinances require the unit to be elevated to avoid localized flooding.
  • A contractor will know about the availability of fuel supplies—most often natural gas or propane utilities. If gas utilities are not available, fuel storage options will be part of the discussion.
  • A contractor will give the homeowner a clearly defined cost estimate and strive to keep the project on budget.

In addition, a contractor will know generator products and available options, and ensure the generator that is purchased can be customized to fit the power requirements of each home.

Selecting the Site for Your Home Generator Installation

Each home has a distinctive aesthetic, an individual approach to outdoor space use, and a unique collection of permanent features. The preferred installation site must:

  • Miss landscaping and permanent features, such as swing sets and a deck/patio area
  • Be far enough away from the home to properly vent the exhaust
  • Not block foot traffic or entry points (gates)
  • Be far enough away from other homes or property lines
  • Be near to the gas utility lines, if possible
  • If an ordinance requires an elevated installation, the installation should not detract from the surrounding space

Site Prep and Home Generator Installation

Once the site has been selected and the installation features determined, the site must be prepared for the installation.

  • Underground utilities must reach the site at the proper location, including the gas supply, if available, and wiring to the home.
  • The site will need to be prepared for proper drainage, using adequate base rock material.
  • Whether installed on a concrete platform or a raised platform, the generator will need to be secured and protected.

Once the generator has been installed, the performance aspects of this project can progress. Watch for a further explanation of the process.

We would love to answer your questions about Home Generator Installation

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skills and expertise to help answer your Home Generator Installation questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our team of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Home Generator Installation needs.

2023 HVAC Maintenance Checklist

2023 HVAC Maintenance Checklist

2023 HVAC Maintenance Checklist for Homeowners

If you complete some basic research, you will find that air conditioner manufacturers, HVAC professionals, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are all in agreement–annual maintenance for your system is necessary to keep your air conditioner working efficiently. Many homeowners are diehard do-it-yourselfers, but most of the tasks involved with HVAC Maintenance are not DIY projects. Here are some tasks that can be safely completed by homeowners:

  • Changing the air filter. Air filters are made to be easily accessible and changed without professional help. Find the filter at the place return air enters the air conditioner cabinet. Filters are readily available from many local merchants. The filter should be changed at least every three months.
  • Clean condenser coils. The condenser coil is the major component located outdoors. The body of the condenser is composed of a network of aluminum tubes with very thin fins radiating from them. Air must move freely between the coils to cool the hot refrigerant gases, but grass and dust are pulled onto the surface and between the fins. Use a regular garden hose (not a power washer) to wash the debris away. Trim grass and shrubbery at least 2 feet from around the condenser.
  • Clean the evaporator coil and drain line. This coil is located indoors, in the air conditioner cabinet. Remove the panel—there should only be one panel—and locate another network of tubes with extremely thin fins. Prepare a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar. Use it to clean any dust from the coil. Use the mixture to clean the drain pan below and pour the remaining mixture into the pan. The vinegar will retard the growth of algae in the drain line.
  • Change thermostat batteries. The thermostat is a switch, located on a central wall, that turns the system on and off, as needed. The batteries powering the thermostat will need to be changed annually.

Tasks that need to be completed by HVAC professionals include:

  • Electrical checks. Professionals will check minor parts that play major roles. That includes sensors, switches, capacitors, and controls. When these minor parts fail, they lead to the failure of major components.
  • Electrical checks. Professionals will check major components for efficiency and proper function. Discovering problems in these components can prevent catastrophic failures that lead to inconvenient emergency replacements.
  • Mechanical checks. Professionals will check moving parts, including the blower motor—which moves the entire volume of air in your home every few minutes.
  • Refrigerant gas check. A crucial part of the air conditioner is the refrigerant gas that moves through the system. The professional will check the pressure of the gas and ensure the system is charged properly.

Results of HVAC Maintenance Neglect

If you do not maintain your air conditioner system, the following are potential results:

  • Normal wear creates wear on all system parts. Whether through heavy use or a manufacturing anomaly, one part may exhibit excess stress.
  • The stressed part adds stress to other components.
  • Maintenance will uncover the stress. The small part can be replaced, and efficiency restored.
  • If unchecked, the stress will increase. Efficiency will slide and other parts will become stressed and fail. Some of these failures will require repair calls. Eventually, the stress will lead to failure in a major component. At this point, replacement may be advisable.

Want more information about HVAC Maintenance, we can help!

With our four decades of experience as an AC Repair and HVAC Maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to obtain an Energy-Efficient Commercial HVAC.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune Up maintenance, and AC Replacement needs.

2023 HVAC Maintenance Checklist

 

8 Tips to Justify the Cost of a Whole Home Generator

Whole Home Generator

Whole Home Generator – Are They Worth It?

It has become apparent that we live in a high-risk region when it comes to our weather: this area is known for significant storms that often damage the local power grid. Locally, power outages that last for days or even weeks are not uncommon.

In the recent past, these power outages were unfortunate, but the only option was to commiserate with our neighbors and make the best of a bad situation. Several years ago, whole-house generators came on the market. After a few years, the product improved, and the price dropped; whole-house generators are now an affordable option. If you are considering a generator for your home, here are real incentives for making such a purchase:

  1. Protection from the elements. Damaging storms with high winds usually bring heavy rainfall. Normally, your home has the equipment to handle excess water, such as a sump pump. Storms are also accompanied by high temperatures and high humidity, environmental settings that your air conditioner is prepared to handle. A whole-house generator can power both a sump pump and an air conditioner to protect your home from further damage.
  2. A generator will keep your security system active and as connected to emergency responders as possible.
  3. Medical equipment. At least 2.5 million people use medical equipment at home. If your home is included in that number, keep them running even when the power is out.
  4. Keep appliances functioning. When the power goes out, both the refrigerator and freezer are disabled, putting valuable food supplies in jeopardy. Without a generator, the only cooking appliance available is the outdoor grill.
  5. Keeping comfortable. If the power is out for an entire week, you might as well be camping out in August. A whole-house generator allows your family to remain comfortably in your home.
  6. A home business can continue. If you work from home, a generator can mean the difference between keeping up with your workload or apologizing for delays.
  7. Scattered throughout the average home, you will find devices charging; phones, and associated devices will be useful for communicating with family and emergency services. Many homes now house charging stations for electric vehicles; a power outage might also reduce travel without a generator.
  8. A home with an installed whole-house generator will increase in value over a home without. It will also bring considerable peace of mind.

Of course, a power outage is only a portion of the potential damage homeowners may face, but a generator handles one of the major problems that result.

What to Expect During a Whole Home Generator Installation

A whole-house generator will be installed outside and sufficiently distant from the house to keep the exhaust from blowing into the home. A fuel supply will either be connected to the generator (natural gas) or stored safely away from the home. The generator may be installed on an elevated platform to bring it above potential flooding.

The generator will be sized between 16 and 20 kWH to handle the electrical load. A cable will connect the generator directly to the electric service panel. Switches will be in place to power designated circuits as a priority. Additionally, a switch will be in place to take your home off the power grid, so the generated electricity will not endanger other homes or repair staff restoring the grid.

The cost of the generator will depend upon the size and options selected. The cost of installation will depend upon several factors, including:

Whole Home Generator Fuel sources —will it require tapping into the local gas supply and burying supply lines?

Available space—will it require a moving fence, shrubbery, or a deck?

Accessibility—will the equipment be required for installation?

Permits for Whole Home Generator Installation—each location is different.

Have Questions About Whole Home Generator Installation?

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Whole Home Generator questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Whole Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Whole Home Generator

Home EV Charger Installation

Home EV Charger Installation

How Home EV Charger Installation is Becoming More Affordable

Automakers have been experimenting with electric vehicles for nearly 150 years. While the results have been interesting and innovative, the technology was never considered commercially viable. That changed in 2008 when the Tesla Roadster was delivered to customers, capable of 200 miles between charges. During the first few years, confidence in EVs was low; with “zero” years in service, many questions were yet to be answered. The cost was high, and production was very low, so seeing an electric vehicle in action was rare. However, in the last fifteen years, the industry has changed and EVs are no longer oddities.

Charging stations are showing up in urban centers and government agencies are confidently planning to bolster production and usage. Now EVS are being considered viable options for everyday driving. As the odometers click out the miles traveled, confidence is building. Check out some of these innovations that may revolutionize the industry.

Home EV Charger Installation Options. When the first Tesla Roadster was introduced, the technology focused on battery life and the range between charges. However, more manufacturers, including both automotive powerhouses and some new startups, are entering the EV marketplace. With so many manufacturers, you can expect a variety of applications, which are turning heads and demanding second looks.

  • EVs are no longer limited to small sedans. Watch for EVs are now available as pickups, vans, SUVs, luxury, and performance cars.
  • Vehicles are available with one, two, three, and four motor options to provide power, speed, or both. Associating EVs with torque and horsepower is a new and welcomed change!!

Battery Innovations. With each new generation of EV battery, the price falls and the range grows. Already, battery prices have fallen by approximately 85%, bringing costs within the range of internal combustion engine vehicles. The research is extraordinary, and the expectations are extremely high.

  • The range is expected to increase exponentially. Currently, the range is pushing 300 miles between charges. The next generation anticipates a range between 400 and 500 miles and 1000 miles is a long-range goal.
  • A limitation of present-generation batteries lengthens the time necessary for charging. New batteries will accommodate a charging speed of as low as 10 minutes.
  • Two manufacturers are researching solid-state batteries. This would be a remarkable step forward.

Charging Innovations. The infrastructure necessary to make EVs possible is taking time to develop. Charging options are limited currently, but soon that will change.

  • The technology of batteries and chargers are growing together; soon an EV will receive a charge of 80 to 90% in a mere 10 minutes. This is particularly important for long trips.
  • A nice innovation that developed recently is bidirectional charging. The batteries in an EV collect energy and store it. This charging system allows a fully charged EV to power your home during a power outage. This adds to energy self-sufficiency and saves money.
  • EVs are being developed with solar panels on the roof. Enough said . . .

With these Home EV Charger Installation technological advances, the potential for electric vehicles to take their place in American car culture is tremendous. However, there are a few more advances that are required.

  • Public utilities must increase electric power generation and improve the infrastructure that supplies power.
  • Existing commercial charging stations will need to update their payment systems for the convenience of consumers.
  • The fast-charge systems under development will be sought after. This innovation will become reality only if they are economically viable.

Have Questions About Home EV Charger Installation?

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Home EV Charger Installation questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

5 Ways to Keep an Energy-Efficient Commercial HVAC

Energy-Efficient Commercial HVAC

Energy-Efficient Commercial HVAC Tips

As summer approaches, the cooling season begins in earnest and commercial properties will rely heavily upon air conditioner systems. The efficiency of each commercial system will determine the cost. Without proper consideration and maintenance, count on the cost of air conditioning increases each year. According to the National Grid, keeping commercial property comfortable and ready for occupancy represents between 54 and 71% of the energy bill, depending upon the region.1  That is a significant amount to find cost savings. Here are a few considerations to improve efficiency and save money.

  1. Conduct an Energy Audit. A professional inspection of your commercial property and all its systems can reveal deficits that can impact the bottom line. This thorough examination will explore openings–such as windows and doors—as well as insulation and building materials. Every part of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system will be scrutinized and examined to determine the state of the current system. Expect recommendations for repairs or replacement as needed.

Make sure to include staff in the conversation about HVAC efficiency. They are likely to be aware of practices and routines that affect cooling efficiency.

  1. Complete Audit Recommendations. Beyond the equipment recommendations, consider suggestions concerning insulation and ductwork repairs. These repairs prevent the leakage of the expensive conditioned air into the summer heat. The results will be evident every month when the utility bill arrives. The audit may reveal the need to add weather-stripping material around windows and doors. The audit might also recommend adding insulation to prevent heat exchange through floors, ceilings, and walls.
  2. Change Air Filters Regularly. Determine the guidelines for filter replacement for your systems and make sure to follow them. Clean air filters improve indoor air quality, improve energy efficiency, and ensure the system functions as long as possible. Replacement can be completed by a staff representative or an HVAC technician, but for the best results, don’t neglect this step.
  3. Upgrade the Thermostat. A sure recipe for high utility bills is putting the temperature setting in the hands of multiple people. The alternative is to install programmable thermostats and place the temperature control on a schedule. A programmed schedule keeps everyone within a range of comfort that everyone can live with. A steady temperature saves energy and therefore saves money. When the building empties for the night or on weekends, program a warmer temperature to save even more energy.
  4. Regular Maintenance. Mechanical systems require maintenance to function properly, and HVAC systems are no different. Major components are controlled by a series of sensors, switches, and controls. Frequently engaging these control modules leads to wear over time. A worn module creates stress on other, larger components (read expensive components). Scheduling an annual inspection and cleaning of the entire system reveals the stress modules, allowing replacement before larger problems develop. Regular maintenance will also reveal critical indicators concerning the need to replace components or entire systems. This provides time to budget for and schedule repairs, avoiding inconvenient emergency situations.

Want a more Energy-Efficient Commercial HVAC?

With our four decades of experience as an AC Repair and Air Conditioning Maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to obtain an Energy-Efficient Commercial HVAC.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune Up maintenance, and AC Replacement needs.

Energy-Efficient Commercial HVAC

1  https://www9.nationalgridus.com/non_html/shared_energyeff_office.pdf

Air Conditioning Maintenance

Air Conditioning Maintenance

Air Conditioning Maintenance: Fixing Uneven Cooling

An anonymous humorist gave us the quip “If you don’t like the weather, wait around for a few minutes.” While it makes us smile about our local weather uncertainty, it should not reflect what happens inside a home. Walking around in your home should not mirror season changes outdoors.

If your home has hot and cold zones, no matter which season you are experiencing, it can be a problem. Here are some common reasons for uneven cooling (or heating) and some potential Air Conditioning Maintenance solutions that can make a difference.

Common Origins for Uneven Cooling

Each home is unique, so the uneven cooling problem in your home might be caused by one or more of these issues, or by something entirely different. Here are some common Air Conditioning Maintenance issues that contribute to uneven cooling.

  • If your home is multi-story, it is common to experience a temperature difference between the upper and lower levels. That is because hot air rises and cool air sinks. The design of your air conditioning system should compensate for this, but multiple floors make a difference.
  • Insulation was installed to slow the transfer of heat (from hot to cold). The largest heat transfer happens through the ceiling/attic. Look to see whether the attic is adequately insulated—there should be approximately 12” of insulation in an attic. Sealing, caulking, and weatherproofing are all good steps, but ensuring you have adequate attic insulation is the most important in keeping the heat transfer to a minimum.
  • If you made a room or wing addition, it could affect your air conditioner’s performance. Your system was designed with existing building specifications. If you added space to be cooled or lengthened the length of your duct network, the existing system might not be capable of meeting the new load requirements.
  • Window Treatments. The south exposure of your home receives the brunt of the solar heat bombarding your home. Blackout curtains or thermal barrier window treatment on the south side of your home can reduce the daily solar gain in your home.
  • The cool air travels from the central air cabinet to each room through a network of ducts. The sheet metal in the ducts expands and contracts several times per hour with each cooling cycle. This movement can create gaps or leaks in the ducts. Since the air is moving under pressure, whenever a leak develops, the result will be a significant loss of cooling.
  • Check the supply vents in warm spaces to make sure the vents are not covered by furniture or drapes. Uncovering a vent(s) could be an easy fix to the problem!

Further Air Conditioning Maintenance Solutions

With each of the common causes listed above, a potential solution was provided. Here are some tips for improving air circulation within the home to help alleviate uneven temperatures no matter what the cause might be:

  • Ceiling Fans. Turn a ceiling fan on at the lowest setting and let it run continuously. Ceiling fans have a seasonal direction and, in the summer, they should spin counterclockwise to push air down to distribute cool air throughout the room. Change the direction with a remote or a small switch at the base of the fan. Be sure to change the direction of the fan at the start of the heating season. A clockwise rotation pulls air up and out to circulate warm air near the ceiling.
  • Thermostat Fan. The thermostat has two fan settings—Auto and On. The auto setting uses the blower fan during the cooling/heating cycle, then shuts it off, a normal setting. If you experience uneven cooling, turn the setting to the On position. The blower motor runs continuously, improving the mixture of hot and cool air throughout the house.
  • System Size. When you anticipate a replacement time for your HVAC system, work with your contractor to ensure the new system is sized correctly and fix or compensate for some of the common causes listed above.

Have questions about Air Conditioning Maintenance?

With our four decades of experience as an AC Repair and Air Conditioning Maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to answer questions about Air Conditioning Maintenance.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune Up maintenance, and AC Replacement needs.

Outdoor Landscape Lighting Ideas for Homeowners

Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Outdoor Landscape Lighting Ideas to Prepare for Summertime 

As winter fades into spring, the yard will need a quick cleaning of leaf and limb litter. As the days grow longer, your outdoor space becomes more inviting for your family and friends. Whether entertaining or simply enjoying the great outdoors, your outdoor space can remain inviting after the sun sets. If your yard and landscape do not currently have outdoor lighting, take a walk around the space with an imaginative eye. We will give you some inspiration to reveal some achievable possibilities that transform your good space into a great space.

As you explore some lighting options, there are a couple of important considerations for your decisions:

  • Outdoor lighting requires exposure to weather, including heat and precipitation. Make decisions about materials that adequately shield electrical components to ensure the materials will last.
  • Consider both solar and regular electrical power for best results. Your space can use either or both, depending on the setting.

Outdoor Landscape Lighting Deck/Patio Upgrades

Start your imaginative stroll in your most wide-open space, often a deck or patio: the space might not be fancy, but it has potential. Often you have a little hardscape that lends itself to gathering, setting, and eating. Lighting can extend the usefulness of this space deep into the night. Consider these lighting features:

  • Do you imagine your space well-lit for your purposes? A floodlight directs a broad swath of light across the general area. Although it might be useful, it might not create the ambiance you seek.
  • Spotlights come in a variety of brightness and coverage and are an option to provide adequate light with a subtle result. Spotlights are versatile and can be directed toward a feature, placed high as a downlight, or low as an uplight.
  • String lights and post lights are also options to define spaces without creating harsh settings. These lighting options help people avoid wandering into obstacles and mark boundaries for safety.
  • If your prime space becomes well-used after dark, consider lighting stairs or walkway inclines.

Outdoor Landscape Lighting Driveway and Path Lighting

Navigating through uneven spaces after dark is dangerous without some form of lighting. However, your options are plentiful, so imagine some great looks around driveways, sidewalks, and landscaped pathways.

  • Bollard lights are low, free-standing lights often placed alongside drives or paths. They can be used to great effect and creativity.
  • String lights, positioned low along a path, can also give subtle, but adequate light.
  • Low-intensity spotlights, directed across the pathway, also create a very pleasant result.
  • If your path includes steps or sharp inclines, make sure you keep them adequately lit.

Specialty Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Your space might include remarkable areas that deserve attention that can be achieved with the appropriate lighting choice.

  • Pools and water features are certainly worthy of exceptional lighting. Special care must be taken when the electricity comes near water, but the effects are usually well worth the effort.
  • Directional spotlights, uplights, and downlights are great feature lighting. These lights can be placed near desirable features attached to your house or other buildings, statuary, or groups of plants/trees.

Let your imagination transform your inviting landscape into an even better nightscape with exceptional entertainment potential.

Have Questions About Outdoor Landscape Lighting?

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Outdoor Landscape Lighting questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Home EV Charging Stations

Home EV Charging Stations

The Benefits of Home EV Charging Stations

If you are considering the purchase of an electric vehicle (EV), there are several major factors that you will need to consider:

  • Will the purchase of an EV fit your budget?
  • Does the range per charge line up with your driving habits?
  • How does the day-to-day operation cost compare to internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE)?

Perhaps you can think of more, but here is a deeper dive into this last consideration. Let’s compare the operating cost of these two vehicles.

Intangibles

Presently, the Federal tax credit for the purchase of EVs is still available. Check with local, state, municipal, and utility companies for further incentives. Brand and model determine both taxes and the rate at which EVs hold their value. However, the anticipated useful life for EVs is 10 to 20 years, about twice the useful life of ICE vehicles. Insurances costs run slightly higher than ICE vehicles, again, depending upon brand and model. Currently, repair options are limited; as after-market repair options become available, expect the competition to reduce the costs of repairs and insurance. Some of these factors depend on location, so complete some research for your region.

Maintenance

If you currently maintain your ICE vehicle, then you probably anticipate that maintenance will be necessary for EVs as well. However, some common maintenance tasks for ICE vehicles will not be necessary for EVs. Tires, brakes, and windshield wiper replacement are examples of common maintenance tasks. Oil changes, fuel filters, spark plugs, and timing chains will not be necessary with EVs. Electric vehicles have only one forward gear, so there is no transmission (as we know it) to maintain.

How much money will you save on maintenance over the life of the EV? Compile how much you are currently paying for such maintenance tasks and multiply that figure by the number of years you plan to keep the EV.

Fuel

The fuel costs for ICE vehicles are volatile, dependent upon both domestic and international factors. The cost of electric utilities is much less volatile. A comparison of the cost of ICE vehicle fuel and EV fuel will be a moving target, but here is a representative comparison.

Estimating the price for your ICE vehicle looks like this.

  • In the U.S., the average person drives approximately 15,000 miles per year, so we will use this figure. Divide by 52 to determine that the average driver in the U.S. drives 288 miles per week.
  • Determine the miles per gallon for your ICE vehicle. For this illustration, we will use 30 mpg, so our sample vehicle requires 9.6 gallons per week.
  • Determine the average price of gas or diesel. Fossil fuel prices are volatile, so we will use both $3 and $4 per gallon.
  • Multiply the gallons (9.6) by the cost of fuel. At $3, the average driver pays $28.80 per week. At $4, the average driver pays $36.60 per week.

Estimating the price for your EV is similar.

  • In the U.S., the average person drives approximately 15,000 miles per year, so we will use this figure. Divide by 52 to determine that the average driver in the U.S. drives 288 miles per week.
  • Charging with a Type 2 charger requires 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) for every 3 to 4 miles. Divide the miles per week by 3 to determine how many kWh are required to charge the EV per week.1 96 kWh will be required to charge the average EV per week.
  • Multiple this number by the cost per kWh in your area. In Texas, the average cost per kWh is $.139. The average EV driver in the U.S. will pay $13.35 per week.

Have Questions About Home EV Charging Stations?

With our four decades of experience as an Electrical Contractor, we specialize in EV Charging Stations, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your EV Charging Stations questions.

We have financing options available for Home EV Charging Stations with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and Home EV Charging Stations.

Home EV Charging Stations

1 https://www.kbb.com/car-advice/how-much-does-it-cost-to-charge-an-ev/

 

Beginners Guide to Ductless HVAC

Ductless HVAC

Ductless HVAC vs Ducted AC

Whenever homeowners prepare for the replacement of an air conditioning system, they may encounter information concerning a new and unfamiliar option. Most homes in the U.S. have ducted central air conditioners. But the applications in which ductless mini-split air conditioners are expanding, including into spaces that are typically reserved for traditional central air systems. If you are unfamiliar with ductless HVAC systems, read on for a simple comparison of the two systems.

Similarities

Both ducted and ductless systems use the same basic cooling technology. The refrigerant gas is compressed to about 440 pounds per square inch (psi), which heats the gas to around 2000 F. The pressure of the gas inside the coolant lines is then released to about 118 psi in an appropriate cooling chamber. The drop in pressure results in a drop in gas temperature to about 400 F. Inside air is passed over the cold coolant lines, removing humidity and quickly cooling the air moving into the house. For reference, this is like taking air from your refrigerator and distributing it around the house. 1

Both types of systems have two major components, one inside and one outside. The outdoor component is the compressor and condenser unit, generally a boxy-looking cube or cylinder with a big fan inside. The indoor component is called the evaporator chamber, and this is where the two systems become very different.

Differences

A traditional ducted central air conditioner system will have a substantial cabinet, often in a closet, garage, or basement. The central portion of the cabinet contains the evaporator coils, where the heat and cold are exchanged. Significant humidity condenses in this chamber and the stream of water is carried away by a drain tube. A large blower motor circulates the entire volume of your home every couple of minutes, so usually, you hear the fan during the cooling cycle. The air moves through a network of ducts to every space in the house—hence the term “ducted.”

A Ductless HVAC system does not have a large, central evaporator chamber, but a much smaller chamber installed in each room. The same process happens but at a fraction of the scale of a ducted system. The fans are much smaller and are very quiet in comparison; it only needs to circulate air in a single room to accomplish the same task as the larger blower fan.

Applicational Advantages of Ductless HVAC

Which system is better? It depends upon the application. Both systems are energy efficient and will serve your home well. Here are some considerations to determine which system is right for your application.

  • Replacement options. If your home was constructed with a duct network in place, changing to a ductless system could be complicated. However, an older home without central air conditioning would be a good application, as would a remodel that stretches your current system beyond its capabilities.
  • Consult with an HVAC professional to help determine which option bests suits the size and configuration of your home. If your home has a second story of your home that is inadequately cooled by your present system, a ductless system could augment your present ducted system.
  • Ductless mini-split systems have a decided advantage over ducted systems when it comes to how much noise each generates. If your application would benefit from less background noise, a ductless system might add value to your home.
  • Perhaps every room in your home does not need the same measure of cooling at all times. Each space will have an individual thermostat to demand air conditioning on an “as needed” basis. Zones within the house can be customized for the comfort level of each family member.
  • The same components that produce cold air in the summer also produce heat in the winter. Most ducted systems have an auxiliary system for heating. Ductless HVAC systems perform poorly when the temperature drops below 34 degrees and do not have an auxiliary heating backup system.

Have questions about Ductless HVAC?

With our four decades of experience as an AC Repair and Ductless HVAC contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to answer questions about Ductless HVAC.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune Up maintenance, and AC Replacement needs.

Ductless HVAC

EV Charger Installation: How to Prepare Your Garage

EV Charger Installation

Preparing Your Garage for EV Charger Installation

Have you noticed that almost every automobile manufacturer is now producing electric-powered vehicles (EVs)? Battery technology is improving, which brings the purchase cost down. As the purchase price enters the range of more car buyers, the benefits of EVs become more evident.

  • Reduced maintenance costs; no oil changes, fuel filters, or spark plugs.
  • Increased energy efficiency: gas-powered vehicles recover about 20% of the energy while EVs recover about 60% of battery energy.
  • Reduced noise, since EVs are almost silent.
  • Increased range: the average vehicle is driven approximately 260 miles per week (13,476 according to JD Power)1 The average charge for an EV battery pack is 211 miles.2

Drivers are beginning to consider EVs a viable option.

If you are considering an EV, charging the batteries should be a part of the discussion. Currently, there are three levels of charging available for most brands of EVs. All these times are based upon a complete charge, from empty to full charge.

  • Level 1 charging uses a regular 120v outlet, using a charging cord that comes with the vehicle. However, this level of charging might take as long as 24 hours to complete.
  • Level 2 charging uses a 240v outlet, similar to your dryer to charge. This level of charging takes between 4 to 6 hours. Level 2 chargers are often installed at home, in a garage.
  • Level 3 charging uses 400v or more and is a commercial charging option. This level of charging takes between 30 and 45 minutes.

Preparing Your Garage for Level 2 EV Charger Installation

  • Make space for the charging process. Garages often become catchall spaces for odds and ends. Any space that safely utilizes 240v service should be clean, dry, and uncluttered.
  • Find the proper space. If you anticipate charging 2 EVs in the same garage, make sure to install the charging outlet in a convenient location to reach both cars. It should be installed at least 18” off the floor, but 36 to 42” is a more appropriate height. Most charging cords are 15’ to 20’ and the average car is approximately 14’ long. Finding the proper space is important for sustained charging.
  • Investigate your electrical service panel. When you install an EV charging station, you are adding a 240v service to your service panel. An electrician can tell you whether your home electrical service has a sufficient load to add a charging station. Adding the station might require a service upgrade. By the way, installing the charging station near the service panel is a plus.

Consider insulating the garage. EV batteries come with an 8-year or 100,000-mile warranty (become very familiar with warranty details). With current technology, EV batteries are lasting between 10 and 20 years. A known factor that affects EV battery life in extreme temperatures. It is not necessary to make your garage heated/air-conditioned space but shielding the EV from extreme temperatures is a benefit.3 Secure your garage. This protects both the vehicle(s) and the charging station.

The EV Charger Installation in a residence is not a normal do-it-yourself project. Installing an electrical outlet, especially a 240v outlet, should be left to a professional. The project often requires local permits and inspections. An electrician, experienced with EV charger installation will help you determine an advantageous placement for the charging station.

Have Questions About EV Charger Installation?

With our four decades of experience as an Electrical Contractor, we specialize in EV Charger Installation, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your EV Charger Installation questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

EV Charger Installation

1 https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/what-is-the-average-miles-driven-per-year#:~:text=Calculating%20Your%20Mileage%20And%20Average,clocks%2013%2C476%20miles%20per%20year

2 https://blog.evbox.com/far-electric-car-range

3 https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/how-long-do-electric-car-batteries-last#:~:text=Life%20Expectancy,-Every%20battery%20in&text=Generally%2C%20electric%20vehicle%20batteries%20last,not%20pair%20well%20with%20EVs.

Ductwork Cleaning: How to Keep Allergens at Bay

Ductwork Cleaning

Ductwork Cleaning and Its Effect on Allergens

We are surrounded by airborne particles that are too small to see. Many of these small particles irritate the respiratory system, from nose to lungs, causing itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing. How serious is this problem? Fifty million Americans suffer from allergies1 and twenty-five million Americans suffer from asthma2. Most of these particles originate outdoors but find a way into our homes. Once inside, they accumulate to produce poor indoor air quality, since we close windows and doors to keep extreme temperatures outside. Reduced ventilation produces air 2 to 5 more polluted than outdoor air.

