HVAC System smells bad

What is that Smell? Fighting Air Conditioner Odors Part 2

So you turn on your air conditioner for the first time and notice that there is a strange smell coming out of the vents. In part one we discussed what might be causing the smells and where you should be able to find them. Once you have found them, you need to know what to do about them. Here are tips for getting rid of both the sources of the smell and what to do about making sure that they do not return.

Change Your Air Filter

While this one should go without saying, one of the best ways to prevent odors from coming out of your ducts is to change your air filter. A clean air filter makes sure that old trapped dust and debris do not get spread around your house.

It also ensures that you are pulling everything that you should be out of the air before it circulates throughout your home.

Remember, you can always change the type of air filter that you are using as well. Choosing a HEPA filter or high-efficiency filter can trap smaller particles and will help your home’s overall air quality. Another result is that it will help to prevent strange smells.

Change Your Daily Routine

A good way to improve the air quality and eliminate odors in your home is to change some of your daily habits.

Use Your Exhaust Fans

Any time that you cook or take a shower use the exhaust fans that are in your bathrooms and over the stove. In the kitchen, the exhaust fan will help to eliminate cooking smells (intentional and unintentional) that can leave smoke and grease trapped in your duct work.

In the bathroom, using the exhaust fan ensures that moist, humid shower steam gets pulled outside and does not leave moisture in your ducting for mold and mildew to grow in.

Switch your Home Cleaning Products

If your issues are related to chemical or cleaning smells, then you might want to try switching out the products that you use. Try using cleaners with no fumes or switching to natural cleaners that have citrus or other non-chemical scents.

Vacuum or Sweep More Frequently

Since the air your AC unit comes from inside the home, the more dust that is there means the more dust for your system to pick up. Vacuuming and sweeping more frequently can help to cut down on that issue.

Clean your HVAC System

Since the two major areas that can hold mold and mildew are your evaporator coils and your ductwork, you can start by cleaning there.

If your unit is outside, you can gently hose off the evaporator coils and empty out the drain on the condensation pan. Ductwork can be trickier to clean and really should be done by a professional.

Have your HVAC System Serviced by Executive Air Conditioning

The best way to remove odors and improve the efficiency of your HVAC system at the same time is to have Executive Air Conditioning service your unit! Contact us today!

Female gesture smells bad. Headshot woman pinches nose

What is that Smell? Fighting Air Conditioner Odors Part 1

Spring has sprung, and it may have even gotten warm enough to turn on your air conditioner. As you are just about to get your first nice cool blast of AC for the summer you may have noticed something else unpleasant coming out of the vents with it; a strange smell.

Unfortunately along with your cool air, you may also get some strange smells. Here are some of the causes of those smells and where those smells might be coming from in your HVAC system.

Maybe it is the Air Filter

Another source of strange smells can be the air filter. If you did not change your filter before the season ended it too can be a breeding ground for growth. Even if there is no mold or mildew trapped in your filter, all of the other particulates that it pulls from the air may be causing the smells. As air flows through the filter, particles that were previously trapped become loose and spread through the house. You should change your air filter on a regular basis regardless of any strange smells coming from the system.

Maybe it is Not The Air Conditioner?

There is a possibility that it is not your AC system at all. Since air that circulates through the system is drawn in from other places it can be that the smells are coming from the air intake and then sent throughout your home. This is usually true of smells like cleaning chemicals, exhaust smells, perfumes, scented candles or even old gym socks. Depending on where your air intake is these could be the source of your problems.

Where are those Air Conditioner Odors Coming From?

Generally, smells that are coming from your AC system are caused by mold or mildew. Since your AC system picks up air from inside your home and circulates it around, things like bacteria and mold spores can become trapped inside the system. As your air conditioner sits idle over the winter months, those spores and molds have an opportunity to grow inside the system. When you turn the system on in the spring, you find that they have had a busy winter growing and multiplying.

Places to Check on your Air Conditioner for Smells

If you are sure that there is no other source then there are some places on your unit that you can check:

  • Air Ducts – One of the main places mold and mildew can grow are up in the wall ducts.
  • Evaporator Coils – Your evaporator coils are what do the cooling of the air. Over the course of time, they will collect all sorts of dust, dirt and debris. There is also may be a drain pan that collects moisture collected on these coils. That is the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Contact Executive Air Conditioning for Help

Have you had your system cleaned and serviced lately? If not you should! Contact Executive Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment.

improve indoor air quality

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

The air quality of your home is very important. It can directly affect the health of everyone living in your home. There can also be very detrimental effects on someone who has repertory issues or asthma if the quality of your indoor air is low.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of simple ways that you can work to improve the quality of your indoor air, and most of them don’t cost much at all. Here are some easy to implement suggestions for keeping your indoor air quality high.

