Althoff Home Services Blog: Archive for the ‘Air Conditioning’ Category

How to Stay Cool Through the End of Summer

Monday, August 16th, 2021

The hottest month of the summer has arrived. We know that you’ve been feeling the heat. If you’re looking for ways to stay cool through the rest of the summer, then you’ve found the right blog.

One thing that we pride ourselves on doing here is passing on the knowledge we have to our customers. If you need quality air conditioning care in Crystal Lake, IL, then we want to help you with this. You should start out with the tips we list today. If you notice that you could use help getting better relief from the heat this summer, then we’re going to help you today.

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Central AC Isn’t Your Only Option

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

Are you thinking about switching up your air conditioning this summer? You don’t need to stick with an air conditioner that doesn’t serve you well. We always want to remind you of this because we understand it’s easy to lose sight of these things. If you’d like to upgrade to a new air conditioning system, you need to make sure that you’re considering all your options.

Air conditioning in Crystal Lake, IL is our specialty. Make sure that you’re considering all the options available to you because you deserve to explore all of them. We’re the team that can walk you through everything and we’re going to start today with this blog.

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This Is Why Your AC Is Leaking

Monday, July 19th, 2021

Your air conditioner’s job is pretty simple—to keep you cool when you need it. Your air conditioner has seemed to try to rack up some extra points this summer though. It’s giving you a little misting and moisture on top of your temperature control or, in other words, a leak!

You noticed the leak, thought it was just a one-off, but it kept leaking—now what? If you’ve come to the conclusion that you should call an air conditioning professional, then you’re on the right path. You can get the right air conditioning services in Crystal Lake, IL. We’ll help you figure out the problem with your air conditioning leaking today.

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How to Get the Best New AC System

Monday, July 5th, 2021

When you’re upgrading from one air conditioning system to another, you want the effort to be worthwhile. How can you make sure that you’re getting a quality new air conditioning system? You’ve already taken the right first step by finding this blog.

Buying a new air conditioning system is a commitment. You’re buying this new air conditioning system expecting it to last you for the better part of a decade. If you want tips that are going to perfect your air conditioning system, then you can consult with our team. We’re specialists in air conditioning services in Crystal Lake, IL.

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How to Prepare Your AC for Summer: A Handy Checklist

Monday, June 21st, 2021
hand drawing check box on a white background

It’s warming up. Are you ready for the spike in our weather?

When we talk about preparing for warm weather, you might just focus on maintenance. While this is the core portion of preparing your home for summer, there are other things you can do to prepare your home as well. You need proper air conditioning care. There are blind spots that you might miss as a homeowner. If you’d like to make sure that you’re covering everything, then you’ve found the right blog. We’re prepared to help with your air conditioning in Crystal Lake, IL.

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It Didn’t Even Storm! Why Is My Power Out? 5 Reasons for Power Outages

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

From high winds to lightning strikes to ice storms, many regions of this country are more prone to power outages than others throughout the year. However, a power outage doesn’t always require a major storm for it to occur. In fact, there are several reasons for a power outage that have nothing to do with the weather.

Sooner or later, we will all deal with a power outage. However, when you can narrow down the causes of your power outage, you may be able to gain better insight into how long you may be without power and what to do when one occurs.

Below are a few common causes of power outages, as well as what you can do in the event you experience a power outage in your home.

Common Reasons for a Power Outage

The causes of power outages can vary, and each one may affect the length of time it takes to restore power to your home. Here are a few of the most frequent causes of power outages.

Equipment Failure of Maintenance

While it doesn’t happen frequently, electricity equipment, such as transformers, can fail or short circuit, causing the flow of power in your home to stop. Additionally, if a utility company must perform maintenance on their equipment, they might want to temporarily switch off the power to protect their employees from injuries. Utility companies should be giving you advance notice for these planned outages.


One of the most common causes for power outages, aside from major thunderstorms, is falling trees or tree branches. Furthermore, if trees are growing right beneath an overhead power line, it’s possible that their branches may get caught in the power lines and cause a power outage. However, this doesn’t frequently happen because utility companies are allowed to cut down trees if they could potentially pose a threat to power lines.


