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

How Dirty Ducts Reduce Your Air Conditioner’s Efficiency

Monday, October 23rd, 2023

When you have dirty ductwork you face a variety of problems, both for your air conditioner and your home. But you can solve all of these problems with one simple service, and that is duct cleaning in Crystal Lake, IL.

When you clean out your ductwork regularly, it can have a positive impact on your air conditioner’s efficiency. In fact, it can be an investment in lowering energy costs and reducing strain on your air conditioner. You can keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of a duct cleaning service as well as how to know when it’s time to schedule the appointment.

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The Critical Role AC Filters Play in Your Indoor Air Quality

Monday, September 25th, 2023

Did you know that the air filter on your air conditioner has a very important role to play in maintaining your home’s indoor air quality? You have to consider the type of air filter that you use as well as how often you change or clean the air filter.

If you’re concerned about your indoor air quality in Crystal Lake, IL, you can always give our team a call. We can assess your air conditioner, including the filter, and talk to you about ways to improve your indoor air quality. You can also keep reading to learn more about the important role that your filter plays and how it extends beyond filtering out dust and dirt.

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5 Reasons You Should Get an Air Purifier in Your Home ASAP

Monday, July 3rd, 2023

Have you ever wondered about the indoor air quality of your home? If you get sick frequently or experience allergy symptoms, the air inside your home may be to blame. Germs and bacteria get trapped inside without being able to circulate out. Then they multiply and spread, making it more likely that you will get sick.

But we have a solution. Give our team a call for air purifier services in Huntley, IL. You can keep reading to learn more about the five benefits of a whole-house air purifier and how they help the indoor air quality of your home. 

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Ceiling Fan on the Fritz? Here’s What Could Be Wrong

Monday, June 5th, 2023

If your ceiling fan is not working as it should, and you may be wondering what is wrong. Even though it is a fairly small addition to your home, there are a lot of components that go into ceiling fan operation. Any number of things could be wrong.

But our team can take the guesswork out of ceiling fan repair in Crystal Lake, IL. We can assess the problem and either fix or replace your ceiling fan, depending on what is wrong. You can keep reading to learn more about common ceiling fan problems that we see and what they mean. 

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How Duct Cleaning Improves Your Indoor Air Quality

Monday, April 24th, 2023

When you think about how your air conditioner operates, you probably take into consideration that your air filter helps to improve your home’s indoor air quality. But if you don’t change your air filter regularly, dust and dirt can begin getting into your HVAC system.

And that’s not the only way that dust and dirt get in. These tiny particles can get through the tiniest, gaps and holes, building up over time to become much more significant.

If you want to improve your indoor air quality in Lake Geneva, our team can help by offering duct cleaning services. You can keep reading to learn more about why duct cleaning works and how it improves your indoor air quality. 

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Why You Should Choose a Whole-House Air Purifier

Monday, October 24th, 2022

When you think about air quality, you might think about the mold and pollen levels outside. You can’t do much to improve the outdoor air, but you can improve the air quality inside your home. Don’t think that high mold and pollen levels have to come inside with you when you go home.

There’s something you can do to improve our indoor air quality. When you invest in an air purifier in Hinsdale, IL, you also invest in your family’s health and well-being. Air purifiers can even help protect your home from mold and mildew damage. If you’re ready to breathe easy when you’re in the comfort of your own home, give us a call. We can help you pick the best whole-house air purifier to fit your needs. 

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The Benefits of Low Level Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Monday, November 22nd, 2021

We are sure that you know the benefits of having standard carbon monoxide detectors in your home. But do you know the benefit of low level carbon monoxide detectors? Low level carbon monoxide detectors are just as important but not always talked about. Standard carbon monoxide detectors are the ones we’re used to. Today, we want to bring some attention to the distinction between the two. 

When we talk about carbon monoxide detectors in McHenry, IL, we find the that trouble and the disconnect typically comes from a lack of knowledge. This is why our professionals are here. We strive to make things as easy as possible for you. You can get the service you need from our team members. 

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Indoor Air Quality Checkpoint: How’s Your Air?

Monday, September 13th, 2021

Today is when you should take a moment to check in with your home’s indoor air quality. This is something that can get lost in the shuffle. Heating and air conditioning tend to be the kings and queens of temperature control. We don’t blame you if this is your central focus, but we do want to encourage you to broaden your horizons a little.

