Althoff Home Services Blog: Archive for the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

Do I Need a Humidifier In My Home?

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

If you feel something isn’t quite right about the air quality in your home, determining the best route back to optimal functionality can be a complicated process. While it’s true that weather and climate have a significant impact on indoor air quality, there are numerous other factors you need to consider.

Even when the solution seems obvious, it is important to do your research before installing any indoor air treatments like a humidifier in your home.

If you choose to skip this step, you can wind up creating a much larger problem than you had when you started. Sometimes, those problems can even turn out to be hazardous to your health.

When in doubt, it is always better to ask a specialist. In this article, we’ll identify some of the best indicators humidity levels are not where they should be. From dry air during the winter months, to sticky, uncomfortable indoor air in the summer–this is your guide to understanding whether you need a humidifier (or some other indoor air treatment) in your home.

Too Much Moisture or Not Enough?

To simplify things for you, below are some signs to help identify whether your moisture levels are too high or too low.

Indicators of High Humidity

Summer air in the Midwest can be especially humid. It is not uncommon for moisture in the air to reach humidity levels of 75% and above. When there is excess condensation in the air inside your home, you may notice a sticky, moist, or clammy feel. At a more advanced phase, you may even detect a musty odor.

When left unchecked, high moisture air quality can create an environment perfect for the growth of unwanted nuisances such as pests, dust mites, bacteria, and even viruses.

Signs of Low-Moisture or Dry Air

During the colder months of the year, the opposite begins to happen. Instead of becoming sticky and moist, the air starts to feel dry. As temperatures drop, the cold air loses its ability to hold onto as much moisture.

This lack of humidity in the air comes with a host of potential health problems, commonly related to the respiratory system. If you live in an environment that enjoys all four seasons or has a traditionally dry climate, you’re likely no stranger to these symptoms.

Some of them include:

  • Chronic runny nose
  • Asthma or allergy flare-ups
  • Dry skin and nasal passages
  • Increased static in hair and electric shocks when touching people or objects
  • Bloody noses
  • Sinus congestion

Among these, an unexplained early morning cough, dry throat, or dry mouth are all indications you may be exposing yourself to dry air. All of these variables have the potential to impact your health significantly and can exacerbate or worsen existing respiratory conditions like allergies and asthma.

Solutions for Improving Air Quality

When you’ve identified your indoor moisture levels, you can start exploring potential solutions.

When Humidity Is Too Low

If you’re experiencing symptoms that are consistent with dry air, you will want to incorporate a solution that adds moisture in the air. Chiefly, a whole-home humidifier.

What Is a Humidifier?

Humidifiers are moisture increasing devices known to help relieve dry climate and wintertime symptoms by, at the most basic level, adding water vapor to the air.

Humidifiers can protect your body from the effects of dry air, but they can also be beneficial for proper maintenance of indoor finishes and structures.

Hardwood floors, wooden furniture, and hardwood moldings are just a few of the fixtures that can commonly become damaged due to excessively dry air.

To get the best results–and quality for your investment–you should choose a humidifier that is best suited to your personalized conditions and environment.

Types of Humidifiers

Central humidifiers or whole-home humidifiers are designed to improve moisture throughout your entire home. If you want to reduce or even eliminate the problems associated with dry indoor air, this is the most effective option. Because of its efficiency, it is more expensive than alternatives but more effective.

Steam humidifiers or vaporizers convert water into steam to add more moisture to indoor air. These humidifiers are beneficial, even in homes where much humidity is needed to keep levels balanced.

Bypass humidifiers connect directly to your HVAC system. These units use the blower motor of your furnace to force air through a water panel, which adds moisture. The motor then circulates the treated air back into the rest of your home.

Fan-powered humidifiers connect with your HVAC system, as well. Through the use of a built-in motor, fan-powered humidifiers work by pulling air into the unit and through a water panel, where water is added and redistributed with increased humidity. These can work as standalone units without an HVAC system as well, which lowers energy consumption.

Not super interested in the different makes and models of humidifiers?

Don’t let the task of choosing the right humidifier keep you with dry sinuses and itchy skin for the duration of the winter season. Instead, look for a team of air quality experts to help you find the best product to suit your household, budget, comfort, and personalized needs.

With qualified technicians like the team at Althoff by your side, you can enjoy the comfort of knowing they can install the equipment correctly.

Why Althoff Industries

Our goal is to bring our customers superior indoor air quality.

We understand that your system must work efficiently to maintain the comfort of your home. It must help clean, heat, and cool your indoor air while reducing indoor humidity through the steamy summer months and adding moisture to the air during the cold Chicago winters.

We specialize in creating solutions to maximize your savings without compromising comfort.

Since 1961, we’ve been serving Chicago area businesses, industries, apartment and condominium and single-family homeowners with a range of services including the installation of humidifiers.

Schedule an appointment today and discover the difference we can make in your indoor air quality and comfort. We look forward to assisting you!

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3 Reasons Why a Mismatched HVAC System Costs You More Money

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

There is a reason HVAC companies refer to their equipment as a “system”. It’s because each component is designed to work in harmony to provide efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The older an HVAV system is, however, the more opportunities there are to end up with a mismatched evaporator coil and condenser. A mismatched HVAC system can often be referred to as a “Frankenstein” system because it is still operating on pieces and parts that weren’t intended to work, or certainly not work efficiently together.

A Question of Economics

For homeowners, it becomes a question of economics when looking at replacing either an air conditioning unit or a furnace. Can you replace one or the other? Yes. There are, however, a lot of reasons you shouldn’t. Here are three ones.

  1. Replacing both units at the same time will save you money long-term. What many homeowners may not realize is that if they replace only the outdoor AC unit, they’ll probably be spending money to replace the indoor unit shortly thereafter. Your HVAC company won’t have a problem with that because you, in essence, will be paying installation costs twice. In the photo used as an example, you’ll see an AC unit that was replaced just two years before the furnace. To make sure the AC unit worked with mismatched hvacthe furnace they had at the time, we had to make use of a wider coil. When we replaced the furnace, the new furnace was not as wide. This means that now the components aren’t properly matched or aligned for optimal airflow. It involved more work and added more expense. Replacing both units would ensure an efficient, dependable system that will function properly for a longer period of time.
  2. Matched systems perform better. When air conditioning units are designed, they are built to work with a matched indoor unit. This matched system works in tandem to generate optimum efficiency and ideal system performance. As mentioned, replacing an outdoor air conditioner unit without installing the matching indoor unit will work. However, you are jeopardizing the dependability of both units. This compromises your HVAC system’s efficiency, which may cost more in the long run.
  3. Efficiency ratings are based on matched systems. When you purchase a new HVAC unit, the heating and cooling efficiency ratings are based on matched system performance. That means, if you bought a condenser with an 18 SEER rating to help you save money on monthly bills, you won’t realize the full potential of those savings without the matching furnace. The wider the difference range between SEER ratings of equipment, the less efficient they will be in working together.

Another Reason Trusted, Reputable HVAC Service is Important

The issue of a mismatched evaporator coil and condenser and a mismatched HVAC system is yet another reason to perform due diligence in selecting your HVAC company. While we will do what we can to extend the life of any system, there is a time when the wiser choice is to simply replace a system.

A matched system will run more efficiently, perform better, last longer, and deliver cost savings well beyond the extra expense. To learn more, contact one of our expert HVAC technicians today! We service homeowners in the NW Chicago suburbs  and would love the opportunity to service your residential home or commercial business.

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