Most of the time, your air conditioning unit blows air into your home that you probably don’t even notice. It just flows through your house unobtrusively, keeping you comfortable without being noticeable. Sometimes, though, you turn on your air conditioner and an unpleasant odor fills your home. It might smell like dirty gym socks, it might resemble exhaust fumes or the air in your home might suddenly smell like rotten eggs. Should you be concerned? If foul-smelling air comes out of your HVAC unit, is it dangerous?
• Dirty sock syndrome is no laughing matter. It may sound like a funny thing to call an air conditioning issue, but it is actually a term used in the HVAC industry. What’s more, in some situations it can be dangerous. It happens when a foul, moldy smelling odor comes from your air conditioner, and it’s caused by mold, mildew, and bacteria on the evaporator coil. This is especially common in warm climates, where it’s not unusual for it to be hot enough to run the air conditioner during the day, and cool enough to run the heat at night. Heat mixes with dust and moisture inside the air conditioning unit, causing mold and mildew, which creates that dirty, musty smell. To combat this problem, make sure the drainage pans are empty, replace your air conditioning filter, clean your condenser coils, and clear any blocked drainage lines. If the smell persists, call in a professional. If mold continues to grow inside your HVAC unit, it can cause health risks to you and your family. You can often prevent dirty sock syndrome by using high-quality air conditioning filters and a UV air purifier.
• Sometimes, your air conditioner may smell like exhaust fumes. Why would that happen, when your air conditioner is not powered by gas? The answer is simple: fluids in the engine and in other parts of your air conditioner can leak out and cause an odor that resembles exhaust fumes. The only thing to do in this situation is to call for professional assistance.
• A gun powder smell is also something you might find mysterious. This usually indicates an electrical problem, like a fan motor or circuit board that’s shorted out. Keeping your HVAC unit in good repair can prevent this problem, but if you smell something that smells like gun powder, call an HVAC contractor.
• Like the gun powder smell, a burning smell can mean electrical issues. It could be a mechanical problem with the fan or compressor, it might be a wiring issue, or it may be a failure of an electrical component, but whatever it is, it’s not healthy for you to breathe in burning odors. Sometimes, it may not be serious: if it only happens when you first start it up, it could just be dust burning off of your unit. If the smell persists, though, don’t try to repair it yourself. it’s best left to a professional because fixing a problem with the motor or wiring can lead to injury if you don’t know what you’re doing.
• A skunk smell usually indicates a gas leak in the system. Methyl mercaptan is a gas that smells like a skunk’s spray, and when it gets into your ductwork it can cause this smell to enter your home. If this happens, evacuate your home immediately, and call your air conditioning repair company, because this is a dangerous gas and requires immediate attention.
• Rotten egg smell may mean something has died. Often, birds or rodents get into air ducts in the winter, and if they die and begin to decompose it will lead to a horrible odor in your home. If your home smells like rotten eggs, your ducts need to be professionally cleaned. Another source of rotten egg smell is a natural gas leak. In either case, it’s smart to call in a professional HVAC contractor immediately.
• Mold and mildew have their own distinctive smell. A moldy odor in your home usually means that mildew or fungus have started growing in or near the air conditioning unit. Because mold thrives in moist areas, it makes sense that it would grow in HVAC units that aren’t draining properly. What’s more, dirty filters often five off the scent of mildew. If you smell a moldy smell, change your filter. If the odor persists, call in a professionally trained HVAC technician.
Of course, bad smells are not the only indication that something is amiss with your air conditioning unit. Various sounds can indicate a problem with your HVAC, as can excess water or other liquids leaking from the system. One way to get ahead of these issues is to have annual maintenance performed on your system, but if you find yourself with an air conditioning system that doesn’t smell, sound, or perform the way it should, it’s time to call in an HVAC professional.