Most Common Allergens

  • House dust. While dust may seem innocent enough, there is more to dust than meets the eye. A large percentage of dust was once skin cells in our own bodies. However, these cells pick up tiny travelers that make dust a problem. Microscopic arachnids called dust mites feast on the cells and there is no way to keep them from migrating into our homes. Dust mites do not bite, sting, or burrow; however, their feces and urine produce proteins that are irritants to mucus membranes.
  • Pet hair and dander. If we bring animals into our homes as pets, they contribute to the dust and mite problem, but the proteins within the animal dander add to the types of irritants. Some people unaffected by human cell proteins are very allergic to animal proteins.
  • Trees and grasses reproduce by releasing pollen into the air to fertilize flowers of the same kind. As you can imagine, people who are not irritated by animal proteins are highly allergic to plant proteins. Pollen is released in great quantities during the species flowering season. (Ragweed is the worst for me).
  • Mold and mildew spores. Mold and mildew are fungi. They do not reproduce via pollen, but with a seed-like spore that moves freely in the air. Yes, still another form of protein, neither animal nor plant, affects a new set of sinuses with allergies.

These common allergens come into our homes every time a window or door opens. They rest on our skin, our clothes, and our shoes. Once inside, the heating/cooling cycles of the HVAC system distribute them to every space, and they fall onto every surface. There really is no way to keep them outside.

Ductwork Cleaning Reduces and Removes Allergens 

If being outdoors caused allergic reactions, being indoors is potentially worse. Here are some common ways that we clean up our indoor air.

  • HVAC air filters. Your HVAC system has an air filter, a first line of defense against allergens. Here are some relevant facts about choosing an effective filter. MERV rating for air filters measures the percentage of airborne particles they collect, based on the size of the particle. The higher the MERV number, the better the results; seek MERV 8 to 11 for good results. (Higher-rated filters may restrict sufficient airflow to hamper normal functions.) Make sure to keep the filter changed regularly, at least every three months. A clogged filter loses effectiveness and restricts airflow.
  • Regular cleaning. If someone in your family is particularly vulnerable to allergens, careful cleaning is extremely important. Dusting, vacuuming and mopping permanently remove allergens from surfaces around the house. Be sure to change/clean bedding frequently. Any items associated with pets should be handled carefully to minimize the amount of dander released into the air.
  • Clean ductwork. Airborne particles that successfully bypass the air filter are pushed into the network of ducts spread around the house. When the cycle stops, the particles drop to the duct surface. Cleaning the ducts removes the accumulation of dust in hard-to-reach spaces. Ducts should be cleaned every three to five years for best results.
  • Install UV lights. The airborne particles that cause allergies have one thing in common: they are organic in makeup. Ultraviolet light offers a solution. UV light disrupts the cell walls of animal, plant, and fungi varieties. When installed inside HVAC ductwork, the light neutralizes organic material, rendering them inert material to be collected by the air filter.
  • Use the air conditioner. Mold and mildew require dark, moist areas with plenty of organic material to eat. The air conditioner removes humidity from the air, depriving spores of a needed element.

Need assistance with your Ductwork Cleaning?

With our four decades of experience as an AC Repair and Ductwork Cleaning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to answer questions about Ductwork Cleaning.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune Up maintenance, and AC Replacement needs.

Ductwork Cleaning

1 https://aafa.org/allergies/allergy-facts/#:~:text=More%20than%2050%20million%20people,types%20of%20allergies%20each%20year.&text=Allergies%20are%20the%20sixth%20leading%20cause%20of%20chronic%20illness%20in%20the%20U.S

2 https://aafa.org/asthma/asthma-facts/#:~:text=How%20Common%20Is%20Asthma%3F,about%201%20in%2013%20people.&text=About%2020%20million%20U.S.%20adults%20age%2018%20and%20older%20have%20asthma

 

 

EV Charger Installation: Tethered vs Untethered EV Charger

EV Charger Installation

EV Charger Installation: Tethered vs Untethered EV Charger Pros and Cons

The purchase of an electric vehicle includes decisions concerning charging your car; while an electric vehicle will save you money for years to come, keeping it charged regularly is essential for efficient use. You will become very familiar with every charging option available in your area, especially the rapid charging options. The type 1 charging option is much too slow for most drivers—up to 24 hours for a complete charge. However, a Type 2 home charger provides a much faster charge and will probably be a part of your charging solutions.

Type 2 home chargers also come with options—tethered and untethered. The basics are the same for both types of chargers. The charger connects directly to your home’s electrical supply, with a delivery outlet attached to the wall of your garage. What is the difference between a tethered and an untethered charger?

Tethered EV Charger Installation

A tethered charger delivery system extends a cord from the wall outlet to your vehicle, which can be both desirable and problematic.

  • The delivery cord or tether is attached to the garage wall at a designated location, with a 12’ to 20’ long tether. You will always know where the cord is and where you need to park to use it.
  • After use, the tether can be stored on a wall-mounted hanger to prevent damage and remove a tripping hazard.
  • The tether is a part of the charger purchase, so it comes at no additional cost.

However, it is not always the best option.

  • An attached tether with a given length limits the position of the vehicle for charging, and that cannot change without cost to the homeowner. A flexible choice might be desirable.
  • If you forget to coil the tether, it can be damaged as you drive out of the garage, or worse, trip someone.
  • If you are looking for a certain aesthetic, a coiled tether on the wall might not fit your style.

Untethered EV Charger Installation

An untethered charger delivery system also connects to your home’s electrical supply, with an outlet in the garage. The flush-mounted socket stops at the wall and the tether detaches from the wall when not being used. This could be a good EV home charging option when you desire:

  • your garage to have a clean, unencumbered appearance. When not in use, the tether is stored in a bin somewhere, exposing only an attractive flat-paneled socket.
  • to charge multiple vehicles in the garage, a longer tether or multiple tethers might be desired.
  • flexible charging locations, as the same charging location is not always a desirable option.

However, it is not always the best option.

  • Extra cables mean an extra cost.
  • If the cable is not attached to the wall and is stored away, finding a place to store it (them) might be problematic.
  • If you are not careful, you can misplace the tether and that would be very unfortunate and could lead to stretching your EV’s current charge to the milage limits to reach another charging option.

Choosing an EV vehicle is a major decision; after you decide on the make/model, you will learn to implement the technology successfully into your day-to-day driving habits. Having a choice for your type of EV charger will help determine how you will use the charger, and how successful the experience of owning an electric vehicle is for you.

Have Questions About EV Charger Installation?

With our four decades of experience as an Electrical Contractor, we specialize in EV Charger Installation, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your EV Charger Installation questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

EV Charger Installation

 

AC Replacement: 3 Signs To Know It is Time to Replace

AC Replacement

Signs it is Time for an AC Replacement

The last three years have been an incredible ride; so much has changed, and the changes resulting from the pandemic are perhaps the most evident in the real estate market. How remarkably have these changes impacted the real estate market in Houston?

  • During an average year, 13% of U.S. families change residence. However, that number has risen to almost 20% in the last two years.1
  • Approximately 70,000 new families made Houston their home last year alone.2

The changes are so large that a trickle-down effect impacts so many other fields, including, of course, the HVAC sector. Let us explain.

Many people moved into homes recently that are new to them, with an HVAC system that they are unfamiliar with. Some have never experienced the temperature extremes they faced in the last seasons. They are having questions about their furnace and air conditioner, and no question will be more puzzling than “How can I know when to replace this system?”

Determining the Age of Your System

When you find the faceplate for your components, you may find a date, but if not, you can determine the age from the model number. Each manufacturer has a method to indicate the date. Find the faceplate for both the furnace and the air conditioner compressor, since occasionally an air conditioner is replaced before the furnace.

Why is the age of your system important? On average, an air conditioner will need to be replaced after 15 to 20 years; the electrical and mechanical system that cools your home requires constant extreme gas pressure changes. These parts tend to wear the component parts faster than your furnace components. On average, the furnace components will last a few years longer and exceed the 20-year mark. The best-case scenario is when the air conditioner lasts long enough that replacing both the furnace and AC systems makes economic sense.

When to Replace

The age of your system is only one factor you need for determining an optimal replacement time. Some factors can be gathered from research, and some will just take time.

  1. How efficient is your HVAC system? The best non-technical method for determining efficiency is to watch your utility bills. The price of energy has been on the rise, so don’t jump to conclusions. When an HVAC system begins to falter, energy use will spike dramatically. Of course, a rise in the summertime utility bills indicates an air conditioner decline, while a wintertime utility bill rise indicates a furnace decline. If you need a little more information, check with your utility company for energy costs over a longer period.
  2. How frequent are your repairs? Your system should be serviced annually and occasionally it will require component repair or replacements. However, when the repairs become frequent, it is a signal to make some replacement plans. Or, when the repair/replacement costs are extremely high, it certainly helps to decide on a replacement. Note: many common HVAC problems result from the lack of maintenance, so do not skip regular preventative maintenance.
  3. How old is your technology? Every year, engineers work on developing new equipment and new techniques for heating and cooling, with increased efficiency with each iteration. Recent technological developments include new refrigerant gases. These gases are advanced and are environmentally safer than older gas technologies; therefore, older gas technologies are no longer available. If your air conditioner uses old gas technology and requires the gas to be replaced, it may require the air conditioner to be replaced.

Need assistance with your AC Replacement?

With our four decades of experience as an AC Replacement contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to answer questions about AC Replacement.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune Up maintenance, and AC Replacement needs.

1 https://www.northamerican.com/relocation-moving-statistics#:~:text=U.S.%20Population%20Information%20and%20Statistics&text=More%20than%2030%20million%20people,a%20new%20home%20or%20apartment.

2 https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Houston-s-population-increased-as-other-major-17026496.php#:~:text=The%20Greater%20Houston%20area%20added,Bureau’s%20population%20estimates%20for%202021.

 

Differences Between Commercial HVAC and Residential HVAC Systems

Commercial HVAC  Summary

Commercial HVAC  Summary

It’s 2023 and most Americans are familiar with the basics of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, better known as HVAC systems. After all, we benefit from HVAC in our homes, vehicles, workplaces, and almost every public indoor space we frequent. The HVAC systems that function inside your residence are different than the system that service large commercial properties like malls, hospitals, schools, and large office facilities. Commercial HVAC systems like these need special care and maintenance that residential systems don’t.

Residential and commercial HVAC systems are similar in their basic function. They both:

  • Require the movement of massive quantities of air; powerful blowers pull/push the entire volume of the space involved every few minutes.
  • Use equipment that cools or heats the air on demand for both safety and comfort. This is primarily completed with heat pump technology. The refrigerant gas is employed to move heat between indoor and outdoor spaces, depending upon the season. Other mechanical components may use supplemental electrical or flame-based sources for additional heat.
  • Clean the moving air in the process, removing a large percentage of the airborne particles from the indoor space.
  • Use auxiliary functions, like the humidification and dehumidification of the air, if needed.

However, residential and commercial HVAC systems differ in a variety of significant ways.

Differences Between Commercial HVAC and Residential HVAC Systems

Residential HVAC systems are small, in comparison, and are stand-alone systems. While both complete the same functions, there are very few similarities beyond that. Let’s look at the unique characteristics of commercial HVAC systems.

  • The amount of energy needed to supply HVAC systems in commercial systems is much larger than for residential HVAC systems.
  • Often, heating and cooling functions are completed by entirely different pieces of equipment. Auxiliary functions, such as humidification and dehumidification, are also completed by separate equipment.

Commercial HVAC systems also employ various equipment that customizes the function for the needs of the facility. Such specialized equipment includes:

  • Variable Air Volume Systems. VAR allows a single heating or cooling unit to supply varying amounts of air to a given zone. Mechanically controlled dampers can limit the volume of air pushed into a zone and therefore control the temperature in that zone.
  • Split system. This is a ductless system that uses one compressor/condenser unit outdoors and one cabinet indoors, often in a mechanical closet, for the blower, evaporator, and filter. Package systems can serve multiple zones to provide heat or cooling. These systems serve well in very large commercial spaces; however, they require significant indoor space to be dedicated to HVAC equipment.
  • Commercial Packaged Units. Packaged units perform both heating and cooling functions from one outdoor cabinet. The cabinet is often placed on the roof or on an outdoor pad. Package systems are often used to maximize indoor space, but this also moves the noise of the HVAC system outdoors.
  • Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems. VRF systems are complex and utilize technology used in some of the other mentioned systems together. The same heat pump technology is used. One compressor/condenser unit provides coolant to as many as 64 indoor zonal cabinets. VAV systems use dampers for airflow. VRF systems use dampers to vary the flow of refrigerant gas to the indoor cabinets, providing customized comfort for many zones.

Every HVAC system needs preventative maintenance care, but commercial systems have different maintenance needs than residential systems. Schedule your preventative maintenance visit to save energy and money on utility bills, reduce the number of expensive repairs, and increase the lifespan of the system.

Need assistance with your Commercial HVAC System?

With our four decades of experience as an HVAC Repair contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to answer questions about Commercial HVAC.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune Up maintenance, and new installation needs.

Commercial HVAC  Summary

Electrical Hazards Homeowners Need to Know About

Electrical Hazards Homeowners Need to Know About

Electrical Hazards To Be Aware Of

Electrical Hazard statistics can be scary and you need to temper them by understanding that living in the U.S. is one of the safest places on earth. Statistically speaking, our homes are secure, comfortable, and safe; but that does not reduce our responsibility to care for the health and safety of our families. The information below is vital to understanding how to mitigate electrical hazards in your home, even if you feel reasonably secure now.

Every year, there are more than 350,000 residential fires, leading to about 13,000 injuries and 2,600 deaths; 36% of these are from fires caused by electrical hazards. Another 4,000 injuries and 400 deaths are caused by these electrical hazards directly.

There are 142 million homes in the US. The number of residential fires isn’t even 1 percent of American homes. But the fact remains that 350,000 families are devastated by fire every year and that is a lot of suffering. Removing and reducing electrical hazards in your home makes it safer for your family.

Here are the five most common electrical hazards and methods to mitigate each one.

  • Missing or Broken Smoke Detectors. Three out of five deaths from residential fires could be avoided with a working smoke detector.1 40% of fire-related deaths happen in homes without fire alarms and another 16% happen when smoke alarms do not work properly.

Smoke detectors are readily available and can be found in hardware, home improvement, and even big box store like Walmart and Target. If your home has smoke detectors, hit the red button to check them each month and replace the batteries annually.

Detectors are designed to emit a short beep at intervals when the battery is dangerously low; don’t ignore the warning. If your home does not have smoke detectors, add them: install one per story and one in each bedroom.

  • Damaged Electrical Cords. When a cord is worn, melted, or frayed in a manner that compromises the rubber coating, it becomes a fire hazard. The exposed wire can result in shock or start a fire. Resist the temptation to repair an old, damaged cord. A bit of electrical tape around the problem might be a temporary fix, but it should not be your permanent repair. A better plan is to replace the entire cord to ensure the device is safe.
  • Overheated Extension Cords. Residential electricity use has increased exponentially in the average American household.  Computer equipment, TVs, and various device chargers abound, and we often use extension cords, power strips, and outlet extenders for convenience.

This leads to two dangerous scenarios: overheating the extension cord and overloading the household circuit. First, consider extension cords a temporary solution instead of a permanent fix. If your extension cords are warm or hot to the touch, it is dangerously overloaded. Second, consider calling an electrician to add an outlet or a new circuit to accommodate the additional electrical load.

  • Electricity In Wet Areas. Water conducts electricity extremely well. The human body is 60% water. Water will divert electricity from its circuit when the two combine, with disastrous consequences. Both fire and electrocution are very possible when they mix.

The circuit breaker is designed to close the circuit as soon as a short circuit is detected, but considering the risks, electrical engineers designed Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets and switches to be used in areas water might meet electricity. GFCI will trigger the minimum of electricity in a ground fault (about 1/10 the amount that triggers heart arrhythmia) and can trip at incredible speeds (up to 25 milliseconds).2

Building codes requiring GFCI were introduced in 1971, so they are common in kitchens, bathrooms, workshops, and around pools. If your home does not have GFCI outlets or switches in these areas, contact an electrician and have them installed.

  • Children and Pets. Kids and pets are extremely curious, which is often a good thing. They’re both low to the ground, closer to electrical outlets and cords/extension cords around the home, and like to put things in their mouth and chew.

Cords should be secured and out of sight as much as possible to hide them from curious eyes. Tape cords to secure them when necessary. Any unused outlet should have plastic inserts to prevent children from coming in contact with electric current. Consider tamper-resistant outlets that are designed to prevent items other than electrical plugs from being inserted.

Remember: changing outlets and switches are not a DIY project; any project that brings someone in touch with the electricity in your home should be handled by a professional electrician to ensure the work is completed safely.

Have Questions About Electrical Hazards in Your Home?

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Electrical Hazards questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Electrical Hazards Homeowners Need to Know About

1 https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/Detection-and-Signaling/Smoke-Alarms-in-US-Home-Fires#:~:text=Almost%20three%20out%20of%20five,alarms%20or%20none%20that%20worked.

2 https://inspectapedia.com/electric/GFCI_Electrical_Code.php

 

2 Indicators That You Need Furnace Repair

Furnace Repair 

Furnace Repair

Winter has arrived with its usual cold temperatures; this year the arctic blasts seem particularly cold. When the cold wind blows, our families depend upon our furnace for warmth and comfort. Coming home or awakening to a cold home is a very disconcerting prospect, a perspective that will call for an emergency reaction. This emergency might arrive at a very inopportune time to affect repairs, so here is a list of the most common furnace Repair problems with potential steps to identify and even initiate repairs.

The Furnace Does Work

This situation seems serious, but before you panic, here are a few things to check.

  • First, find the electric service panel and check the circuit breaker that services your furnace. If the breaker is flipped to the OFF position, slide it to the ON position and wait a few minutes. Expect the furnace to make some noises, but it may take a couple of minutes before it cycles on. Be patient and observe; if the furnace comes on, the breaker might flip off again.
  • Second, check the thermostat. The thermostat functions as an ON/OFF switch for both the furnace and air conditioner. The thermostat requires batteries and if the batteries are dead, the furnace will not function. Replace the batteries and check the temperature setting. Set the temperature to about 50 above room temperature to call for heat.
  • Third, if your furnace is gas-powered, check the gas supply. Find the supply valve located near the burner and make sure it is in the ON position. If the valve is ON and the burner is not lit, determine whether the furnace has electronic ignition or pilot light. The pilot light might have blown out and needs to be relit. Follow the instructions to relight the pilot light and wait for a few minutes to see if the furnace restarts.

Inadequate Hot Air

If the furnace runs and blows air, but the air is not hot enough, there are a few more things to check.

  • First, check the air filter. With every heating cycle, your air filter is trapping airborne particles and cleans the indoor air in your home. Should the air filter clog, this will restrict the airflow throughout your entire home. If the airflow is weak, check and change your air filter as needed.
  • Second, if your furnace uses a heat pump, check the outdoor condenser unit. Heat pump technology is used for both heating and air conditioning; it is necessary to keep the condenser clean of debris and dust. If you observe leaves and limbs stacked around the unit, make sure to clean the away.
  • Third, check the thermostat setting. The temperature setting needs to be 50 higher than room temperature to call for heat. Also, notice there are two heat settings—one simply says Heat and a second EM or AUX Heat setting. The first setting is drawing heat from the heat pump, while the second setting is drawing heat from the gas burner or electric heating elements. When the outdoor temperature drops below 320 degrees, the heat pump technology cannot extract enough heat from outdoors to heat your home. Change the thermostat setting to EM Heat to activate the secondary heat source.
  • Fourth, identify the supply vents and cold air returns throughout your home. Make sure that the vents in each room are uncovered and that the returns have not been blocked. When these openings are covered, it restricts the flow of warm air and can result in inadequate airflow when you need it most.

If any of these Furnace Repairs successfully restart your furnace, it might be a temporary repair. The next step should be to schedule a Furnace Repair appointment with one of our technicians.

Have Questions About Furnace Repair?

With our four decades of experience as an Furnace Repair contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to answer questions about Furnace Repair.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune Up maintenance, and new installation needs.

Dedicated Computer Circuit for Your Home Office 

dedicated computer circuit

Why You Need a Dedicated Computer Circuit for Your Home Office

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, approximately 5.7% of employees worked from home; remote offices were relatively rare. In 2022, approximately 20% of Texans worked from home on a regular basis. We saw a lot of real estate transactions over the last three years, seeking homes with adequate space for both work and school. However, spacious homes might not be designed to handle the electrical and data needs of modern office space.

For many remote workers, the benefit of working from home is very desirable. No one misses the long commute or heavy traffic; missing travel time adds the potential for quality family time. Employers recognize that improved productivity is a nice tradeoff for a less structured work schedule. Don’t let an unreliable electrical connection jeopardize your home office or school space.

Dedicated Computer Circuit: Home Office Basics

When you design your home workspace, two things are abundantly different: the increased number of work equipment using electricity and the sensitivity of office equipment. It is not unusual for office computers to use multiple monitors, a multi-purpose printer/scanner, and the ever-present internet router. Anticipate outlet space for multiple chargers and various devices. Most of these devices are essential for productivity and the frustration level will rise quickly if the circuit breaker that services your home office frequently trips. The sudden loss of power places stresses on the sensitive circuits of office equipment. Since both productivity and sensitive equipment demand a steady flow of electricity, let’s explore common reasons for circuit breaker trips.

Dedicated Computer Circuit: Circuit Breaker Basics

The utility grid brings electric power to your home through the service panel. When you open the door to the panel, you notice a bank of ON/OFF switches, commonly referred to as circuit breakers. Electric power travels through a circle or circuit; the breaker is a safety switch that closes to stop the flow in emergency situations. Each time the breaker trips, a potential disaster is averted. If a circuit breaker is tripping frequently, it represents a problem that needs to be addressed. Fortunately, the reasons for circuit breaker trips are well understood.

  • An overloaded circuit – Each circuit is designed to carry a limited amount of power. When the number and type of appliances increase for a particular circuit, it will increase the demand for electricity on the circuit. When this demand reaches a dangerous level, the wire heats, and the breaker trips. Without this safety feature, the circuit can overheat and cause a fire. Remember, every time the breaker trips a potential disaster is averted.
  • A ground fault – When the electricity from a circuit finds contact with metal, wood, or a ground wire, this suddenly demands extra power. The demand causes the circuit wires to overheat, causing the breaker to flip, closing the circuit.

Ground faults are particularly dangerous around water, so you will notice special outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and anywhere electricity might contact water. These special outlets are called ground fault circuit interrupters. GFCI outlets break the electric circuit at the source of the ground fault and do it much quicker than the circuit breaker can.

  • A short circuit. When the path of electricity finds a shortcut through a neutral wire, the flow of electricity increases quickly, heating the wires in the circuit.

Your home office may need a dedicated circuit to ensure adequate power is available for the additional equipment. Finding the source of a short circuit or ground fault will take a little research, and some trial and error. It’s best to use a qualified electrician, like the pros at Air Pro Houston to do this, as they can more effectively isolate and identify any sources for faults, or issues that need to be replaced or repaired to set up a dedicated computer circuit.

Need a Dedicated Computer Circuit?

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Dedicated Computer Circuit questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

dedicated computer circuit

Residential Electrician: How to Safely Use Space Heaters

Residential Electrician: How to Safely Use Space Heaters

Residential Electrician: Safely Tips for Space Heaters

Until the mid-1960s, most homes were heated by fireplaces and spaces heaters—quite often, that included unvented gas heaters inside homes. By 1965, the addition of central heat and air conditioning became standard building practice. Central heat keeps the occupants warmer and more comfortable with much safer technology than previous heating methods.

Fireplaces still add ambiance and provide emergency heat during power outages. Space heaters have become much safer and are still used to keep small spaces cozy and comfortable.

Still, space heaters are the cause of approximately 15% of house fires each year and must be used with safety in mind. Here are seven safety tips that reduce the risk of fire while using area space heaters.

  1. Know where to use the various types of space heaters. Space heaters that use combustion must be used in outdoor spaces only! These heaters may use propane, pellets, or kerosene and each of them produce carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, among other exhaust gases. Without ventilation, these gases accumulate inside the house, and they are deadly.

Space heaters that use electricity come in a variety of sizes, designs, and heating styles. Some blow air across a heating element and others heats an enclosed supply of oil, which holds the heat well. Electric-powered space heaters, including electric blankets and heating pads, are designed for indoor use since precipitation can lead to electric shock.

  1. Electric space heaters create hot surfaces and care must be taken to avoid injury to occupants, including pets. Move space heaters away from doors/doorways and away from play areas for children. Make sure that the heater is on the floor or a low, level surface; it is vitally important that space heaters do not overturn. Know the limits of your heater’s capabilities; the highest setting will not safely warm a large, cavernous space.
  2. Use the “3-foot rule;” place the heater at least three feet from combustible materials such as furniture and drapes. Some heaters generate enough heat to melt synthetic materials or cause combustion. Allow a heater time to cool before moving it.
  3. Do not use electric-powered space heaters near water sources or in the presents of paints, fuels, or volatile supplies.
  4. Electric space heaters require a lot of power and care must be given to provide a safe circuit. The BEST way to power a space heater is by plugging it into a dedicated outlet with no other devices on that outlet. The power being used will cause a long extension cord to get warm. A power strip is not recommended.
  5. Never leave space heaters unattended, not even to run a quick errand. Do not use space heaters unattended in a room with sleeping children. Do not employ space heaters overnight while adults are asleep; adding a blanket is much safer than the risk of a fire starting while no one notices.
  6. Become familiar with the safety features of your space heater. Look for the UL or ETL listing. Is there a thermostat that turns the heater off when the space is warm enough? Does the heater have an emergency stop feature should the heater overturn? Become familiar with instructions for safe usage and the list of risks to avoid. Or if you are not comfortable doing this yourself, contact a Residential Electrician for assistance.

Need the Help of a Residential Electrician?

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Residential Electrician questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Energy Efficient Furnace

Energy Efficient Furnace

Energy Efficient Furnace Tips for Homeowners

If the heating bill this month caused your eyebrow to raise more than usual, there are some Energy Efficient Furnace steps you can take to reduce your utility bill. Since each home and each family is different, no one step will achieve the result you hope for: it will take a whole-house approach.

  • Maintain your HVAC system annually to ensure that it continues to function efficiently season after season and year after year. You become involved in maintenance when you change your air filter at least every three months; this keeps the air clean and the air flowing freely during the cooling and heating season.
  • Improve your home’s insulation whenever possible. Contractors consider insulation an expense, while homeowners consider insulation an investment. Check your attic and your crawlspace; add insulation during remodels or renovations.
  • Care for your windows and doors. These openings give character to your home, both inside and out. However, they also transfer a lot of heat year-round. Caulk and weather strip to ensure air does not move freely around windows and doors. Open drapes on sunny days to use solar energy (a gain of as much as 100) and close them at night to reduce heat loss.
  • Cook and clean to your advantage. Baking or using your range top contributes to warmth, a good thing during the heating season, but not so good during the cooling season. Washing and drying laundry contribute to warmth, so schedule your loads during evening hours whenever possible.
  • Showers and baths contribute to warmth and humidity in your home, so plan accordingly. Use exhaust fans during the summer, but whenever possible, keep that warmth and humidity indoors during the winter. Showers use less hot water, therefore less energy, so showers save more money than baths.
  • Inspect the temperature setting on your hot water heater. The factory setting is usually set at 1400 F, which is too hot for comfort without adding cold water. Changing the setting to 1200 F will improve comfort and save money.
  • When you replace your hot water heater, size your water heater according to family size and need. A hot water heater that’s too small means someone gets a cold shower. A hot water heater that’s too-large wastes energy by heating water unnecessarily.
  • Set the temperature setting as low as your family can tolerate—no one temp serves all. A temperature setting above 750 reduces the relative humidity in your home. This can make your skin, nose, throat, and eyes dry and susceptible. It will also dry the wood in furniture and accessories.
  • Use your programmable thermostat to save energy. Studies reveal that reducing the temperature in your home by 7-10 degrees for at least 8 hours per day will reduce your heating bill by ten percent.1 Reducing the temperature to 650 during the evening, while everyone is asleep, can encourage better sleep and save money.

Have Questions About Having an Energy Efficient Furnace?

With our four decades of experience as an Energy Efficient Furnace contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to answer questions about Energy Efficient Furnace.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune Up maintenance, and new installation needs.

Energy Efficient Furnace

1  https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/programmable-thermostats#:~:text=Thermostat%20Operation&text=You%20can%20easily%20save%20energy,asleep%20or%20away%20from%20home

Whole Home Back Up Generators

Whole Home Back Up Generators

Whole Home Back Up Generators: What You Need to Know

Portable generators have been around since the mid-1960s. At first, they were small and weak compared to today’s models. They were handy for bringing electricity to remote locations—campsites or cabins, remote work locations, or anywhere electricity was needed off-grid.

They grew from small hand-held units to present, Whole Home Back Up Generators that are installed with a forklift. Today, prudent homeowners are buying and sometimes installing backup generator systems in preparation for emergency power outages.

Most power outages happen due to weather events with lightning and high winds. However, winter storms can also lead to power outages and not just in the frigid northern states, as we saw in February of 2021. The combination of snow, ice, and even moderate wind, has taken down a fair share of power lines.

Being without power in the winter can be exceptionally uncomfortable—even dangerous. If you have a backup generator in place or are considering a back up generator, here are some things to consider for using a generator during the heating season.

  • The two most common types of residential heating systems in the south use either electricity or fossil fuel to generate heat to keep you comfortable. However, both use electricity to move the air and neither will function without electricity.
  • It is important to keep your HVAC system well-maintained so it will function well when you really need it. A fireplace can serve as a backup heat source during power outages, but it will also need to be maintained and an ample supply of fuel available.

Generator Options

With every purchase, there are options and generators are no different; size and fuel types are two good examples.

  • Portable generators are mobile and versatile. When a power outage occurs the portable unit is removed from storage, extension cords run from the generator to the appliances you wish to power, and the unit is started to produce adequate electricity for emergency needs. If you need to power your furnace, it will take preparation, since HVAC systems receive power from the service panel.
  • Permanent generators are installed, often connected to the local gas utility and hooked directly to the home’s electrical service panel. A transfer switch is installed that prevents the power generated from flowing to the power grid, endangering workers and other homes. With a transfer switch, you can choose which circuits to empower to keep your family safe and comfortable.

Tips for Using a Back Up Generator Safely

  1. You will need to check the fuel, oil, and battery regularly, to ensure it is ready during an emergency.
  2. Any generator should be a safe distance from the home.
  3. A backup generator takes preparation. Whole Home Back Up Generators will require the installation of a transfer switch to keep everyone safe. As soon as the generator starts, the switch disconnects the home from the power grid. When power is restored to the power grid, the switch disconnects the generator.

