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humidityBlog

Managing Humidity and Your HVAC Performance During Summer Months

07.15.19

Did you know that the level of humidity in your home can affect both HVAC performance and your comfort? It’s important to find and maintain the right humidity level for your home.

What is humidity?

Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air around you.

What is relative humidity?

Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor present in air expressed as a percentage of the amount needed for saturation at the same temperature. This means that as temperatures rise or fall, the capacity of the air to hold water changes.

Summer Air and Humidity

During warm summer months, the average humidity in your home should weigh in between 30-45% (below the 50% mark). Maintaining the proper humidity levels means that your home feels cooler in the summer without having to adjust your thermostat to a lower temperature. On the flip side, humidity that is too high or too low in your home will result in an uncomfortable atmosphere and possible respiratory problems. Improper humidity levels can also damage the interior and exterior of your home.

Summer air feels sticky because warm air holds more water. For this reason, humidity is higher during the summer months than at any other time of year. Too much moisture in a home can cause:

  • Discomfort
  • Problems sleeping
  • Mold growth
  • Muggy conditions

For these reasons, you should discontinue using humidifiers during the summer, use your air conditioner to remove moisture from your home, and regularly use exhaust fans in your kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms.

But how do you know if the humidity is too high in your home? Sometimes mold growth doesn’t make itself known for a long time, and there can be many reasons for not sleeping well.

Here are some signs that there is too much humidity in your home:

  1. Use your nose! A musty, damp smell in parts of your home is a sign of too much moisture.
  2. The air in your home feels moist.
  3. Your windows often fog up. 

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers recommends a range of 45–55% humidity in your home to manage health effects and illnesses.

Comfortable: 30–60%

Recommended: 45–55%

High: 55–80% 

Humidity and Your HVAC System

It’s your air conditioner’s job to both cool your home and to remove excess moisture from the air. During the summer months, when it is hot and extra humid, your air conditioner has to work hard, which can take a toll on your equipment. If your HVAC system is older or the wrong size for your home, it may be inefficient in removing water from the air. This means that your system will have to work longer and harder to cool your home, adding wear to the unit, and it may never deliver the result that you want: a cool and comfortable home. In fact, your home may end up feeling warmer than it is because the humid air isn’t being properly removed.

Dehumidification

Dehumidifying your home in the summer may allow you to set the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees higher, which should save your money on your energy bills.

Installing a dehumidifier directly on your HVAC system is the most reliable and efficient way to manage both temperature and humidity levels in your home at the same time. The dehumidifier works with your air conditioning system to pull water from the air before it is sent into your home. We are happy to recommend a compatible dehumidifier for your system. If you are installing a new system, it’s an ideal time to add a dehumidifier.

You can also purchase a stand-alone dehumidifier and manage the humidity level manually. This will require you to monitor humidity levels continually and run the dehumidifier when needed.

Maintaining Outdoor Equipment

Heavy, moist air carries large amounts of dust, dirt, and debris, which can settle in the unit’s coils and fins. During the summer, you’re running your air conditioner for more extended amounts of time, which also results in more wear on the physical unit. We have a simple solution – a garden hose!

Using a garden hose, you can easily remove the collected dirt and debris. And as a bonus, misting the unit cools the air that passes through the condenser coils, which allows it to cool your home more efficiently for some time.

Please give us a call if you would like further instruction on how to properly clean your outdoor unit. And if you have any questions at all about maintaining the ideal humidity levels in your home, we are waiting by the phone to speak to you! 770.813.1316

summerFunBlog

Get Your Family Competitive this Summer

07.15.19

Challenging someone to a friendly competition can be a lot of fun. It’s also a great way to bring your family together! Here are some of our favorite ideas.

Trivia Night

There are many places, such as the Mellow Mushroom, that hold family-friendly trivia nights. Pit your family’s brainpower against other teams – and enjoy pizza or other treats at the same time!