This is why we want to focus on your indoor air quality in Crystal Lake, IL. Today we’re going to talk about signs that you need help with your indoor air quality, the various options that you have with our professionals, and why professional care is important.

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A Guide to Home Humidifier Maintenance: Better Performance and Better Health

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

As we transition from warm 80 degree days to chilly 40 degree temps, it’s likely that you’ll notice that the indoor air in your home becomes much drier than usual. As temperatures drop and the air becomes drier, many homeowners turn to humidifiers for a solution. But what does a home humidifier do, and why is it so beneficial to own one?

In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about what a humidifier does, how it can improve your health, and how to perform routine home humidifier maintenance. If you have been on the fence about purchasing a house humidifier, then keep reading to learn more before making your investment!

How Does a Humidifier Work?

The most common type of humidifier is the evaporative humidifier. A water reservoir holds cold water and dispenses it into a basin. From here, a wicking filter absorbs the water from the basin, and then a fan blows air through the moistened filter.

Evaporative humidifiers are usually self-regulating. As the air passes through the filter, some of the water evaporates. The higher the humidity is in the environment, the more difficult it is for the water to evaporate from the filter. Thus, as humidity increases, the humidifier’s ability to add humidity to the air decreases.

However, at Althoff Industries, we offer homeowners durable, whole-home, industrial-grade Aprilaire humidifiers. These are far superior to evaporative humidifiers, as they don’t utilize a water reservoir and are instead connected directly to your house’s water supply. Each Aprilaire humidifier comes with a five-year warranty, and they are equipped with easy-to-use digital controls that allow for simple adjustments to be made.

Maintaining Humidity Levels

Overall, try to keep the humidity in your home between 30% and 50% if possible. Humidity levels above 60% have the potential to allow moisture, germs, and bacteria to build up on indoor surfaces, while humidity levels below 30% will cause the air to become too dry.

What to Do if Your Humidifier Is Malfunctioning

Humidifiers are capable of lasting for several years. However, with the amount of use they get, you may find that your humidifier may not be working as effectively as it should. Additionally, dirty humidifiers may also lead to a build-up of the very same germs and bacteria that the humidifier was designed to protect you from.

Manufacturers often suggest that most humidifiers should have some type of general maintenance performed on them at least once a year. This is because air traveling through the humidifier carries dust, debris, and other particles, which can clog the filter and create a buildup of mineral deposits. The best way to keep your humidifier up and running is to have a professional perform regular maintenance on it.

Althoff Industries can perform repairs and maintenance on your current home humidifier, or we can completely install a new humidifier if your old one is broken. We offer high-quality, durable Aprilaire humidifiers that are some of the best available on the market. The following are ways that our humidifiers can improve the quality of your household.

  • Save on Utility Bills An effective humidifier will keep the air in your home moist, allowing it to hold heat better. This will help you feel more comfortable at lower temperatures.
  • Prevents Uncomfortable Dry Skin Our humidifiers prevent excessive itchiness, flaking, and chapped lips. Overly dry air can exacerbate existing conditions like eczema and acne, and our humidifiers can help with that too.
  • Prevents Static Electricity Overly dry air can lead to a build-up of static electricity in your household, causing your clothes to stick together, painful electric shocks, and even damage to your electronics.
  • Prevents Damage to Your Home If there isn’t enough moisture in the air, damage to your home can occur, including cracking, shifting, and loss of shape.
  • Keeps Your Family Healthier Breathing in dry air can dry out your sinuses, leading to an increased risk of catching colds and getting sick, as your mucus is less able to catch germs that you breathe in.

Contact Althoff Industries to Solve Your Air Quality Needs

If your humidifier isn’t cutting it, and you think you need the help of professionals, contact Althoff Industries. With our staff of experienced HVAC technicians, we can thoroughly inspect your home and recommend the best high-quality humidifiers for your home. Estimates on new equipment are always free!

If you are in the market for a new humidifier, then contact Althoff Industries, so we can help you make an educated purchase. We also offer a number of other air quality, plumbing, and electrical services to keep your home running in tip-top shape!

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What Is the Difference Between a GFCI Outlet and a Regular Outlet?

Monday, September 14th, 2020

Electricity is something people take for granted because of how prevalent it is in our daily lives, but electrical safety is no joke. People can get seriously injured by electrical shocks in the home.