Have Questions About Your Back Up Generator?

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrical Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Back Up Generators questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Whole Home Back Up Generators

 

 

Furnace Repair: Troubleshooting Tips for Homeowners

Furnace Repair: Troubleshooting Tips for Homeowners

Furnace Repair Checklist for Your Home

In most homes across the land, families have moved away from fireplaces with uneven heat to a central heating and air conditioning system. We have developed a reasonable expectation of keeping consistent warmth, using a thermostat setting for our personal comfort level.

When our heating system does not meet these expectations, we begin to seek a solution to fix the problem. This might sound rather “snooty” in other countries, but it really is our expectation; whether in a rural cottage or a 16th-floor apartment, we expect our homes to be comfortably warm during winter months.

What happens when our comfort level is not met? If some rooms are too cold or the furnace does not blow warm (enough) air? Here are some common problems that result in a less-than-desirable comfort level.

Let’s start with the easiest of furnace repair fixes: check for a clogged air filter. The air filter traps airborne particles with every heating or cooling cycle. If not changed regularly, the filter can collect enough particles to reduce airflow through the furnace. In this situation, the blower fan cannot move enough air to adequately warm your house. Change a clogged filter and set calendar reminders to change the filter every three months.

Research the age of your furnace and its efficiency. If you do not know when the furnace was installed do some investigation to determine its age; a furnace that is approaching 20 years of use is nearing a time for a replacement. If the furnace is approaching the end of useful service, take a quick glance at your utility bills over the last couple of years. If your account for normal inflation and find a further spike in your energy bill, you should consider replacing the furnace before a catastrophic failure catches you at an inopportune period.

Is your discomfort localized? Investigate where you feel the coldest. Is it coldest near windows or doors? Or does the “back room” seem drafty? Replacing windows or applying caulk and weather stripping might solve the problem. Check the supply vents and the cold air returns to make sure nothing is covering them, preventing warm airflow. Something as simple as a drape can reduce good airflow, so take a look around in cold zones. Poor insulation can also cause a room to be cold; often, adding attic insulation can make a cold space a warm, cozy space.

A rarer occurrence is problems with ductwork since most ducts are set in place during construction and rarely move. However, when something disrupts the integrity of a system of sealed ducts, the airflow is stopped or the air will leak outside the conditioned space of the home.

If this discomfort happens suddenly—it worked yesterday, but it is not working today, here are a few things to check first. Go to the electrical service panel and check the circuit breaker or fuse. That would be an awesome find if a flip of the breaker restored heat! Another component to check is your thermostat. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, the switch gets moved or the setting gets turned down. Don’t forget, your thermostat runs on batteries and batteries need to be changed occasionally.

If none of these “easy fixes” restore comfort, it might be time to call your heating professional for a furnace repair appointment.

Have Questions About Furnace Repair?

With our four decades of experience as a Furnace Repair contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to answer questions about Furnace Repair and maintenance.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Furnace Repair, Tune Up maintenance, and new installation needs.

Furnace Repair: Troubleshooting Tips for Homeowners

 

Home Generator: 5 Steps to Winterize

Home Generator: 5 Steps to Winterize

Winterize your Home Generator in 5 Easy Steps

Cool-weather is upon us and Winter is just around the corner. With the winter months, comes the potential of winter storms.

Temperatures below freezing and high winds create the potential for power outages. Being prepared with a home generator provides protection for your family and your home.

During a power outage, a whole home generator is the best choice for powering up your home during a power outage. The major benefits are:

  • Keeping your lights on
  • Running heaters/furnaces to keep your family warm and pipes from freezing
  • Keeping communication channels open to monitor weather conditions
  • Keeping refrigerators and freezers powered so that you do not lose the contents

For more information on backup generator installation, contact our team of electricians.

If you already have a whole home generator installed, you cannot forget to winterize and maintain it, so that it is ready to use when needed.

Here are 4 tips to winterize your whole home generator:

1) Remove Debris Around Your Generator

Keeping the area surrounding your generator clear and clean is a crucial step in keeping it reliable. Removing fallen leaves or limbs, ice, and snow during a winter storm will reduce the potential for overheating.

We advise a regular check of the area around your generator to remove any potential hazards and keep the exhaust vents free from any potential debris that could cause a clog.

2) Create a Test Schedule for Your Generator

Most home generators are equipped with a test setting that initiates the unit to start and test itself. It is best to schedule this test while you are going to be at home so you can listen for it to turn on and you can hear any unusual noises.

If it fails to test, it is a good sign that you need to schedule a maintenance appointment.

3) Invest in a Remote Monitoring Service

Remote monitoring is a great investment for homeowners with a whole home generator. This application provides generator maintenance records so you can monitor its efficiency and determine if there are repairs needed.

4) Know When to Call the Experts

A whole home generator is a smart investment to protect your family and your home. Maintaining the system is best left to the professionals. Regular maintenance & service will keep your generator in prime condition to be ready when you need it the most.

Have Questions About Winterizing your Home Generator?

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrical Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Winterizing Home Generator questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

6 Ways to Winterize Your Home This Winter

6 Ways to Winterize Your Home This Winter

How To Winterize Your Home 

When the cold, winter wind begins to blow, there is nothing like the comfort that comes from a warm cozy house. However, the idyllic, Christmas card scene does not always reflect reality. Sometimes the setting on the thermostat does not result in a comfortable home; this is especially true for older homes.

During the 1970s, the world faced two energy shortages (intentionally created) which affected the availability of fuel for residential heating during some very cold winters. Federal agencies began ramping up research on construction methods and materials; the research has led to building code changes and common construction principles.

The building envelope of modern homes prevents the ready movement of air between indoor and outdoor spaces, but older homes are quite porous. If you own an older home, here are some tips to Winterize your home and make it comfortable all winter long.

1 Add Attic Insulation to Winterize Your Home

Since heat rises, start by stopping the movement of heat and air through the ceiling into the attic. The majority, approximately 80%, of heat loss from a home, escapes into the attic. The density of insulation blocks the movement of heat from the attic into the home during the summer months and the movement of heat from the home into the attic during the winter. Each attic is different, so do some research into the most efficient insulation for your home.

2 Insulate the Walls to Winterize Your Home

Uninsulated walls result in the free movement of air during windy days and occupants feel a draft of cold air moving inside the home. Depending on the age of your home, the walls may have no insulation or be poorly insulated. Adding insulation to existing walls is difficult, but it can be done. Another wall insulation technique is adding foam outlet/switch kits to minimize air movement from wall outlets.

3 Inspect Windows and Doors

Older homes settle and this can result in gaps forming around doors or windows. These gaps are actually holes in the building envelope, allowing air, moisture, and pests to move freely. Closing these gaps is advisable for a number of reasons; we are looking at comfort and plugging the gaps will definitely improve indoor comfort. Caulk is a good solution to fill gaps around the window and door frames. Weatherproofing material can be used to fill the gaps in doors and windows. In addition to the gaps, consider replacing single-pane windows and using weatherproofing material

4 Use Solar Gain

Even on cold, windy days, sunny days can contribute to making your home comfortable. Opening the drapes and blinds on the south side of your house can increase the indoor air temperature by 100 for a few hours. Since winter days are short, be prepared to close the blinds when the sun goes down. If your windows are old and replacing them is not an option, invest in heavy drapes to block the movement of heat through the windows.

5 Don’t Forget the Fireplace

A fireplace with an open flue is a direct route for hot air to escape from your home. If you do not use your fireplace, consider an insulated block to close the opening. Closing a fireplace flue will make an immediate difference, but be sure to remove the block before building a fire.

6 Use Innovative Technology to Winterize Your Home

If your HVAC system is aging (+15 years), your older home could use a system upgrade. If you have added insulation, windows, and doors, the upgrades could make a difference in the size of your system. A new thermostat might automate temperature changes in your home to add comfort during your winter schedule.

Want to Winterize Your Home and You Don’t Know What to Do?

With our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to winterize Your AC System and answer questions about how to winterize your air conditioning system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

 

Tips to Finding the Right Residential Electrical Contractor

Residential Electrical Contractor

Finding a Residential Electrical Contractor

If you own a home in Texas, one of those key contractor contacts you need is a good licensed electrician; few untrained folks are willing to take on serious electrical projects—and for good reason. These guys can come in handy in a pinch:

  • Often, the need comes at a crucial time, and finding an electrician in an emergency situation is difficult
  • Whether your project is new construction, room addition, or remodeling, an electrician will be a part of the team
  • Small repair projects seldom come with early warning messages, so it is best to be prepared

General contractors have a short list of preferred electrical contractors; wise homeowners should also develop a list.

Residential Electrical Contractor Credentials

There was a time when an electrician’s qualification was based on years of experience and a word-of-mouth referral. When the electrical trade became more complex, so did the qualifying credentials for electricians. Residential electricians are “wiremen,” as opposed to ‘linesmen,” who handle high-voltage distribution lines. The terminology of electrician licensing includes:

  • An apprentice, who is/has taken close to 140 hours of classroom instruction and is receiving on-the-job training under journeyman or master electricians
  • A journeyman electrician has completed the instruction phase, passed an exam, and is completing advanced training, working under the guidance of a master electrician. The journeyman stage lasts 7,000 hours, a little more than three years.
  • After a journeyman has completed the necessary training and passed a stringent exam, he/she is eligible to be licensed as a master electrician. 1

Licensing informs consumers of the training and capabilities of electricians to help them make better hiring decisions.

Insurance and bonding are necessary safeguards to protect both the consumer and the contracting company. Insist on this safeguard.

Specialties

Some contracting companies have a specialty approach and advertise to a narrow market of consumers that “need” that specialty. Some contractors focus on new construction or seek smaller “handyman” type projects. Other contractors like a variety and are prepared for a wide range of projects. Look for indicators of specialty preferences in advertisements.

Look for a Quality Residential Electrical Contractor

If you are looking to develop a relationship based on trust, call an electrical contractor and asked to visit an existing project. If you can allow some time to make arrangements, many electricians will give a brief tour of an existing job site. What should you look for? Look for orderly work with uniform cuts and joints.

A finished electrical panel will demonstrate organized work and uniform cuts; wires should not cross and appear jumbled. One finished outlet or switch should look just like another outlet or switch. Faceplates should be plumb and level.

This site visit will demonstrate further quality—is the electrician easy to talk to and work with? This could be the person that arrives at your home to handle an electrical emergency or work on a project around your family. This person will communicate with you about the project and the results. Credentials AND professional mannerisms would be ideal.

Have Questions About Our Residential Electrical Contractor Services?

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrical Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Residential Electrical Contractor questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Residential Electrical Contractor

1 https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/electricians/apply/individuals/journeyman-electrician.htm

4 Steps to Winterize Your AC System

Winterize Your AC System

Winterize Your AC System: 4 Steps to Protect Your HVAC System

While you are waiting for the arrival of cooler weather, here are a few steps to Winterize Your AC System you can take to prepare your system for winter.

  1. Change Your Filter to Winterize Your AC System

According to the EPA, changing your air filter is a vital maintenance step!1 It impacts the indoor air quality, system performance, utility cost, and longevity of your HVAC. During the spring and summer months, a filter removes pollen; during the fall and winter months, it removes dust and mold spores. All year round, a filter is removing airborne particles, keeping them from recirculating throughout the house.

The HVAC air filter needs to be changed at least every three months. If this simple task is hard to remember, set electronic or analog calendar reminders. Use key dates that help you remember, such as seasonal calendar dates or holidays (Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving Day).

Not all air filters perform equally; filters are rated on a MERV scale—the higher the number, the smaller the opening. A filter with too large openings fails to trap particles, while a filter with too small openings can restrict airflow and stress your system. MERV filters between 8 and 11 are best for home use; check the manufacturer’s guidelines for your system.

  1. Clean Vents, Returns, and Registers to Winterize Your AC System

Some airborne particles will get past the air filter and get deposited in inconvenient spaces. During cold weather months, your windows and doors remain closed for months to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. Removing this dust will further improve your indoor air quality.

Look for the dust around the floor registers and the cold air returns on the walls. This is easily wiped away with a damp cloth. This is an excellent time to clean your vents; it is recommended that vents be cleaned every 3 to 5 years.

  1. Outdoor TLC Steps to Winterize Your AC System

The outdoor portion of your HVAC system is the condenser unit and the fall is a perfect time to treat it well. First, make sure that leaves and yard waste do not blow against the base or fall inside. Trim shrubs and plantings at least 2 feet from every side of the unit. Second, use a garden hose (not a power washer) and gently rinse the sides of the condenser. You should see an accumulation of dust in the run-off water. This unit transfers heat quickly and the accumulated dust hinders the transfer.

Third, it might be tempting to cover the condenser unit over the winter, but do not cover it until you know it will not be used AT ALL for the heating season. Most HVAC systems use heat pump technology for both air conditioning and heating; it is the most efficient method for both processes. A cover over the condenser unit will inhibit the transfer of heat and lead to overheating your system.

  1. Inspect Annually

Your manufacturer’s guideline calls for an annual preventative maintenance inspection to help your system to run efficiently for the maximum number of years. An inspection serves to determine whether repairs are needed, determine system efficiency, and thoroughly cleaning of the interior components. An annual inspection helps to catch little problems before they become big problems. Repeating repairs might indicate unusual stress—something that will need to be solved before it leads to component failure.

Have Questions About the Steps to Winterize Your AC System?

With our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to Winterize Your AC System and answer questions about your air conditioning system maintenance.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

1 https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/air-cleaners-and-air-filters-home

EV Home Charging: Most Common Questions Answered

EV Home Charging: Most Common Questions Answered

EV Home Charging FAQs

If you anticipate buying a new car in the near future, consideration of an electric vehicle (EV) is most likely a part of the discussion. The U.S. Department of Transportation has set a goal to see 50% of all new vehicles sold in 2030 being EVs, with 500,000 strategically placed charging stations.1 A little information might help you make an informed decision, so consider these important factors concerning the everyday use of electric vehicles.

Electric Vehicles Are Overcoming Range Anxiety

Early versions of EVs had a limited range and drivers feared being stranded alongside the road with a dead battery. Battery technology has reduced that fear with more powerful batteries; 100kWH batteries are now available. Expect a new EV to boast of providing between 200 to 300 miles per full charge; by 2028, the anticipated range is 400 miles. The average daily commute in the U.S. is about 40 miles, so EVs can meet the day-to-day travel needs of most families.2

Charging the Battery

EV Home Charging options have improved, further reducing the stress of range anxiety. Three levels of chargers are currently available:

  1. EVs come with a simple charging system that plugs into standard outlets; it is slow—a full charge for a large battery might take 20 hours.
  2. Level two chargers can be installed in a residence, utilizing a dedicated circuit on your electrical service panel. A full charge for a large battery might take 6-8 hours.
  3. Level three chargers are commercial, for-pay chargers, and can provide a full charge to a large battery in about 30 minutes.

With several EV Home Charging options, car buyers can have confidence concerning regular charges.

Battery Longevity

An important consideration for an EV purchase is the lifespan of the battery; batteries are expensive, so understanding battery longevity is important. The estimate for current technology batteries is approximately 200,000 miles, which is comparable to the lifespan of most internal combustion engines.

How long an EV will last for you is determined by how many miles you drive annually.3 Most people drive their cars between 12,000 and 14,000 miles annually, so EV batteries will last between 14 and 16 years. Watch for the manufacturer’s warranty of 8 years or 100,000 miles; Federal regulations require an 8-year warranty.

Batteries and the Environment

EV batteries are complex technological constructs made from very common metals and chemicals; they are made from nickel, cobalt, and an electrolyte lithium salt solution. Nothing about EV batteries is specifically hazardous. When these batteries begin to lose their ability to hold a charge, they are still very strong.

Car manufacturers commonly partner these batteries with solar chargers and use them to power small appliances, such as vending machines. When the time comes to decommission them, their parts can be harvested and recycled; 80% of the materials can be reused.

If you make a decision to purchase an EV, installing a level two EV Home Charging station in your home will bring great peace of mind. APH Electric can add a dedicated circuit to your service panel, powering the charging station.

Even a completely discharged battery will charge overnight, beginning each day with a full charge. On occasion, you may need to find a commercial charging station, but an in-home EV Home Charging will make your new EV very convenient.

Have Questions About EV Home Charging?

With our four decades of experience as an electrical services contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your EV Home Charging questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

EV Home Charging: Most Common Questions Answered

1 https://www.transportation.gov/rural/ev

2 https://www.kbb.com/car-advice/how-long-does-take-charge-electric-car/

3 https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/onh00/bar8.htm

 

Determining Commercial Air Conditioning Costs

Determining Commercial Air Conditioning Costs

Commercial Air Conditioning What You Need To Know About Costs

Sometimes the internet can be so helpful and sometimes it can be a royal pain. It is excellent for purchasing commodity items with set prices and known shipping costs. It is not very helpful when you research large ticket items or services; there are so many variables that affect the price, and no one will make an estimate on a project “sight unseen.”

If you are planning Commercial Air Conditioning replacement for your building, you need to budget figures for planning purposes that come close to reality. Good luck wading through complicated square footage calculation x a dollar amount that ranges from $3/sf to $35/SF. That much variation is not helpful at all!

We are going to give you two simple calculations and a simple list of variables. We figure that if you manage a commercial property, you will be able to take limited information, complete some research, and make a projection for the budget. So, let’s dive in.

Two Simple Commercial Air Conditioning Calculations

  • Square footage of the building x 25 = BTUs needed for air conditioning. Twenty-five represents the average air temperature change needed. If the outdoor temp is 1000 F, AC will need to bring the indoor air temperature to 750 Example: 20,000 SF x 25 = 410,000 BTUs.
  • BTUs / 12,000 = AC tons Air conditioners are sold in tons. Example: 410,000 BTUs / 12,000 = 34.2 tons

At least you have a base model to determine to price. But you are not finished quite yet.

Simple Variable

Tonnage is a starting point, but there are some variables that will affect the price. Variables may have a positive or a negative impact on your installation cost and operation cost.

Building Type

Several things about your building will impact the cost of installing new AC. Are you trying to cool a single-story strip center or a five-story office building, needing a crane to lift heavy equipment? Are you cooling a gym, with 12-foot ceilings, filled with people and machines generating a lot of heat, or an office farm with 8-foot ceilings with people doing rather sedentary work? The more complicated the installation, the higher the cost.

Types of Commercial Air Conditioning Systems

Various building types and business applications will require different types of AC systems. Here is a list of common AC applications.

  • Package Units closely resemble residential HVAC systems (heating and cooling will use common components, and refrigerant gas passes between an outdoor compressor and an indoor blower. (Adding heating capacity to your AC system will impact your component cost.)
  • Mini-split ductless systems are used to cool small zones, such as hotel rooms or apartments.
  • Variable refrigerant systems cool large spaces and may use air, water, and/or refrigerant gas.

This is a simple list—there are many more system types. Since you know your building well, this gives you a better idea of the major type of system you will need.

Added Commercial Air Conditioning Features

So far, you have been looking at “base models,” but your long-term goals might require some feature upgrades. While doing research, watch for the cost of a few upgrades to help with budgeting.

  • SEER rating. Air conditioner efficiency is rated in SEERs or seasonal energy efficiency ratings, the higher the SEER number, the more efficient the system. If your building requirements or operational requirements demand energy efficiency, watch for the SEER or SEER 2 rating that takes effect in January of 2023. Efficiency comes with a higher capital expense but is recovered quickly with lower utility bills.
  • Air quality. Ultra-violet (UV) light damages the cell walls of living organisms—UV light causes sunburns. Installing UV light in the ductwork neutralizes (kills) microorganisms as they move through the system. Mold and mildew spores, pollen, bacteria, and viruses are reduced to dust and removed by air filters. The cost is low, and the benefit is high if you have room in the budget.
  • Automated controls. Reducing access to the thermostat(s) is a good idea. Scheduling temperature changes for energy savings is wise. Wi-Fi access to building controls is convenient. Look at some of these system control features.

A few other variables will come out in your research, such as brand differentials and local labor costs, but normal research will uncover these indicators. This article did not declare a cost for your system; that was not the goal. We hope this gives you enough information to help you research the cost of replacing your Commercial Air Conditioning for budgetary purposes and to give you a starting point to begin shopping for the best contractor to install your new system.

Have Questions About Commercial Air Conditioning?

With our four decades of experience as a Commercial Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with HVAC System Replacement and HVAC Maintenance and answer questions about your Commercial Air Conditioning system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

Determining Commercial Air Conditioning Costs

How to Choose a Commercial Electrician

How to Choose a Commercial Electrician

How to Hire a Commercial Electrician

How do you hire professional services? Whether you are in need of an engineer, consultant, or IT professional, the choices of people who can complete a project are numerous. How can you make such a decision?

If pursuing a commercial electrician, a simple online search will yield many teams that COULD do the work. Determining the right team, the team that SHOULD do your work takes a little due diligence. Here are a few steps to finding a preferred commercial electrician for your next project.

Understand Credentials

Commercial electricians list their qualifications online, often using unfamiliar terms. This can be a little confusing, so let’s take a quick peek at what they mean.

  • Commercial electrician licenses. Electricians begin as apprentices, advance to journeymen, and complete their training as master electricians. Residential electricians complete 4,000 hours (2 years) and commercial electrician train for 8,000 hours (4 years).1
  • Certifications signify further training, usually in a specialty field. Your project may require a specialty.
  • Insurance and bonding is a commitment to protect staff and clients in the case of unfortunate
  • Years of experience is an extremely important credential—do ignore this.
  • Affiliation with electrician associations, such as the National Electrical Contractors Association, demonstrates a commitment to quality and continuing education

Commercial Specific

The supplies, tools, and equipment needed for commercial electrical projects are different than those needed for residential electrical projects. Their training will be more extensive, with twice as much hands-on experience. If the chosen contractor advertises both residential and commercial electricians, pay attention to the commercial side of your project.

Project Experience

Commercial electricians will be able to give you a good portfolio of completed projects. This demonstrates the

  • Longevity of the firm
  • The capacity of the firm
  • Perhaps it will demonstrate creativity in solving problems
  • Experience with projects similar to your project

Explore Referrals and References

Technical expertise is very necessary, but not the only qualification. Your project is quite likely the beginning of a lengthy relationship; one project often leads to long-term maintenance and perhaps more projects. It is best to find qualified commercial electricians that are pleasant and easy to work with. For this, it takes some personal touches.

  • The least personal is references. Satisfied customers giving glowing reports of successfully completed projects is encouraging but tells little about the results
  • A word-of-mouth referral from someone you trust is much preferred.
  • A conversation with a master electrician at the firm might also allay some fears

More knowledge about both the technical and personal side of your contractor will add significant confidence to the decision concerning your commercial electrical contractor.

Need Help Selecting a Commercial Electrician?

With our four decades of experience as a Commercial Electrician Services contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help determine which Commercial Electrician is right for your business’s electrical needs.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

How to Choose a Commercial Electrician

1 https://fsg.com/how-to-become-an-electrician-in-texas/#:~:text=Get%20the%20Experience%20and%20Training,need%208%2C000%20hours%20of%20experience.&text=This%20works%20out%20to%20about,on%20which%20path%20you%20choose

 

 

 

New AC Installation: A Perfect Time for HVAC Duct Cleaning

HVAC Duct Cleaning

HVAC Duct Cleaning During Your New AC Installation

After many years of faithful service, the time has come to replace your entire heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The contractor has been selected, the equipment has been ordered, and the installation has been scheduled. Before the installation, you have a little time to contemplate the installation process and prepare your home.

Here are some tips to consider in preparation:

This is an excellent time to clean your HVAC ductwork. Ducts transport conditioned air throughout your home and this air carry many airborne particles invisible to the naked eye. You are constantly removing these particles when you dust and vacuum your home. These same particles are accumulating in your ducts. Since the new components of your HVAC system will be shiny and clean, clean the old portion of the system in preparation.

Preparing for HVAC Duct Cleaning

  • Declutter the areas around each supply vent (floor vents in most homes) and return registers (larger wall vents close to the ceiling). The duct cleaning contractor will need access to all of the openings.
  • The dust will be vacuumed away from vent openings, but if possible cover furniture near the vents to catch any residual dust.
  • Protect children and pets by keeping them well clear of workspaces. The process will be exciting—with several workers moving around, and noisy.

The HVAC Duct Cleaning Process

  • Our HVAC duct cleaning team will make a visual inspection of various duct locations before cleaning the ducts. Inspections can uncover gaps in the sheet metal connections that allows air to escape into the attic, basement, or walls. It might also reveal the presence of pests or a mold infestation. The inspection might include video equipment or mirrors to make thorough inspections.
  • Before the cleaning begins, the vents and registers will be sealed to prevent dust and debris from entering the home. After the vents are sealed, negative pressure (vacuum) is applied to the entire duct system. Flexible brushes with spinning heads are attached to a vacuum cleaner hose. The brushes dislodge dust and debris, while the vacuum removes them from your home. Once the ducts are completely clean the seals will be removed from the vent openings. The HVAC Duct Cleaning process takes approximately 4 hours.
  • When the HVAC Duct Cleaning process is finished, the team lead might suggest a high-quality filter and remind you that air filters should be replaced at least every three months.

Preparing for HVAC Installation

  • Replacing your HVAC system will be just as exciting and involve a team moving around the home. Protect your children and pets by keeping them clear of workspaces.
  • On installation day, the team will arrive as scheduled; if something delays their arrival, the team lead will communicate with you about the alternative schedule.
  • The team will complete a pre-installation inspection, locate existing components, observe obstacles for the moving equipment, and clear paths as needed, and foot-traffic covers and tarps as needed to protect your home.

The Installation Process

  • As a precaution, the power and gas lines (as needed) will be disconnected and will remain disconnected until the installation is complete. (Avoid very hot or very cold days if possible.)
  • The heat pump system uses refrigerant gas for both heating and cooling. Containing this gas is an environmental necessity, so the team will carefully remove the gas from the system lines.
  • If electrical upgrades are needed for your new system, they will need to be made prior to installation. An electrical sub-contractor will make the needed upgrades.
  • The old equipment will be carefully uninstalled and removed from the house. Keep in mind, HVAC components might be located in the basement/crawlspace, the attic, or a mechanical closet inside the home. New components will usually be installed in the same space as the old units.
  • The condenser unit, the outdoor portion of your system, will be replaced as well. It will need to be supported on a solid footing and local regulations may require that it be elevated. The team will ensure a 2-foot clearance on every side of the condenser to accommodate great airflow.
  • New connections, tubing, and drain lines might need to be installed to match the new system. Everything will be completed according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Electrical connections and refrigerant gas/natural gas lines will be installed and tested.
  • The new refrigerant gas lines will be vacuum evacuated and charged with refrigerant gas. This technology changes frequently; if the gas from your old system is useful, it will be reinstalled.
  • Often, a new thermostat will also be installed with the new system.

Post Installation Expectations

  • After all of the connections have been tested, the power and gas will be reconnected and the system tested. Both heating and cooling functions will be tested.
  • The HVAC duct cleaning team lead will inspect the system with you, the homeowner, making you familiar with the component locations and giving instructions concerning the system’s function. Thermostat settings and scheduling will be demonstrated. There will be ample time for discussion and questions, so make sure you understand the function of the system.
  • The HVAC duct cleaning team will load up the old equipment, tools, and floor protection. The team lead will make sure to leave a number in case of further questions or problems.

Few home-improvement purchases are as impactful as a new HVAC system. It affects your health and comfort for the next couple of decades. We are committed to making everything about your purchase as pleasant and beneficial as possible.

Have Questions About HVAC Duct Cleaning?

With our four decades of experience as an HVAC installation contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with HVAC Duct Cleaning and HVAC Maintenance.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

HVAC System Replacement: 6 Reasons Remodeling is the Best Time

HVAC System Replacement: 6 Reasons Remodeling is the Best Time

6 Reasons an HVAC System Replacement Should Be Done When You Remodel

Major building renovations are both exhilarating and terrifying! Change and innovation should improve and enhance business, but the planning and implementation can be so challenging. While you are expanding spaces, moving walls, and researching technologies, you might forget to consider a new HVAC system for your remodel.

That might especially be the case if the renovation does not change your basic footprint. The current system should serve the same space. Right? There is more than just square footage to consider for an HVAC system load calculation. Here are several reasons you might need a HVAC System Replacement as a part of your commercial building renovation:

The Age of the Current System.

Commercial HVAC systems work long and hard. Like any mechanical system, they will reach an end of serviceability. The average commercial HVAC system functioning for about 20 years. If your system is approaching or has surpassed that average, replacement should be seriously considered. Making another capital investment two years after your remodel reflects poor planning.

Ensure the Size is Correct.

HVAC systems are “sized” using a load calculation; square footage, door and window openings, ceiling heights, and system technologies are parts of the equation. Heating is sized in British Thermal Units or BTUs and air conditioning is sized in tons. This calculation can be done using your proposed changes and existing components to give you an idea of whether the new units will serve the new construction well. HVAC systems that are either too large or too small will waste energy and lead to premature wear on component parts.

Renovation should seal leaking windows and doors—perhaps with new products that reduce infrared rays. It may involve new lighting technology, reducing the heat gained from incandescent bulbs. It may include new spaces with special heating or cooling needs, such as an expanded kitchen in a restaurant or a server room. Make sure the new space is comfortable and healthy for staff and guests.

Duct Placement.

The “V” in HVAC stands for ventilation, the movement of safe, fresh air throughout the building. A new floor plan and changing the building layout affects how the air moves and could isolate certain spaces. Both the ducts and the supply vents will need to be changed to meet the requirements in the new spaces. Return air chases will also be strategically located for optimum airflow. These changes are also a part of the load calculation mentioned above.

Building Usage.

If your renovation accommodates a new client with a different usage for the same space, it may require installing a new HVAC system. The heating and cooling need changes when converting a fitness center to accommodate a new banquet center. A pizzeria morphing into a bookstore will naturally change the level of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The hours of operation or additional equipment might also require a new system.

Occupancy Level.

The human body is very much like a small furnace, putting off heat at a temperature of about 98.60 Fahrenheit. If your remodel has a goal of increasing the number of occupants—rather staff, guests, or both—this will affect the requirements for both heating and cooling. Since you are adding human furnaces, it should lead to lower heating and greater air conditioning needs, even if you are conditioning the same amount of space.

