Humidity Levels in Your House

Humidity Levels in Your House

Have you ever worried your home may be too humid? A typical home in Florida should have a humidity level somewhere between 25 to 50 percent. If your home’s humidity level it too high or too low, your family, yourself, your wallet, and your home may be at risk for some unpleasant and damaging consequences.

 

High humidity levels can affect your overall health. Pollutants such as mold, bacteria, and fungi can cause symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing, throat irritation, and watery eyes. These pollutants can also be toxic and can cause more severe responses such as asthma attacks and allergic reactions. Not only is high humidity in your house an issue, but if your humidity levels are too low, it can lead to problems like nosebleeds, skin irritations, and breathing difficulties.

As far as your wallet and home go, inappropriate humidity levels can cause your home to feel hotter than it actually is. Naturally, you will be bumping that thermostat lower and lower, which will increase your utility bill. Excessive moisture can cause damage to the structure of your house. It can damage drywall and wood fixtures in your home causing them to rot, mold, or warp overtime.

Hygrometer

If you’re unsure about your home’s humidity levels, you can purchase a hygrometer. This is an instrument that allows you to measure your home’s humidity levels. If the hygrometer tells you that the humidity level in your house is not in the ideal range, a humidifier or a dehumidifier will be the starting solution to this issue.

Humidifiers are used when the humidity levels are too low in your house. They come in both portable units that can be moved from room to room or you can purchase a humidistat (or hydrostat). A humidistat will monitor your home’s levels and if it drops too low, the humidistat will help restore and sustain the desired humidity level.  Dehumidifiers are used to help with humidity levels that are too high. Dehumidistats are devices that detect the moisture level of air in your home. They will be set to an optimal humidity range and when the humidity rises above that range, the dehumidistat will automatically turn on and get the levels back to the normal range.

 

If you are having issues with your humidity levels in your home, give Benson’s Heating & Air Conditioning a call today! We will come out to evaluate the problem and recommend the best way to fix it!

Tips to Prepare HVAC Units for Hurricanes & Stormy Weather

Tips to Prepare HVAC Units for Hurricanes & Stormy Weather

Hurricane season is no stranger to us here in Florida. We all probably have a checklist that we go through annually as June approaches that reminds us of the basic preparations that need to be made and what items we need to stock up on in order to survive hurricane season. One thing you may not have thought to add to that checklist is to make sure your home HVAC system is prepared for the storm. Not only does preparing your HVAC system for a storm important to help reduce the likelihood for any damage to the system, but it also helps keep you and your family safe.

Since hurricanes and large thunderstorms bring on high probabilities of power outages, the first thing we recommend doing when bad weather is heading your way is to cool your home before the storm hits. Turn your AC down a few degrees lower than you normally keep it and keep all of the blinds, doors, and windows closed as much as possible. As the storm gets closer, turn off the electricity or unplug your unit altogether in order to prevent damage through electrical surges from lightning strikes.

Another important step when preparing your AC Unit for hurricanes and stormy weather is to secure your outdoor unit by checking to make sure all of the bolts are tightened on the unit. Due to the high winds of these storms, AC units can be easily lifted. Making sure your unit is strapped down with hurricane or condenser straps is recommended to avoid this. If you feel that flooding will be a threat from the storm headed your way, it may be necessary to elevate your unit slightly higher than it normally sits to avoid water damage.

Lastly, make sure to bring in or secure any outdoor equipment that could fly away. Also, be sure to cover your AC unit with a tarp or plywood to protect it from flying debris like tree limbs, branches, or any other potentially hazardous objects in your nearby area. Remember, just because you’ve prepped your yard for a hurricane, does not mean your neighbor has.

After the storm, the main thing to remember is that you should not turn your air conditioning back on until you have assessed your AC unit for damage from high winds, water, or debris. If you have found any damage or you are unsure if there is a problem, call Benson’s Heating & Air Conditioning and we’ll be happy to come out and inspect and repair any damage to your unit!

Generators and AC Units: What you need to know

Generators and AC Units: What you need to know

So, you live in Florida and you know hurricane season is rapidly approaching. If you’ve ever been through a hurricane before, you know that being without power for days and weeks at a time in this Florida heat is nothing to look forward to. A common product that plenty of people are in the market for this time of year are backup generators. If you are one of these people, you may be asking yourself what type of generator you will need to purchase in order to run your air conditioning system if a hurricane or bad storm impacts your area this season.

There are two different types of generators on the market—portable and standby generators. Portable generators are just what the description says, they’re generators that you can store away in a safe place and bring out when they are needed. Portable generators are usually more budget-friendly than standby generators, but you will need to continuously purchase fuel to keep it powered. The more expensive option, the standby generators, are electrical systems that operate automatically whenever you have a power outage at your house.

No matter which type of generator you prefer, there is one crucial piece of information you must know and keep in mind. When purchasing a generator, you must know what the starting wattage and running wattage for your AC unit is. You also must know what the generator’s starting wattage and running wattage is as well to make sure the generator can handle the overall workload of your AC unit. If you try to power up something that has a bigger need than your generator can handle, you can risk overloading and breaking the generator as well as causing serious damage to anything plugged into the generator. More seriously, if you overload your generator, it could even result in a fire.