Believe it or not, another common cause of power outages is due to animals. Squirrels and other small animals are known to chew through power lines relatively easily, which can quickly trigger a power outage. Because of this, many utility companies install “squirrel guards” around their utility poles to prevent them from climbing the poles.

Vehicle Accidents

With the number of electrical poles located throughout each community, it’s not unusual for a vehicle accident involving an electrical pole to cause a power outage. If a car crashes into an electrical pole, it may also result in a power outage in the entire region served by the specific electrical pole.

Human Error

Another common cause of power outages is human error. Though they are mostly avoidable, power outages caused by human error are somewhat prevalent. They often occur when excavation contractors or homeowners dig into their property before consulting with their local utility company or the national call-before-you-dig phone number (811) and accidentally come into contact with power lines.

What to Do During a Power Outage

Although power outages leave homeowners with a sense of helplessness, there are several things that you can do if you find yourself in the middle of one. Let’s take a look at a few of them below.

Safely Inspect the Area

When a power outage occurs, the first thing you can do is inspect your nearby area to narrow down the causes. Of course, you should do this as safely as possible, but here are a few things you can look for when inspecting your surroundings:

  • Check to see if there is a problem with your circuit breaker
  • Check to see whether or not your neighbors have power
  • Look for any downed power lines
  • Walk around your home to see if there is any flooding

Turn Off Major Appliances

Another good thing to do during a power outage is to turn off any major appliances that are plugged into the wall. While many homeowners often overlook this, doing this can help prevent electrical energy surges when the power returns and avoid severe damage to equipment such as computers and televisions.

Stay Safe

Above all, the best thing to do during a power outage is to stay safe. Though they can be unpredictable, the best way to deal with a power outage is to prepare for one. Be sure to keep bottled water, flashlights, and extra batteries on hand, as well.

Power Your Home with the Help of Althoff

When owning a home, knowing whether or not you have a professional electrical service you can call at a moment’s notice is critical. Whether your home needs electrical repairs, installations, upgrades, replacements, or inspections, Althoff has you covered.

Since 1961, Althoff has remained dedicated to providing the Chicago area and Northwest suburbs with professional home HVAC, electrical, and plumbing services. With our accredited and highly trained staff of electricians, no job is too big or too small for the Althoff team. We also provide mechanical and electrical contracting services for our Greater Chicago customers and members of the surrounding areas.

If you’re looking for residential heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and mechanical services in the Greater Chicago area, contact Althoff today or call our emergency service number at (815) 455-7000.

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5 Benefits of Central AC (Besides Just Keeping Your Home Cool)

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

We all know that central AC is a must-have to keep your home cool during these hot summer months but a quality system has a range of benefits outside of just keeping temperatures regulated. Let’s take a look at 5 additional benefits of a central air conditioner outside of just keeping your home cool.

1. Regulate Humidity Levels

During the summer, high humidity is a given in the Midwest. Not only do high humidity levels make you hot and uncomfortable, but they can make you feel tired and foggy because your body is working harder to cool itself off.

Pests and allergens also thrive in humid environments so it is important to keep the humidity in your home around 30%-50% to stay both comfortable and healthy all summer long.

A properly installed central AC system is a great way to help regulate humidity levels in your home and can be paired with a dehumidifier to help further regulate moisture levels in the air!

2. Filter Out Harmful Dust and Debris

Filters may seem like nothing more than large pieces of cardboard with fibers or pleated paper-like material but they are actually extremely important to the functionality of your central AC system and an old filter could affect the air quality in your home.

Filters remove harmful dust and debris that could irritate your respiratory system and create cleaner air for you to breathe. Old air filters and low-quality air filters will not do a great job of filtering out these irritants and potentially recirculate particles back into your home. It is important that you change filters regularly and buy high-quality filters.