Odor Control.

We already mentioned that changing the layout can alter ventilation. That will become abundantly clear when considering exhausting odors. Whether needing to move odors from restrooms, roasting coffee, or exercise sweat, the movement of air will significantly impact the final results. Preparing for proper ventilation might require the replacement of the current HVAC system.

Have Questions About HVAC System Replacement?

With our four decades of experience as an HVAC installation contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with HVAC System Replacement and HVAC Maintenance and answer questions about your AC system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

HVAC System Replacement: 6 Reasons Remodeling is the Best Time

Whole Home Generators, Are They Worth The Money

Whole Home Generator

Emergency Whole Home Generator: Is it worth it?

The last decade has left South Texans with a wary eye toward the sky; even with improved storm modeling, severe storms are difficult to predict. When heavy winds rise, the result can be massive power outages that last for days or weeks. Severe storms bring heavy winds that down trees and limbs over a wide swath of ground. Utility repair crews work hard to bring the grid back online, but it takes time.

The cost of portable emergency home generators has come down and many homeowners are opting to prepare for power outages before they come. If you have been rolling this matter around, here are some things to consider.

What is Essential Power Needs When Selecting a Home Generator?

Examine your home electrical use and determine what is essential to keep your home healthy and safe. If a family member depends upon electrical medical equipment, a generator may be a requirement. Create a priority list of circuits that need to function in an emergency. This will help you decide the size Home Generator needed and determine which circuits need to be energized.

Know Your Appliances

Homes with appliances that use natural gas will weather severe storms differently than all-electric homes. Ovens, ranges, water heaters, and heaters may still need electricity to ignite a flame, but the amount of electricity needed is very low. This will make a difference during wintertime outages. It also helps you determine circuit priorities for sizing.

Preparing for a Home Generators

Your investigations will help you determine the size of your generator. The “size” refers to the capacity to generate electricity; generally, large output generators take up more space. You will need a secure space to store the generator, cables, and a canopy tent to protect your investment. Prepare for at least a 4’ cube to allow space for needed equipment. For most single-family homes, this presents no problem; in multi-family buildings, a generator might not be practical.

You will also need space to operate the generator, at least 15’ away from the home to ensure carbon monoxide does not make its way inside. NEVER OPERATE A GENERATOR INDOORS!

You will also need to prepare a space for fuel storage. Prepare for several gallons of fuel in approved plastic containers. Use a fuel additive to stabilize the fuel when storing it for more than a few days.

Seriously Consider a Transfer Switch

A generator alone has a limited impact during major power outages. Multiple extension cords must run from the generator to various appliances and power strips; getting power to the air conditioner is problematic. But, there is a better way! A transfer switch receives the power from the generator and sends it to the service panel.

The transfer switch makes sure electricity from your generator does not journey outside the house to the utility power grid. This protects unsuspecting repair crew members. As soon as power is restored from the grid, the power from the generator is switched “off.”

An electrician will use your priority list to determine which circuits receive power at the service panel. The number of circuits receiving power is determined by the size of the generator. The transfer switch can give you power where you need it most. If your priority list includes the AC and/or the furnace, you can make it happen.

Plan for Alternatives

If you don’t have a backup generator set up, preparing for a potential multiple-day power outage should include some alternative sources of power and comfort. Make sure that portable chargers are charged and ready, and consider solar-powered chargers for small handheld devices. Explore public spaces that might provide a few hours of relief and possibly some internet connectivity. Tune into emergency broadcasts frequently to stay prepared. If you don’t want to go through all the hassle of finding power, you should seriously consider a standby generator.

Need Help Selecting and Installing a Home Generator?

With our four decades of experience as a Commercial Electrical Services contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help determine which Home Generator is right for your home.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

Whole Home Generator

 

Commercial Electrical Services, Repairs, and Maintenance 

Commercial Electrical Services

Commercial Electrical Services for Business Owners

Retail, Commercial, and Industrial facilities employ a wide array of lighting fixtures and AirPro Commercial Electrical Services has years of experience helping companies just like yours. We help install, maintain, and repair any type of lighting you might be using.

We have experience with indoor lighting used for normal business operations in a small, boutique retail space and security/safety lighting for large parking lots, and about everything in between. We have Commercial Electrical Services experience with:

Incandescent Lighting

This is the original electrical lighting technology, invented by Thomas Edison in 1879. Little has changed about how these lights work since Edison’s day. Incandescent bulbs use more energy producing heat than light and more businesses stopped using these low-tech fixtures long ago.

Your facility might still use Halogen bulbs for directional spotlights. They produce a tremendous amount of heat; there are more energy-efficient options available.

Fluorescent Lighting

In 1926, fluorescent bulbs became the next step in commercial lighting. The 2’ to 4’ long tubes are quite common and do a good job dispersing light over large areas. Electric current releases electrons into a mixture of gases and the whole tube emit a bright light. Fluorescent tube lighting uses ¼ the amount of energy and produces more light than incandescent bulbs. When the tube ages, the filaments often hum and the light might begin to flicker.

Fluorescent fixtures use:

  • T12 bulbs. While they are common, they are an older technology and less energy efficient-light.
  • Another obsolete technology uses magnetic ballast rather than electronic ballast. This type of ballast is quickly being replaced.
  • T5 & T8 bulbs. These are the newer, energy-efficient lights.

Another form of fluorescent bulb was designed to replace screw-in incandescent bulbs, called compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs. Their first iterations were a weird “Curly-Q” design, while later examples cover the tube and are indistinguishable from incandescent bulbs. These lights use 25 to 30% of the energy and last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

The gas mixture inside fluorescent bulbs includes mercury and mercury is a neurotoxin. The gas is harmless inside the bulb, but great care should be taken if the bulb breaks.

LED Lighting

The next step towards energy-efficient lighting uses light-emitting diodes. The diode is made of a semi-conductive material; when electricity passes through the diode it . . . as the name states, emits light. This technology is the most direct conversion of electricity into light; LEDs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last between 20 and 50 times longer.

When first introduced, the bulbs were expensive. The price has dropped significantly, and the variety of bulb shapes and sizes has grown exponentially.

Interior Security Lighting

Fire Safety systems, of necessity, utilize emergency lighting and illuminated exit signs; the lights have backup batteries to ensure they function without electrical service. This lighting is tightly regulated by building fire codes. AirPro Commercial Electrical Services is familiar with the codes and can help you properly maintain your safety lighting.

Outdoor Lighting

Metal halide lights push an electric arch through a mixture of mercury and metal halide vapor. This creates an intensely bright, white light, and they are typically installed in outdoor settings: sports fields, parking lots, and heavy industrial facilities. High-pressure Sodium lamps use the same technology, but with a different gas mixture.

While the light is intense, the color is yellow. These lights are typically used as streetlights, for industrial, and parking lot applications. Both metal halide and sodium light fixtures are often elevated to high standards.

Exterior Wall Pack Lighting

Wall pack lighting uses similar lighting technology, but with a different application. Wall pack lights are mounted on exterior walls, as the name implies, providing security and visibility around commercial and retail facilities. The light is intense and generally directed downward.

Lighting Upgrades

Often, utility companies offer incentives for businesses, large and small, to complete energy-saving upgrades. This includes replacing appliances and equipment with energy-efficient models. It often includes replacing less-efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs with improved technology with major energy upgrades. Give us a call and let us help you determine whether these incentives can help you.

Need Help from a Commercial Electrical Services Expert?

With our four decades of experience as a Commercial Electrical Services contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help determine if you need to replace your Federal Pacific Electrical Panels.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Commercial Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Commercial Electrical Services

6 Commercial HVAC Maintenance Tips

6 Commercial HVAC Maintenance Tips

6 Commercial HVAC Maintenance Tips for Business Owners

If you manage multiple residential facilities, we tip our hats to you. Every family considers their home to be a very personal sanctuary, yet in multi-family housing, each apartment is interconnected with the personal space of other families. Your job is to both maintain the space, maintain the peace, and maintain the budget—never an easy job.

Automating any process will help you save time, money, and frustration. Monthly bills might have been hand-delivered in the past, but you would never consider that effective today. With so many furnaces and air conditioners to maintain, you either have the expertise and time to take care of them all yourself, or you find someone to handle that for you.

AirPro HVAC offers preventative Commercial HVAC Maintenance plans to help property managers keep multiple HVAC systems in good working order, saving you a lot of time and money. Here is what we can help you avoid:

1 Unnecessary Property Damage

One of the results of malfunctioning HVAC systems is water damage. In your position, is there anything worse? With a small leak, repair crews must coordinate with you and the tenant, so a mild headache. With a large leak, you are moving the tenant out while repairs are made; a long headache. Malfunctions that result in water leaks develop over time; with regular inspection and maintenance, these leaks are less likely to develop.

2 Poor Indoor Air Quality

As the air conditioner cools the air, it also removes humidity through the process of condensation. Removing moisture from the air enhances personal comfort, but it also helps keep the indoor air cleaner. Indoor relative humidity above 50% is the perfect environment for the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria, and viruses. Surfaces become tacky to the touch and collect dust and pollen. Poor indoor air quality can trigger asthma and allergies. Bottom line; poor indoor air quality is not good for anyone. Preventative Commercial HVAC Maintenance will increase AC efficiency and improve indoor air quality.

3 Comfort Issues

Tenants are often uneducated concerning HVAC functions. They often expect temperature changes to happen instantly and are oblivious to how their actions might impact HVAC performance. If they experience a hot or cold spot and use auxiliary appliances, such as space heaters or window units. This might lead to a fire hazard that can affect multiple units. Having a technician available to evaluate comfort problems might just avoid a 911 call.

4 Emergency Contacts

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to plan breakdowns to match a tenant’s schedule? Like the day he leaves for a week-long business trip so that he never knew the issue happened. Instead, it goes out the day after his family arrives from Gnome, Alaska during a heat wave.

A maintenance schedule with Air Pro HVAC can help in two ways:

Maintained HVAC systems are less likely to have emergency calls.

A technician familiar with your equipment is better equipped to handle emergencies.

5 Ready Repairs

Repairs will be necessary. Having no one available to make repairs or lacking necessary parts for weeks at a time will ruin the day for both tenant and manager. A Commercial HVAC Maintenance agreement guarantees parts will be available and experienced technicians ready to make ready repairs.

6 Available Replacements

HVAC systems are mechanical systems with a limited lifespan; 20 to 25 years of usefulness is average. An established relationship with a service, repair, AND installation company gives you a distinct advantage. After a maintenance schedule keeps your systems running longer, we can also prepare you for upcoming replacement needs, and, of course, replace equipment as needed.

Have Questions About Commercial HVAC Maintenance?

With our four decades of experience as a Commercial HVAC Maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with Commercial AC Repair and Commercial HVAC Maintenance and answer questions about your AC system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

6 Commercial HVAC Maintenance Tips

Commercial AC Repair: A Tale of Two Commercial Air Conditioners

Commercial AC Repair: A Tale of Two Commercial Air Conditioners

Commercial AC Repair: The Importance of HVAC Maintenance

Many commercial facility managers tend to have one of two informal approaches to air conditioner maintenance:

  • Approach one is to only complete minimal maintenance tasks, knowing well that repair bills will be higher down the road. Since those repairs will be several years later, the manager is counting on the cash flow for the building to be better later.
  • Approach two is to keep systems well-maintained, understanding this will lengthen the useful life of the system and reduce repair bills. Any accrued cost for preventative maintenance will be more than offset by pushing system replacement years away.

If you consider air conditioner maintenance to be expensive, consider these observations.

Commercial AC Repair & Maintenance is Not Difficult

Scheduling commercial air conditioner maintenance is as easy as a phone call. Our dispatcher will gather information about your system, building operations, and building layout. We can schedule our visit to ensure we do not interfere with normal business operations. If we need to shut the system down, we can schedule this at an optimum time during the year.

Commercial AC Repair & Maintenance Improves Efficiency

The air conditioning system in each building was designed using the latest technology available to serve the needs of the occupants at the lowest price possible. Over time, your system meets very small particles, such as dust and pollen, which accumulates just about everywhere inside the system. Air filters remove the majority of these particles, but enough bypass the filters to cause problems with mechanical and electrical parts.

Scheduled maintenance begins with an inspection of components and cleaning the dust that settles over everything. Removing dust increases the efficiency of the components and requires less energy to complete the cooling task. Less energy means fewer operating costs on a monthly basis.

Commercial AC Repair & Maintenance Avoids Major Repairs

A second part of the maintenance visit includes testing various mechanical and electrical components for stress or failure. The pressure of the refrigerant gas will be tested; a gradual reduction in gas pressure indicates a leak since the gas is put under intense pressure. Low pressure can result in system stress and eventually premature component failure.

A failed sensor is quite a minor problem, but false readings can increase the length or frequency of cooling cycles. A thorough examination of your entire system will catch small problems, like a failed sensory, before they become large, expensive problems.

Commercial AC Repair & Maintenance Lengthens Usefulness

Since regular maintenance catches small problems, the entire air conditioner system will see less stress. Over many years of serviceability, the result is a system that functions longer than poorly maintained systems. While exploring this type of information, consider this about what you read:

  • Most information is offered by people who have “skin in the game.” They either want you to replace your current AC system or are demonstrating an above-average functional life.
  • No one can guarantee the results of any system, whether it is well-maintained or poorly maintained.
  • Most will agree that the average system will last 15 to 20 years and that well-maintained systems often last 25 to 30 years.

Commercial AC Repair & Maintenance Improves Indoor Air Quality

Every time your system is cleaned, it removes dust, pollen, and mold spores from your building. This leaves a cleaner, healthier environment for staff and customers. If left in the system, they are transported throughout the building to settle onto floors and surfaces for someone else to clean. They can also adversely affect occupants with allergic reactions and breathing difficulties. Plus, a well-maintained system feels and smells better.

Have Questions About Commercial AC Repair?

With our four decades of experience as a Commercial AC Repair contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with Commercial AC Repair and Commercial HVAC Maintenance and answer questions about your AC system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

Commercial AC Repair: A Tale of Two Commercial Air Conditioners

Residential Electrician: Replacing Federal Pacific Electrical Panels

Residential Electrician: What You Need to Know About Federal Pacific Electrical Panels

Residential Electrician: What You Need to Know About Federal Pacific Electrical Panels

Our homes are a safe haven, a place where we can retreat to comfort and security with those closest to our hearts and affections. While our lives are busy, occasionally we will find information that threatens our comfort and security, and this article about residential electricians falls into that category.

During the 1950s through the early 1980s, a manufacturer produced residential electrical service panels and circuit breakers, a company called Federal Pacific Electric. They made a lot of panels, an estimated 25 million panels with circuit breakers to match under the label Stab-Lok. Federal Pacific (FPE) discovered their products to be substandard and said nothing.

Normally this is not a problem, since the Underwriter’s Laboratory tests all electrical products for safety before they are released. However, FPE found a way to trick the tests and get their products approved. For more than thirty years, they produced inferior products that were installed in homes far and wide.

In 1980, Reliant Electric purchased and discovered the fraud. They reported their findings to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The products were thoroughly tested and found to be inferior and a hazard. The UL pulled their listing (as a safe product) and pulled all of the available products, but the product had already been installed in millions of homes.

What is the problem?

The first problem was the use of inferior materials; both wire and plastic materials experience a catastrophic failure. The second problem is the design; the joints are crowded, and sockets are overcrowded. There were a lot of things wrong with these products. The end result is that the breakers do not function as designed.

  • A circuit breaker is designed to measure the flow of electricity moving through a circuit. If the breaker registers a surge of electricity that exceeds the designated amount, the breaker flips to break the circuit before harm comes to the person or property.
  • Since the FPE breakers were made from inferior material, the breakers do not flip properly when the power surge comes. If the extra power continues to surge, it often results in a fire.
  • How often does it result in a fire? Some estimates report that FPE panels result in 2,800 fires annually and as many as twelve deaths.1

Are you at risk?

It is impossible to say when the last FPE service panel and Stab-Lok breaker were installed; perhaps they were used into the late ‘80s. If your home was built between 1950 and 1990, check your service panel. Look for Federal Pacific or FPE printed or embossed on the service panel door. Look for a red strip on the circuit breaker handle.

It might or might not have FPE printed on the strip. If your home was built during this time frame and you suspect an FPE service panel was installed in your home, but are uncertain, give APH residential electricians a call. Our residential electricians can help you verify the manufacturer of your electric service panel.

You might wonder, “if this is 2022, aren’t my FPE products okay?” The answer is no. The circuit breakers are known to work properly for years before suddenly and without warning fail. It is impossible to know how many times these circuit breakers have registered power surges.

If you discover an FPE service panel installed in your home, it needs to be replaced. Replacing the service panel is expensive and you might question whether this is necessary. But consider this:

  • The risk of a fire or shock is real. While the circuit breakers have worked well for years, at any time the part can fail.
  • Chances are that your insurance will drop coverage if an FPE service panel is discovered in your home.
  • If the FPE panel results in a mishap, the insurance company might not cover the damage.

If you have an FPE electrical service panel in your home, give the Airpro residential electricians a call and let us discuss options for replacement.

Need Help from a Residential Electrician to help replace Federal Pacific Electrical Panels?

With our four decades of experience as a Houston Residential Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help determine if you need to replace your Federal Pacific Electrical Panels.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Commercial Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

 

1 https://safeandsoundelectric.com/the-hazards-of-federal-pacific-electrical-panels/#:~:text=Investigations%20indicate%20that%20Federal%20Pacific,one%20dozen%20deaths%20each%20year

 

7 Benefits to Never Neglect Residential AC Repair

7 Residential AC Repair Tips for Homeowners

7 Residential AC Repair Tips for Homeowners

Whether your air conditioner system is brand new or twenty years old, the key to keeping it running well is regular maintenance and Residential AC Repair as needed. HVAC systems are a large investment in your home and you depend upon them for the health and comfort of your family.

Dirt is the enemy of any mechanical system. Regular maintenance plans remove dust, dander, pollen, and pet hair that threaten your system. Some maintenance chores can be done by homeowners and some require the technical training of professional Residential AC Repair technicians. AirPro is ready to partner with you to take care of this vital building system.

The benefits of keeping your HVAC system clean and in good working order include these Residential AC Repair tips:

  1. Lengthen the System Life. New HVAC systems are hardy, use new refrigerant gases, and improved technology. Regular maintenance is the #1 method of extending useful system life. The average HVAC system normally lasts 20 years; regular maintenance usually adds 5 or 10 useful years to the system. Regular maintenance will even add years to older systems.
  2. Performance Improves. Removing dust and debris from the component parts ensures that each part functions efficiently and the system functions maintain peak performance. Maintenance focuses on cleaning—air filters, ductwork, drain lines, and the condenser unit.
  3. Maintenance Saves Money. A clean, well-maintained system functions efficiently and uses less energy, which saves money each month. Regular maintenance often catches minor problems before they become major emergency repairs. Older systems will need repairs less frequently and every system will last longer, delaying replacement costs by a matter of years.
  4. Improved Indoor Air Quality. All of the dirt and debris that is removed during cleaning and maintenance was once airborne. Passing large volumes of air through an air filter every few minutes removes a significant portion of airborne pollutants. Once they are removed, they will no longer recirculate. Since regular maintenance is cleaning the air, less dust will be deposited on surfaces that need to be wiped away or vacuumed up.
  5. Improved Indoor Comfort. With a central HVAC system, indoor air is heated or cooled to rather precise settings, providing a great deal of human comfort. During the cooling season, the air conditioner removes a significant amount of moisture from the indoor air. How much moisture? If the relative humidity outdoors is 85% and your AC is keeping the volume of air contained within your home at 40 or 50% relative humidity.
  6. Increase in Resale Value. A well-maintained home with a well-maintained HVAC system is a very attractive feature for potential homebuyers. Regular maintenance yields a tremendous return on investment and demonstrates to buyers you care about their potential new home.
  7. Less Worrying. When you plan a long road trip, you service the car and make sure the tires are safe. Sticking to a maintenance schedule for your HVAC system provides complete peace of mind that your system will work when you arrive at home—whether you are leaving to run errands or coming home from a lengthy vacation.

Have Questions about Residential AC Repair?

With our four decades of experience as a Residential AC Repair contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with HVAC Maintenance and answer questions about your AC system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

7 Residential AC Repair Tips for Homeowners

Benefits of a Whole Home Surge Protector

Whole Home Surge Protector

Why You Need a Whole Home Surge Protector

Did you lose power during a recent thunderstorm? It might have lasted only a few seconds, just long enough to change the clock on the microwave in the kitchen. If so, your home experienced a power surge and it happens more often than you know.

Defining Power Surges

Homes in the U.S. are supplied with 120-volt service and most appliances and devices function on this level: a few devices, such as cooking ranges and HVAC systems use twice as much with two circuits. A power surge happens when more than 120 volts enter the residential service.

Leading Causes of Power Surges

Lightning. The most obvious culprit is lightning strikes. In 2019, lightning struck the ground 47 million times in Texas, a massive number.1 The annual average in Texas is closer to 3.3 million cloud-to-ground strikes. Each strike has the potential of producing power surges along the power grid.

Power Generation Surges. A blown transformer (a common enough occurrence) can cause a power surge in the grid. When the power grid is disrupted and then suddenly restored it will cause a power surge.

Large Appliances. When an appliance that uses significant power, such as the clothes dryer or oven, is turned ON, a power surge commonly occurs.

Short Circuits. Electricity finding an unintended route because of a loose wire, called a short circuit, will lead to a power surge.

The circuit breakers in your service panel are safety devices, designed to interrupt service to prevent damage to wiring. However, since electricity moves at about 186 miles/second through wiring2, circuit breakers do not work fast enough to prevent damage from power surges. The circuit breakers protect your home’s wiring but do little to protect appliances and devices in use throughout the home.

Small Surge Protectors vs Whole Home Surge Protectors

To some degree, you have been aware of the danger of power surges, since you probably use small surge protectors for sensitive electronic devices, such as computers and televisions. However, most people do not understand the limitations of these small surge protectors. After a certain number of power surges (which are more common than we realize) the protection diminishes and leaves false security for valuable equipment.

Whole home surge protectors are hard-wired into your home’s electrical system between the meter and the service panel. When a power surge spikes at your home’s power supply, a ground wire disrupts the surge and prevents it from entering the circuits. They offer protection for the most dangerous surges from lightning, power generation interruption, and transformer shorts. A whole-house surge protector provides additional protection for heavy appliances that use hard-wired circuits, such as the HVAC system, dishwashers, and garage door openers.

While a whole home surge protector offers comprehensive protection from external sources, they do not protect individual circuits within the home. Remember that a large number of power surges result when an appliance starts within the home. These small surges happen several times per day but are minor surges. Small circuit surge protectors still offer protection from these internal sources of power surges for sensitive devices. The two power surge devices work in tandem to avoid damage throughout the home.

To prevent power surges from damaging your home and electrical devices, we recommend installing a hard-wired whole home surge protector and purchasing fresh small surge protectors for delicate or sophisticated electronic devices.

Interested in a Whole Home Surge Protector?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Commercial Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help determine which whole home surge protector is right for your home or business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Commercial Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Whole Home Surge Protector

1 https://www.dallasnews.com/news/weather/2020/01/15/texas-recorded-more-lightning-strikes-in-2019-than-any-other-state/

2 http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=2910 

 

 

5 Reasons Your Home May Need Electrical Rewire

5 Reasons Your Home May Need Electrical Rewire

5 Reasons Your Home May Need Electrical Rewire

There is not a time in the day that we are not relying upon the electrical system that runs throughout your home. There is not a season of the year that we rely upon it less than other seasons. We rely upon electricity for comfort, cooking, communication, entertainment, work, and keeping schedules.

Honestly, we do not understand electricity well—we only interact with the controls and enjoy what electricity does for us. As a responsible homeowner, you need to understand enough about your system to be aware of indications of trouble, since nearly 55,000 home fires are caused by electrical problems that develop over time. Here are six of the most common indicators of electrical problems developing.

Old Wiring In Your Home May Mean it it Time for an Electrical Rewire

Electrical wiring is pretty stable and generally, the materials that carry electricity do not “wear out” or weaken. However, an older home with an older electrical system may need to be inspected and you may receive a recommendation to rewire your home. Here are a few reasons rewiring might be necessary.

  • From 1960 to the mid-1970s, aluminum wiring was commonly used in residential construction as a cost-saving measure. While aluminum conducts electricity, it is about 40% less conductive than copper, the preferred wiring material. Multiple problems develop with aluminum wiring; if your home still has aluminum wiring, consider replacing it as a safety measure.

Homes built between 1880 and 1940 commonly used “knob and tube” wiring with cloth insulation and exposed wire connections. Knob and tube wiring should be replaced as a safety measure.

  • Older homes with outdated electrical systems might be inadequate for the technology and electrical demands of modern living. You most likely use more appliances with a heavier current than your 50-year-old home was designed for like: HVAC, hot water heater, clothes dryer, and perhaps an EV charging station. Your home may have an inadequate number of outlets, forcing the use of extension cords and power strips.

Electrical Rewire: Frequent Circuit Breaker Trips

Your home is divided into electrical zones, with a group of outlets or lights grouped together on a circuit. If something unusual happens to the circuit, it trips a circuit breaker to keep people and appliances safe from shock or damage. If a circuit breaker trips frequently, it indicates something unusual and potentially hazardous is happening. It may indicate a faulty appliance that needs to be replaced or it may indicate a developing electrical problem.

Electrical Rewire: Unusual Odors

There are two odors associated with electrical problems:

  • Right before a thunderstorm, you might smell ozone, a form of oxygen that happens during the tremendous electrical charge we know as lightning. While oxygen is odorless, ozone has a sharp, fresh smell. You might also smell ozone indoors when a spark is generated during a short circuit. If you are unaware of a short circuit, ozone might alert you that it happened without your knowledge.
  • When electricity is restricted, it creates significant heat, enough heat to melt vinyl insulation and cause combustion with building materials, furniture, or appliances. Normally, the circuit will trip before a serious problem develops, but about 55,000 times annually, it does not.

Electrical Rewire: Discolored Outlets or Extension Cords

Often a short circuit or spark happens immediately after you plug in a device, but sometimes it happens when you are not present. If you become aware of scorch marks or discoloration on wall outlets or extension cords, the device needs to be an outlet or the cord needs to be replaced. Investigate the problem further to keep your family safe and your home from receiving damage.

Electrical Rewire: Flickering Light Bulbs

For various reasons, a light bulb may loosen and create a flicker—even bulbs that were tightened properly. If a light flickers frequently, even after you have tightened it, or if a light bulb burns out prematurely, it is a problem that needs to be investigated and addressed. It might be a problem in the circuit or a larger problem with current surges.

Electrical Rewire: Loud Buzzing Noises

Electricity hums as it moves; we are accustomed to hearing the familiar hum. However, when current is restricted, either in an appliance or an outlet, the hum increases in volume to an unusual buzzing noise. The harsher buzz is an indication of a small electrical problem that will usually develop into a large problem.

Need an Electrician?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Commercial Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with all electrical repairs for your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Commercial Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

5 Reasons Your Home May Need Electrical Rewire

Electrical Safety 101

14 Electrical Safety Tips You Need to Know

14 Electrical Safety Tips You Need to Know

Always ready to pass on safety tips to friends, consider this an Electrical Safety 101 article.

Each year, about 400 people die from electrocution and another 400 from fires caused by electrical hazards. Electricity injures another 4,000 and electrical fires cause about $1.6 billion each year. A few basic understandings can help you develop ways to make sure to keep your home and family safer.

  • Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Since our bodies are 70% water, we are GREAT conductors of electricity, so best not to come into contact with it.
  • Electricity is seeking ground-in most cases the ground, the earth. It will follow any conductor that leads to the earth; ANYTHING.

Here are 14 Electrical Safety tips to help you put these choice nuggets of information into practical use.

  1. Avoid mixing water and electricity. In 1971, when ground fault circuit interceptor (GFCI) outlets were required within 6’ of plumbing receptacles, the number of electrocution deaths in homes dropped by fifty percent. If electrical cords or hand-held appliances come into contact with water, go to the service panel and shut off the breaker—do not try to retrieve the cord or appliance while the current is still connected.
  2. Make sure to ground appliances and equipment properly. Change receptacles to three-prong outlets rather than using a two-prong adapter.
  3. Listen to your appliances. If an appliance repeatedly trips a circuit breaker, it is a cry for help, because something is wrong. Ignoring your appliances can lead to damage to the appliance or to your home. An electrician can help you determine the cause.
  4. Install GFCI outlets if needed. These life-saving devices interrupt the flow of electricity when it encounters water about 10 times faster than waiting for the circuit breaker to trip—almost instantaneously. If you own an older home, make sure to install these upgrades.
  5. Evaluate your service panel. Your service panel regulates the flow of electricity coming into your home and if you own an older home, the amount of electricity might be inadequate for your current need. That happens when you remodel or add major appliances; it certainly can happen when you add an electric vehicle charging station.
  6. Limit the use of extension cords and power strips. The goal should be to plug each appliance into a lone outlet and not overload any circuit. If you use power strips and surge protectors, understand their proper use.
  7. Be kind to your cords. Grasp the plug at the outlet, don’t pull the cord. Do not nail or staple cords down or let them be pinched under doors or furniture. Extension cords are inexpensive—replace damaged cords.
  8. Replace two-prong outlets. Most major appliances use three-prong plugs and the third prong provides an emergency “ground” in case of an emergency. If you own an older home with only two-prong outlets, an electrician can help you change your outlets to three-prong outlets.
  9. Avoid cube taps. The little boxes that convert a two-plug outlet into a four-plug outlet—called a cube tap—seem convenient but are not a good long-term solution for overloading an outlet. Truth is, the outlet is not equipped to handle that much current, and cube taps can lead to overheating a circuit.
  10. Replace missing or broken outlet covers. They protect fingers from coming in contact with wiring and are especially helpful in the dark.
  11. Protect children with outlet covers. Filling outlets with plastic, non-conductive plugs prevent children from inserting anything into the hole, resulting in shock or electrocution. Another option is child safety plates, with built-in, retractable covers that snap in place over the outlet when not in use.
  12. Use care with electrical power tools outdoors. Whether using construction tools, such as drills or saws, or outdoor lawn equipment, such as hedge trimmers or weed eaters, make sure to keep them dry. Do not use them during rain and use caution if the sprinkler comes on. Make sure that cords do not land in puddles—if they do, shut off the power at the circuit breaker before touching the cord or tool.
  13. Respect overhead power lines. Do not touch them or let tools that come in contact with power lines. Be careful to stay away from them with ladders and tool extensions.
  14. Know where water and electricity are in close proximity. That is kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and pools. Some of the appliances in these areas carry significant amounts of electricity, so use every safety feature available to make sure proximity does not lead to contact.