Unfortunately, central AC units have a wide-range when it comes to wattage, so if you’re not sure what wattage your AC requires, look at the unit’s nameplate or you can check with the manufacturer. Try not to wait until a major storm is heading your way. Beat the crowds and start looking to purchase one now so your options aren’t limited when a storm is headed your way. Be sure to call Benson’s Heating & Air Conditioning if you have any other questions about generators and your AC unit!

How to Clean Your AC Vents

How to Clean Your AC Vents

 

It’s that time of the year when you should really start preparing to get your air conditioning running at its optimal level so it is ready for the sizzling summer heat we experience every year in Florida. An important factor to keep in mind is that clean air vents will help save you money on both cooling and heating your house. Not only will clean air vents help save you money, but it ensures that dirt, dust, hair, pollen and other allergens are not spreading and flowing throughout your entire house.

In order to effectively clean your air vents, you will need a few supplies that you likely have lying around the house. You will need a ladder, screwdriver, soap, water, a cleaning/scrubbing brush, and a vacuum (a heavy-duty vacuum is recommended).

 

 

To get started, first you will need to turn off the power to your air conditioning and heating system. Next, depending on where they are located, grab a ladder if needed and unscrew all of the air vent covers from the ceiling, walls, or floors. With warm soapy water and your scrub brush, clean all of the air vent covers and then rinse them off with fresh clean water. Next, lay them off to the side somewhere to dry. While they are drying, grab your heavy-duty vacuum and vacuum the ducts as thoroughly as you can. Renting a heavy-duty vacuum is a good idea because the standard vacuum does not have a very long hose to reach deep into the ducts and it is usually not powerful enough to draw all of the debris from the crevices inside the ducts. We recommend wearing a mask if you have not cleaned your vent covers or ducts in a while so you do not inhale any of the debris during the cleaning process.

If you need a more thorough cleaning or are unable to clean your air vents for some reason, please call Benson’s Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll be happy to come out and clean them for you!

Hot & Cold Spots

Hot & Cold Spots

You are not the only person to have noticed that sometimes there are hot and cold spots throughout your home. This issue is common throughout houses. It may seem like a larger concern, however it is typically an issue with an easy fix with the proper air conditioning service. The most common causes for hot and cold spots are: no zoning or improper zoning, ineffectively sized duct systems, and a inefficiently insulated air ducts.

 

With a zoning system, there are divided “zones” in your house which means you can set an air temperature in that specific spot. The design of the system allows the use of multiple thermostats within the ductwork that control the zones’ temperatures. Dampers open and close in the ducts to meet the thermostat settings, which may be the missing piece to keeping the room the temperature you need it at. AC zoning may even mean home energy savings up to 35 percent.

 

Homeowners may have hot and cold spots due to the fact that their duct system is not efficient or designed poorly. Typically this is normal for houses that were built before the technology and standards we have today. A bad duct system can actually increase the workload of a new unit or system, because the ducts bottleneck the equipment. This may even shorten the lifespan of the equipment in use.

Even if your duct system is designed and sized properly for your home, it could still be the source of your home’s hot and cold spots. Leaking air ducts are a common problem, which need to be sealed in order to avoid hot and cold spots. This can correlate to insufficient insulation within the ducts, which cause air of certain temperatures to leak out before arriving in it’s zone.

 

The solution to all of these problems is Benson’s expert knowledge and services. Schedule an indoor air quality check with us, and we will identify the problem and work to solve it. From air flow diagnosis to equipment inspection, we’re sure to solve your hot and cold spot problem!

The History of Air Conditioning

The History of Air Conditioning

Imagine being out in the summer’s sun all day, somewhere like Arizona or Florida. After being out all day, the only thing on your mind is to get home and cool off. But wait, as soon you get home, there air is just as hot as it was outside. The heat we can experience in places such as these provide risks for our health. Before the 1960’s, this was what life was like. Now, thanks to air conditioning, 87 percent of American households feel a lot more comfortable and relaxed.

In the 1840’s Dr. John Gorrie from Florida wanted to do something about the humidity and heat in buildings. He was an inventor and a physician, so his goal was to provide a comfortable environment for his patients to be in. He believed in “the evils of high temperatures”, and created the first ice maker by using a compressor that could be powered by a horse, water, or steam. His funder for the idea died, so the project was out the window. However, the foundation and idea for modern air conditioning was set into place.

In 1902 a man by the name of Willis Carrier, who worked at the Buffalo Forge Company, was assigned to solve an issue of humidity that occured at a textile factory. Carrier succeed and created a system that was able to humidify or dehumidify a room, which was followed by an automated system to control the air. In the 1920’s, Hollywood movies rolled out and theaters needed air conditioning. The idea of air conditioning worked, however the flow of air was inefficient. This is why most air vents are located higher on a wall or the ceiling, as cool air falls.

Even with the technology advancing, it was yet to be affordable for residential use. Equipment was either too big, or cost too much. In 1929, Frigidaire created smaller home scaled units, which helped expand the development of residential air conditioning. An engineer by the name of Henry Galson created a compact and inexpensive unit in 1947. He also produced and sold over 47,000 units. By the 1960’s most homes had air conditioning. Today, 47 percent of all household energy consumption is from air conditioning.