If you need to find a professional to check your HVAC, or you’re in the market for air duct cleaning, repair, and replacement services in Tampa, St. Petersburg and the surrounding area, please feel free to call Air Rescue at (813) 375-9982. Since 1946, our family-owned business has been providing superior service at unbeatable prices, offering heat and air conditioning repair services, new HVAC system installations, and more for homes and businesses. The service team at Air Rescue Air Conditioning consists of 75 expertly trained and licensed technicians, who work quickly and efficiently. Our service and pricing guarantee ensures that we always arrive on time, offer you the lowest price in the industry, and leave you 100% satisfied. Schedule your service visit today, and we’re confident that you’ll make us our HVAC company for life.
When you picture home heating and cooling, you probably think of raising and lowering the temperature to keep your home comfortable. However, there’s more to home comfort than just the temperature – humidity plays an equally important role. Learn how humidity affects HVAC performance and home comfort in all seasons.
High Humidity in the Summer
In Florida, high humidity is commonplace. The air often feels muggy and heavy outside, and you can’t wait to rush into the nearest air-conditioned building. It’s important to understand that air conditioners don’t just remove heat from your home – they also dehumidify. This occurs naturally as a side effect of the cooling process.
The evaporator coil housed in the interior portion of your AC unit grows very cold as chilled refrigerant flows through it. As air blows over this coil, it’s stripped of heat. Moisture in the air also condenses on the evaporator coil, the same way water forms on the outside of an ice-cold glass of lemonade. This moisture drips off the coil and into a condensate pan where it drains away.
While your AC unit removes some moisture from the air, it might not be enough in Florida’s humid climate. Here are some signs that you should take measures to combat high indoor humidity:
- Cool but clammy feeling – Sweating is your body’s natural ability to cool itself. If the air is already so saturated with moisture that your sweat doesn’t evaporate quickly, you’re left with a clammy feeling, even if you set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. You may be forced to turn the temperature down further, increasing your cooling bills as a result.
- Musty odor – High humidity promotes mold growth, especially in moisture-prone areas such as the basement and bathroom. If these areas have a lingering musty smell, you should get the humidity under control before any damage occurs.
- Foggy windows and plumbing fixtures – Air conditioners can remove humidity because moisture condenses on cold surfaces. At room temperature, glass and metal feel cool to the touch, so water condenses here first. Check your windows and plumbing fixtures for a layer of moisture. That’s a clue your humidity level is too high.
- The reading on a hygrometer is 50 percent or higher – The goal is to keep indoor relative humidity below 50 percent. When it rises above this level, people tend to feel uncomfortable. An inexpensive, handheld hygrometer lets you measure the moisture content in the air so you can find out for sure if it’s too high.
How to Control Humidity in the Summer
In some buildings, running the air conditioner is enough to lower the relative humidity to 50% or lower. If you discover this isn’t the case in your home, which is common in Florida’s subtropical climate, here are the steps you can take to control humidity:
- Install a whole-house dehumidifier – The most effective option is to integrate a dehumidifier into your HVAC system. This allows you to control the moisture content in every room with an easy-to-program humidistat. A whole-house dehumidifier works in tandem with your air conditioner, but it can also run independently to remove excess humidity on mild days. This maximizes home comfort while keeping your utility bills as low as possible.
- Place a portable dehumidifier in problem areas – If certain rooms are more prone to high humidity than others, a portable dehumidifier may solve your problem. Just remember, this small unit can only control the moisture in one area at a time. You’ll also need to empty the condensate pan manually when it gets full.
- Generate less humidity – To reduce the amount of water introduced into your home, cook with covered pots, take shorter showers, and run the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans while cooking and showering. Also, make sure the dryer vents directly to the exterior, not the attic or basement, and reduce the number of houseplants you have.
- Seal leaky areas of your home – If hot, humid air sneaks in through gaps and cracks in your home’s outer envelope, your air conditioner and dehumidifier are forced to work harder. Seal leaky windows, doors and attic floor penetrations to keep conditioned, dehumidified air inside where it belongs.