Would you like additional Electrical Safety tips?

Our four decades of experience as an Electrical Safety contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with all electrical repairs for your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Commercial Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

14 Electrical Safety Tips You Need to Know

5 Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

5 Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Air Conditioner Maintenance That Must Be Done on a Regular Basis

With proper Air Conditioner Maintenance, the average lifespan of an air conditioner is 15 to 20 years, but you try never to be average at anything. Normally, if an air conditioner is below average in useful life, it is because of poor Air Conditioner Maintenance.

If you want to extend the life of your air conditioner, here are five simple Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips to help you maintain your air conditioner.

Indoor Air Conditioner Maintenance

1 Change Your Air Filter Regularly

Dirt is enemy #1; this is the common theme concerning maintaining any mechanic system. The air filter removes dust, pollen, and dander with every blower cycle. However, the dust accumulates on the folds of the filter and after a few months, the dust reduces the airflow through the filter.

For most homes, the air filter should be changed every three months, but you know your home—it might need to be changed more often. Set a calendar reminder and stay on top of it.

2 Clean Your Ductwork Regularly

When the blower cycle stops, gravity takes over and airborne particles begin to settle. The dust accumulates inside of your ducts and contributes to poor indoor air quality. The dust will also make its way to other key components and cause stress, leading to premature failure. Schedule ductwork cleaning every three to five years to take the dust out of your home.

Outdoor Air Conditioner Maintenance

The condenser unit is the powerhouse of your air conditioner and needs a little Air Conditioner Maintenance TLC.

3 Let Your Condenser Breathe

The refrigerant gas is used to transfer heat—during the cooling season, it transfers heat from inside the house to the outside. The gas is extremely hot when it reaches the condenser unit and needs to cool quickly. The condenser is designed to do just that; the cabinet consists of a network of copper or aluminum tubes with thin fins to dissipate the heat.

A fan in the center moves air quickly through the network. That is unless air cannot move freely around the condenser. Visually check the vicinity of the condenser unit to make sure shrubs or tall grass have not grown within three feet of the cabinet. Watch for limbs and leaves that might blow up against the base. Remember to keep the air moving.

4 Clean The Coils Thoroughly

Keeping the space surrounding the cabinet clean is the first step. The second step is to clean the spaces between the coils of tubing to cool the gas properly. Dust and debris can blow into the tiny gaps and reduce the airflow.

Failure to cool the refrigerant gas will cause the compressor to overheat. Avoid this catastrophic failure by cleaning the coils with a common garden hose. Gently spray the coils with water to flush the spaces clean. This is a simple task to complete and should be completed annually at your convenience.

5 Straighten Fins as Needed

Occasionally something comes in contact with the fins of the condenser cabinet and bends the fins over. When this happens, it reduces the airflow and prolongs the cooling process. Not good! Not good at all. But you can solve this with a wire brush and some gentle hand.

Remember that the tubes are made of copper or aluminum and the metal is pretty soft, so gently brush the fins back into place. Too much pressure and the fins will be bent in the opposite direction.

Is it time for your next Air Conditioner Maintenance Appointment?

With our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioner Maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with HVAC Maintenance and answer questions about your AC system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

5 Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

HVAC Duct Cleaning 101: How Duct Cleaning Can Impact Your Health

HVAC Duct Cleaning 101: How Duct Cleaning Can Impact Your Health

How HVAC Duct Cleaning Can Impact Your Health

Maintaining excellent indoor air quality is a growing concern for homeowners. We have been cleaning every surface and using filters for many purposes to get us through a global crisis and improving indoor air quality is a vital part of protecting our families moving forward. You are now diligent about vacuuming, cleaning, and changing your HVAC air filter. How long has it been since your HVAC ducts were cleaned? If you can’t remember, it has probably been too long.

When a heating or cooling cycle ends, the airborne particles carried in the air that remains in the ductwork are pulled down and out by gravity and a static electricity charge. Unless they are removed, the dust, pollen, and dander can be picked up by later heating or cooling cycles and contribute to poor air quality.

The HVAC Duct Cleaning Process

Contractors installed two types of ducts in your home; supply ducts and return ducts.

  • Supply ducts transport the conditioned air (either heated or cooled) from the central HVAC system to every room in your home. This is the most extensive set of ducts in the system. The terminus of supply ducts are generally called registers and they can be found on the floor or the wall close to the floor.
  • Return ducts pull air back to the HVAC. There are fewer return ducts, a few per floor, depending on the size of your home. Find return vents on the wall, closer to the ceiling.

The process of cleaning ductwork includes using a strong vacuum system to pull the dust and debris from both supplies and return ducts. Small holes may be made at strategic locations to access hard-to-reach areas; the contractor will restore the seal to the ductwork to ensure energy efficiency. After the heating or cooling cycle has been completed, the air filter will be replaced. (Check the air filter frequently for the first few days following cleaning.)

What are the benefits of HVAC Duct Cleaning?

While the dust remains inside the ductwork, it can still cause problems throughout the home. Once it is removed, the dust is gone forever. Removing this layer of pollutants helps maintain your home in several ways.

  • Removing dust, pollen, dander, and mold spores will remove a source of airborne pollution from your home.
  • Organic material, such as dust, can be a food source for mites, mold, and other living sources of pollution.
  • Removing the dust from your HVAC system will keep the system cleaner, which improves efficiency, and performance, and extends the useful life of system components.

Cleaning ductwork properly requires specialized equipment and training to perform properly. Like any professional service, it will cost. The cost is based on the size of your home and the number of ducts (both supply and return) that will need to be cleaned. It will take some time, so an appointment is required when technicians will access every room in your home for a brief time.

How Can We Help With Your HVAC Duct Cleaning?

With our four decades of experience as an HVAC Duct Cleaning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with HVAC Duct Cleaning and HVAC Maintenance and answer questions about your AC system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

HVAC Duct Cleaning 101: How Duct Cleaning Can Impact Your Health

5 Reasons to Hire a Commercial Electrician

5 Reasons to Hire a Commercial Electrician

How to Hire a Commercial Electrician

The electrical work installed in new commercial construction was completed by licensed professional electricians; who better to call on for new wiring or repairs in your commercial building. Consistently hiring professional electricians maintains the standards and quality workmanship that you appreciate and rely upon. Here are a few more reasons to hire a professional commercial electrician to make changes to your building:

  • The Commercial Electrician’s training and experience will ensure a safe result.
    • Electricians complete one to two years of an electrical trade school.
    • Trade school is followed by apprenticeships,
      • 2 to 4 years for a journeyman electrician
      • An additional 2 to 4 years for a master electrician

When you hire a professional electrician, you are paying for the careful training over many years.

  • Knowledge of the local building code.

After more than 100 years of experience installing electricity in commercial buildings, city governments are keenly aware that electricity can be dangerous, even deadly. In commercial settings, with multi-storied structures spaced closely together, the danger is exponential.

Building codes ensure electricity is installed in a consistent, safe manner to reduce liability. Professional Commercial Electricians are dedicated to installing wiring according to the building code. This is your safest choice.

  • Well connected with local authorities.

Commercial electrical work often requires building permits from municipal or county building agencies. Professional electricians pull these permits frequently and are familiar with the location and personnel involved. This can save considerable time.

  • Insurance. Reputation.

A professional electrician has completed significant training and developed a reputation that he/she is banking on. The reputation is backed by professional licenses and insurance to protect clients should something go wrong.

  • A professional commercial electrician partnership.
    • While you might have ideas, a professional electrician might bring better ideas to your project. After all, electricians have a massive amount of experience and have seen different solutions.
    • Electricians are proficient at solving problems. Experience comes through again. A problem with your electrical service panel may stump you, but a professional electrician will do a complete inspection and find the problem.
    • Electricians will have the tools and supplies at hand so that with training, they can work efficiently to complete repairs, new installations, or adjustments to existing wiring.
    • Professional electricians can provide a variety of services:
      • changing the wiring scheme for a room or an entire facility
      • new wiring or remodeling
      • data and audio/visual wiring
      • security wiring
    • Often, there are multiple methods of completing a project. A professional electrician can offer advice to enhance your project vision and help you avoid mistakes at the planning stages of a project. They will be familiar with a variety of electrical supply options that can make projects run smoother, both during installation and after completion.

Your commercial property was constructed using professional electricians. We recommend that you maintain the safest of standards for new construction and repairs. If you have an electrical project, whether large or small, give AirPro Electric a call.

Need a Commercial Electrician?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Commercial Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with all electrical repairs for your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Commercial Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

5 Reasons to Hire a Commercial Electrician

4 Signs You Need to Hire a Commercial Electrician

Commercial Electrician

4 Signs You Need to Hire a Commercial Electrician

We are surrounded by electricity all day long, almost every day. Even while we sleep, the ceiling fan and alarm clock are still functioning close by, so we hear the familiar hum of electricity even in our sleep.

Lights and noise coming at us from different directions, bombard our senses so much that it is hard to tell when things are not okay. When there is a power outage, even for a short period of time, we are keenly aware of the eerie silence.

Electricity is vitally important to your business, and you know the importance of making speedy repairs when electrical problems arise. You also know that professional commercial electricians should make the needed repairs when an electrical problem arises.

What you might not recognize are warning signs, telling you to seek help from a commercial electrician. Here are five indications of wiring problems distinguishable from the normal sensory overload.

Extended Flickering of Lights

Incandescent bulbs are designed to last about 1,000; they might flicker once before burning out.

Fluorescent bulbs flicker for a short period as they cycle on; after a few minutes, the flickering should stop. They are designed to last more than 6 years for ten hours per day under normal circumstances and as they age, they will flicker and dim.

LED bulbs do not flicker when you turn them on. They are designed to burn faithfully for about 100,000 hours—approximately 27 years at 10 hours per day.

Both fluorescent and LED bulbs use a ballast—a current reducer and regulator—since these bulbs require less energy. As a ballast begins to fail it can also cause these bulbs to flicker. Replacing the ballast should return the lights to normal brightness and steady light.

If you see a light or a bank of lights flickering, it is an indication of a wiring problem that needs to be addressed by a commercial electrician.

A Breaker Tripping or a Fuse Blowing

Circuit breakers are safety devices that recognize when 1) excess current pours into a circuit—a power surge, or 2) current is interrupted—a short circuit. Fuses are an older version of the same device; for the same reasons, a small wire connector melts and stops the current from flowing.

Circuit breakers trip for many reasons and often you are aware of the reason. However, when a circuit trips unexpectedly and frequently, this is also an indication of needed repairs. It may indicate an overloaded circuit and therefore the need for an additional circuit to handle the load.

Switches and Outlets that Stop Working

Electrical components are designed to function continuously but will wear out over time. If the circuit breaker is ON and a switch or outlet is not working, this is a problem. If plugs do not fit properly into an outlet it needs to be replaced. If an outlet has a scorch mark or is discolored, it needs to be replaced by a Commercial Electrician.

Electricity Should Not Be Experienced

You should never feel electricity—even mild electrical shock is extremely dangerous and indicates a grounding problem. Switches should not give off a shock. Plugging a device into an outlet should not produce a shock.

You should never see electricity—sparks always indicate trouble. Sparks will lead to electrical shock. Sparks can lead to a fire. Electrical sparks produce extreme heat which leaves a telltale scorch mark. If you did not see the spark but see the scorch it is an indication.

You should never smell electricity—the smell of something burning is a major indication. The old adage “where there is smoke there is fire” is true concerning electricity.

An electrical problem might produce one, two, or three of these indicators, but they are all three a problem. Do not ignore these indicators but call a professional electrician to investigate the problem and find a solution.

Do you think you may need a commercial electrician?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Commercial Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with any commercial electrical repairs.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our Commercial Electricians today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Commercial Electrician

5 Energy Saving Commercial HVAC Maintenance Tips

5 Energy Saving Commercial HVAC Maintenance Tips

5 Energy Saving Commercial HVAC Maintenance Tips

Your air conditioning system is essential to keeping your commercial venture comfortable for staff and guests, but with rising energy prices, the cost to heat and cool is rising every day.

HVAC represents 40% of your energy utility bills and each year the cost of energy seems to be rising. With some professional help, here are a few steps to lower your commercial heating and cooling costs.

Partner with your Commercial HVAC Maintenance professional to care for and upgrade your HVAC system. This will ensure you have the latest technology to keep your system functioning very efficiently.

  • Be vigilant about maintaining your equipment. Regular maintenance drives away the enemy of your HVAC system—dust and dirt that accumulates as the air moves.

    Maintenance visits will also inspect component parts and refrigerant gas pressures. Aging parts, nearing failure, lose efficiency; these visits catch small problems before they become big problems.

  • Change the air filters on a regular basis; your system manual should give you filter change guidelines. Air filters trap airborne particles and remove them permanently from your facility. Trapped particles also do not make their way into component parts of your system.

    A clean filter allows air to move freely and efficiently, not to mention the benefit the work environment. A dirty filter slows air movement and places stress on the system. This will decrease efficiency and increase wear and tear on the equipment.

  • Replace component parts in a timely manner. If you learn that a part is failing, remember it is losing efficiency as well. When a complete system needs to be replaced, delaying will not save energy or money. A good HVAC professional can keep you apprised of component function and help you prepare for replacement costs.
  • Communicate frequently with your HVAC professional concerning new, energy-saving equipment. Upgraded thermostats with scheduling capabilities allow you to program temperature changes that save money and meet your facility use schedule.

    Buildings can be zoned for separate controls. Temperature change buffers can be scheduled for the return of occupants. A little preparation can make a significant difference—often about a 10% decrease in energy use.

  • Train your staff for efficient HVAC use. Unprotected thermostats should not be subject to individual adjustments. Small, desk-top fans are acceptable, individual space heaters are counterproductive to energy savings. A light sweater can bridge the gap instead.

We Are the Commercial HVAC Maintenance Experts

With our four decades of experience as a Commercial HVAC Maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with Commercial HVAC Maintenance and answer questions about your AC system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

5 Energy Saving Commercial HVAC Maintenance Tips

3 Common Air Conditioning Repair Issues Resolved

3 Common Air Conditioning Repair Issues Resolved

Air Conditioning Repair Issues Homeowners Need to Know

Summertime heat has arrived and air conditioning has become a part of your daily routine; AC at home, in the car, at work, and in most places you shop. Waking up to or stepping into a hot house is such a surprise, and it leads to a little bit of panic.

Unless you have a background in HVAC repair, AC failure can carry the imagination to expensive repairs or AC replacement when minor repairs might fix the problem. Here are troubleshooting tips for the top three AC failures to help you determine how serious the problem is.

1 Nothing is Working

If the house is hot and no part of the AC is working, power has been shut off to the system. This can be caused by several possibilities, including:

A Tripped Circuit Breaker. The circuit breaker that sends power to the air conditioner might have tripped. A number of things might have caused the circuit to flip away from the ON position, preventing electricity from powering the equipment. Check this out:

  • Find your electric service panel. Closed circuits carry electricity throughout the house and when a problem arises the circuit will open, shutting off power to the problem area.
  • Since water and electricity mix with disastrous results, make sure your hands and feet are dry before opening the service panel.
  • Find the breaker map on the panel door and locate the breaker market “AC.” If the breaker is not firmly in the ON position, turn the breaker completely OFF and then completely ON.
  • If the AC returns to normal function, enjoy the cool air. If the breaker trips again, an electrical problem is preventing the AC from normal function. AirPro HVAC for needed repairs.

The Thermostat Is On the Wrong Setting. The AC might not receive power because the thermostat is switched to the OFF or HEAT position. A thermostat is an interior switch that calls for AC when the temperature rises above a set threshold.

They come in several shapes and styles but can be found on an interior wall away from sunlight. If the thermostat is not calling for cool air, the AC will not come on. Check these things:

  • Check the setting and make sure the thermostat is set to cool and the threshold is set lower than the current temperature.
  • If the thermostat screen is blank, with no readout, the battery(ies) may need to be replaced. To replace the battery,
    • turn the thermostat to the OFF position
    • open the thermostat face plate
    • remove the old battery and properly dispose of it
    • replace with a fresh battery
    • turn the thermostat to the COOL position and lower the temperature setting by 50 below the current temperature to call for cool

With a fresh battery, your AC might return to normal function. If the thermostat readout is still blank, replacing the thermostat might be the next step.

2 Check Some Switches

  • If your AC system has been serviced by a professional recently, the problem might be a switch that was left in the OFF position. Check
    • The outdoor condenser unit. Locate the metal box hanging on the wall near the condenser unit. With dry hands, open the box and make sure the switch is set to ON
    • The indoor blower unit. A switch that resembles a circuit breaker might have been left in the OFF position. With dry hands, switch the breaker to the ON position.
  • Some AC systems have a shut-off switch that prevents a condensation drain pan from overflowing.
    • Inside the indoor unit, an evaporator coil removes humidity from the air to make your home comfortable and less sticky.Normally, the water drains away in a tube, either outdoors or into a drain. If the drain tube clogs or the drain pan overflows, several gallons of water per day will leak into your home, causing damage to floors, walls, and furniture.
    • Open the indoor cabinet and check the drain pan. Look for some initial leaking.
    • If the pan is full and overflowing, locate the drain tube. Often debris or algae growth clogs the tube.
    • With a wet/dry shop vac, vacuum the clog from the drain. Anticipate an immediate flow of water, so be ready to return the tube to the drain.
    • Thoroughly clean the drain pan and add a cup of white vinegar to discourage algae growth.
    • With a dry drain pan, the shut-off switch should allow the system to run.

The System is Working, But The Air is Warm

If the blower is pushing air, but the air is warm, there is a problem with the cooling cycle. Check these areas first.

3 Restricted Airflow Indoors

  • First, check your air filter. This is the leading cause of low airflow. The air filter faithfully removes dust, dander, pollen, and other air-borne pollutants during every cooling cycle.

    The filter needs to be changed at least every three months. A dirty filter can restrict airflow, reducing the efficiency of the cooling cycle.

  • Open the indoor cabinet and check for a layer of dust on the system components. This can also slow the cooling cycle.

Restricted Airflow Outdoors.

  • Next, check your outdoor condenser unit to make sure it has adequate airflow. The cabinet is constructed with a long network of coils, designed to cool the refrigerant gas.Rapid cooling is essential, so a large fan pulls air through the coil network. Dirt and grass clippings will need to be cleaned out of the network to let air flow freely.
  • Use a garden hose (not a power washer) to flush out the dirt that might accumulate in the coil network.
  • Also, check for shrubs and tall grass that might grow too close. The unit needs at least 2’ of open space in every direction. Make sure fall leaves and limbs have not lodged
    themselves around the base.
  • Air restrictions, both indoors and outdoors, can lead to overheating and system failure.

Refrigerant Gas Pressure. The refrigerant gas that makes the AC system work is contained in a closed-loop network under great pressure.

  • The gas will find very small gaps to escape and when enough gas escapes, it causes ice to form on the coiled network. Since the network extends both indoors and outdoors, the ice may form anywhere along the loop.
  • Insufficient refrigerant gas will result in warm air. If the AC system is pushing warm air and you have cleaned the recommended areas, watch for ice forming on copper tubing.
  • Licensed professionals are required to handle this gas. If you find your AC has “frozen up,” give AirPro HVAC a call.
  • Ice forming is a symptom of a problem with the cooling cycle. It might or might not be an indicator of a bigger problem.
  1. Insufficient Cold Air

If the whole system is running, the air is cold, but the space is still hot, here are a few things to inspect.

Air Flow Restriction.

  • A dirty air filter might restrict airflow
  • Check supply registers (on the floor) and return vents (on the wall) to make sure they are uncovered to allow good air movement. Occasionally furniture or drapes will cover them and prevent good airflow.

Air Flow Deflection. Perhaps the entire system is working correctly, producing plenty of cool air, but gaps might have formed in the ductwork, releasing all of the cool air into the walls or attic.

Since most of the ductwork system is in hard-to-reach or inaccessible places, you will need some help plugging the leaks. Give AirPro HVAC a call.

Contact the Air Conditioning Repair Experts

With our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning Repair contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with Air Conditioning Repair and maintenance and answer questions about your AC system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioning Repair and installation needs.

3 Common Air Conditioning Repair Issues Resolved

Air Conditioner Tune Up & Total Summer Prep Tips

Air Conditioner Tune Up Preparing Your Home For Summer

Air Conditioner Tune Up Preparing Your Home For Summer

School is out and summer is in full swing! Sports are winding down a bit and a frantic-paced schedule is in the rearview mirror. This is a time to plan vacations, grill out with friends, and lounge around the pool for a while. In anticipation of entertaining, you might want to complete a few last-minute tasks around the house to make sure it is ready for guests. Conducting an Air Conditioner Tune Up will ensure that your HVAC system is ready to take on the wear and tear of summertime heat.

Late Spring Cleaning

If your schedule prevented a good cleaning at the beginning of spring, do it now. Vacuum, dust, change bedding, and clean drapes. This will remove dust and pollen, allergens that no guests need to breathe in. You will be surprised at the amount of dust you remove.

Air Conditioner Tune up 

How long has it been since an HVAC technician cleaned and serviced your AC unit? Hands down, this is the most cost-effective measure you can take to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently. It extends the useful years of your entire HVAC system. A tune-up often catches small problems before they become large problems.

Change Your Air Filter

Schedule a filter change every three months. Every season is exactly three months long. Use the change of seasons as a reminder to change your HVAC air filter. All of the dust captured by the filter will no longer circulate throughout your home.

Inspect the Various Alarms

Your home should have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed. Push the red button to ensure each one functions properly. Replace batteries annually. If a detector does not function upon testing, it will need to be replaced and the old detector should be disposed of properly.

Upgrade Lighting

Technological advances have been good for the lighting industry. Incandescent and halogen bulbs produce as much or more heat than they produced light. LED light bulbs produce more light and less heat. Systematically replace old lighting technology with new.

Check the Fire Extinguishers

Various areas of your home should have a fire extinguisher nearby; often this is required by building code. If you only think about them when needed. Make sure you know their location, check their charge, and replace them when necessary.

Take a Look at Your Water Heater

How old is your water heater? Read an available manual concerning maintenance. Chemicals in public water systems can corrode the tank; inspect for small leaks that might develop. When water heaters fail, it is as shocking as a cold shower. Don’t get caught unaware.

Make sure the Grill is Ready

Don’t wait until the “day of” to clean the grill. Scour off the leavings of meals fondly remember before you cook the next backyard feast.

Give the Yard Some TLC

  • The leaves and limbs from last winter should be long gone, but spring has covered everything with pollen and seeds. Power wash, scrub, and hose down as needed. Make sure that lawn furniture and decorations are clean and fresh.
  • Freshen up landscaping, adding pops of color and fresh mulch. Prune and trim landscaping flora.
  • If you have a pool and plan to open it for the summer, take the time to make it sparkle.

Your yard should give your home good curb appeal and welcome family and guests.

We Are the Air Conditioner Tune Up Experts

With our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with Air Conditioner Tune Up and answer questions about your AC system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

Air Conditioner Tune Up Preparing Your Home For Summer

4 Benefits of a Whole-house Backup Generator

4 Benefits of a Whole-house Backup Generator

Reasons You Need a Whole-house Backup Generator

If you are considering a Whole-house Backup Generator, but need a little more information to aid your decision-making, here are four very good considerations to help you make a decision.

  1. A confident solution when the power grid is unreliable. Homeowners are experiencing increases in utility costs but very little of that money is used to replace an aging electrical power grid. Weather patterns are changing. Both extreme cold and extreme heat lead to power outages. Storms, both localized thunderstorms and massive hurricanes can cause power outages that last for days and weeks.

Whole-house Backup Generators provide emergency power for these situations and more. It is an affordable solution to help protect your family from a number of threats and keep the lights on when the lights go out.

  1. They come in various sizes and can be customized to meet your need.
  • Smaller, less expensive generators can power priority circuits that keep major appliances and devices powered. This avoids the loss of food in refrigerators and freezers. This also keeps the AC and essential lighting circuits powered.
  • Larger generators can service the entire house, powering phones, computer systems, and even the washer/dryer.

Lighting candles can be reserved for ambiance situations and should not be necessitated by the loss of power.

  1. Whole-house Backup Generator activates automatically when the power goes out. The fuel supply is already delivered. The sensors acknowledge the loss of power and within seconds the generator springs to action, shutting off the connection with the power grid and sending electricity to priority circuits. A backup generator is ready 24-7, in all types of weather.

Portable generators take time to bring out of storage, set up outside—potentially in a bad storm, running extension cords over potentially wet ground to various appliances and devices. Preparing a portable generator is generally done in the cold or heat, often while it’s raining, and often in the pitch dark. Of course, a portable generator will require adding fuel frequently, usually in very bad conditions.

A backup generator is a much better choice.

  1. Backup generators are inexpensive to operate. The price of generators has come down and is more energy-efficient than earlier models. The generator is connected to a natural gas or propane gas utility supply system. The power goes out and the backup generator comes on almost simultaneously.

In comparison, portable generators require a supply of fuel to be kept on hand and to replenish the generator repeatedly. Portable generators are also less fuel-efficient and will burn through the fuel in the tank quickly. When that supply is exhausted, the fuel will need to be replenished and it might not be readily available.

Interested in a Whole-house Backup Generator?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with Whole-house Backup Generator selection and installation in your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

4 Benefits of a Whole-house Backup Generator

Hurricane Electrical Safety – Storm Preparedness Checklist

Hurricane Electrical Safety - Storm Preparedness Checklist

Hurricane Electrical Safety: Preparing for Hurricane Season 2022

Major storms, including tropical storms and hurricanes, move from the south Atlantic to the North American coast and the Gulf of Mexico every year on a regular basis; most of these storms will come between early June and late November. On average, 2 major tropical storms (tropical storms, depressions, and hurricanes) make landfall each year in Texas. These storms are serious weather events that have included 63 major storms since 1851. Hurricanes pose three major dangers:

  • High winds ranging between 75 mph and 150 mph
  • Heavy rain: +60” of rain fell during Hurricane Harvey
  • Dangerous storm surge along the coastline.

Because of these dangers, government agencies at every level encourage south Texans to prepare for the next big storm. Your plan should include preparation before the storm arrives, plans to weather the storm, and a recovery plan for the aftermath. We offer a beginning Hurricane Electrical Safety guideline for pre-storm preparation; please adapt this for your home, family, and setting.

Hurricane Electrical Safety: Plans to Go

Hurricanes are classified into five categories, with Category 1 being the least intense and Category 5 being the most intense storm. Your pre-storm guideline should take all 5 categories into consideration.

  • Recognize the difference between a Storm Watch and a Storm Warning. Since a hurricane does not announce ahead of time where it will make landfall, a broad area receives a Watch—calling on residents to be ready should they be in the path of the storm. A Warning is issued immediately before the storm breaks to the coastal area that will receive the storm.
  • Make specific plans to communicate a plan for gathering quickly—from work, school, or daycare—leave no doubts about when or where.
  • Become familiar with the designated Evacuation Routes. Should you need to leave your home for the safety of an inland location, these routes will be the safest roads for evacuating. Understand that you will not be alone in evacuating the area.

Hurricane Electrical Safety: Plans to Stay

Hurricanes are serious storms and power outages are to be expected. Damage to power poles and lines will be widespread and no one can predict how long the outage will last. For this reason, you must gather supplies.

  • Purchase and store bottled water for your family for an extended time—at least one week.
  • Purchase and store a food supply for your family, food that requires little or no preparation—as the power outage may limit your means of preparation.
  • Purchase an adequate supply of medicine and other essential needs to make sure your family can be sustained.

Hurricane Electrical Safety: Prepare Your Home

Such storms are predictable—expect high winds and heavy rains; but the amount of damage from such storms is unpredictable. Prepare your home to minimize damage.

  • If you are expecting high winds and heavy rain, make sure that:
    • Tree limbs are properly trimmed to avoid damaging your home
    • Clean leaves and debris from storm gutters
    • Secure lawn furnishing to keep them from causing damage
  • Make sure that key technologies are fully charged, including cell phones, portable chargers, and laptop computers.
  • Secure important documents in waterproof storage, including insurance policies.
  • If you are content to stay and weather the storm, consider installing a generator to power the essential appliances and lighting to make your family as comfortable as possible during a trying time.

Have Additional Questions About Hurricane Electrical Safety?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with Hurricane Electrical Safety for your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Hurricane Electrical Safety - Storm Preparedness Checklist

HVAC Hurricane Preparedness: Prepare Your AC Unit for Hurricane Season

HVAC Hurricane Preparedness: Prepare Your AC Unit for Hurricane Season

HVAC Hurricane Preparedness: Tips for Homeowners

Weather events lead to about 100 major power outages annually across the US; thirty-seven states commonly experience major outages due to major storm events, extreme temperatures (both cold and hot snaps), and flash flooding.

During the Gulf Coast hurricane season, from early June to late November, the potential for widespread power outages is the greatest. Extreme storms can down utility poles, while trees and limbs can take out power lines.

Your own experience with such storms should inspire you to make significant plans for how your family can weather power outage events. Government agencies offer suggestions for extensive storm planning steps to help families prepare. This article will focus on plans for the 24-hour period before a hurricane event.

If you determine to ride the storm out at home and expect to be without power for from two days to one week, you can take the following steps to prepare.