Bowling

Split your family into two teams and bowl your way to glory. If you really get into it, you can make your own team bowling shirts!

Miniature Golf or Disc Golf

Depending on the age of your children, you could challenge them to disc golf or miniature golf.

Hold a Readathon

If your family isn’t into sports but loves to learn, a Readathon may be in order. Challenge your family members to read as many books as possible.

Escape Room

There’s nothing like working as a team to bring people together. You’ll be working against the clock to ‘escape’ the room. There are different levels of difficulty available, depending on the ages of your children.

Set a Run/Walk Family Goal

Have you ever dreamed of completing a half-marathon? Why not downgrade your goal (just for this summer) and set a family goal of doing a 5k or 10k together?

Board Game Night

Start a tradition of playing board games once a week. Gather around the table, roll the dice, and see who has bragging rights at the end of the evening.

Tennis

Tennis is excellent exercise for the mind and body, and if you have four people, you can play doubles together.

Neighborhood Olympics

Hold your own neighborhood Olympics and train for it! Plan your activities and invite your neighbors to compete. It’s a fun way to get fit and bring lots of friends together.

tempBlog

Is there an ideal temperature for your home? Recommended Thermostat Settings

07.15.19

People can be passionate about where they set their thermostat. Some like it cool, while others prefer a warm house. But, is there an ideal temperature for your home? It depends on what your goal is: comfort or energy savings – or a combination of both.

The fact is, the closer your thermostat setting is to the temperature outdoors, the more you will save on your energy bill. However, if it is 100 degrees outside, you’re not going to want to set your thermostat to 95 degrees!

Recommended Thermostat Settings for Summer and Winter

The following recommendations for thermostat settings are suggested with your comfort and cost efficiency in mind.

SUMMER

78 degrees Fahrenheit when at home

88 degrees Fahrenheit if not at home for 4 or more hours

For every degree higher you set your thermostat over 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, you could save approximately 6-8% off your energy bill – per degree. That can add up to significant savings.

WINTER

Just as in the warmer months, thermostat settings for the winter should be adjusted if you are away during the day.

Generally, 68 degrees Fahrenheit during daylight hours is recommended for both comfort and energy savings.

According to energy.gov, turning your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees lower in the winter for 8 hours per day will reduce energy usage by 5–15% per year.

The above are our basic recommendations; let’s talk about a few other things to consider. The first thing is incredibly important: sleep. Scientists agree that the temperature for optimum sleep for adults is somewhere between 60 to 67 degrees. That is considerably cooler than our recommended settings for summer. If you know that you sleep better at cooler temperatures, you may want to lower your thermostat before you go to bed and turn on your ceiling fan if you have one.

The next thing to consider is your family’s activity levels. If you have children who are very active or you’re doing strenuous exercise, then it may be beneficial to set your thermostat a few degrees cooler in the summer.

Finally, some people seem to be always hot, while others seem to be always cold. If you told a hot-natured person to set their air conditioner to 78 degrees, they would likely laugh! The money saved would not be worth the misery they experience being hot and sweaty in their home. So, if the above recommendations seem unrealistic, strive to find a comfortable compromise. If you usually set your thermostat to 70 degrees during the daytime, try setting it to 71 degrees instead. Chances are you won’t notice the difference in temperature—especially if your ceiling fans are on—and you’ll save a little on your energy bill too.

Programmable Thermostats

If the temperature schedule of your home is on a long list of things that you know you will likely forget about, then consider installing a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats allow you to set a schedule according to your preferences, habits, and the outdoor temperature.

When programming your thermostat, think about your typical daily schedule and preferences. If you like to sleep in a cool house, set the thermostat to begin lowering the temperature in your home an hour or two before bedtime. Other considerations, such as when you are typically at home, are also important factors. It may take you a day or two to find the ‘perfect’ schedule, but eventually, you will find what’s right for you. Best of all, you can manually override your programmable thermostat anytime.