Electricity, water, and humans are a bad combination, which is why GFCI outlets were invented. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, and it is a type of electrical safety precaution that was invented to decrease the likelihood of people suffering from electrical shocks while they are in areas of the house that contain water sources.

Standard electrical outlets provide no protection against ground faults, making them extremely risky to use, especially when they are located near water. If your house has no GFCI technology embedded into your high-risk outlets, then there is a significantly increased chance that you could get electrocuted.

Below you can find our guide to GFCI outlets, including where they should be located in the home and what to do if one is malfunctioning.

What Is a Ground Fault?

First, we should probably explain what exactly a ground fault is.

A “fault” is an electrical term that describes an instance where electricity deviates from its intended path, and a “ground fault” is when electricity takes an unintended path to the ground.

See, when electricity is not in a controlled environment, it makes a beeline toward whatever is the best conductor in the immediate vicinity. This is why most lightning strikes the ground, because the ground is one of the best electrical conductors there is.

In the home, electricity is contained within wires that are covered in an insulating material such as plastic or rubber. This prevents the electricity from escaping and flowing through a different conductor, such as water, the ground, or a person.

Unfortunately, wires can get frayed or damaged which can break the insulation keeping the electricity at bay. When the power source is turned on this can cause a person to become electrocuted which can lead to serious injury or even death.

Standard electrical outlets have no safety features installed within them to prevent people from being electrocuted and these standard outlets were the only ones used in homes built before the 1970s.

Thus, a safety measure had to be invented in order to significantly reduce the chances of this occurring.

What is a GFCI Outlet?

GFCI protection technology was invented in the 1970s and GFCI outlets began to be used in place of standard electrical outlets in certain high-risk areas of the home.

Any electrical outlet that is located in an area of the house containing a water source (i.e. bathrooms, kitchen counters, etc.) is required to be outfitted with GFCI technology.

A GFCI outlet contains sensors that continuously monitor the surge of electricity within the wiring. When a fault is detected, the GFCI immediately shuts off the flow of electricity to the outlet.

This response typically occurs within thirty milliseconds, so the person using the outlet may still receive a painful electric shock. A sustained surge of electricity to the human body is what can cause more serious problems and GFCI is designed to prevent.

Where Should GFCI Outlets Be Installed?

Areas of the house that are required by law to use GFCI protected outlets include kitchen counters, bathrooms, garages, laundry rooms, unfinished basements, and within six feet of wet bars.

Other areas of the house like bedrooms and living rooms that don’t contain water sources are not required to use GFCI receptacles, as there is not much risk of electrocution in those areas.

Houses that are built after the year 2014 require GFCI circuit breakers to be installed during construction, so that the entire house receives GFCI protection.

However, if you live in a house that was built before the 1970s, then all your outlets will be of the standard variety and contain no GFCI protection. If this is the case, then you should most certainly have your existing outlets replaced to reduce your risk of being electrocuted.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), electrocutions are down more than 83 percent since the 1970s when GFCI technology was introduced, which goes to show how important GFCI is.

What to Do if a GFCI Outlet is Malfunctioning

You can tell if an outlet has GFCI protection because it will have two small buttons between the receptacles labeled “RESET” and “TEST.” Every so often the GFCI will trigger and shut off electrical flow to the outlet when a fault has not actually occurred.

This could happen for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common is static electricity occurring near the outlet.

The GFCI protection activating by mistake every once in a while is no big deal, as it can be activated again by simply pressing the “RESET” button and turning it back on.

Pressing the “TEST” button allows you to check and see if the outlet is working properly. A GFCI outlet shouldn’t require much in the way of maintenance, but it doesn’t hurt to hit the test button once every month or so just to make sure that it’s working.

If your outlet tests back negative or is repeatedly shutting off without reason, then you should probably get it replaced. If you have experience with electrical wiring, then you can probably do it yourself.

If not, then you should call a professional to come fix it for you. An inexperienced person can get seriously injured by messing around with the wires.

On the other hand, if you live in an old house or you have standard outlets located in areas where GFCI outlets should be, then you should absolutely have them replaced. If you don’t, then you are putting yourself at unnecessary risk.

Althoff Industries has been servicing the Chicago area for many years. Whether you have just a single malfunctioning outlet that needs to be replaced or you need your entire house to be outfitted with GFCI technology, Althoff has got your back.

Call us at (844) 202-7430 if you have an emergency electrical issue that needs to be taken care of or visit our website to view all of the services that we provide.

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