Keep Control of the Humidity

Humidity has an impact on the quality of your air. If you have too much humidity, it can encourage the growth of mold and dust mites in the house. Too low humidity, and there can be irritation of the nasal passages or bronchial tubes of asthma sufferers.

You need to have a good balance of humidity in your home. This might mean installing a humidifier to your existing HVAC system. If that isn’t possible, you can use external humidifiers (or dehumidifiers if you need to) to control the humidity in your home. Make sure to keep a hydrometer (a device that measures the relative humidity of the room) on hand to get a reading of what the humidity is. That way, you can adjust it if it creeps too high or too low.

Control the Contents of Your Home

While there are some things that can affect air quality that you have no control over, there are some things that you can actually control. First, if there are smokers that live in the home, don’t let them smoke inside. Any kind of smoke contributes to degrading air quality.

If you have any chemicals in the home, this includes cleaners, make sure that all of the lids on them are secure. You might even want to consider storing them in an out of the way location that is well ventilated. This can help to keep the fumes out of the indoor air.

Take Advantage of Natural Ventilation

Having a well-sealed home is great for keeping the warm air in during the winter months and the cool air in during the summer months. The problem is, it also keeps in all of the things that you don’t want. A good way to refresh the stale air in your home is to open a window or door every now and again to refresh the air on the inside.

Change Your Air Filter

Your HVAC system has a filter to try to catch all of the nasty particulates before they get blown all over your house. It can only do its job if it isn’t clogged with dirt and debris it has already caught. Make sure to keep your filters clean so that they are keeping the air as clean as possible.

Have Your Las Vegas HVAC System Serviced by Executive Air Conditioning

Schedule an appointment today to have your HVAC system serviced by Executive Air Conditioning.

Reasons to get a Humidifier

Reasons to Invest in a Humidifier

If you are looking for a way to improve the comfort level of your Nevada home, you may want to invest in a humidifier. While most people think of devices that are used for small babies or children who are sick, a humidifier is an important part of an HVAC system. If you don’t have one, you might want to consider owning one because of the benefits and comfort it can provide to your home.

Evaporation Humidifiers

The most common kind of humidifier that you can purchase is an evaporation humidifier. These are the units you will see in most stores and they all mostly operate on the same principal. One of the benefits of this type of humidifier is that it is typically self-regulating. Here is why.

The system starts with a container of water. This is usually built into the unit and you would fill it. Some more sophisticated units allow you to hook a water line in directly. The water in this reservoir is then moved into a trough. A wicking filter is then put into the trough. Think of this as operating the same way as an oil lamp or Tiki torch. The water is carried up the filter and then a fan blows on the filter. The moving air causes water to evaporate off of the filter and be carried out into your room.

This system is great for regulation simply because of the way that relative humidity works. As your air gets more moisture in it, evaporation takes place more slowly. This means that the evaporation output of the humidifier gets lower as you get closer to your desired humidity.

Built-in Humidifiers

Your HVAC unit may have a built-in humidifier or a way to hook one into the system. These operate on the same principal — evaporation — but work slightly differently than the stand-alone unit.

A screen or metal mesh is run directly into your ducting. Water is piped to the screen while the air from your blower is run over it. This causes the water to evaporate and be distributed around the house during the normal operation of your furnace or air conditioner.

Why You Should Invest in a Humidifier

A humidifier adds several benefits to your home. In the dry Nevada winter, it helps to ease the issues that come from forcing dry air to heat. Dry skin, throats and coughs can all be eased by having more humidity in the air. Moist air can actually be beneficial to some people who have respiratory issues.

Humid air also helps cut down on static electricity, which can be very annoying during the winter months. It also helps the air in the house to feel warmer. Even a humidity of as low as 30 percent can make a huge difference in the comfort level of your home.

For more information about why you should invest in a humidifier for your home or to have one installed, contact Executive Air Conditioning today.

How to keep your house cool in the summer

Keeping Your Home Cool

As the months roll into summer, it may seem that the only way to keep your house cool is to keep lowering the thermostat. Keeping the thermostat at a low temperature will make sure the inside is cool, but ends up costing quite a bit in the way of your energy bill. There are some other ways that you can keep cool inside during the summer while not cranking up the AC 24/7.