  • Do not depend upon store shelves to be fully stocked with emergency supplies. If you have not prepared an emergency stock of water and ready-to-eat meals, expect the race to gather last-minute supplies to be long, frustrating, and perhaps, counterproductive.
  • Hurricanes produce three devastating conditions:
    • Strong storm surge along the coast
    • High winds, between 75 to 150 mph
    • Heavy rainfall

Minimize damage from these conditions by:

  • Prepare for rising waters with sandbags as needed
  • Make sure trees and shrubs are well-trimmed
  • Secure lawn furniture, furnishings, tools, and toys
  • Protect your outdoor AC unit from falling or flying objects. Hurricane straps are available from the local home improvement stores. If you cover the unit, make sure the AC is completely off first.
  • Make sure available communication devices are charged, including all cell phones, available portable chargers, and laptop computers. You cannot control whether cell towers or internet service remain in service, but be as prepared as possible. They are a vital link, both to emergency responders and to family members checking on your status.
  • Turn the thermostat down in the hours leading to the arrival of the storm. The AC will not only cool the air, but will cool the walls, floors, and furniture. A hurricane will bring warm temperatures and while the power is off, the house will begin to heat up. Keep windows and door closed until the storm is over and the heat/humidity have made the house muggy.

The same is true of refrigerators and freezers: keep the doors closed unless opening it is absolutely necessary. This will keep cold and frozen food at the proper temperature for as long as possible. After the storm, prepare to grill food outdoors while waiting for the power to be restored.

  • If your HVAC system does not have a surge protector make sure to turn off your HVAC system during the storm. Expect frequent lightning strikes and intermittent power surges as the storm arrives. Neither are good for your HVAC system. If you have a cover for the outdoor AC unit, the time to install it is after shutting the system off.

Once the power is restored make sure to remove the cover for your outdoor unit; without adequate airflow it will overheat and cause a catastrophic failure.

Prepare for the hurricane season by having your HVAC system inspected and cleaned. Let us avoid certain maintenance problems and detect others. For months after a major hurricane, we anticipate a full schedule of repair and replacement for several months. The time to schedule preventative maintenance is now before the season begins.

Let us help with your HVAC Hurricane Preparedness

With our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to equip you for HVAC Hurricane Preparedness and answer questions around your AC system.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your HVAC Hurricane Preparedness, repair, and installation needs.

HVAC Hurricane Preparedness: Prepare Your AC Unit for Hurricane Season

Commercial HVAC Maintenance: 5 Steps to an Efficient System

Commercial HVAC Maintenance

Commercial HVAC Maintenance for Commercial HVAC Systems

Since the appearance of a commercial property takes the lion-share of maintenance attention (cleaning, repairing surfaces, etc.), caring for the building systems that keep the space comfortable and healthy might take the back seat.

However, a clean, pristine space that is uncomfortable to visit is quite uninviting. Additionally, poorly maintained HVAC systems cost more to operate (more than 30% more), require repairs more often, and have a shortened system life.

Unlike residential HVAC systems, Commercial HVAC Maintenance tasks can rarely be completed as DIY projects, but require a professional technician. Each system has been customized for the building, but here is a shortlist of maintenance tasks required for commercial HVAC systems.

  1. Change Air Filters Regularly.
    1. This is the most important Commercial HVAC Maintenance task for any HVAC system since the filter impacts indoor air quality and system function. Clogged air filters stress the entire system and potentially lead to pollutants bypassing the filter.
    2. Since commercial spaces are typically much larger than residences, filters should be checked regularly every 3 to 4 weeks for a significant interval of time. The goal is to determine an effective schedule for cleaning or repairing air filters. After investigation, the technician may call for filter changes every 1 to 6 months, depending upon the number of airborne particles trapped by filters.
  2. Test System Function.

The technician will have the manufacturer’s specifications that will help determine how well (or not) the system heats or cools the space it was designed to serve. Deviation from the specifications will point the technician to system components with poor performance. Replacing faulty components before they become a problem is ideal.

  1. Visual Inspection and Commercial HVAC Maintenance.

With training and experience, the technician will

  1. Test and tighten electrical connections as needed
  2. Check current and voltage on motors
  3. Inspect belts and replace them as needed
  4. Lubricate the system as required by the manufacturer’s specifications
  1. Test Coolant Levels.

Each system is different: some will use refrigerant gas under pressure for air conditioning, while other systems will heat or cool water. Testing these levels will ensure the pressure is correct.

  1. Clean Evaporator and Condenser Coils.
    1. Evaporator coils are inside the AC cabinet and remove humidity from the indoor air. Since they are moist, cool, and perpetually in the dark, the technician will carefully clean the coils to remove potential mold or mildew that might develop.
    2. The technician will also clean the drain pan and clear any clogs in the drain. Clearing the drain prevents the water from backing up into your commercial space.
    3. Condenser coils are located in the outdoor AC unit. While the case looks solid, it is “honeycombed” with very small openings to allow air to flow through and cool refrigerant gas. Dust, mold, and pollen are a few of the potential contaminants that can clog these openings. A little solvent and low-pressure water will clean the openings for effective airflow.
  2. Test Thermostats and Calibrate as Needed.

After cleaning the system and checking for system function, the technician will test the thermostats to ensure they are calibrated to heat and cool the required space. This prevents hot or cold spots and improves sensor response times. If you have a programmable or smart thermostat, you can request instructions on how to schedule temperature changes to keep people comfortable AND save money.

Let us help with your Commercial HVAC Maintenance

With our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to answer your Commercial HVAC Maintenance questions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Commercial HVAC Maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

Commercial HVAC Maintenance

Whole Home Generators Buyer’s Guide

Whole Home Generators Buyer's Guide

Buyer’s Guide for Whole Home Generators

Several years ago, a standby generator was considered an expensive luxury. After our region experienced a number of widespread, severe weather events with power outages that lasted for weeks, generators are now considered a necessary emergency planning tool. A whole home generator can make your home a safe and comfortable refuge, even in scenes of chaos and disaster.

Generators are available in two major types: small, portable standby generators and larger, Whole Home Generators.

  • Portable generators can be stored safely away until needed. During a power outage, the generator is set up (outdoors) and started. It can either be wired directly into the electrical panel or used with several extension cords. Portable generators will not generate sufficient electricity to power all of the circuits in your home; if wired direct, a limited number of circuits can be powered. Make sure that you are prepared with the fuel necessary to power the generator for a few days.
  • Whole Home Generators have a wide range of capacity, from 22kW to 48kW, enough to power the entire house and make you forget the power outage. They are designed to engage within seconds after losing power and are installed permanently outdoors with a ready fuel supply. The liquid-cooled engine runs much quieter than portable generators.

If you have determined that a Whole Home Generator best meets your family’s needs, here are three steps to help you decide which model best fits your situation.

First Step: Determine Which Fuel is Available. Many portable generators are fueled by propane bottles or gasoline and the small fuel tanks needed to be refilled often. Whole house generators offer a few different fuels—fuel choices are propane, natural gas, and diesel fuel. You will need to make sure the fuel of your choice is available locally and can be used on your property.

  • Both liquid propane and diesel fuel will require a large tank on-site to fuel the generator properly
  • If natural gas is available at your home, it will require a properly sized supply line and meter to accommodate the generator.
  • Your installation contractor can help you explore this option.

Second Step: Determine the Right Size Whole Home Generator. If your goal is to power your home as if the power grid was still delivering power, how much power will be needed? This question might prove difficult; consider consulting your electrician. Whole Home Generator are sized by kW (1000 watts). To determine the need, you might:

  • Gather manufacturer’s data plate information on major appliances—both the starting amps and the voltage required for the appliances. Multiply the amps by the volts to determine watts—amps x volts = watts.
  • Gather the same information from your electrical service panel. If your home service panel receives 100 amps, with 240 volts available for large appliances, such as the dryer, a quick calculation shows 100 amps x 240 volts = 24,000 watts. Divide this number by 1,000 to determine kW—your home receives 24kW. This is a method to determine a guideline for a conversation with your electrician.
  • In order to handle peak loads under difficult situations, your electrician will recommend adding 25% to the calculated load. In the above example, 24 kW x 25% = 30 kW. This is a reasonable discussion point, but the decision is yours.
  • Selecting the correct whole-house generator by kW:
    • An entry-level whole-house generator might be the minimum size—a 22 kW generator.
    • A mid-range whole-house generator is sized between 27 kW and 36 kW and accounts for the lion-share of generator sales. Expect some advanced features with these sizes, such as load-managing hardware that mitigate the load surge when the air conditioner cycle begins.
    • Whole-house generators for large homes are between 38 kW and 48 kW, capable of handling the power needs of the largest of homes.

Third Step: Determine the Appropriate Transfer Switch. Being prepared for a power outage emergency is great planning. Generating electricity on your property is a tremendous step toward keeping your family safe. What your generator CAN NOT do is send power to the utility grid that can endanger other homes or repairmen working on downed lines.

A transfer switch “unplugs” your home from the utility grid to ensure power generated for your home does not migrate off of your property.

  • An automatic transfer switch continuously monitors the utility power grid and detects a power outage that lasts more than a few seconds. The switch simultaneously disconnects the home from the utility grid and starts the generator engine to send power to your home. It will also sense the moment electricity begins to flow through the power lines and reverses the process—stops the engine and plugs the house back onto the power grid.
  • The transfer switch will need to be matched to the amp service—a 200-amp electrical service will need a 200 amp transfer switch.

The purchase and installation of a Whole Home Generator is an exciting enhancement, fully appreciated the first time it is utilized. Choose a local contractor, familiar with municipal installation codes, available fuel sources, and a working relationship with the local utility service provider.

Interested in a Whole Home Generator Before Hurricane Season?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with Whole Home Generator Installation in your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

 

 

 

Best Springtime HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Best Springtime HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Springtime HVAC Maintenance Tips Every Homeowner Needs to Know

If you are a new homeowner, or if you need a quick reminder, spring is a preferred period of time to complete a preventative maintenance plan for your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. There is a short lull between the heating season and the cooling season that is perfect for such a project since it will not be uncomfortable with the system completely shut down. Some Springtime HVAC Maintenance tasks you may choose to do yourself, but some tasks must be completed by a trained and licensed professional technician. Here is a shortlist of required Springtime HVAC Maintenance tasks that will keep your system running efficiently for many years.

Indoor Springtime HVAC Maintenance Items

  • The most important task is also the easiest task—change your air filter every three months, once per quarter, or at the beginning of each season—your pick. Keeping your filter in good shape will contribute to clean indoor air, efficient function of your system, and longevity of usefulness.

Find the space where return air enters the HVAC system, probably at the base of the cabinet. Locate the filter, usually a light cardboard frame with a paper mess center. Do you notice the dirty side? That is airborne particles, such as dust and pollen, that your filter is trapping. Too much dust will restrict airflow. The size of the filter will be written on each side. Find a replacement filter of the proper size in hardware or home improvement stores; a filter rated MERV 11 is a good high-efficiency pleated filter. Replacement is as simple as sliding the old filter out, sliding the new filter in, and disposing of the old filter.

  • If your system uses a humidifier during the winter months make sure you turn the water supply off before turning the air conditioner on. The humidifier releases water vapor into the air since heat tends to dry furniture (and people) below the ideal humidity level. The air conditioner removes water vapor from the air to keep furniture, surfaces (and people) from feeling sticky because of high humidity. Some systems are equipped with controls that automatically turn off the water supply when the air conditioner is activated, but if not, turn off the water to your humidifier.
  • Dust might have accumulated and will need to be cleaned from the evaporator coils. Open the central cabinet and locate a network of copper pipes. With a soft cloth or brush wipe any dust from the pipes. If left unchecked, the water vapor that forms on this network of tubing during the cooling season, will wash the dust down to the drip pan and eventually to the drain line. Locate the drain pan underneath and vacuum up the accumulated debris.
  • Clean the 1-inch drain line that carries that moisture removed from the air by the evaporator coils to the outside of your home. With a shop vac, suction any debris or buildup that has accumulated inside the drain line. Replace the drain to its proper location and pour a cup of vinegar into the drain pan. This will help prevent mold or algae build-up.

Outdoor Springtime HVAC Maintenance Items

Inspect the general condition of the outdoor condenser unit.

  • Make sure the condenser unit is level. Erosion might cause a section of the concrete pad to sink. Not only does it look bad, but it may also cause the lubricating oil in the compressor to separate and interrupt the flow of the refrigerant gases. Use a level and raise the sunken portion of the slab to correct this situation.
  • The condenser will need about 2’ on each side to ensure adequate airflow to cool the refrigerant gases. Trim shrubs and weeds well away from the walls of the condenser unit. Remove leaves and sticks from around the base of the unit and clean away any grass clippings stuck to the side. Turn the mower away from the condenser unit as you mow to prevent blowing grass deep into the small spaces on each side. Your furnace may use the outdoor unit for heating, so keep the space clean all year round.
  • Use a garden hose and gently clean the exterior of the condenser unit. Notice the small spaces on all sides with a network of aluminum tubes. The tubes will contain a hot refrigerant gas during the air conditioning process. It is vitally important that this gas cools quickly to prevent overheating. Dirt that blows into these spaces can reduce airflow and cause overheating. Clean away the dirt, but do not use a power washer.
  • Straighten any fins that have been bent over. The fins are extensions of the aluminum tubes, designed to disperse the heat over a broader surface. When the fins are bent, they cannot disperse the heat properly and tend to block the spaces designed for airflow. Use a stiff wire brush, pulled parallel to the direction of the fins. Make sure to pull gently to avoid damaging the aluminum tubing—a costly mistake.

There are some Springtime HVAC Maintenance tasks that must be completed by a professional. If are unable or nervous about completing any of these tasks, a professional will complete them as a part of a preventative maintenance visit. Further tasks include:

  • Complete a system inspection to ensure efficient function
  • Check refrigerant level and inspect for leaks. Replace refrigerant if necessary.
  • Check the compressor and blower motor
  • Replace worn belts, parts, and connections
  • Test the thermostat and replace the batteries if necessary

Questions About Springtime HVAC Maintenance?

Our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to answer your Springtime HVAC Maintenance questions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Springtime HVAC Maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

Best Springtime HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners
Best Springtime HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Generator Transfer Switch Installation

Generator Transfer Switch Installation

What are Portable Generator Transfer Switches

Eighty percent of power outages are weather-related—ice, high wind, and lightning account for most outage events that affect 50,000 people or more. That means that Texas is always moving from one season of power outage threat to the next.

Losing power due to hurricanes winds is the largest power outage threat on the calendar. While an hour-long power outage might be inconvenient, losing power for days or weeks adds a whole other degree of difficulty to urban living.

Power outages can lead to more than the inconvenience of spoiled food. For this reason, many Texans are planning ahead by installing portable generators; since the winter of 2021, generator sales are up significantly. Homeowners have many choices of brands, fuel types, and sizes of generators readily available.

A generator can power key appliances with a series of long extension cords, or it can be connected directly to the electric service panel to power the HVAC system and necessary lights. However, if you plan to connect your fuel-powered generator to the service panel, you will need to also install a safety feature—a generator transfer switch.

Why Do You Need a Generator Transfer Switch?

  • Normally, electric power is supplied to the neighborhood through the power grid, and when an outage occurs repair crews begin immediately to restore power to the grid. Often the weather is still changing. Quite often it is nighttime, and the system of streetlights will also be down. Downed limbs and trees are generally the culprits. Power can be cut off at strategic points so that linesmen can remove obstacles and reconnect the massive circuit that makes up the power grid. They are not expecting to encounter the electricity from portable generators on power lines that should be dead.
  • Another danger point is other homes in your neighborhood. If nothing stops the electricity produced by one home generator from entering another home, it can create short circuits, damage appliances, and even start a fire. For these reasons and more, the National Electric Code mandates generator transfer switches in every state.
  • A portable generator may not produce a steady, uninterrupted flow of electricity and this can lead to power surges. A transfer switch functions to adapt the current from a generator, protecting appliances and systems in your home.

How Does It Work?

  • A generator transfer switch is sized to fit the output of your generator. Priority circuits are selected, and the transfer switch is installed adjacent to your electric service panel. The selected circuits–say the HVAC system, kitchen appliances, and key lighting/outlet circuits — are wired into the transfer switch. A power outlet box connects the generator on the outside of your home to the transfer switch.
  • In the event of a power outage, this system requires two toggle switches to be manually flipped to
    • close the circuit connecting the power grid and
    • create the circuit from the generator to the house
  • The switch must toggle either to the power grid or the generator—the two power sources do not mix. This double switch makes certain electricity produced by the generator cannot enter the power grid and cause issues.

If you are looking for an alternate power solution for your home or office when the grid goes down, consider a standby generator. Unlike portable generators that require manual steps to supply power to your home or office, a standby generator can handle the switch in power supplies for you automatically.

Air Pro’s Master Electrician can set up a standby generator that is properly sized to power your home or office. Standby whole home generators will automatically activate and safely provide seamless power to your home or office, ensuring the appliances and devices that you depend on can continue to function and make life a little more comfortable.

Interested in a Generator Transfer Switch Installation Before Hurricane Season?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with Generator Transfer Switch Installation in your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Generator Transfer Switch Installation

What is the Cost of Attic Insulation Installation?

Cost of Attic Insulation Installation

The Cost of Attic Insulation Installation

There are several indications that a home needs an insulation upgrade:

  • Some rooms are warmer or colder than others
  • Drafts around windows and doors
  • Utility bills that seem higher than normal

Among other information, the Department of Energy gathers extensive information about methods to reduce energy loss in homes like yours. In this article, we will explore only one method—improving attic insulation.

The Importance of Insulation

This is an oversimplification, but an easy way to understand insulation is to consider that heat is always moving, and it always moves toward cold. Insulation is a barrier that slows this movement. Some building materials slow the movement better than others. Glass, for instance, is a poor insulator and heat travels easily both ways; heat goes out on a cold day and comes in on a hot day.

New window designs improve their insulating properties, but glass still allows heat to travel readily. We apply insulation anywhere we wish to limit the movement of heat energy. This is true of the entire building envelope, as well as around appliances, and pipes.

The State of Your Attic Insulation and How it Affect the Attic Insulation Installation

When your home was built, the contractor followed, at least, the minimum standard of attic insulation; It was required to pass the building inspections. However, several factors may lead to your attic having inadequate insulation:

  • Insulation excites neither contractors nor homebuyers exploring square footage and surface finishes.
  • Attention to detail makes a big difference—was your contractor careful with details.
  • Building codes have changed
  • There are conditions that will cause the insulation to settle or compact, including storing items on top of the insulation.

The Department of Energy has a good guide for determining whether you have adequate insulation.

Take a look at the chart and visit your attic with a ruler or measuring tape. Measure the depth of the insulation and observe whether the attic is evenly covered.

What if I need an upgrade in Attic Insulation Installation

If you determine that your attic has inadequate insulation, consider adding insulation to improve the energy efficiency of your home. As much as 30% of the heat loss from your home is moving through the attic.  During the summer, the extreme heat of your attic is moving down into your house as well. An upgrade can increase the comfort of your home and save you money. It is time to get a second opinion.

Professional Installation

Installing new insulation carries risks and, without proper technique, can create a significant mess. A call to Air Pro for consultation will result in:

  • A close inspection to determine the condition of attic insulation
    • The type of insulation will be observed to determine the insulation value and determine the Attic Insulation Installation process
    • Depth measurements will be taken to determine how much insulation might be needed
    • Attention will be paid to openings between the attic and the house, such as wire, and pipe entries, exhaust fan openings, and the attic door.
  • A plan and cost estimate will be prepared to complete the upgrade. The plan will ensure the project is completed on time, at cost, and the entry site is as clean as we found it.

Questions About Attic Insulation Installation?

Our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to answer your Attic Insulation Installation questions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Attic Insulation Installation needs.

Cost of Attic Insulation Installation
Cost of Attic Insulation

1 https://hes.lbl.gov/consumer/

2  https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/seal_insulate/identify_problems_you_want_fix/diy_checks_inspections

 

 

 

Major Benefits of Using 3 Prong Outlets

Major Benefits of Using 3 Prong Outlets

For Your Safety, Change 2-Prong Outlets with 3 Prong Outlets

In 1962, building codes were modified across the country to require new construction contractors to install 3 prong outlets as a safety feature. If your home was built before 1962, you might still have 2-prong outlets; they are a safety hazard and should be replaced. How can you tell whether you have 2 or 3 prong outlets? Consider the emojis: a 3 prong outlet has a face of surprise, while a 2-prong outlet has a blank stare.

Why do I need an upgrade?

The 3 prong outlet has an extra wire that serves to ground the outlet, while 2-prong outlets do not. Why do you need the extra ground wire?

  • Safety features are put in place “just in case” something goes wrong. A proactive approach is the only way to prevent damage or harm when something does go wrong.
  • During normal operations, two wires connect with a tool or appliance, creating a circuit. In simplified terms, one wire brings electricity from the main service panel—we call that the hot wire. Another wire takes the electricity back to the main service panel—we call that the neutral wire. Under normal operational use, 120 volts of electricity are available at each outlet plug.
  • All is good in the world unless something goes wrong. What can go wrong? Here are three examples:
    • A power surge can flow through the main service panel and to the outlet. This happens too quickly for anyone to respond.
    • An appliance or light might short circuit, sending extra electricity back to the outlet.
    • Without thinking, you may plug in more tools than the outlet can handle, overloading the outlet.

When these, or a myriad of other things happen, the extra energy will need to go somewhere. An overloaded outlet can get too hot and scorch the outlet or melt wiring. The extra electricity may exit the outlet and start a fire or worse, shock/electrocute someone.

The Safety Feature

The extra prong is a safety feature–a third wire that can channel any extra electricity back to the service panel and out into the power grid. The process may or may not trip the circuit breaker at the main service panel. It will prevent harm or damage that might result from escaping the electrical system.

If you have 2-prong outlets, you are probably relying on many 2-prong adapters, that allow you to plug 3 prong appliances into 2-prong outlets. This should be a short-term solution. The new appliances are designed to be safe, but the 2-prong adapter takes the safety feature away.

What can be done?

In most applications, a home with 2-prong outlets will have wiring with only 2 wires. An electrician can inspect to make sure. If your older home, built before 1962, has older wiring, an electrician will need to replace it with the safer, 3 wire type. The extra wire connects to the ground portion at each outlet to keep your home safe.

Another option is the installation of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) at each outlet. However, this is a short-term fix and will also need to be completed by an electrician.

Call Air Pro Electric for an inspection and consultation today.

Need Help Converting to 3 Prong Outlets

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with 3 Prong Outlets installations in your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Major Benefits of Using 3 Prong Outlets

4 Tips to Stop Smoke Alarms from Chirping

4 Tips to Stop Smoke Alarms from Chirping

Stop Smoke Alarms from Chirping in 4 Easy Steps


Have you noticed that when your smoke alarm begins making a short chirping noise every 30 seconds, it generally happens at 2 AM? It is no less annoying at 2 PM, but it is less likely to awaken you from your sleep. Knowing why your smoke alarm is chirping and how to fix it, may keep you from a sleepless night.

Check first. Before you ignore a smoke alarm, always check to ensure the noise is a FALSE ALARM. A normal alarm will give off long and regular alerts, while false alarms are short and regular. Either way, check your property for fire, smoke, or any other evidence of a fire.

There are several reasons a smoke alarm will send out a false alarm with a short chirping noise. We will explore each one and the solution for each. Two types of fire/smoke alarms are commonly installed in residential properties—electric-powered units with battery backup and battery-powered units only.

Stop Smoke Alarms from Chirping by Checking the Batteries


Both types of smoke alarms use 9-volt batteries; alarms connected to the household electrical grid use batteries as a backup to continue monitoring the air during power outages. Weak or failing batteries are the leading cause of these types of chirping alerts.

  • Manufacturers and insurance companies recommend checking smoke alarms once per month. Locate a small red button and push it briefly; expect a short, loud tone to indicate the alarm is functioning properly.
  • A blinking light on the alarm may also indicate a weak battery.
  • Fire safety personnel and insurance companies recommend replacing the 9-volt batteries in alarms every six months; expect to replace them at least annually. If you forget to replace the batteries, the alarm will remind you with a short, chirping alert every 30 to 60 seconds, often at inopportune times.
  • Locate the battery tray, open it and slide the old battery out. Install the new battery in the same direction you removed the old. Close the battery tray and push the test button to make sure it is installed correctly.
  • Dispose of 9-volt batteries properly to avoid contamination in the environment.


Stop Smoke Alarms from Chirping by Checking the Sensors


If the chirping sound continues, the next step is to clean the smoke alarm. Smoke detectors have a very small sensor that is constantly scanning the air inside the detector, searching for airborne particles in sufficient quantity to indicate a problem. The smoke alarm near your kitchen might sound when you burn toast in the toaster. The sensor cannot distinguish between smoke particles and dust particles; if the smoke alarm has dust buildup, it can trigger intermittent alarms. To check for this problem:

  • Find the circuit that controls your smoke alarms at the service panel and flip the circuit that powers your smoke alarms.
  • The smoke alarm face cover will usually twist or easily pop off. Remove the face cover.
  • The sensor is delicate, so clean it carefully. Use a vacuum cleaner hose or a small, soft brush to clean the sensors.
  • Smoke alarms located near the kitchen or bathrooms might need a damp cloth with a mild detergent to remove stubborn dust. Use extreme care and make sure everything is dry before restoring power to the alarm.
  • Replace the face cover and restore power by flipping the circuit on. Push the test button to make sure the smoke alarm is working.


Stop Smoke Alarms from Chirping by checking with Air Pro Houston’s Electrical Team

 

If the batteries are fresh and the sensor is clean, further solutions will require professional inspection and service.

  • Smoke alarms may experience electrical problems, such as loose wiring. An electrician has the testers and tools to quickly locate electrical problems and provide a solution.
  • If your smoke alarms are new, an electrician can complete an inspection without voiding the manufacturer’s warranties.
  • Smoke alarms will generally last 10 years or more. If your smoke alarms are old, an electrician can recommend replacement alarms and install new units.


We Can Help to Stop Smoke Alarms from Chirping


Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with Stop Smoke Alarms from Chirping in your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

4 Tips to Stop Smoke Alarms from Chirping

3 Top Reasons for HVAC Ductwork Cleaning

3 Top Reasons for HVAC Ductwork Cleaning

Benefits of HVAC Ductwork Cleaning

One of the challenges of the pandemic has been improving and maintaining indoor air quality. When families entered the house and stayed for a while, removing airborne particles quickly became very important. Homeowners who never considered cleaning their HVAC ducts made sure their family was as safe as possible by cleaning the ducts. In this article, we explore several benefits for the average homeowner to consider cleaning your ducts.

1 Protect Your Family

Many of the airborne particles that float around and recirculate are harmful, so the obvious benefit is to remove as much dust, mold, dander, and pollen from the air as possible. The accumulation of these particles can promote the growth of even more contaminants. Removing airborne particles will especially help family members with asthmas, allergies, or breathing illnesses.

2 Indoor Air Quality

Beyond the health benefits, cleaning the ducts will produce a noticeable difference in the freshness of the air in your home. Not only can it remove stale, musty odors, but HVAC ductwork cleaning will remove the dust and debris that ends up on the surfaces of your home. Watch for less dust on furniture and less dust collected in your vacuum cleaner.

3 Improved HVAC Function with HVAC Ductwork Cleaning

Airborne particles are very small and find their way into every nook and cranny they can find. You will find an accumulation of dust in building insulation that made its way through an extremely small opening. That gives you an idea of the pervasiveness of dust.

The primary air filter removes +90% of airborne particles. By removing the accumulation of debris in the ducts, it is gone for good and no longer circulates. Not only will it not end up on the coffee table, but it will also not coat the electrical components of your HVAC system.

A clean HVAC system will function more efficiently than a system clogged with dust and dirt. Not only will this save on your utility bill, but it will help give your HVAC system a longer life. A clean system will also require fewer repairs over the years.

Questions About HVAC Ductwork Cleaning?

Our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to answer your HVAC Ductwork Cleaning questions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your AC maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

3 Top Reasons for HVAC Ductwork Cleaning

5 Reasons to Schedule Your Spring AC Maintenance Today

5 Reasons to Schedule Your Spring AC Maintenance Today

Spring AC Maintenance

Your air conditioner system is an important element of your home. Not only does it cool your house, but it also cleans the air and removes humidity. To understand how important it is, consider doing without it for the summer. Since your air conditioner is important, treat it as an important piece of equipment by scheduling an annual cleaning and tune-up.

The spring of the year is an excellent time to schedule a Spring AC Maintenance since the peak cooling period is still a few months away. Letting an HVAC technician clean and inspect your air conditioner will ensure it can handle the high temps and humidity all summer long. Consider these five reasons that commend an annual AC tune-up to every homeowner.

Maintain The Warranty

New HVAC systems usually come with a warranty that will pay some of the expenses of needed repairs, should something go awry. Most manufacturers require an annual preventative maintenance visit from a certified technician to keep the warranty intact. Two things that will usually void the warranty are neglecting maintenance visits and trying to perform repairs yourself. Qualified technicians understand how to maintain your air conditioner and how to maintain your warranty.

Spring AC Maintenance Equates to Longevity

Dirt and dust will find a way to enter every area of your air conditioner, both indoor and outdoor components. You might think “it’s just dust, no big deal!” However, these small particles create big problems, making each section of the AC system work harder to achieve its objective. Over a long period of time, the stress produced by dust and debris causes premature wear on key components and that will shorten the functional lifespan of your system.

The range of useful years for a well-built HVAC system is between 15 and 30 years. The #1 key factor influencing how long an HVAC system will last is keeping up yearly maintenance. Since this system is a major investment in your home, it does not make sense to skip annual Spring AC Maintenance.

Conduct Regular Spring AC Maintenance to Avoid Breakdowns

If preventative maintenance helps prolong the life of your AC system, it also makes sense they will prevent unexpected breakdowns. While cleaning and inspecting the system parts, the technician will examine switches and electrical parts, test refrigerant pressure, and measure the temperature change. A technician finding a small problem before it leads to a big problem is much preferred to having that small problem shutting your AC off for a day or longer. Most technicians have dealt with multiple breakdowns that could have been prevented with annual Spring AC Maintenance. If you want to keep your AC going strong all summer long, don’t omit your annual tune-up.

Better Spring AC Maintenance Means Better Energy Efficiency

Remember reading that dust and dirt cause your AC to work harder? Since the AC must work harder, it uses more energy.

  • The outdoor AC unit is composed of a network of tubes, carrying hot refrigerant gas. The gas has collected the heat from inside your house and transports it to the outdoors. Small fins, connected to the tubing, release the heat and it is imperative that the heat gets released to avoid overheating. Dirt and debris will fill the gaps between the cooling fins and prevent the release of heat.
  • The air filter, located on the inside cabinet, collects airborne particles and keeps them from recirculating. When enough particles get trapped, the filter clogs and reduces the airflow. The blower motor must work harder to move the air which produces stress.
  • Some dust gets past the air filter and will coat other components. This dust causes problems with movement and connectivity.