Low Humidity in the Winter
Humidity levels drop naturally in the winter because cold air can’t hold as much moisture as hot air. Still, in Florida’s subtropical climate, the air stays warmer and more humid throughout the winter than other parts of the country. This may have you wondering whether your Tampa home needs a humidifier. Look for these signs of low humidity to help you decide:
- Dry skin, lips and nasal passages – If you find yourself reaching for lotion or lip balm in the winter when you never need these products in the summer, you’re experiencing the drying effects of low humidity. Irritated nasal passages and waking up with a bloody nose are other signs that the humidity level is low.
- Increased instances of static shock – Dry air carries an electrical charge more readily than humid air. This makes you prone to static shock when you touch a doorknob, reach for a light switch or pet the family cat.
- A feeling that it’s colder than it really is – Low humidity causes moisture to evaporate from your skin at a faster rate than usual, creating a cooling effect. If you can’t believe how cold you feel despite the thermostat reading, adding a little humidity to the air could be just what you need.
- Higher heating bills – Because low humidity makes you feel cold, and the natural response is to turn up the thermostat, you could be left with higher utility costs. Remember last winter when temperatures in Tampa, FL were much colder than usual? The relative humidity was lower than normal as well. Prevent another shock this winter by taking steps to increase indoor humidity.
- A reading of 30 percent or lower on a hygrometer – The ideal indoor humidity level in the winter is between 30 and 40 percent. Any lower than this and you’re bound to experience signs of dry indoor air.
Regulating Humidity in the Winter
If lack of moisture has caused comfort issues in the past, take control this winter with these tips to increase indoor humidity:
- Install a whole-house humidifier – As with the dehumidifier you use in the summer, a whole-house humidifier integrates with your HVAC system. This delivers moist air to every room when the furnace runs according to the setting you program into the humidistat. This way, you can carefully control the relative humidity level to reach the ideal 35 percent.
- Place a portable humidifier in your bedroom – Low humidity affects people the most while they’re sleeping. To keep your nose and throat moist, run a humidifier at night. You can do this whether you have a whole-house humidifier or not. Just remember to fill the reservoir and turn on the unit before you go to bed.
- Introduce moisture to the air – Natural evaporation increases humidity. Hanging your clothes to dry inside and leaving wet towels out are two low-tech options for doing this. However, the strength and control of natural evaporation is limited, and you must continually rewet the items you leave out, which could lead to mold growth.
Whether you’re struggling with high humidity in the summer or low humidity in the winter, the experts at Air Rescue can help. We install whole-house humidifiers and dehumidifiers to help our customers’ homes stay comfortable in every season.
To learn more about humidifiers and dehumidifiers, or to schedule installation services, please contact Air Rescue today at (813) 375-9982. We have over 70 years of experience serving residents of Tampa, Largo and the entire Bay Area.
Your HVAC system includes your air conditioner, heater, and the air ducts that run throughout the house. By scheduling regular air duct cleaning and air conditioning maintenance in Tampa, you can keep your entire system in good condition. This is important to reduce your energy bills, future maintenance costs, and keep your family healthy. Here is a better look at why it is important that your air ducts be in good condition:
Keep Energy Bills Low
If your air ducts are slowly leaking air, then you are gradually losing money. As your heated and cooled air leaks through the ducts, your energy bills are rising every month. By keeping your air ducts in good condition—with regular inspections by qualified HVAC personnel—you can keep your energy bills low throughout the year. Sealed and quality air ducts keep the air contained and flowing in the directions it should be. This will make your home more comfortable and reduce your energy bills.
Reduce HVAC Strain
The more your heating and air conditioning units must work, then the more strain and use is being put on them. If your air ducts are leaking, rusted, or broken, then your HVAC units must compensate for the leaking air. By overcompensating, these units will work much more than normal, which will cause unnecessary strains and repairs. You may have to replace your air conditioner and heater or schedule costly repairs sooner, if your air ducts are not in good condition.