Even today, heating and air conditioning technology continues to improve. With smart thermostats and more efficient units, Benson’s provides customers the ever-improving luxury of HVAC.

Mini Split Vlog

 

Benson’s at The North Florida Home Show

Benson’s at The North Florida Home Show

Once again, Benson’s HVAC will be participating at the North Florida Home Show! This annual event will be showcasing the best in home services, including Benson’s award winning HVAC service. This will be a wonderful opportunity for businesses and homeowners to connect with, and learn about exciting industries.

New Homes, remodeling, lawn care, pools, appliances, floors, HVAC, and more will be on display. There will be new technologies on display, as well as new businesses to discover. Looking to replace or repair your HVAC system? Benson’s will be there to answer all of your questions and get to know you. If you’re looking to upgrade your home, make small improvements, or even if you just purchased a home the North Florida Home Show should be on your calendar.

The convention will be held at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center on February 9th – 11th. As a thank you to all our loyal customers and potential new customers, Benson’s is offering a coupon for the event. You can print out the coupon found below for a reduced entry price to this exciting event.

Printing Directions: Right Click the image above and select “Open Image in new Tab”. In the new tab at the top of your browser select “File” then “Print”.

Carbon Monoxide Threats

PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM CARBON MONOXIDE

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels such as wood, natural gas, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, coal and charcoal. It is caused by lack of oxygen or a disruption in the burning process.

Household appliances such as your furnace, water heater, stove, space heaters, charcoal grill and gas dryer can be sources of carbon monoxide, especially if they are not in good working condition or have been installed improperly. Vehicle exhaust fumes from attached garages, as well as improperly operating fireplaces, also can become carbon monoxide hazards, particularly if your home is well-sealed for energy efficiency.

Carbon monoxide can be an invisible threat to your family’s health and safety. Though more commonly associated with fires and automobile emissions, carbon monoxide poisoning can accumulate in any home unless certain precautions are taken.

Home heating systems represent only 5% of potential carbon monoxide sources. Though the amount of carbon monoxide produced is not substantial, it is important to schedule annual maintenance visits by a qualified technician to make sure all combustion appliances are operating properly and all chimneys and vents are free from obstruction.

What can be done about detecting carbon monoxide in the home?

The best method of detection is to use a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is a device very similar to a smoke alarm. It monitors the air for carbon monoxide and sounds an alarm if a specific level is detected. Ideally, you should have one detector adjacent to every living area in your home.

Carbon monoxide detectors are most effective when used in combination with a Energy Savings Agreement  For more information on how to schedule regular maintenance for your furnace or about purchasing a carbon monoxide detector, just give us a call or visit our website www.bensonshvac.com to place your next visit.

What are some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Unfortunately, the symptoms are easily overlooked because they are often flu-like. With mild exposure, most people experience headaches, fatigue and nausea. Medium exposure can cause a severe throbbing headache, drowsiness, disorientation, confusion and an accelerated heart rate. Extreme exposure can lead to unconsciousness, convulsions, cardiorespiratory failure, coma and possibly death.

What can be done to protect our home from the dangers of carbon monoxide?

There are several measures you can take to reduce your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Because vehicles are a major cause of carbon monoxide poisoning, always back your car out of the garage to let it warm up. Never leave it running in the confined space of a garage, particularly if the garage is attached to the home. The same holds true for lawn mowers. Never use ovens or grills for heating devices.

Home heating systems represent only 5% of potential carbon monoxide sources. Though the amount of carbon monoxide produced is not substantial, it is important to schedule annual maintenance visits by your qualified Bensons technician to make sure all combustion appliances are operating properly and all chimneys and vents are free from obstruction.

Benson’s Energy Savings Agreement

Benson’s Energy Savings Agreement

While the installation of a new Heating and Air system can be pricey, Benson’s has created a simple way to mitigate that cost and enhance your service. Our Energy Savings Agreement offers big benefits for new and existing customers. It can save you money on your new unit and future service costs! Broken down into three tiers (Silver, Gold, and Diamond), Benson’s Energy Savings Agreement (ESA) makes sense at all levels.

Service

We understand in the dead of summer, the last thing you want is no AC. At our Silver and Gold levels we will provide service within 24 hours, with Diamond providing same day service! Along with timely service, all levels are treated to two tune-ups per year to make sure everything is running as it should. We like to prevent problems before they become problems.

Costs

If you are in need of a repair, all levels of the ESA offer discounts: 15% off for Silver, 20% for Gold, and a whopping 30% discount for Diamond level! There are no overtime charges, so you have one less thing to worry about. Diagnostic’s for Silver level are $34.95, while Gold and Diamond are free! Regardless of your plan, savings are sure to be had on service costs.

New Systems

One of the more attractive features of our ESA is the discount on new HVAC units! With savings as high as $485 on a new Benson’s unit, our service plan is perfect for new installations.   

For more details on our service plans, visit the page on our website. More benefits are included that we didn’t discuss here, so check it out and contact Benson’s today!