The ultimate goal is to find the settings that keep you and your family happy and comfortable while saving money on your energy bill.

july4-kids

4th of July Family Fun

06.25.19

Summer is here, and the 4th of July is just around the corner! Here are our 10 favorite ways to have fun with friends and family on Independence Day.

 

1. Make festive food!

Search for ‘red, white, and blue recipes’ online. Pick a few that look appetizing and serve up a patriotic platter!

2. Pack a picnic.
Now that you have your red, white, and blue nibbles made, pack them up and head to the park for a picnic.

3. Take a walk in the park.
While you’re at the park, take a walk. Point out interesting flora and fauna to your kids. Enjoy the fresh air and stretch your legs. Or…

4. Go for a bike ride.
A bike ride with your family is a great way to have a more active 4th of July.

5. Plan a patriotic trip
It’s likely too late to plan a trip this year, but you can always plan for next July 4th. Ideas: Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty. So many patriotic places to visit!

6. Sing!
Teach your kids your favorite patriotic tunes.

7. Host a block party.
Go old school with a block party. Ask everyone to bring a dish and a game. You supply the sparklers so that everyone can celebrate safely.

8. Baseball: America’s pastime
Go to a big game at the closest stadium, or head to a park with friends and challenge them to a game. Losers have to make hotdogs for the other team!

9. Make a July 4th inspired craft.
Are you crafty? Make a patriotic craft with your kids. Go online for ideas.

10. Have a banana split party.
Stock up on bananas, ice cream, cherries, and other delicious ingredients and have a banana split party! Both kids and adults will love making – and eating! – their own dessert.

11. BBQ! (Bonus)
Speaking of yummy food, why not invite your family and friends to a summer cookout?

What’s your favorite way to celebrate this patriotic holiday?

 

save-money

5 Ways to Save Money on Summer Energy Bills

06.25.19

Keeping your home comfortable can be pricey when you’re trying to beat the sweltering heat. We’ve got 5 ways to save money on summer energy bills while keeping you from getting overheated this summer.

1. Change your air filters.
We say this so often that you’re probably tired of hearing it, but – change your air filters! It really is one of the simplest ways to assist your HVAC system’s performance so that it runs efficiently, thus saving your money.

2. The shade is your HVAC unit’s friend.
You aren’t the only one who enjoys cooling off in the shade. Your HVAC unit does too! Keeping your system in a shaded area can cut energy consumption by as temperatures rise. Is your air conditioning unit exposed to the sun? Plat a few hedges or bushes nearby that will cast shadows onto the unit.

3. Invest in a programmable thermostat.
Programmable thermostats allow you to control your HVAC unit even when you’re not there, which cuts down on energy costs. You can set the thermostat to adjust the temperature in your home around your schedule; warmer when you’re at work, cooler when you are home. For each degree above 72F, you’ll save 120 lbs of CO2. Wow!

4. Turn on your ceiling fans.
Did you know that if you turn on your ceiling fans, you can raise the thermostat setting by 4 degrees (F) with no reduction in comfort? Amazing! One caveat: fans are designed to cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect. Turn off fans when leaving a room to avoid wasting energy.

5. There is no such thing as ‘quick cooling’ your home.
You come in from a scorching hot day and want to cool off quick. Don’t set your thermostat to a super low temperature! It won’t cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and increased cooling expenses. Lay by or underneath a fan instead to cool off quickly.

scholarship2

Giving Back

05.28.19

At Stuart Pro, we believe in giving back to our community. That’s why we offer scholarships every year to graduating seniors from Gwinnett, Hall, and Forsyth County. We also provide up to three scholarships for technical college students currently pursuing an HVAC career.