Shade Trees

The sun beating down on your house will ensure that it heats up during the day. One good way to keep the sun off of your home is to plan trees that are going to provide shade. Find trees that are good for the climate then plant them strategically to block the sun during the day. This shade is a great way to keep the heat off the house and also provide a way to keep cool outside if you wish.

Shade Your AC Unit

While you are providing shade for your house, you might want to provide a little relief to your AC unit as well. Locating your AC unit on a side of the house that doesn’t receive a lot of sun or even under a porch or deck where it can be fully blocked will help to reduce the load on the unit.

An air conditioner works by radiating the heat from inside your home to the outside. If it is outside in the sun, then it is going to heat up as well. That makes it much less effective at radiating the heat it is supposed to be working on because it now has to cool itself down too. Placing your AC unit in the shade can up the efficiency as much as 10 percent!

Utilize Your Ceiling Fans

Just because the air conditioner is on doesn’t mean that it is time to turn off the ceiling fans. Ceiling fans are a great way to keep air circulating throughout your house while providing a cooling feeling as well.

Think about winter wind chill factors. As the wind blows, the air temperature feels colder because of the cold air moving across your skin. A ceiling fan can produce the same effect in your home by blowing your cool air around and creating that cooling breeze on your skin.
No need to crank the fan up to high. Letting it run at a nice slow circulating speed should be enough to create a good cooling effect.

Watch Your Indoor Activities

During the hottest parts of the day, avoid turning on the oven, using the dishwasher or running the dryer if you can. These will all heat up your house making your AC unit have to work harder to keep things cool.

If your AC unit seems to be working too hard or not keeping things cool, call the experts at Executive Air Conditioning today. We can help to make sure things are working properly and you get the most out of your HVAC system this summer.

Improve air quality to avoid spring allergies

Control Spring Allergies by Improving Air Quality

Spring is the time when people with allergies can suffer the most. These reactions can be made worse if the quality of the air in their home continually recirculates these contaminates through the house. In order to help allergy sufferers, here are some tips to keep the air in the home free from pollen, spores, molds and other particles that can drive allergies out of control.

Keep the Air Flowing

Good air flow can keep fresh clean air coming into your home while cycling out the contaminants. If you have exhaust fans in your bathrooms and showers, make sure to run them for about 10 minutes after your shower or bath is over. This will help to remove moisture from the air.

If you noticed this winter that you were having moisture on your windows and the problem has continued into the spring, you may be having issues with proper ventilation. This could be a serious problem and you should contact your HVAC professional to make sure that you have it looked at.

Upgrade Your Air Filter

You’ve read over and over again how important it is to change your air filter, but you may not know that you can actually control air quality by choosing a different kind of air filter for your HVAC system. MERV is the measurement on an air filter that tells how many particulates it can pull out of the air for you. A minimum of MERV 5 is required for any type of air quality control.

If you want to get serious about your filter, you can choose a pleated filter that goes up to MERV 10 or 11. This will pull out dust and pollen as well as mold and bacteria from the air. It can even filter out many chemical compounds left in the air from cleaning or cooking.

Use Your Furnace and Vacuum as a Team

If you have a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, it is a good idea to use it regularly to pull all the dust and pollen that can settle on your carpets. But even the best vacuum cleaner will kick up dust and other particulates in the air once you are done.

If you turn your thermostat to “fan on” to let it run continuously, the HVAC system will pull the dusty air in and use its filtering system to clean the dust out of the air. IF you do this for about 10 or 15 minutes after dusting or cleaning, your HVAC system can clean up the air.

Maintain Your HVAC System

Having your HVAC system looked at by a professional at least once a year can help you by making sure the system is running in top shape. Executive Air Conditioning will come take a look at your system, clean it out for you and recommend anything that you can do to improve the quality of the air in your home. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Can Pet Fur Damage my HVAC System?

pet hair in hvac system
If you have a dog or a cat, you know how much they can shed as seasons change. Sweeping up small piles of fur as the weather turns warm or cold is one of those chores we come to expect as a pet owner. Can all that fur damage or shorten the life of your furnace or AC unit? The short answer is yes, if it goes without maintenance. Here are some things to look for as a pet owner where your HVAC system is concerned and some tips on making sure your furry loved one doesn’t affect one of the most essential systems in your home.

