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Why a clean air filter is so important!

Here’s a breakdown about why it’s important to change your home’s air filter in your the HVAC system, as well as tell you how often your filter needs to be changed.

The bottom line is that changing your filter and keeping it clean and clear is very important for multiple reasons.

There are a number of different types of filters available on the market, each offering different benefits, but the fact remains that all types of filters need to checked, maintained and changed in order to function properly and safely.

To that end, why is changing your air filter so important?

First of all, a clogged air filter can cause extensive damage to your system. Thus, if you check your air filter’s condition regularly, you ensure the longevity of your system — saving yourself thousands in possible repair and replacement costs. Dirt and neglect are one of the leading causes of heating and cooling systems failing, yet such failure is completely avoidable.

Also, changing the air filter in your HVAC system ensures cleaner, fresher, more healthy air quality. This is better for everyone in your home, particularly children and the elderly, and most especially for those suffering from allergies and asthma, which is very common in the Glenview, Northbrook, Morton Grove and other North Suburban area communities. In referring to the latter, a clean air filter means you are not constantly circulating dust, dust mites, pollen and other small particles in the air. Instead, your system will be able to purify the air, leaving it clean and healthy.

Lastly, aside from protecting the HVAC system from unnecessary damage, cleaning out or changing a clogged air filter will also save you a significant amount on operating costs. In simplest terms, a dirty air filter uses much more energy than a new, clean air filter, which means a much higher electricity bill for you. You can, by keeping your air filter clean and in good condition, save up to 15% on utility costs.

To the above point on energy wastage, failing to clean and replace your air filter on a regular basis is failing the environment. An air filter that is clogged means a harder working HVAC system, thus it also means a lot of carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gasses by extension being released. Going green and running your home in an eco-friendly manner need not necessarily mean bending over backwards and giving up all forms of comfort. Something as simple as changing an air filter regularly can go a long way in making a difference.

Again, changing your HVAC system’s air filter is important in every which way. Economically, health-wise and environmentally it simply makes sense!

To that point, how often should your air filter be changed? It differs depending on the different types of filters, but anywhere between one and three months is advised, with the former being preferable and the latter being the absolute maximum you should allow between changes. If you have questions about the filters on any brand, whether it’s American Standard, Rheem or Lennox, call us at 847.509.2024 today! Remember, these small tasks contribute significantly to the overall operation of your air cooling system!


3 Tips to save money this summer on your energy costs

You probably already know that your air conditioning is a big source of energy usage and costs in the summer. We can help you avoid that. There are a few ways to reduce that big red hump on your statement – here are three basic tips to save money and stay comfortable.

Purchase a high-efficiency AC unit

A lot of times, it’s more cost-effective to actually buy a new unit instead of constantly having it fixed. An American Weathermakers technician can help you with this. Older units use more energy because they have to work harder to maintain the set temperature. If you buy a high efficiency air conditioner you can save 20-50% in cost and dramatically reduce energy usage. For central air, make sure your unit has a SEER rating of 14 or better.

Make sure your new unit is the right size for your home

Always make sure your air conditioning unit is the correct size for the room or rooms it needs to cool. A technician will measure your home and evaluate your needs to make sure it’s the right fit. If your unit is too large or small for the space, it will not run efficiently, waste energy, and cost you more money in the long run. It’ll also be prone to repairs and more maintenance needs. By having an American Weathermakers technician come to your home and assess what size unit you need, you can save energy and money right away and be confident you got the correct size air conditioning unit.

Use a programmable thermostat

Homeowners can save and average of $180 a year in energy costs by using a programmable thermostat that allows you to program different temperatures throughout the day and night as well over longer periods of time. This makes your HVAC system run more efficiently, you and your family are more comfortable and you’re only using the energy you need at the time you need it. We recommend Nest and Honeywell brands.

Call American Weathermakers at 847.509.2024 if you need assistance with any of the three issues above. Also, we service your community – we’re in Winnetka, Skokie, Glenview and more! Remember, we won’t be comfortable until you are!


Here are 3 steps to get ready for spring!

Spring is here in Chicagoland, which means that it’s time to attend to a few home maintenance tasks. When you prepare for spring early, you get a jump-start on essential maintenance, which means you can spend more time enjoying the outdoors when spring finally arrives. Don’t neglect these three important HVAC steps during your spring preparations.

 

Turn On Your Air Conditioner

Don’t assume that your home’s air cooling system works — test to make sure it’s ready for action. Simply turn off the heat on your thermostat and wait a few minutes. Next, switch the thermostat to “cool” and adjust the temperature so that it’s a few degrees lower than the actual temperature inside.

 

Let the AC run for a few minutes. Do you hear any strange sounds? Can you feel lukewarm air coming in through the vents? Does the air produce a bad odor? If any of those happens, call an HVAC professional to schedule immediate maintenance. You don’t want to reach the first warm day without any relief.

 

Get Your AC Inspected

Even if your AC seems to run properly, regular maintenance can prolong its lifespan and improve its performance. We recommend getting your AC serviced at least once in the spring, then doing the same for your furnace in the fall. We’ll lubricate and clean moving parts, check voltages, and perform other tests.

 

Clean Your Yard

Leaves, dirt, and other detritus often accumulate in your yard during late winter and early spring. Clear this debris away from your outdoor AC unit, so it doesn’t find its way into the fans. You’ll protect the unit and prevent possible breakdowns. Additionally, consider planting a shade tree near the AC unit. Keeping the outdoor cabinet cool during the summer can make your HVAC system more efficient.