It means the world to us when we hear back from recipients about how the scholarships have helped them achieve their academic and career goals. Here is what three of our scholarship recipients had to say about their college experiences so far:

Ashley Alverson

I learned about the Stuart Pro Scholarship and its benefits through my guidance counselor. After I was chosen for the scholarship, I realized how much it was going to help me throughout the school year. This was my first official year at the University of North Georgia, although I had completed one year of dual enrollment. I am currently working on finishing my core classes and leaning toward a bachelor’s degree in healthcare services and informatics administration. The Stuart Pro Scholarship allowed me to cover additional fees that the Zell Miller Scholarship didn’t cover. Thanks again for investing in my academic journey!

Joseph Olmsted

With the help of the Stuart Pro Scholarship, my first year at the University of Georgia has been amazing! I’m extremely grateful for all the experiences I’ve enjoyed and the diverse and fun opportunities presented to me. Athens is such a lively city, and the people at UGA are amazing. Everyone is so talented and passionate. It’s impossible not to get involved. I volunteer weekly at the Thomas Lay After School Program, became an employee for the incredible UGA Dining Services, and received an internship to teach a biology laboratory course my second semester. Also, the friends I’ve made and the memories we share are irreplaceable. I always seem to be doing something, but I couldn’t ask for a better way to enjoy my first year of college.

Emily Wallace

The Stuart Pro Scholarship has been a blessing and has helped me succeed throughout my first year of college at Truett McConnell University. I learned how to manage my time better and enhance my leadership skills as I transitioned into a new phase in my life. I have made new friends and seen growth in many areas during my college experience. I’m so thankful for Stuart Pro Heating & Air assisting me in this journey!

We are so proud of these students and excited for their bright futures!

101activites

101 Summer Activities to Keep Kids Happy

05.28.19

Summer is here, and you haven’t made plans for things to do with your kids. Don’t panic! We have 101 fun activities to keep the kiddos happy and to create amazing memories this summer.

1. Run through sprinklers
2. Bake cookies or make no-bake cookies if it’s too hot outside to turn on the oven
3. Learn how to do origami
4. Have a sleepover
5. Plant a tree
6. Make fireside S’mores
7. Make bird feeders: cover pine cones with peanut butter and roll them in birdseed
8. Volunteer at a pet shelter
9. Build a sandcastle
10. Go to a nature center
11. Enjoy a free kid’s workshop at stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot
12. Pick your own berries
13. Make jam
14. Go for a hike
15. Pick wildflowers and make an arrangement
16. Learn a new dance
17. Attend an outdoor concert
18. Have a picnic
19. Play bocce
20. Make a fort out of cardboard boxes and sheets
21. Feed the ducks at the park if it’s allowed. If it’s not, take pictures of the ducks.
22. Go to a museum
23. Play baseball
24. Build a treehouse
25. Use binoculars to birdwatch
26. Have a water balloon fight
27. Go on a scavenger hunt
28. Learn about local produce at a farmer’s market
29. Visit the library once a week
30. Play croquet on your lawn
31. Set up a badminton net. You could use it for volleyball too.
32. Go to an air show
33. Play tennis
34. Visit a fire station
35. Learn how to skateboard
36. Go to a garage sale or flea market
37. Stage a neighborhood summer Olympics
38. Learn to ride a horse
39. Make homemade ice cream
40. Visit an amusement park or water park
41. Create a flower crown or bracelet
42. Collect seashells at the beach
43. Set up an ice cream sundae buffet
44. Race paper airplanes or paper boats
45. Go roller skating
46. Camp in on a rainy night. Put sleeping bags on the living room floor and tell ghost stories.
47. Collect and paint rocks to use as paperweights or pet rocks
48. Make a fairy garden
49. Stargaze and learn about constellations
50. Make a birdhouse
51. Make fresh lemonade from lemons and sugar
52. Skip stones on a lake
53. Create a family cookbook
54. Make a giant hopscotch with sidewalk chalk
55. Climb trees
56. Go for a bike ride
57. Make tissue paper flowers
58. Plant a butterfly garden
59. Go to a parade
60. Camp out in your backyard
61. Make your own pizza
62. Visit a water park
63. Paddle a canoe
64. Bake cupcakes
65. Go for a bike ride
66. Paint canvas sneakers with fabric paint pens
67. Go ziplining
68. Have a game night
69. Catch fireflies in a jar (and let them go at the end of the night)
70. Have an outdoor painting party using cardboard as canvases
71. Play mini-golf
72. Clean up trash at a park
73. Grill dinner outside
74. Go whitewater rafting
78. Have a movie night
76. Raise money for a local charity
78. Create three-dimensional buildings using toothpicks and mini marshmallows
79. Visit a zoo or aquarium to learn about animals
80. Search for minnows or tadpoles in a stream
81. Go to a play or other live performance
82. Go on a road trip to a nearby city or attraction
83. Learn how to make shadow puppets
84. Make your own jewelry
85. Join a summer reading club
86. Let the kids cook dinner
87. Jump rope
88. Blow bubbles
89. Fly a kite
90. Play in the rain
91. Hold a fancy tea party
92. Make a giant slip-n-slide with a painter’s tarp
93. Go fishing
94. Do a big puzzle together
95. Make smoothies
96. Learn a new card game
97. Go to a drive-in movie
98. Build a Lego castle
99. Walk the dogs
100. Write your own comic book and illustrate it
101. Skype/video call with family members who live far away