A thorough inspection and cleaning will remove the dirt that reduces your system’s energy efficiency.

Spring AC Maintenance Will Lower Your Bill

An annual Spring AC Maintenance appointment will reduce energy use, so it reduces your energy bill. It prevents unexpected repairs, so it reduces your repair bills. It prolongs the functional years for your HVAC system, so it delays the cost of replacing your system.

Questions About Spring AC Maintenance?

Our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to answer your Spring AC Maintenance questions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your AC maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

5 Reasons to Schedule Your Spring AC Maintenance Today

Electrical Outlet Safety: 4 Reasons Outlets are Not Working

Electrical Outlet Safety

Electrical Outlet Safety: 4 Reasons Your Electrical Outlet is Not Working

Electricity is our constant companion. We wake to an alarm clock and turn on the light to start our day, use electricity to clean, work, and entertain ourselves. The last thing we do at night is turn off the lights. Although we are surrounded by electricity all day, we know surprisingly little about it.

While we use electricity all the time, when something goes wrong, most homeowners would have difficulty troubleshooting a problem. What can be done if an outlet stops working? Here is a troubleshooting guide for homeowners for just such occasions.

It is important for homeowners to understand that electricity flows in a circle or circuit. It will flow out of the outlet, through the toaster, and back into the same outlet. When the circuit is broken, electricity no longer flows. This information will allow you to define the scope of the problem and work towards a solution. So, if you plug the toaster into a wall outlet and it does not work, here are a few Electrical Outlet Safety steps to follow.

Electrical Outlet Safety: Check the Toaster

First, plug the toaster into another outlet to determine whether the toaster might be the problem. Try an outlet in another room, since outlets in close proximity might be a part of the same circuit. If the toaster works, take the next step.

Electrical Outlet Safety: Check the Circuit

Outlets are connected like Christmas lights, so if one outlet fails all of the outlets in the circuit would fail. This could be very inconvenient, so the house was wired for many smaller circuits. Each small circuit has a switch on a central panel to protect the home and occupants should something go wrong. Those switches come in two basic forms:

  • First, locate the central panel. The electrical panel will be found in the garage, the basement, storage or mechanical closet, or a hallway. It will be a metal box, approximately 1’ x 2’ and high enough on the wall to be out of the reach of children and away from water sources.
  • Older homes might use a fuse-type switch for each circuit. Fuses are generally round and metallic, with a glass plate on the front. A thin metal strip will be visible as you look through the glass. When something goes wrong in the circuit, this metal strip melts very quickly to break the circuit and prevent the problem or “fault” from creating further damage. Examine each fuse to ensure the strip is intact in each fuse.

Fuses are disposable; once the metal strip is gone, they are no longer useful. To replace the fuse, simply unscrew the fuse from the panel and replace it with a new fuse. Replacement fuses are available at hardware and home improvement stores.

  • Newer homes use a reusable switch, called a circuit breaker. The electrical panel will contain many breakers stacked on top of each other. Under normal circumstances, all of the breakers will be in an “on” position. If a switch has been “tripped,” it will be in the “off” position and will be easy to spot. Resetting the circuit only requires flipping the switch to the “on” position.

Flip the breaker or replace the fuse and try the toaster again. Often this is the solution you need.

Electrical Outlet Safety: Check the GFCI

Outlets that are located close to water sources, such as kitchens and bathrooms, will look a little different than other outlets. These types of outlets are called Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets or GFCI. The damage that water and electricity can do together is very severe; the time it takes for the circuit breaker to recognize the fault is too long. GFCI outlets recognize the slightest fault and respond within 1/10th of a second.

Should the switch trip on a GFCI, a button on the outlet face should reset the circuit.

Electrical Outlet Safety: Repairing the Outlet

If your troubleshooting has not been successful so far, the problem is probably in the wiring or the outlet.

  • The outlet might have been improperly installed and need to be replaced.
  • The outlet might be old and need to be replaced.
  • The outlet might be damaged and need to be replaced.

Replacing an outlet requires the training and experience of a licensed electrician; a mistake can jeopardize the safety of your family and home. Air Pro Electric can investigate the problem and make the necessary repairs.

We Can Help With Electrical Outlet Safety:

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with Electrical Outlet Safety for your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

 

 

AC Maintenance: Does Closing HVAC Registers Reduce Utility Bills

AC Maintenance

AC Maintenance: Does Closing Your HVAC Registers Really Save Energy

Homeowners commonly try to save money on their utility bills by closing vents and shutting doors to unused or little-used rooms. If this space accounts for 10% of the total square footage, the misconception is that denying heat or air conditioning into the space will require less than 10% less energy. Whole-house mechanics work against this for several reasons. We will show you why and a way that you might accomplish these 10% energy savings.

  • Closing the door and the supply vents is only half of the ventilation process. Return vents are also pulling air from the house back through the HVAC system. The return air vent is creating negative pressure in the closed-off room. The negative pressure will pull air from the outside, air infiltration, and make the room hotter or colder than the rest of the house. This will not help you save energy.
  • Closing the vents increases the air pressure in the ductwork that services the closed-off space. Air is pushed into the duct with no outlet. Since the ducts are fabricated from pieces of sheet metal, connected, and sealed with tape or mastic, any gap or opening will be amplified by the increased pressure. Normal air pressure commonly bypasses these imperfections and leak very little air, since the air is pushed into an open room.
  • Closing the vents also creates positive pressure, pushing back against the blower motor, since it was sized to push air into the entire house. This causes the blower motor to work harder than it should and this wastes energy.
  • Your HVAC system was customized to fit your house—not too big, not too small, but just right. Reducing the square footage it serves can result in “short cycles.” This reduces the energy efficiency of the system and can increase indoor humidity in the summer months.

Closing a space of your HVAC system will not give you the energy savings you seek. So what will make a difference in your utility bill? Try these two solutions.

Learn to use a programmable thermostat. The thermostat is the control switch for the HVAC system. Schedule temperature changes of 70 to 100 during both heating and cooling season for at least eight hours. These temperature changes can be scheduled overnight, during sleeping hours, and/or during the day, while the family is away at work or school. According to the Department of Energy, this measure can save 10% on your utility bill each month.1

Regularly scheduled AC maintenance is one of the most commonly overlooked steps in managing your utility consumption. Our technicians thoroughly inspect your AC system components to ensure they are in proper working order. In addition, a key component to AC Maintenance is changing your filter regularly.

Questions About AC Maintenance?

Our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to answer your AC Maintenance questions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your AC maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

AC Maintenance

1 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats#:~:text=Thermostat%20Operation&text=You%20can%20easily%20save%20energy,asleep%20or%20away%20from%20home.&text=In%20fact%2C%20as%20soon%20as,the%20surrounding%20environment%20more%20slowly

 

Food and Appliance Safety During a Power Outage

Safety During a Power Outage

Food Safety During a Power Outage

Most American homes have a distinct advantage over the homes of a few generations back; we can store and preserve fresh foods inside our homes in freezers and refrigerators. These appliances have become a vital part of our normal schedules, and doing without them creates significant disruptions. When the occasional power outage happens, it is very important to know the safety limitations for frozen and refrigerated foods. Here are some tips to prepare for outages and set boundaries for food safety.

Prepare Ahead of Time for Safety During a Power Outage

Common causes of lengthy power outages include:

  • A power transmission problem, such as a blown transformer
  • A localized storm, with high winds that takes down power lines
  • A regional storm, like a hurricane

Buy some battery-powered thermometers that transmit a reading to a Smart device—a phone or a tablet. Purchase one for each refrigerator or freezer compartment.

  • Determining food safety is based on the temperature of the food products.
  • Every time you open the door, the temperature will rise dramatically; these thermometers will let you document food temperatures even with the door closed

Your emergency preparedness plan should include storing several days of drinking water for your family. Placing water inside both the refrigerator and freezer will help maintain a constant temperature.

  • Liquids and solids retain a temperature longer than gas, like air. If you have time before the power outage, store some of the water in both compartments to keep the temperature colder longer. Only add the water if you allow adequate time for it to completely freeze or chill.
  • Adding liquid will help, but make sure that the cold air can circulate around every item; over-filling the compartments will reduce efficiency, so allow enough room for cooling to take place.
  • Do not cover or block the vents inside the freezer or refrigerator.

Safety During a Power Outage: Know the Danger Zone

Heath departments and food handlers use the term “danger zone” for food that remains between 400 and 1400 F since bacteria can (and will) grow quickly between those temperatures.1

  • Once a power outage has begun, keep compartment doors closed as much as possible. It will not take long for compartments to reach room temperature if the door opens.
  • If the temperature inside either compartment remains above 400 F for longer than two hours, the food should be discarded, since it is unsafe to eat.
  • If you have not yet purchased the Smart thermometers, know that it will not take long for the refrigerator compartment to raise about 400 An outage that lasts three to four hours may result in an unsafe storage temperature. A full, unopened freezer might keep food safe for two days, while a half-full freezer might be safe for one day.
  • While you are waiting for the power to come back on, plan to eat meals prepared from shelf-stable foods from the pantry instead. Set a chair in front of the fridge to help everyone remember to keep the doors closed—it can be a habit when family members get hungry.

The Long-Range Plan for Safety During a Power Outage

A long-term solution for power outages might be to have a permanent standby generator installed for your home. The switch setting will sense the loss of power, disconnect your home from the power grid, and start-up immediately to provide uninterrupted electric service to your home. Generators come in a variety of sizes to fit the needs of homes large and small.

We Can Help With Safety During a Power Outage

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help with Food and Appliance Safety During a Power Outage for your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Safety During a Power Outage

1 https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/keep-food-safe.html#:~:text=Bacteria%20can%20multiply%20rapidly%20if,when%20to%20throw%20food%20out%20

 

Ductless AC For Homeowners

Ductless AC For Homeowners

Ductless AC System Basics

Since the late ‘60s, most homes in the U.S. have been fitted with central heating and air conditioning systems. They retain their popularity, with more than 80% of homes using central heat and/or air conditioning. However, the HVAC market has been changing a little in the last few years.

Almost 40 years ago, Japanese engineers used heat pump technology and developed compact air conditioning systems that do not require ductwork. The applications became very popular across Europe and Asia and are growing in popularity now in the U.S. Ductless AC systems rely upon heat pump technology but do not require a network of ducts to circulate conditioned air.

Heat pump systems are very efficient at heating and cooling–efficient until the temperature becomes extremely cold. However, heat pump technology is advancing, and low ambient mini-split systems can function at 100% efficiency to 00 F. This makes mini-split systems a viable option for homes throughout the U.S.1

How Do Ductless AC Systems Work?

Heat pumps use basic gas chemistry: compressing gas will raise the temperature of the gas and suddenly releasing the pressure results in rapid, dramatic cooling. While the gas is in a closed system of copper, air moving across the tubes collects the cold and releases its heat into the gas.

Central air conditioners and hybrid furnace systems use the same technology, but the cold/heat transfer takes place inside. A blower motor pushes the conditioned air throughout the house via ducts. Strategically placed return ducts bring the air back to the central unit to completely circulate the air.

Mini-split systems complete the cold/heat transfer in small, wall air handler units, one installed in each room. A small blower motor moves the air across the tubes and circulates the conditioned air within the room. One outdoor condenser unit services as many as six-room units; they are connected by copper tubes that move the refrigerant gas as needed.

Advantages of Ductless AC Systems

  • Energy Efficiency Ductless AC. Both mini-split and central systems employ a heat pump system; they are recognized as a very energy-efficient method of heating and cooling. However, instead of a large blower motor pushing air throughout the entire house, mini-split systems use smaller, room-sized units. According to ENERGY STAR, this arrangement saves as much as 30% of cooling costs.
  • No Ducts Needed.
    • Mini-split systems are ideal for older homes without existing ductwork. The demolition/construction required to retrofit ducts is expensive and very disruptive.
    • Mini-split systems are good options for room additions. The added space might overwhelm an existing central HVAC system.
    • Mini-split systems also add assistance for hard-to-reach or problem areas; a sunroom or an upstairs space might need some extra help with heating or cooling.
    • With no floor vents, mini splits offer greater freedom for furniture and accessory placement.
  • Individual Room Control. Since each room has a dedicated air handler, it is possible to customize comfort for each room. The air handler is controlled with a remote-control style thermostat, allowing each room to be set to a different temperature according to preference.

Zoned temperature control distributes conditioned air to the desired spaces so evenly, it conserves energy compared to central HVAC systems.

  • Improved Indoor Air Quality. With central HVAC systems, a single air filter removes airborne dust and allergens from the whole house. With mini-split systems, each room has an air filter for the air circulating within the room.

Questions About Ductless AC Systems?

Our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to you with Ductless AC questions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your HVAC repair and installation needs.

Ductless AC For Homeowners

1 https://www.ecomfort.com/stories/1341-Keeping-Your-Mini-Split-Working-Through-the-Winter.html

 

Electrical Safety Checklist

Electrical Safety

Electrical Safety Checklist: 5 Maintenance Tips

As homeowners, we are constantly trying to find ways to make our home safe and comfortable—our “castle.” Yet the risk of home fires and electrical injuries are real; every year we hear of thousands of house fires and hundreds of deaths that result from electrical malfunctions. Knowing the source of everyday dangers, the National Fire Prevention Association has produced an electrical safety checklist to help homeowners protect their families.

Do Not Let Things Slide!

If you notice something that is wrong, do not ignore it. This could save a life. If you experience any of the following, call an electrician and correct the source of the problem immediately.

  • Do your circuit breakers trip or fuses blow frequently?
  • Do you feel a mild shock when you touch an appliance?
  • Do you notice discoloration on outlet faceplates? Are outlets warm to the touch?
  • Do you smell rubber or a burning odor?
  • Do lights flicker or dim?
  • Do sparks fly from outlets?

All of these are indications of serious issues that can lead to tragedy; a licensed electrician will be able to diagnose the problem and make repairs.

Take A Look Around

You are always the first line of defense, protecting your family from harm. No one is better prepared to notice anomalies and you will certainly notice things that need to be repaired.

  • Electrical Cord Electrical Safety
    • Make sure that electrical cords are intact, not damaged, not cracked, and not loose. Damaged cords can lead to both fire and/or shock.
    • Do not run electrical cords across well-traveled paths, including doorways. Do not position cords under carpets or rugs.
    • Be watchful when young children are in the vicinity of electrical cords. Little ones explore by putting things in their mouth.
  • Outlets and Switches Electrical Safety
    • Faceplates are very inexpensive, so make sure outlets and switches are covered and undamaged.
    • Do not overload outlets by plugging multiple cords into one receptacle. Plugging multiple power bars into one outlet can lead to an overloaded circuit.
    • Reduce the risk of shock in kitchens and bathrooms by installing ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) outlets at locations near a water source. A GFCI is a circuit breaker at the outlet that detects the amount of current going from the outlet to the amount of current returning to the outlet. It should be the same. A GFCI can interrupt the current within 1/40th of a second to prevent serious shock.1
  • Light Bulb Electrical Safety
    • Always use the appropriate lightbulb for the lamp or light. Using a bulb that exceeds the maximum can overheat the lamp.
    • Light bulbs placed in proximity to flammable objects should have a shade or globe to prevent overheating objects. The filament in incandescent light bulbs can reach 4,5000 F, hot enough to ignite nearby objects.
  • Appliance Electrical Safety
    • Buy appliances with approval listing from a testing laboratory, such as UL.
    • Only plug one heat-producing appliance—toaster, coffee maker, iron, etc.—into each outlet to prevent overheating.
  • Keep Ladders Away from Overhead Power Lines

Have Electrical Safety in your home or business?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to maintain Electrical Safety for your home and business.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Electrical Safety

1 https://www.osha.gov/electrical/hazards/grounding/gfci

 

DIY or Call an Electrician

Houston Electrician

When to Know it is Time to Call an Electrician

Modern homeowners have everything they need to tackle do-it-yourself (DIY) projects around the house. Large box stores have every tool and supply imaginable. The “know-how” is amply provided by 24-7 television programming and if anything is lacking.

YouTube has video instruction for just about everything. The real incentives for homeowners are the cost savings and the sense of satisfaction that comes from completing a project on your own.

However, not every home improvement project is a DIY project; even though you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should do them. Because of the potential of electrical shock, most electrical projects should be completed by professional electricians.

Changing an overhead light or installing a ceiling fan might be simple enough, but the dangers involved in most electrical projects are not worth the risk.

Why it matters

  1. The Danger of Electric Shock. An exposed hot wire at an outlet carries 20 amps of power and prolonged exposure can lead to severe injury or death. If you open the cover to the breaker box, you are exposing yourself to 5 to 10 times that power. This amount of electricity should be handled by a professional electrician.
  2. New Technology. If your project requires connecting electricity generated differently—for instance, adding an emergency generator to your home on a utility grid—a mistake during installation can create dangerous situations beyond your home.
  3. Fire is a Real Threat. Wiring mistakes can lead to a short or to overloading a circuit; a fire can result from either mistake. Often this danger smolders inside the walls, hidden from view, and remains undetected until a major fire breaks out.
  4. Building Code Compliance. In the past, other DIYers have worked on electrical projects with disastrous consequences. For this reason, government entities developed building codes that require certain projects to be completed by licensed, professional contractors.

Projects That Require Professionals

  • Projects that require you to uncover the circuit breaker service panel
  • Projects that combine electricity from different sources
  • Projects that require new wiring or rewiring
  • Any project that will be covered by walls, floors, or ceilings

Why a Professional Electrician?

  • Electricians receive training on the safe installation and use of residential electricity. Educational requirements include up to 2 years of classroom study to properly prepare for working in your home.
  • In addition to the classroom study, electricians take continuing education courses and complete 4 years of training under more experienced electricians.
  • Safe installation is an everyday job, compared to a once-in-a-lifetime project. Electricians come prepared to complete projects safely the first time as if their reputation depended on it—because it does.
  • A professional electrician will give you, the homeowner, peace of mind, knowing the project was completed properly and safely.

Have a hard time deciding between DIY or Call an Electrician?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise for electrical repairs of any size.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Houston Electrician

10 Myths About Air Conditioning

10 Myths About Air Conditioning

Dispelling Myths About Air Conditioning

While the cost of heating is substantially higher than the cost of air conditioning (AC), the period of time that we use our Air Conditioning in Southeast Texas is significantly longer than the time that we use our heating. Often, events totally unrelated to AC function happen that are associated with AC function. When these “myths” are propagated, they can cost you money, so let’s consider whether these events are truth or myth. To celebrate National Cut Your Energy Cost Day on January 10th, we wanted to provide facts about how to save energy and money, without losing the goal of making comfort affordable.

Myth #1 I can cool my house quicker by changing the temperature setting quickly.

The Fact: your AC functions at a set rate and lowering the thermostat setting will take time—approximately 30 minutes—to lower the temperature significantly. A better option is to install a programmable thermostat and schedule temperature changes to match your timetable.

Myth #2 I can cool my home more efficiently with a bigger Air Conditioning unit.

The Fact: the HVAC system in your home was customized for your home, taking many factors into consideration, including the number of doors and windows, and the type of insulation. An oversized AC unit will cool very quickly, but that may also cause it to cycle on and off very quickly. This shortens the life of the unit and uses more, not less, energy.

Myth #3 I can cool my home more efficiently with a smaller Air Conditioning unit.

The Fact: the HVAC system in your home was customized for your home, taking many factors into consideration, including square footage and ceiling height. An undersized AC unit will work harder trying to keep you comfortable, cycling longer than necessary. This shortens the life of the unit and uses more, not less, energy.

Myth #4 I can save energy by turning the Air Conditioning off when no one is home.

The Fact: when you cool the air, you also cool the contents of the house. If you stop cooling during the heat of the day, the contents heat up along with the air. The AC must work very hard to make the home comfortable again. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare—slow and steady wins the race.

Myth #5 Air conditioning can lead to summer colds.

The Fact: the last two years have made this myth most obvious: colds and flu are the results of exposure to germs—viruses and bacteria, not air temperature. Frequent summer respiratory inflammation might be symptoms of allergies or asthmatic conditions.

Myth #6 If my air filter only needs to be replaced once or twice per year.  

The Fact: your air filter is collecting airborne particles with every cycle. The dust, allergens, and dirt accumulate and will restrict airflow. A dirty air filter will make your AC less efficient and cost you money. In addition, the added stress on the blower motor will shorten the lifespan.

Myth #7 I can save money by keeping my old AC system until it quits.

The Fact: while a new AC system can be expensive, it will be necessary eventually. An aging system, beyond 15 to 20 years, might be inefficient and waste energy, costing money. Replacing your AC unit will save enough cash to pay for itself eventually.

Myth #8 Ceiling fans will help keep rooms cooler.

The Fact: ceiling fans do not make a room cooler, but they do make people feel cooler. Fans will not reduce the temperature, but they might allow you to notch the thermostat up a few degrees with the same comfort level. The ceiling fans require less energy than the AC, so they can save money. However, it is important to understand the benefit they do and do not provide.

Myth #9 I can save on AC by closing off the spare bedroom or unused office space.

The Fact: remember myths 3 and 4. The AC unit has been sized to include those rooms, so restricting the airflow by blocking vents will put pressure on the blower motor. In addition, the heat and humidity in this room will be higher and this can promote the deterioration of finishes and growth of mold and mildew.

Myth #10 It is a waste of money to pay for preventative maintenance on my AC.

The Fact: according to Building Efficiency1, a well-maintained HVAC system, cleaned and tested, will last longer and save more energy than a system that is neglected.

Questions About Your Home’s Air Conditioning?

Our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist in Air Conditioning decisions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your HVAC repair and installation needs.

10 Myths About Air Conditioning

1 https://buildingefficiencyinitiative.org/articles/studies-show-hvac-system-maintenance-saves-energy

 

 

 

 

Electric Vehicles Charging Options

Electric Vehicles Charging Options

Electric Vehicles Charging Options to Keep in Mind

Purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) is certainly not an impulse buy. After driving vehicles with gasoline-powered internal combustion engines, switching to an EV comes with a lot of research and a lot of preparation. Although TV commercials depict charging to be equivalent to filling a gas tank, that is not the case. As a savvy, informed consumer, you are doing your homework to know and understand your Electric Vehicles Charging Options and we are here to help.

Know Your Limits and Your Electric Vehicles Charging Options

Few people know how far their car can travel on a full tank of gasoline; once the gauge shows ¼ of a tank, it is time to fill it again, with dozens of options within a mile radius of most urban settings. EV owners must be much more cognizant of the range achieved on a full battery charge and aware of every charging option along familiar routes.

Most EVs can travel between 200 and 300 highway miles on a full battery charge. That figure is rather fluid and the range is improving with each generation of EVs. Most people can handle that range since few people are required to drive that far every day and if you are driving more than 200 miles/day, you are less likely to consider an EV.

Know Your Electric Vehicles Charging Options

Currently, there are three charging options for electric vehicles. Undoubtedly EV owners will use all three options.

  1. A Level One charger uses an ordinary 110-volt outlet and offers the greatest flexibility of charging locations. Each EV is sold with a Level One charger at no additional cost. While a Level One charger offers tremendous freedom it is also a very slow charge; a depleted battery to a full charge might take as long as 24 hours. A Level One charger is excellent for charging in remote locations with plenty of time to recharge. It is also a very good backup plan should other options fail.
  2. A Level Three charger is a public, for-pay charging station. This charging option is very fast in comparison—from 3 to 20 miles of range per minute. Even at the lowest setting, that is a complete charge in less than 1 ½ hours; you could probably get a full charge while shopping. The cost to charge will vary, depending on the cost of a Kilowatt/hour of electricity. Entrepreneurs are rushing to fill the present and future needs for Level Three charging stations.
  3. A Level Two charger operates within the middle ground between the first two options. It will be the focus of our investigation. Level Two chargers use a 220-volt outlet—like those used for an electric dryer—and will charge a depleted battery bank in about 4 hours. They are an affordable, at-home charging option, so let’s explore this value option.

Before making a purchase, make sure to select a charger that is compatible with your EV. Currently, there are two types of Level Two chargers available: a plug-in portable charger and a permanent, wall-mounted charger.

  • A portable charger will need a 220-volt outlet but will require the security of an enclosed garage. This may require an electrician to install the proper outlet in your garage.
  • A wall-mounted charger will require an electrician for installation.
  • An electrician will also assess whether your current electrical service panel has adequate power to handle the Level Two charger along with the normal household electrical current load.
  • A good quality Level Two charging station can cost between $300 and $1,200, depending upon several optional features. An additional fee will be required for professional installation for wall-mounted.
    • Newer Level Two chargers can produce at least 30 amps of power, adding both speed of charge and miles of operation to the charge. The extra capacity will help build capacity for future charging needs.
    • Like many cutting-edge purchases, some charging stations may have Wi-Fi features that allow you to schedule the charge (when the rate drops) and monitor the progress.

Want to Learn More About Your Electric Vehicles Charging Options?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise for maximizing your Electric Vehicles Charging Option.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Electric Vehicles Charging Options

Heat Pump 101

Heat Pump 101

Choosing a Heat Pump for Your Home

Making a decision about the central heating and cooling system for your home will require working with a trusted HVAC professional since these systems are customized for each home. However, modern consumers have informed consumers and a little knowledge helps make determinations that affect the cost, comfort, and carbon footprint. The industry uses a lot of acronyms—starting with HVAC, which stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. First, let’s consider heat pumps.

Heat Pump Technology

Heat pump technology came into its own in the 1960s, just in time for the fuel oil shortages in the early to mid-1970s.

Heat pumps use a very effective method of moving heat with refrigerant gases, so the same process will move heat out of the house during the summer (for cooling) and move heat into the house during winter (for heating). Most heat pumps move and transfer heat to and from the outside air; water and geothermal variations are rare. Residences use three main types of heat pumps:

  • A single package is one component, located outside, with ductwork bringing the conditioned air into the house.
  • A split package has one component inside and one unit outside, the most typical application in U.S. residences.
  • A hybrid system—a split system with an electric heat back-up for homes that experience temperatures that frequently drop below 250

Acronyms of Importance Regarding Heat Pumps

When you research heat pumps, expect to see these acronyms:

  • BTU stands for British thermal unit. It is a measure of the heat energy needed to raise one pound of water 10 F at a given density. It helps determine the heat output of fuels or, in this case, heat pumps.
  • KWh stands for kilowatt/hour. It is a measure of electricity—1,000 Watts of electricity per hour. It helps determine how much electric energy is being used. Your utility company measures your electricity usage with this measure and charges you by the KWh.
  • SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This measures the energy efficiency of the air conditioning function of a heat pump. It measures the amount of BTUs removed from a home during the entire cooling season and compares it to the KWh of energy needed to make it happen. It is the same principle as miles/gallon.
  • HSPF stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. This measures the energy efficiency of the heating function of a heat pump. It measures the amount of BTUs moved into a home during the entire heating season and compares it to the KWh of energy needed to make it happen.

While doing heat pump research, you will see both a SEER rating and an HSPF rating. The Department of Energy (DOE) determines quality control tests, requires each heat pump design to be tested and assigns ratings accordingly.

What Type of Ratings Should You Expect?

SEER Ratings. The DOE set the minimum SEER rating for new heat pump units at 10 in 1992. Because engineering technology has advanced the design of air conditioning systems, currently the minimum SEER rating allowed is 13 or 14, depending on your region. It is expected to rise to 14 to 15 by 2023. Heat pumps have achieved a SEER rating of 22 so far.

HSPF Ratings. The DOE set the minimum HSPF rating for new heat pump units at 6.8 in 1992. Because engineering technology has advanced the design of heating systems, currently the minimum HSPF rating allowed is 8.2, but it is expected to rise to 8.8 by 2023. Heat pumps have achieved an HSPF rating of 13 so far.

All new units should have at least the current minimum rating for both SEER and HSPF; a decision based on forward-thinking should at least consider the proposed 2023 ratings. Energy-efficient heat pumps will have both a high SEER rating and a high HSPF rating. As you might expect, high-efficiency heat pumps will come with a high initial cost.

Converting Energy Efficiency Heat Pumps to Cost Savings

One last thing. Some are excited to participate in reducing the carbon footprint by buying energy-efficient products, but we also know that it comes with a price tag. Here are three considerations to keep everything in the proper perspective.

  1. Use the ratings to decide which HVAC system will save you the most. If you live in a hot climate, the SEER rating should be more important than the HSPF rating. If you live in a colder area, the HSPF should take the center of attention.
  2. Use the ratings to determine cost savings. This will require the help of your HVAC professional with system size analytics, local utility rates, and unit ratings. In short, you compare a unit that can change 9 BTU of heat with 1 KWh to a unit that can change 10 BTU of heat with 1 KWh. Figure in the cost/KWh to calculate cost savings.
  3. Determine the difference in price between the standard rated unit and the more energy-efficient unit.
  4. Explore incentives by Federal and State agencies as well as local utility companies and reduce this from the increase in cost.

After you crunch the numbers, you will find that the complete payback period for the energy-efficient unit(s) will be between two and three years. Every year of use that follows will result in direct savings to your heating and cooling budget.

Questions About Heat Pumps?

Our four decades of experience as an HVAC System maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist in Heat Pump decisions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your HVAC repair and installation needs.

Heat Pump 101

5 Habits that Hamper Furnace Efficiency

Furnace Efficiency

Furnace Efficiency Tips for Homeowners

For the next few months, the winter’s coldest weather will be upon us, and we will be trying to find ways to stay warm. According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Star program, 55% of the average utility bill pays for heating and cooling American homes; with energy prices on the rise, it is important to look for energy-saving steps to save you money.

It is not unusual for homeowners to develop habits, based on what seems to be “common sense,” that may cost money during the heating season. In this article, we will attempt to expose a few habits that you might have developed and reveal the science behind better measures to keep warm and comfortable.

Furnace Efficiency Habit 1: Using Inefficient Heating Sources

If your home was built with a central HVAC system, it is the most efficient way to heat your home. A fireplace can add ambiance to holiday settings, and it is an emergency source of heat should you lose power. An energy fireplace can be used in tandem with the HVAC system during extreme cold snaps. However, most fireplaces are not an energy-efficient way to heat your home comfortably for the entire winter.