Make sure you look at the MERV value of the air filters you purchase. The higher the MERV value is, the more efficient the filter will be in trapping airborne particles. Our experts at Althoff typically recommend the high-quality filter and cabinet from Aprilaire. Our typical installation is either MERV 11 or MERV 13. To learn more about the Aprilaire air filters, visit our indoor air quality page!

3. Prevent Mold Growth

If your home is hot and humid, it could become the perfect environment for mold growth. Central AC units help to prevent mold by removing moisture (see Regulate Humidity Levels above) from the air that would otherwise shack up in walls and ceilings. During the hot, humid summer months, it is important that you set your central air conditioner between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain the proper humidity levels that we talked about earlier to prevent this unwanted mold.

4. Improve Sleep

The AC unit you have in your home can make a massive difference when it comes to the quality of sleep you are getting. Trying to sleep when you are too hot or cold is nearly impossible, and many have to suffer through sleepless nights, especially during summer because their AC system is inadequate. In addition, other options like window units or fans can be noisy and keep light sleepers up at night.

If your cooling system is keeping you up at night, we highly recommend contacting our HVAC experts to discuss installing a new system or upgrading your current one so you can finally get a good night’s rest, again.

5. Easier Installations & Maintenance

A huge benefit of having a professionally installed central AC system is that once it is there, you don’t have to worry about removing it and storing it in winter like bulky window units. Central AC systems can also be easily maintained and serviced. Instead of searching for what’s wrong with your AC, trying to fix it yourself, or buying a whole new unit, you can call the professionals at Althoff to come out and take a look.

If you are ready to invest in the comfort and air quality of your home, you can request a quote from our experts at Althoff Industries or give us a call at 815-455-7000 for more information.

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Central AC Costs and Considerations: What Will Work for Your Home and Budget

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Central AC is a game changer when it comes to beating the summer heat. Walking into your home on a hot day and having cold air hit your face is an awesome feeling. Not only do these systems circulate that wonderful cool air throughout your entire home, they also can improve your indoor air quality with high-quality filters, are quiet, and are extremely easy to use.

Now, this all sounds great but what you really want to know is how much it costs to install central AC in your home. Below we have outlined some of the factors that affect how much a central AC will cost.

Before we begin, it is important to consult with a professional who can accurately determine what type of central AC system will work best for your budget and install the system correctly. Our team at Althoff has worked with many homeowners just like you and can guide you through the entire process to ensure you make the best choice for your home.

1. The Size of Your Home

Like many things in life, central AC systems are not one size fits all. The square footage of your home helps to determine which AC unit size will keep you comfortable all summer long.

Air conditioner sizes are based on how much heat they can extract from your home. The amount of heat that can be extracted by an AC system is measured by BTUs (British thermal units). Every AC on the market indicates how many BTUs the unit can handle.

As the amount of BTUs increases, the cost of the system will increase. You will see us reference this unit of measurement throughout the rest of this post as we discuss other things that can affect cost.

2. Your Home’s Exposure to Sunlight

Although the square footage of your home is a great starting point when looking at how much a central AC will cost, it is also important to also think about how heat enters your home.

Even if the square footage is the same, homes with rooms that have huge windows will get hotter than homes with smaller windows and may need a system that can handle more BTUs even if the square footage is the same.

In the same vein, homes that are in the shade for the majority of the day or have windows that are not facing the sun will require a different system than those that are exposed to direct sunlight throughout the day.

3. Ceiling Height

A room with a high ceiling has much more volume than a room with a standard ceiling height – even if the square footage is the same.

If air conditioner capacity is too low for the overall volume of the room, the unit will cycle off frequently and the room will not remain cool – if it ever cools off at all.

4. Replacing Ductwork

Many newer homes are ready for central AC, but older homes may require ductwork. Ductwork will increase the cost but you will be thankful for the update in the long run. Sometimes the existing ducts are too small, worn or not properly insulated. This could lead to loud noise from the AC and higher energy bills because the system is working harder than it should.

5. SEER Rating and Energy Efficient Systems

Units with a higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating will cost more than lower-rated models, but they save more money over time and they are more environmentally friendly. Click here to learn more about SEER ratings for residential air conditioners.