Have fun!

 

 

 

ACComplications

Common Air Conditioner Problems

05.28.19

The weather is heating up! Now is not the time to have an air conditioning issue. Here are some common AC problems and what to do about them.

Your Outdoor Unit Won’t Turn On

When an outdoor unit isn’t responding, it’s usually because the circuit breaker has been tripped. Locate your circuit breaker panel and reset the switch.

Still not working? Check your thermostat. If your thermostat isn’t communicating with the rest of your central air system, it’s time to give Stuart Pro a call.

The Air Conditioner Isn’t Cooling Evenly

Are some rooms in your home freezing while others feel like a sauna? There could be multiple issues affecting the temperature in each room. A duct could be blocked, or it could be something as simple as how much sun is coming through windows. If you have tried closing your curtains and blinds with no change, then chances are something else is impacting your HVAC system. We are happy to assess your home environment and customize the air conditioning to each room so that you are pleased with the temperature.

The AC Doesn’t Cool At All

When the air coming through your vents isn’t cold, the problem is either with the control board or the refrigerant. You should call Stuart Pro in both cases. Please be careful around refrigerants, which can be very hazardous to your safety and health.

The Condenser Unit Turns On and Off Constantly

The outside condenser unit contains safety controls that automatically shut down the system when the pressure drops below a certain level. When pressure rises again, the system turns on. If your condenser continues to turn on and off, Stuart Pro will need to assess the safety controls to ensure optimal performance.

The Condenser Unit Won’t Turn On

If your condenser unit won’t turn on, it’s time to recheck your circuit breaker. If after resetting the switch it remains off, there is likely a more significant problem related to your wiring or thermostat.

Common Causes of AC Problems

Wiring: When wires erode, break, or are damaged, your air conditioner suffers.

Refrigerant Shortages: Refrigerant does not need to be refilled, but some central air systems accumulate leaks. When this happens, refrigerant drips out and contaminates your air supply.

Ice Buildup: When a dirty air filter has been in place for too long, ice can build up around pipes, evaporator coils, or outside of the unit.

Dirty Air Filters: Homeowners can easily change air filters themselves. It’s a simple way to keep your home’s air quality clean while protecting the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Faulty Compressors: When a compressor breaks, amperage increases to keep up with the demands signaled from the thermostat.

Faulty Thermostats: Faulty thermostats are usually older analog thermostats, which cannot keep up with high-efficiency models. Today’s modern thermostats are digital, touch screen, and less likely to have problems communicating with the rest of the system.

Please contact us anytime if you are having trouble with your air conditioner. We are happy to help day or night.