The same is true with area space heaters: they might add a temporary measure of comfort, but they are not an efficient way to keep your home toasty and warm.

Furnace Efficiency Habit 2: Delaying Weatherproofing

Gaps around windows and doors allow the warm (expensive) air to leak outside. You will know this happens when you feel the cool draft coming in to replace the warm air that is escaping. Gather the supplies and spend a day weatherproofing your doors and windows. Each year that you procrastinate you lose energy through those gaps.

Furnace Efficiency Habit 3: Restricting Ventilation

It may seem sensible to restrict airflow to vacant spaces, but this is counterproductive for heating your home in an efficient manner. If you close vents in vacant rooms, it restricts the airflow being pushed out by the blower motor. The HVAC system will compensate by using more energy to turn the blower motor. Any savings that you might hope to gain by closing vents will be lost by the stress you place on the furnace.

Furnace Efficiency Habit 4: Frequently Adjusting the Temperature

Your furnace is, of course, heating the air in your home, but it is also heating the surfaces, furniture, and flooring. Because of this fact, an actual temperature change will take time—at least 30 minutes. It might feel good to “bump the thermostat,” but it is a terrible way to heat your home with energy efficiency. A better approach is to set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature and leave it alone—except when …

Furnace Efficiency Habit 5: Keeping the Temperature the Same All the Time

Your heating needs are not the same at all times. Invest in a programmable or smart thermostat and determine a heating schedule that works with your family. Lowering the temperature setting while everyone is sleeping or while the family is gone to work or school, are proven methods of saving money.

Want to Learn More About Furnace Efficiency?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise for Furnace Efficiency.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Furnace Efficiency

5 Strategies for More Efficient Heating

Efficient Heating

Efficient Heating Solutions for Homeowners

Winter is here! The long-term forecast is for a cold winter nationwide with above-average precipitation. The cost of energy is up this year, so perhaps last winter’s strategy will be more expensive this year. It may be time to consider new strategies to both keep you warm and keep the utility bill within reason.

Here are some Efficient Heating strategies to consider:

  1. Program Your Furnace for Efficient Heating

Many homes already have programmable thermostats, but many homeowners have never taken the time to program their heating schedule. The Department of Energy has determined that reducing the temperature in a home for at least 8 hours will reduce the heating bill by 10 to 15%. Consider your family’s daily schedule and drop the temperature:

  • When the family is asleep. Lowering the temperature from 730 to 680 from 9:30 pm to 5:30 am will lower energy use; the cooler air also makes for a comfortable night’s sleep. It will give the furnace 30 minutes to return the temperature to normal before everyone wakes up.
  • When the family is away. Lowering the temperature in the same manner while the family is away at school or work. Remember to give a 30-minute warming buffer before the family returns. Know the difference between Heat Pump and Emergency Heat. If you have a hybrid system, it will include a heat pump and a furnace coil.

    When outdoor temperatures are above 350 F, the heat pump is the most efficient heat source. The heat pump will draw heat from the outside air. When the temperature drops below freezing, the furnace coil is more efficient. Take heat from the most efficient source possible.

  1. Check Your Water Heater
    The factory default temperature for water heaters is typically 1400 F. This temperature is too hot for showers. If you do not add cold water, it will scold you at that setting. Lowering the temperature to 1200 F results in water that is plenty warm for bathing and cleaning and a measurable saving each month.
  2. Check The Attic
    If you have never poked your head into the attic, it might be time to take a look around, since the majority of heat loss moves through the attic. Ideally, you should see a smooth blanket of insulation, with no ridges and valleys. The insulation should completely cover the ceiling joists to the depth of about 4 inches. If all is well, you are properly insulated. If not, you will need to add insulation to reduce heat loss.
  3. Seal Windows and Doors for More Efficient Heating
    Often you can detect drafts around window and door frames with your hand. A source of smoke or mist will also detect air movement. Use caulk to seal gaps on the outside and weather stripping from the inside. Approximately 15% of heat loss moves around windows and doors.
  4. Replace Your Air Filter
    A good air filter removes +90% of airborne particles, preventing them from recirculating throughout the house. Trapped dust, pollen, and dander will eventually clog the filter and reduce the airflow of your furnace. Change the filter at least every three months—more often if necessary.
  5. Schedule Professional Maintenance to Improve Efficient Heating
    The furnace manufacturer recommends that an HVAC professional service your furnace annually. During this preventative maintenance visit, a technician will clean any dust that passed through the filter, run diagnostic tests on the electrical components, and measure the system’s efficiency. Proper care for your furnace will ensure it performs efficiently, saving money both now and for years to come.

Want to Learn More Efficient Heating Solutions for Homeowners?

Our four decades of experience as an HVAC System maintenance contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to create Strategies for More Efficient Heating.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Efficient Heating

9 Space Heater Safety Tips

9 Space Heater Safety Tips

Space Heater Safety Tips

After you have exhausted every other measure to keep the space in your home or office comfortable during the winter months, you have now come to the conclusion that a space heater is a proper resolution.

Tragically, space heaters are involved in thousands of house fires each year, and you need to ensure your safe using a space heater. What precautions should you take?

Before you buy. While considering your purchase, look for these key features for the safest heater possible.

  • Check for Safety Certifications. Whether making a purchase online or in person, insist on buying a safe product. Look for safety certifications from governing agencies on websites or on labeling. We are used to seeing the UL rating (Underwriters Laboratories) in the U.S., but also look for ETL or CSA safety certifications, depending on the country of origin. Safety certifications will ensure that your purchase has been independently tested for safety and give you confidence in using it in your home.
  • Size Matters. Buy a space heater designed to heat the size room that needs the help. It will disappoint if it is underpowered for the space.
  • Automatic Shut-off. Look for a space heater with automatic shut-off capabilities. Sensors in newer models can detect moisture and shut off to prevent electric shock. They will also shut off should the heater tip over or overheat. These conditions are the leading cause of injury and death and are worth the search.

Before you use. After you have made your purchase, but before you turn it on, here are some Space Heater Safety Tips:

  • Appropriate Detectors. Your home should be equipped with carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Before using your new space heater, remember their locations, check their functionality and replace batteries regularly. Test your detectors on a monthly basis—just push the red tester button and listen for the loud beep.
  • Read Safety Precautions. Safety guides and instruction manuals should be kept handy, but chances are you will forget their location shortly after your purchase. Reading the guide before plugging it in will help you operate the heater properly and avoid mistakes that can lead to dangerous situations.

Putting it To Good Use. The Instruction Manual should cover these Space Heater Safety Tip precautions:

  • Proper Placement. Key things to remember about space heater placement:
    • Place it on a level, hard surface, such as a floor. Do not set it up high on a table or countertop.
    • Keep away from moisture or wet surfaces.
    • Do not use in the presence of flammable gases, including a garage or workshop.
    • Do not use in the presence of wet paint.
    • Make sure to place the heater at least 3 feet away from any wall, furniture, drapes, etc., that can catch on fire.
    • Do not place the heater in a high-traffic area.
    • Make sure that pets and small children are kept well away from the space heater. Space heaters should not be used in children’s bedrooms overnight.
  • Pull the Plug. Never leave a space heater in operation while away from home. Do not use a space heater overnight. In an abundance of caution, the Instruction Manual will state “Turn the device off and unplug the heater when not in use.” Make sure to grasp the plug at the outlet to unplug it. If the connection at the plug is loose or the wire frayed, make repairs before using the heater.
  • Power Down. Electric space heaters use tremendous amounts of energy. Be wise and avoid problems. If the controls are set at the highest power setting, it may trip the breaker and it definitely will cost more to heat the space than you wish to pay. Instead, set the control at half power and be patient.

Want to Learn More About Space Heater Safety Tips?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise for Space Heater Safety Tips.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

9 Space Heater Safety Tips

Insulation Installation 101

Insulation Installation

Heating and Insulation Installation 101

Early Structures

Most homes built in the early days of North American settlement were simple log structures, made of the thickest logs one could find or afford. Doors and windows were rudimentary and ill-fitting. Logs would expand and contract according to the temperature, so the material between the logs, chinking, moved, and needed to be repaired constantly.

The insulation value of the building material was essentially the thickness of the log and the attention paid to repairing the chinking. A blazing fire was the best shield against the bitter cold.

When sufficient power was available, the logs were milled into boards and stick framing became popular. Doors and windows improved but were still letting in a lot of breezes. Wood frame houses made housing more affordable, not necessarily more comfortable.

The gap between the outer shell and the finished inside walls was still empty; the air is a poor insulator and vapor barrier. Upper stories in most buildings were uncomfortably hot in the summer months and lower stories could only be warmed during the winter with multiple fireplaces.

Energy Attention

As the population increased and technology developed, buildings—especially residences—were designed with features that kept conditioned air inside longer.

Homes with multiple fireplaces, burning lots of wood each winter, were no longer practical. The price of fuel oil, coal, and natural gas drove the development of insulation.

Insulation is the term for a barrier to the transfer of energy. Sometimes the barrier is solid and sometimes the barrier is a material that traps air and uses the trapped air to resist the transfer of energy in the form of heat. A common term used in rating insulation value is R-Value; the “R” stands for resistance.

The higher the number, the better the product is in resisting the transfer of heat energy. Every material used in the construction of your home has an R-Value, but it is most commonly observed on wall and attic insulation.

Common Insulators

Below are the three most common insulation materials used in new residential construction, listed in ascending R-Value ratings:

  • The most common residential insulator in both walls and attic is glass, blown into long fiber strains, commonly referred to as fiberglass. Fiberglass entangle and form pockets of trapped air. It can be blown under pressure or manufactured into strips, called batts.

    (Rock wool is a similar technology, but the inhalation of the material has been demonstrated to be harmful. Use extreme precautions and use personal protective equipment when handling.)

  • This product is made from recycled paper that has been treated to be insect, rodent, and fire-resistant. It is typically blown into walls and attics slightly moist; the moisture activates an adhesive that binds the piece.

    Very little air is trapped between fibers: instead, the insulation factor is determined by the density of the product. The dense material prevents both drafts and the transfer of energy.

  • Dense foam is used in various applications as wall and ceiling insulation. Applications include solid sheet, solid block concrete forms, and liquid expanding foam installations. The R-Value depends upon the density of the material. Foam insulation is generally very resistant to air movement.

What Can I Do?

There are four surfaces that you can commonly address and the most convenient time to address them. Installing more insulation or better insulation at opportune times will save on your energy bill.

  • Attic insulation installation. Approximately 80% of energy lost in the typical home is lost through the attic. Building regulations require more insulation in the attic than any other portion of the home. Most homes will have access to the attic space through stairs, a ladder, or an opening in the ceiling. Take a flashlight and have a look around.

    Depending upon the type of insulation, you should see 10” to 12” of insulation over ALL the attic. You should see a complete blanket, with no exposed ceiling joists. If you need more insulation, it can be installed at your convenience. However, the worst times to be in the attic are during times of extreme temperature—extreme heat or extreme cold.

  • Wall insulation installation. Addressing walls becomes problematic since walls are generally covered with a hard, permanent material. The time to insulate/better insulate walls is when they are exposed for any reason. That includes remodeling, restoration, or room additions. Also, consider insulation on foundation walls and unfinished basements.
  • Windows and Doors insulation installation. Glass is a poor insulator, but windows are needed and desirable. The key to improving insulation around windows and doors is preventing air penetration through gaps around the edges.

    The proper materials to clog these opens include:

    • Glazing around older windows
    • Caulk or foam applied at the trim and edges around the opening
    • Weatherstripping

Wondering if heating or cooling your home is energy efficient? Call Air Pro Houston for your energy audit today and to schedule Insulation Installation!

Questions About Insulation Installation?

Our four decades of experience as an HVAC System maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist in Insulation Installation.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your HVAC repair and installation needs.

Insulation Installation

Electrical Upgrades to Consider During Your Remodel

Electrical Upgrades to Consider During Your Remodel

Electrical Upgrades to Add to Your Remodel Project

Americans are spending significant money on remodels in 2021. A Harvard study following housing trends projects Americans will spend a whopping $352 billion in 2021 on remodeling, compared to $290 billion in 2017. Decisions to remodel are generally driven by economic indicators and in this case, home values are appreciating, home sales are on the rise and the available stock of homes is aging. In addition, the pandemic caused people to spend more time at home, considering renovations that might bring greater comfort and pleasure from existing homes.1

The most popular home improvement projects are:

  • Yard/Landscaping
  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Bedroom
  • Deck/patio
  • Office

When you plan a remodel project, you may consider whether the project should include an Electrical Upgrade to your electrical service. Is it necessary?

  • If your home is 25 years or older, chances are you are already in need of an electrical upgrade.
    • A contractor followed the building code at the time your house was built (with inspections to ensure safety requirements were met). However, over the years building codes change to address the power increases in the average home.
    • Your family uses more appliances, communication devices, and gadgets now than the average family twenty-five years ago. Walk around and notice home many power bars and extension cords are in use in your home.
  • Unless your electrical service was oversized, certain remodel projects will require an upgrade.
    • If your remodel adds square footage–say a new workshop or home office–the project should require a service upgrade. The panel that was installed served the needs of the original space. By adding a room or more, the necessary lighting and outlets may overload the panel.
    • Remodeling kitchens and bathrooms are the most desirable upgrades. We use more appliances, both large and small, and desire better lighting and communication than when your home was built. New stoves and refrigerators are larger and draw more power than older versions. We also use more gadgets in our bathrooms than ever before.
    • Depending on how old your house is and whether it has been previously upgraded, your outlets may be as far as 12’ apart. The current building code requires a maximum space of 6’ and some homeowners prefer them as close as 4’ apart.

      Remodeling a room often requires that you ensure it complies with the current building code. Adding outlets may max out or overload your current panel.

Plan well, so your electrical upgrade can be completed as part of the remodeling project.

  • Adding switches and outlets before the project begins, leaving them uncovered, can expose the family to potential shock hazards.
  • Reopening walls for switches, outlets or a larger electrical panel as a follow-up to the remodel would be costly and annoying. The second round of construction dust will not be a welcomed sight.
  • Completing the wiring and electrical upgrade simultaneously with the remodel is the preferred option. It will save time and money; the results will be a far superior process. Your new electrical system will accommodate all of the conveniences you desire as part of your remodel.
  • Completing the electrical upgrade at the same time as the remodel is also the safest option, avoiding both exposed wires for an extended period or risking overloading an aging electrical service.

Each project and circumstance is different, but chances are there is room in the budget for this safety measure. All it takes is planning at the beginning.

Want to Learn More About Choose the Right Home Generator?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise for Guidelines for Choosing a Home Generator.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Electrical Upgrades to Consider During Your Remodel

1https://www.millionacres.com/real-estate-market/articles/new-data-forecasts-strong-activity-in-remodeling-for-2021/

 

Zoned HVAC Systems

Zoned HVAC Systems

Summer and Winter in the Same House

In multi-story homes, the temperature difference between the lower and upper levels can easily vary by 10 degrees. If the thermostat is downstairs and set for a reasonable warm comfort level, the upper level can be uncomfortably hot. If you adjust the thermostat to bring a comfort level to the upstairs spaces, the lower level is too cool for comfort. It can be like two seasons in one home. Here are a few solutions you might consider:

Zoned HVAC Systems

This solution calls for a separation of the upper and lower levels into two spaces, creating two heating/cooling zones.  The comfort setting can be set at the same temperature (with successful results) or set at a different setting for each level. Many people prefer to sleep in cool rooms; a one-zoned system makes that difficult. Zoned HVAC systems can be accomplished using one of several methods.

  1. Mini-split ductless HVAC systems. This technique adds an additional heat pump that connects to as many as 4 wall-mounted units that can heat and cool a normal-sized room. Each room can be individually controlled with an in-room Zoned HVAC System thermostat. The majority of the construction remains on the outside of the house, with a sleek indoor blower unit to evenly distribute conditioned air.
  2. Electronically adjusted dampers. Dampers work like valves inside your existing ducts; they open and close, controlling air movement during both heating and cooling season. This solution uses the existing Zoned HVAC System and existing ducts. It achieves better control of comfort for each level.
  3. Multiple systems. The next time you replace your HVAC system, you might consider purchasing two smaller units, with unique Zoned HVAC System thermostats for each level. This solution will require some ductwork adjustments; expect some minor construction to rearrange ductwork. This is probably the most expensive solution, but you will be pleased with the results.

Maximizing the Potential of Zoned HVAC Systems

If your HVAC system was sized and installed correctly, the contractor should have taken the added story into consideration while designing the system. If you are ready for a little detective work, look around for underlying issues that overload the system, resulting in uneven temperatures.

  1. Attic insulation. If you can see exposed ceiling joists in your attic, you have insufficient insulation. This might be caused by settling or by air currents from attic vents. As much as 85% of your home energy loss goes through the attic. Whether you do it yourself or call in a profession, this is the place to start.
  2. Blocked soffit vents. While you are in the attic, investigate whether soffit vents are closed off by loose insulation. This will reduce the ventilation in your attic and can keep the second story warmer than expected.
  3. Covered registers and vents. Conditioned air is circulated by the HVAC system through supply registers, generally found on the floor and return air vents, usually found on central hallways, a little overhead height. It is not uncommon for homeowners to ignore these essential tools for circulation.

    They might be covered by furniture, drapes, or rugs; the reduced airflow might be causing the temperature imbalance. Closing the vents, say in an unused room, impedes circulation and is not recommended.

  4. Use the “On” setting. On your thermostat, you will find two fan settings: “Auto” and “On”. The “Auto” setting only activates the blower motor while the system is heating or cooling air for circulation. The “On” setting keeps the fan running continuously, resulting in increased circulation and ventilation.

    The “On” setting can balance the air temperatures and increase the comfort level throughout the home. As a bonus, the cost to run the fan continuously is lower than the cost of increased furnace or AC activation.

  5. Leaking air ducts. The ductwork throughout your house might have moved and that movement might have caused gaps and openings within the walls. Even a few duct leaks can seriously alter the amount of properly conditioned air circulating through the house by 20-30%. While you can learn to test your ductwork for leaks, it will require a professional to seal them.

The real solution to the imbalance problem might include both methods.

Questions About Zoned HVAC Systems?

Our four decades of experience as an HVAC System maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist in Zoned HVAC System decisions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your HVAC repair and installation needs.

Zoned HVAC Systems

 

5 Tips to Choose the Right Home Generator

Guidelines for Choosing a Home Generator

Guidelines for Choosing a Home Generator

Have recent weather events left you considering a generator for your home? Power outages have become a very real possibility, and in our experience being without power for long periods of time is uncomfortable and potentially unsafe. If you are considering a generator for your home, you know there are many options. Where do you start? Here are some guidelines to help you begin to make a decision.

Home Generator Basics

Generators are temporary replacement power sources, a standby electrical supply. While they can provide electricity to your home while the power grid is down, it is doubtful you will generate enough electricity to power the entire house. You will need to prioritize circuits, separating between essential and non-essential; perhaps the refrigerator, computer, HVAC, and lighting go on the essential list, while the washing machine, dryer, and outlets might be on the non-essential list.

Generators convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. The process is the same as large electric generation plants, only on a smaller scale. A fuel powers an engine that spins a shaft. The spinning shaft produces a magnetic field that produces electricity.

Types of Home Generator

Stationary and Portable Home Generator

The principal difference in generators is their position. Some generators are portable, can be stored and brought out as needed. Since they are mobile, they can be moved from one location to another, refueled as needed, or connected to a fuel line. However, these smaller units have limited power generation and must be frequently refueled. With a widespread power outage, finding fuel might be a problem.

Stationary generators, on the other hand, are larger, more powerful, and are therefore installed permanently. It can be set to start immediately upon loss of power. Generally, it will be wired directly to the electric service panel and connected to the natural gas line, a fuel source that is more reliable in a power outage. The unit will be installed outside the house on a pad (keeping the exhaust outside of your home), and local regulations may require it to be elevated.

Fuel Source

Generators run on a variety of fuel sources because not all fuels are available locally. Portable generators often use gasoline, but with a smaller tank, they will need to be filled several times per day. Since stationary units may be connected to a steady supply of fuel, you will find generators that use a wider list of fuels: diesel, natural gas, propane, or fuel oil. Your choice of generators will need to take into consideration the availability of fuel in your location.

Home Generator Size

Generators come in sizes that range in output from 1 kilowatt/hour (kWH) to 100 kilowatts per hour. Of course, the cost will be determined, in part, by the power output. The output of your generator will determine the load it can supply to power your home’s electrical needs. You will need to compare the total kWh needed for emergency use in your home to the kWh output of the generator you choose.

VERY IMPORTANT

When a generator is in use, it must be connected through a transfer switch, not directly to the service panel. This switch prevents the electricity your generator is producing from flowing backward (feedback) onto the power grid. Feedback can be deadly for utility repair crews and attaching a generator to your home without a transfer switch is both dangerous and illegal. The transfer switch will also protect your generator from damage that might be caused by the return of electricity from the power grid. Talk with your electrical professional about the size and function of a transfer switch.

Want to Learn More About Choose the Right Home Generator?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise for Guidelines for Choosing a Home Generator.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Guidelines for Choosing a Home Generator

HVAC System Office Temperature and Productivity

HVAC System Goldilocks zone

HVAC System Office Settings for Best Productivity

NASA Science describes “the Goldilocks zone” as a very small area around a star that will permit the natural accuracy of H20 in liquid form, with the chemical resources to support life. In our solar system, this area does not include Mercury, where water would boil away, or Mars, where it would freeze solid. Microbial life can be found in extreme environments, but more complex life functions require a narrower environmental window.

As the Texas economy continues to grow and people return to office spaces, the focus of employers is now on attracting new employees and retaining great ones. Every possible advantage for employee retention becomes important and that extends to the benefit of a comfortable workspace.

It is in no one’s best interest to ignore employee complaints about room temperature since comfort leads to productivity. Today we are looking at finding the “Goldilocks zone” in your office space to satisfy all your employees and increase productivity in the work environment. Is there a perfect office temperature? Here are some strategies to consider:

Why is temperature important to the workplace?

  • One-fourth of employees admit that their productivity falls during the summer months. Some of this might be attributed to daydreaming or planning a vacation. However, a study at Cornell University demonstrates that uncomfortable people are easily distracted.
  • The study found that typing errors decreased by almost half when the office temperature setting was changed from “too cold” to “just right.” Productivity increased by more than 100% when people were comfortable.
  • The indications of lower productivity include:
    • Employees arriving late and leaving early
    • Smoke breaks, coffee runs, and long lunches
    • Daydreaming
  • An office outside of the Goldilocks zone can also lead to distractions when employees argue and become hostile about the office temperature.

When the temperature setting affects the bottom line, it is worth considering. First, consider whether recent changes made by employees might have contributed to temperature extremes.

  • Has furniture been rearranged? Look for vents or returns that might be blocked by furniture or accessories.
  • Does the office layout contribute to good ventilation?
  • Are employees bringing personal, portable heaters for their area? They can be fire hazards and will counteract the HVAC system.

What is the Goldilocks zone in office temperature? The ideal temperature will not work for everyone, but let’s look at some research:

  • The ideal temperature should differ slightly between the cooling and heating seasons.
  • There are no OSHA guidelines for indoor air temperature, but they do set standards for humidity (20-60%) and require plenty of fresh air.
  • The Cornell study demonstrated a temperature setting between 720and 790 F improved comfort and productivity. That is still a broad range.
  • Other experts suggest a setting between 710and 730 F is ideal. That is a pretty narrow range.

Other factors also affect comfort besides air temperature. They include ventilation, air quality, season, and body type.

  • Moving air feels cooler and is comforting. Try turning the HVAC System blower fan to “on” instead of “auto” to keep the air moving.
  • For employee and customer safety and comfort, use premium air filters and change them on schedule. Indoor air quality contributes to creating the ideal environment.
  • Maintain your HVAC system to make sure the air conditioner is removing moisture from the air during the steamy summer months. Humidity contributes to a sticky feel to office furniture and adjusting sweaty clothes if terribly uncomfortable.
  • Our perception of comfort changes from season to season. The ideal temp in the summer is too cold in the winter. Expect the Goldilocks zone to change between cooling and heating season.
  • The number of people occupying a given space contributes to your considerations. Think of every person as a 980space heater. You will need cooling for a longer season than you will need heating.
  • It is no secret that men and women have different temperature preferences. Other factors include body type, age, and past experiences in different climates.

Working towards finding a “just right” workspace temperature can contribute to a preferred and productive work environment. Your efforts will be rewarded.

Need help finding your HVAC System Goldilocks zone?

Our four decades of experience as an HVAC System maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist in HVAC Maintenance decisions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your HVAC repair and installation needs.

Safe Lighting Options for Halloween

Safe Lighting Options for Halloween

Safe Lighting Options for Halloween

Halloween has become a popular celebration and everything about it has become more elaborate. Better costumes, better decoration, and definitely better candy. USA Today estimates Americans will spend $10 billion this year on candy, decorations, and costumes, more than ever before.1

If you “go all out” to prepare for trick-or-treaters, you know that yard décor is essential for this once per year fright night. Carved pumpkins with candles inside will not do; the fire risk is too real, and it can be done so much better. Do-it-yourself fun is the way to go, and entertaining, affordable lighting options are available to help your haunt stand out.

Light-emitting diodes or LED lights are versatile, safe, and generally inexpensive. LED lights use little energy, and many can be powered by batteries. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes.

Combine your imagination with LED lights and try a few of these safe lighting tricks:

  • LED flameless candles create an atmosphere with a convincing flicker without the potential harm of a real flame. They come in a variety of sizes and options, like flicker flame or steady light. Use the larger-sized candle in your layered carved pumpkin as a highlight.
  • LED flashlights can be used as spotlights to highlight a static display.
  • LED light sticks have replaced old-style light, crack-and-go disposable light sticks. LED light sticks come with replaceable batteries, in many colors and can be purchased at about a dollar per stick. Get creative and make a statement.
  • Non-blinking LED lights in balloons or lanterns made from paper can create a spooky effect. You can find them in a variety of colors and waterproof for about a dollar each.
  • LED rope lights will cost a little more but can produce a great effect with a little creativity.
  • Color-changing LED lights to come in several shapes and sizes. Some styles offer color change programming.

Combine LED lights with a few accessories for some very fun effects and safe lighting options.

  • LED-lit mist makers can create a color-changing fog for a truly frightful setting.
  • Mini LED Strobe lights connected to inexpensive motion detectors create a startling effect as ghosts and princesses approach your porch. Make your pumpkin laugh or talk as children from the neighborhood arrive. Yes, you can buy them, but designing your own scary treat is a lot of fun.
  • If you want a more hands-on approach, use a remote control or timer for some cool interaction. Remote will cost a little more, but you can have serious fun.
  • Turn porch lights into lit pumpkins with little effort. Find cheap pumpkin-shaped buckets and trim them to fit over porch lights or landscaping walkway lights.

Want to Learn More About Safe Lighting Best Practices?

Our four decades of experience as a Houston Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise for Residential electrical installation and repairs.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.

Safe Lighting Options for Halloween

1 https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/shopping/2021/09/22/halloween-costumes-2021-candy-decorations-spending-record/5816767001/

HVAC Maintenance Guide

HVAC Maintenance Guide For Homeowners

HVAC Maintenance Guide For Homeowners

Most homes in the U.S. are heated and cooled with a variation of a forced-air system. Forced air HVAC systems are very energy-efficient and adaptable enough to handle the various climates found in North America. Besides keeping your home comfortable with heated or cooled air on demand, your system will clean and circulate the air, filter the air supply and remove humidity as needed.

Like any mechanical system, your HVAC will need regular maintenance to run smoothly; a well-cared-for system will provide quality service over a long period of time. Neglecting maintenance results in:

  • Reduced energy efficiency—dust deposited on electrical wiring will restrict the flow of electricity.
  • Dust and debris that accumulate in spaces can restrict airflow, reducing efficiency.
  • All of that accumulated dust affects indoor air quality, so it needs to be removed.

If you haven’t noticed, the primary task in maintaining your HVAC system is cleaning. You have two choices for preventative maintenance: hire an HVAC professional or do-it-yourself. If you decide to try this yourself, here is a task list:

HVAC Maintenance Preparation:

  • Gather the tools needed to complete the task: a shop vacuum, a toothbrush, screwdrivers, and a garden hose.
  • Trip the breaker to the furnace/air conditioner. This is an extremely important safety requirement.
  • If your furnace is natural gas or propane, make sure to close the valve for your safety.

Cleaning the Indoor Unit

  • Remove the cover(s) with your screwdriver, but only after you have tripped the breaker.
  • Items that need to be clean include the blower cylinder, the condenser coil, and surfaces of control switches. Take your time with the blower fins and coil; you may need the toothbrush to clean close spaces. During the cooling season, the air conditioner will remove moisture from the air and deposit it in a pan below. If the pan is dry, vacuum any debris and wipe it out.
  • Check the fan belt for the blower motor. If worn or cracked, replace the fan belt.
  • Vacuum around the filter slot and replace the air filter.
  • Vacuum around the base of the furnace as far as you can reach.
  • Inspect the electrical controls to make sure nothing has been dislodged.
  • Replace the covers, making sure the cover seals properly.

HVAC Maintenance: Clean the Outdoor Unit

  • Remove the top cover of the outdoor compressor unit and vacuum the bottom of the basin. Replace the top cover.
  • With the garden hose clean the compressor fins, washing dirt and debris that has blown between. It is essential that air flows freely through these fins; hot compressed gas moves through the outdoor coils and the fan pulls air through the fins to cool the gas.

Use a garden hose instead of a pressure washer. A pressure washer will put too much force on the fins and close the openings.

Restarting the system

  • Once your work is complete, flip the breaker to restore electricity to the system.
  • If your furnace is natural gas or propane, open the gas valve and light the pilot light.

If this is too much for you, give AirPro HVAC a call and let our technician complete the maintenance. We have electrical equipment to make further inspections and a gauge to check the refrigerant gas.

Have questions about HVAC Maintenance?

Our four decades of experience as an HVAC maintenance contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist in HVAC Maintenance decisions.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your HVAC repair and installation needs.

HVAC Maintenance Guide For Homeowners