6. Professional Installation

Some people try to install their AC system themselves but it is in your best interest to hire a professional. A lot of air conditioning systems are not installed correctly which can lead to issues like improper cooling and higher energy bills. Hiring a professional ensures that your unit will perform efficiently and keep your home cool.

Stay Cool This Summer With Althoff

Whether you are installing a new system or replacing your old one, the experts at Althoff can help. Contact us today to discuss your central AC needs. Give us a call at 815-455-7000 or complete an online form to schedule your appointment.

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How Central AC Works and How to Keep Cool All Season Long

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Summer is the perfect time for backyard barbecues, going for a swim at the pool, or taking a weekend getaway to the lake. When your air conditioner is running at 100 percent, summer is a breeze. If your AC isn’t performing its best, the summer heat can quickly turn into your worst enemy.

What’s the key to keeping your AC up and running? First, you need to know how the system works. With some basic AC know how, you can better understand what your AC needs to have a long, efficient life.

Once you understand how the system works, all the AC tips you’ve read online—and hopefully, here on our blog—make sense. Best of all, if you run into any trouble along the way, or suspect you need professional help, we can help.

How Your Central AC System Works

Most residential AC systems are pretty straightforward. They have a thermostat to control the temperature in your home, an air handler to circulate air throughout your home, and an air conditioning system to cool the air as it circulates through your home.


You’re probably familiar with your home’s thermostat. It actively measures the temperature within your home. In cooling mode, when the registered temperature is higher than the set temperature, the thermostat tells the system to turn on the AC and cool the home.

Circulating the air

Your central AC air handler is responsible for circulating cool air throughout your home. The air handler sucks in air through the return vents in your house. Next, the air passes through the air conditioning system and cools the air. Once cooled, the air handler blows the air through the vents in your home to lower air temperature in your house. Finally, when the thermostat measures that the temperature of the air in the house is cold enough, it tells the air handler to turn off.

Cooling the air

The air conditioning system is responsible for cooling the air as the air handler circulates it throughout your home. As a refrigeration system, the air conditioner actually removes the heat from the air in your home to make it feel colder. Air conditioners have three main components: a condenser, evaporator, and compressor.

As air passes through the air conditioning system, it passes through copper tubing that contains a refrigerant. This refrigerant removes heat from the air passing through the system. The compressor helps release the heat extracted by the refrigerant as the cooled air moves back through the air handler and into your house.

Simple Tips for Maintaining Your AC

AC repairs can be inconvenient, expensive, and as luck would have it, tend to happen on the hottest day of the year. Here are a few basic tips you can use to help keep your AC in tip-top, efficient shape for the long haul.

1. Be smart with your windows and doors. The hotter the air in your house, the harder your AC has to work. Open windows and doors leak hot air from the outside into your house. During hot summer days, limit how often you come in and out of your house. Also, identify and seal leaky windows in your house.

2. Inspect and change your air filter regularly. Your central AC system needs to circulate air freely throughout your house to operate efficiently. As the air handler sucks in air from your house, it also sucks in dirt, hair, dust, and other debris. Over time, these materials clog the air filter, which causes more wear on the system as it has to work harder to circulate air through the dirty filter.

3. Let the condenser breathe. Are there a lot of plants and leaves around your air conditioner’s outside unit? The condenser needs to expel air from the system freely. If plants are growing around the condenser or if it’s covered in leaves, clear them away so the unit can operate efficiently.

4.Allow air to flow freely through your home. For your air conditioner to operate at its optimal efficiency, the air handler needs to circulate through your home. You may think that closing vents and closing doors will help save money on your utility bills. In reality, it makes your air conditioner work harder as it tries to circulate air through closed vents and areas.

Don’t Forget to Schedule Regular AC System Maintenance

Need help maintaining your air conditioning system? The AC experts at Althoff Industries are just a phone call or click away. Give us a call at 815-455-7000 or fill out a contact form.