SummerCheckList

Summer Checklist for Families

04.23.19

Summer is just around the corner, and with a little preparation, your family can have fun and get a lot done. How? Check out our handy Summer Checklist for Families.

Summer Checklist for Families

• Start planning your summer vacation now! It’s easier to get deals on flights and hotels when you book months ahead of time.

• Make activity boxes for rainy days and quiet time. Get a large bin and have your child fill it up with favorite ‘quiet time’ activities like puzzles, art projects, Legos, etc. As a reward for independent play, your child can choose new activities/toys from a store throughout the summer.

• Empty your child’s backpack, and file important information like report cards.

• Make a Goodwill run and donate clothes and uniforms that no longer fit your child.

• Want to save all of your child’s artwork but don’t have room? Take photos so you have an electronic file. You can even print a photo book of your favorites!

• Check to be sure that last year’s life jackets, bathing suits, baseball uniforms, and cleats, etc., still fit your children.

• Make a grab-n-go box. There are some things we use a lot more during hot months: sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles, pool towels to name a few. Fill up a container with these things and keep them in an area where you can grab what you need and go! You can create a similar container for your car.

• Restock your home and car first aid kit.

ResearchDuct

Tips on Avoiding a Duct Cleaning Scam

04.23.19

Avoid ‘cheap’ and ‘fast’ gimmicks

Companies advertising drastically reduced prices and quick duct cleaning should be avoided at all costs. Why? Even though you will be spending less, it will be money completely wasted. Authentic air duct cleaning services who do a thorough job are not cheap or fast. For instance, an $80 whole-house ‘special’ is definitely a scam. Cost is dependent on home size and scope of the project. With a cheap/fast ‘fix’ some of your vents will get a cursory vacuum, and it’s highly likely that there will be hidden costs, or you will be subjected to hard upsell efforts.

Things that affect the price of duct cleaning:

• Square feet of your home
• Number of systems
• Costs associated with the system, vents, and return

Get references

Talk to family and friends and ask if they have had a good experience with duct cleaning. Read online reviews and see how the company interacts with its customers.

Get multiple estimates

Credible duct cleaning companies will offer a free inspection and estimate. Remember that you aren’t looking for the cheapest service, you are looking for the most qualified and trustworthy technicians. Inspections should not come with extra or hidden costs – scam alert!

Scare tactics = scam!

Don’t be frightened into cleaning your duct system. If a company tries to use scare tactics to sell you on a cleaning, run the other way! You should have a healthy relationship with anyone you allow into your home. Your decision should never be based on fear.

Before and After Photos of Results

Don’t take anyone’s word that your ducts are clean, get proof! Before paying, get a full visual inspection of the ductwork and HVAC system. You want to be sure that every duct and the inside of the HVAC unit is clean. Make sure you are shown both intake and supply ducts. If possible, get before and after photos of past work the company has performed.

Avoid Steam Cleaning and Sealants/Sprays

The NADCA recommends against the use of sprayed sealants and potentially harmful chemicals inside air ducts. They also are against duct cleaning that involves moisture or steam.

Are you considering having your air ducts cleaned? Give us a call or schedule an appointment anytime. We’re here to answer your questions and address any concerns. We’re happy to walk you through every step in the process and talk to you about our qualifications.

Contact Us

Stuart Pro is a family-owned business that believes in putting our customers first. That’s why we want to hear from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you soon.

Contact Info

770.813.1316
Info@StuartProAir.com

Type Of Inquiry

Contact Us

Stuart Pro is a family-owned business that believes in putting our customers first. That’s why we want to hear from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you soon.

Contact Info

770.813.1316
Info@StuartProAir.com

Type Of Inquiry

Contact Us

Stuart Pro is a family-owned business that believes in putting our customers first. That’s why we want to hear from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you soon.

Contact Info

770.813.1316
Info@StuartProAir.com

Type Of Inquiry