Pet Hair Duct Work and Air Filters

Your furnace works circulating air throughout your home that heat or cools it to the temperature that you have set on your thermostat. In order to do this, a complex system of ducting exists inside of your walls. You may be able to see this ductwork if you have exposed rafters in your basement.

In order to get the air into your HVAC system, there are intakes throughout your house. These intake pull air into the system to be heated or cooled, depending on the time of year. Along with the air that is pulled in, so are other things that might be lying around and will fit through the screens on the intakes. This means pet fur can be pulled into your ducting. Since the system is not supposed to be pulling in pet fur, that fur can get caught in your ductwork and prevent good airflow through the ducting back to you HVAC system.

The pet fur that does get through will likely get caught in the air filter. The air filter sits inside of your HVAC system and is there to filter out all of the particles that can cause damage to the HVAC heating and cooling systems. As more and more particles collect on the filter, the filter becomes more difficult for air to get through. A clogged filter can reduce the energy efficiency of your HVAC system dramatically as all of the fans and motors must work much harder in order to get the proper flow they need to heat or cool your home. This can add a substantial cost to your energy bills and also cause heavy wear and tear on your components, shortening their life.

Pet Dander as Allergens

While pet dander is not as important from an equipment standpoint, it can be important from a people standpoint. Pet dander is generally too small to be caught in a regular air filter. It is also too small to cause any damage to motors or fans that circulate the air around your home. However, if your HVAC system does not have a HEPA filter to pull allergens out of the air, you could be spreading them throughout your home.

If you have pets, you should schedule regular cleanings of your ducting and your filters. You may also want to speak to professionals about having a HEPA filter installed or using an air filter that has a HEPA filter built in. Executive Air Conditioning is happy to help with all your cleaning needs. Contact us today!

What is That Smell?

HVAC System smells bad
The first time that your furnace or air conditioner comes on in a new season, you may notice strange smells coming out of your air ducts. This is normal for seasonal disuse.

If strange smells persist, they can indicate serious issues with your HVAC system that need to be addressed by a professional. Here are some tips to help you identify what a smell might be telling you.

Damp or Mold Mustiness

The first thing that these types of smells can indicate is that you may have leaking duct work. If water gets into ducting and sits there, it makes the perfect place for mold and mildew to grow.

Musty smells could also indicate that your dehumidifier is inadequate for the level of humidity in the house. Air conditioners remove water vapor from the air. If there is too much, this function can be overloaded and create an odd smell.

A smell like this might also indicate a leak in the internal plumbing of your HVAC system.

Electrical Burning Smell

Wire insulation and circuit boards have a very distinct smell when they are burning. These types of issues can be caused by loose connections internally in the system. More often than not, these smells are indications of a very serious failure of mechanical parts of your HVAC system.

Pumps, motors, blowers and vents can get stuck if they are not regularly serviced. When you attempt to use your heat or AC, these stuck parts will cause these types of smells. It means they are attempting to do their job, but are unable to.

These odors can also be caused by a clogged air filter. Changing out the filter might resolve the issues. If the smells persist, contacting a professional is a good idea.

Natural Gas

A system that runs on natural gas can have issues. Since natural gas is a combustible substance, smelling it can indicate a very dangerous situation.

The first thing to do is check the pilot light for your furnace. If the pilot is out, turn the gas off and vent the area. Once the area has been vented, attempt to light the pilot following the instructions on your furnace.

If this does not clear up the gas smell, open all of your windows and leave the building. Call 9-1-1 or the gas company as this could indicate very serious problems that need to be addressed by emergency crews.

Oil Smells

If your system runs on heating oil, you may have a heating oil smell that in the house. This smell might indicate a leak in your oil burner or possibly in your oil tank.

Sometimes these leaks are caused by something simple, like a loose fitting. If you cannot find the source of the smell and find no indications of a leak, you should contact a professional to have your heating system looked at.

In many cases, odd smells could be fixed by you with simple maintenance. Any time smells persist, contact a professional to enact repairs.

Keep that Air Healthy with a Home Humidifier

Home Humidifier

When installing a new furnace or air conditioner, one of the many upgrade options you could choose is to add a home humidifier. Many see a humidifier is one of the things that are only needed when a child has a head cold. Full home humidifiers can have many benefits if installed directly to your new furnace or air conditioner.

Reduce Symptoms of Allergies and Asthma

Fall and spring are times when allergens fill the air. Along with pollen in the air, dust, dirt and other particles can combine and increase the possibility for symptoms of asthma.