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6 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality This Summer

Monday, May 11th, 2020

When people think of air quality, they usually think of the air outdoors but the air inside can also become very polluted – especially during the warmer months. Things like dust and allergens, mold, chemicals used in conventional cleaners, and more can compromise indoor air quality. Luckily, there are steps you can take to improve indoor air quality in your home this summer!

snake plant air quality

1. Use a Dehumidifier

Pests and allergens thrive in the humidity. Dust mites, in particular, are a common trigger for allergies and asthma, and they love the humidity. However, most dust mites die off in low humidity environments. Keeping humidity around 30%-50% will help keep this under control. Although humidity in the Midwest region isn’t nearly as high as it is in places like Florida, humidity is still definitely present!

A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air and creates an environment that prevents dust mites and pests from shacking up in your home this summer.

2. Switch to a High-Quality Air Filter

If you went through our Spring Air Conditioner Maintenance Checklist and found that your filter was looking pretty dirty, you likely need to replace it. There are tons of air filters on the market but some perform better than others.

To tell how effective an air filter is, you will need to look at the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). MERV was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioner Engineers – ASHRAE and values vary from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV value is, the more efficient the filter will be in trapping airborne particles.

At Althoff, we recommend the high-quality filter and cabinet from Aprilaire. Based on the needs of our customer, our typical installation is either MERV 11 or MERV 13.

To learn more about the Aprilaire air filters, visit our indoor air quality page!

3. Groom Your Pets Regularly

We love our pets but they can create a lot of issues when it comes to indoor air quality. Pet dander is harmful to those who are allergic, but pets can also bring a whole host of other things into your home from the outdoors.

Regularly grooming your pets removes extra fur, dust, dirt, and other debris that can affect indoor air quality. We suggest brushing their fur and bathing them outside if possible or taking them to a professional groomer.

4. Avoid Synthetic Fragrances and Remove Odors

Synthetic fragrances in things like laundry products, cleaners, and air fresheners emit a lot of chemicals into the air. Although they may make your home smell clean, they are compromising the air quality. Fragranced products are not required to say exactly what makes the fragrance and can contain VOCs.

In addition, you may not be sensitive to heavily fragranced home products but visitors or pets might be.

Use products that are fragrance-free or naturally fragranced. You can also install an odor remover and air purification device like the Air Scrubber by Aerus. This device is installed in the ductwork of the central AC and uses a combination of UV-C light and activated carbon to reduce odor-causing 


To learn more about the Air Scrubber by Aerus, visit our indoor air quality page!

5. Purchase Air Purifying Plants

Indoor plants are a wonderful addition to any home and some can actually help clean the air. Although not quite as effective as man-made air purifiers, they work well in conjunction with effective purification systems.

NASA recommended air purification plants:

  • Snake plant
  • Money plant
  • Chinese evergreen
  • Spider plant
  • Aloe vera
  • Dragon tree

6. Install a Robust Air Purifier

All of the above are great ways to improve indoor air quality but if you really want clean air in your home, you should consider investing in an air purifier like the Abatement Technologies HEPA Residential Air Purifier.

The Abatement Technologies HEPA Residential Air Purifier converts home’s HVAC System into a Hospital-Grade HEPA Filtration System. The system removes at least 99.97% of microscopic airborne particles and pushes the air through multiple filtration cycles. Multiple filtration cycles means that the system catches tiny particles that lower-quality purifiers and most filters miss.

This type of high-quality HVAC purification system also offers germicidal UV (UVGI) lamp technology irradiates and helps control mold spores and bacteria.

With an air purifier like this one, you will want to hire an expert to install it correctly to ensure that the air in your home is as clean as can be!

To learn more about the Abatement Technologies HEPA Residential Air Purifier, visit our indoor air quality page!

In recent decades, many are spending significantly more time inside and that means we all should be mindful of the air quality in our homes.

If you are interested in learning more about the indoor air quality systems and installation, click here! If you are ready to invest in the air quality of your home, you can request a quote from our experts at Althoff Industries or give us a call at 815-455-7000 for more information.

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