Prevent Air Contamination
Part of your system’s job is to filter the exterior air before it reaches the inside of your home. Filtering removes dust, dirt, pollen, and other air contaminants so that you will have a healthy and comfortable interior. If the air ducts are leaking, then these contaminants are also leaking into your house. This can cause allergic reactions, asthmatic symptoms, and other potential health concerns. Ensure your air is healthy by keeping your air ducts in good condition.
It is important to check your furnace and air conditioner throughout the year, but it is most important during the summer and winter seasons. When you check your furnace’s pilot light, pay attention to the color of the flame. This is very important to the continued function of your old or new furnace in Tampa . Normally, the flame should be blue, but here is what it means if the flame is yellow:
A yellow flame in your pilot light typically means that there is dirt in the burner. If there is dirt, then the natural gas and surrounding air are not mixing correctly. When these gaseous materials do not mix properly, you may risk running an inefficient furnace or suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. The yellow flame indicates that the gas is not being lit completely, so your heater may not heat up well enough; or carbon monoxide may not be burned up enough, which can then leak into your home. If you notice an irregular flame color, then call a qualified HVAC repair company right away.
There are several types of air conditioners available for purchase, such as wall units and whole-house units. Before you can look at the different factors that go into an air conditioner replacement in Tampa, FL , you must determine which type of unit you would like. Watch the video to see some of the important factors, such as Energy Efficiency Ratios, that will help you choose the right air conditioner for you.
Look for air conditioners with an Energy Efficiency Ratio, or EER, of 13 or higher. This number, in addition to the Energy Star logo, means that the unit has the highest efficiency rating to cool your home and keep your cooling costs low. You must also look for the proper unit size to cool the space. Your HVAC contractor can help you determine the right size to cool your home without sacrificing efficiency.
During the hot summer months, there are several steps that you can take to beat the heat and help your air conditioner operate at its best efficiency. In this video, you will tour some handy tips to help you keep your home cool in the summer. Your air conditioner will be able to cool your home more effectively when you install shades, curtains, or awnings over the sunniest windows in your home. Additionally, you can save energy when you connect your heating and air conditioning to a programmable thermostat. With a brand new ac installation in Tampa, you can rest assured that your air conditioning unit is operating at the best level of efficiency. By keeping these simple times in mind, you can achieve the best cooling performance from your air conditioning system.
The summer season is about to arrive, and now is the time to contact your HVAC company in Tampa to perform air conditioner repair for your home. With proper air conditioning repair from a highly rated company offering services for your HVAC system , you can ensure that your air conditioning is in proper working condition during the hottest months of the year. By learning about the components of your heating and air system, you will have a better idea of what to look for when something goes wrong. Read on for a closer look at what you need to know about the anatomy of your HVAC system.
Air Conditioning Components
Whether you have a ductless air conditioner or a central unit, your air conditioner will be made up of a condenser and an evaporator. The evaporator is used to generate cool air as refrigerant flows through the lines. By contrast, your air conditioner’s condenser unit is designed to eliminate any excess condensation that is created during the cooling process.
If you use your HVAC system for both heating and cooling, you may have a heat pump in your home. The anatomy of a heat pump is similar to that of an air conditioning unit. As air is pumped into your home, it travels through the heat pump, where is it heated up gradually. With the use of a heat pump, you will be able to cool your home safely, effectively, and in an environmentally friendly manner.
For those homes that are not equipped with heat pumps, a furnace is typically an integral part of the HVAC system. Unlike a heat pump, which creates hot air as it flows through the ductwork of your home, a furnace is a specially designed appliance that creates heat through a combustion system. In order to ensure that your home remains safe when your heat pump is turned on, your furnace will also be equipped with a vent that transports combustion gases safely to the exterior of your house.
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