Dry air can intensify the effects of particulates in the air. This can lead to more frequent flair ups and breathing issues. Air quality can also affect skin conditions like eczema.

These conditions can be even worse in the winter months when the air is very dry. Force heating systems tend to pull what little remaining moisture there is out of the air.

A home humidifier works by adding moisture to the air circulated by your air conditioner or furnace. The added moisture works to reduce the effects of particulates. It will also help ease the symptoms of asthma or allergies by not drying out nasal passages and bronchial tubes.

Protect the Things in your Home

Not only can dry air affect the health of the people living in your home, it can also damage furniture, wood floors or paint. A dry environment will shorten the life of all of these items by pulling the moisture out of them. This effect leaves things more brittle and prone to cracking or tearing.

A more humid environment will allow your woods and fabrics to remain hydrated and supple. Paint will not crack and peel as easily with a balance in humidity.

Reduce your Heating Bills

Dryer air feels colder. That means that in a dryer environment, you are likely to use your furnace more frequently and at a higher temperature. If you have a humidifier, you can keep more moisture in the air. The moisture helps to hold the heat both in the air and on your body.

Think about the summer months when it is hot outside. If the air is humid, it makes you feel warmer than you actually are. This is because the humid air makes the moisture stick to your skin.

Dry air in the wintertime has the opposite effect. The dryer air makes moisture evaporate from your skin, making you feel cooler. Upping the humidity in your home will make it feel warmer.

There is such a thing as Too Humid

If you do install a home humidifier, remember that you can make the air too humid. This environment will breed dust mites and mold growth. Typically humidity levels over 60% will start the growth of these unwanted pests.

Your best bet is to to keep your humidity balanced around 50%; this home air quality level will allow you to achieve the best results for your family’s health.

Cleaning Your Air Ducts Can Keep You from Getting Sick

cleaning out dirty air ductsMost people are fortunate enough to not have had to stare into the depths of an old, unclean air duct. One glance at one, though, and you will be sure to remember to keep your air ducts clean for the rest of your life.

The fact is that a dusty air duct can harbor a lot more than dust if left alone for too long. The dust can absorb moisture, obstruct air flow and even offer a harbor to undesirable critters. Having your ducts cleaned on a regular basis is the only way to prevent these hazards, all of which can cause a decline in health.

Dirty Air Ducts and Air Quality

The most obvious problem resulting from dirty vents is a decline in air quality. Particles may be visibly seen floating in the air, and unseen vapors or gasses may also be spreading throughout the house after laying dormant in vents.

Because homes now have tighter “building envelopes” sealing out escaping air, a side effect is that harmful gasses cannot naturally escape, and they will instead find their way into your air circulation. This is why it is so important to make sure your vents are blown out regularly.

Dusty Air Ducts and Mold

Air ducts tend to develop condensation on the inside and out. A high difference in temperature will always cause the natural moisture in air to condense.

This phenomenon is why during the hot months when cool air is blowing through metal industrial ducts, one can usually spot small water droplets forming on the underside. Home vents have this effect too, although it may not be as noticeable.

What many people do not know is that the moisture in vents can be a breeding ground for black mold. Black mold produces extremely deadly toxins that not only create respiratory problems, but can also cause brain and heart damage over a long period of time.

Dust can soak up moisture, providing an even better foothold for mold to grow. Having your vents cleaned and checked for mold is the only way to prevent long-term exposure.

Unclean Air Ducts and Pests

The dust in air ducts can also obstruct air flow to the point where insects- and even small mammals like mice and rats- can make a home in them. During times when the system is not in use, animals may seek harbor in the secluded air vents. When the air kicks back in, they may run out into your home, only to retreat and breed again once the air is off.

A colony of insects or vermin can easily spread bacteria and other pathogens such as fungal spores when vents have air blown through them.

How Cleaning Vents Helps

Having a professional clean your air vents reduces the likelihood of these pathogen sources while also greatly improving air quality. A technician will come to your house and vacuum out the dust from ducts, which can be followed by blowing out the remaining debris into a safe receptacle. The technician can also clean off your heater fans, the interior of any registers and inspect your condenser coils for signs of dust or mold.

This process should be repeated every two to three years to ensure that air quality and duct cleanliness is such that everyone in the home will be healthy. More frequent cleanings may be needed if you notice problems or persisting debris.

To answer any questions about keeping the air you breathe clean, contact us and we will be glad to help guide you.