 

Getting ready for spring takes time, so get a head start. American Weathermakers is available for AC tune ups if you discover a problem, and we’ll fix it before the first heat wave hits. Just call us at 847.509.2024. We’re in the North Shore area in Evanston, Lake Forest and Wilmette.


5 Ways to Reduce Allergens this Spring

 

Spring is here in the Chicago area, with flowers blooming, grass sprouting, and for many of us, allergies. If you suspect your allergies are getting worse over time, returning after a long break, or starting for the first time, you may be right. One of the ironies of life is that as we age, our immune systems have more chances to develop adverse reactions to seasonal allergies. Here are some tips to help you survive the season:

  1. Use an air conditioner, fan, or humidifier to keep your home comfortable. Minimize time spent with your windows open.
  2. Find out what the pollen levels are prior to any travel. The National Pollen site posts allergy forecasts so you know what to expect. Pack extra allergy medication too. Get extra prescriptions if you will gone a while.
  3. Avoid fresh cut grass and other places where pollen will be. When going out to places with high pollen counts, take medication first and consider wearing a respirator mask.
  4. Protecting your eyes is one way to prevent allergens from getting in your body. Sunglasses one of the easiest things you can do to prevent allergens from getting in the eyes. And don’t rub your eyes, it only makes the symptoms worse.
  5. When you get home from being around a lot of allergens, shower and change to get rid of any allergens that might be on your skin or in your hair, and also make sure to launder the clothes right away so pollen isn’t sitting in your laundry basket.

For more ways to keep the air in your home the best it can be, contact us at American Weathermakers. Our experts can help you go over your options to ensure you have the best indoor air quality possible. Call us at 847.509.2024.

 


American Weathermakers receives 2017 North Shore Choice Award!

 

Earlier this month, American Weathermakers was honored to win the 2017 North Shore Choice Awards in the HVAC category! Thanks to all of our loyal customers who voted for us!

Click here for more and photos of our team with the banner!


Mold: How to get it out of your HVAC system

Now you know that mold – in large quantities – is bad for your help and home – let’s talk about mold as it relates to your heating and air cooling system. Spoiler alert: it’s bad, but we can help!

Mold in an HVAC system is a common problem for may homeowners in the North Shore area. We hear from customers in Glenview, Skokie, Wilmette and all around the area that when they go to turn on their air conditioner for the first time – or over the summer when it’s humid – they find a mold issue. And having mold in your HVAC is a problem because then it spreads to the entire house. You need to get service to you heating and cooling system ASAP if mold is the culprit.

Remember that mold will always be in your home in small numbers, it’s when there’s too much does it become a problem, and it’s generally related to too much moisture in your system. That’ll be one of the first things we look for, but you can also give your HVAC system a once over to see if there are any obvious signs of water. Make sure drains and condensate pans are draining properly and not plugged. Ducts, air handlers, blowers and plenums should all be moisture-free.

American Weathermakers have been maintaining heating and air cooling systems since 1949 and can tell you if you have a mold problem, where is may be coming from and how to fix it. A mold problem can mean several things, but one is that your air conditioner may need to be upgraded or replaced.

Often times, mold and poor indoor air quality are signs of malfunctioning HVAC system. We sell only the best brands, American Standard, Lennox, Ruud and many others and our technicians can explain the differences between the brands and recommend the most appropriate size for your home. If you need help with indoor air quality issues, ducts, dehumidifiers or any other type of service to your heating and cooling system, call us at 847.509.2024.


Mold: Why it’s a problem for your health & home

Concern about the health problems caused by exposure to indoor mold, among other common allergens, happens every spring in the Chicagoland area. Having good indoor air quality is very important since it’s what you and your family breathe each day in your homes. A solid HVAC system is the best thing you can do to prevent these irritants from taking over your house. There are a lot of different things that make up bad air quality, but for this article, let’s focus on mold since it is common during spring weather.

I think I have mold in my home, what does it look like?
Mold is a type of fungi that looks fluffy and can be white, yellow, pink, brown, green, gray, or black. Molds produce spores too small to see which act like seeds and move through the air. Under bad conditions, thousands of mold spores can be carried in each cubic foot of air. There are more than 1,000 types of mold in North America homes, many of which are found in the Chicagoland area as well.

Where is mold usually found in homes?
The usual moisture-rich areas are stagnant bathrooms and kitchens, condensation in walls and windows, high humidity, leaky plumbing, and badly-vented dryers.

I find there’s more mold when it’s more humid, how does that affect my home?
If you have a high relative humidity in a room of 55% or higher, you should consider a dehumidifier. Many kinds of homes would benefit from a whole house dehumidifier, which is something an American Weathermakers professional can help you determine if it would be a good option for you.

Who can test for mold?
Most people can tell they have mold in their homes by the smell, seeing it or reacting to it (although this could be part of a bigger indoor air quality problem). Testing is generally not necessary. It is likely that there is a source of moisture that needs to be fixed and the mold needs to be cleaned or removed. Even if testing is done, no standards or guidelines exist to judge acceptable amounts of mold. If you believe that mold is in any way related to your HVAC system, you should contact American Weathermakers so we can have a technician check it out for you.

What are the health effects of mold exposure?
A lot of molds can cause health problems. They produce allergens, irritants and, sometimes, toxins that may cause adverse reactions in humans. A reaction to mold depends on how much a person is exposed to, the overall health and age of a person and the person’s sensitivities or allergies. The same amount of mold may cause health effects in one person, but not in another. Sensitive people who have touched or breathed in mold or mold spores may have an allergic reaction such as a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, skin rash and itching. Molds can trigger asthma attacks, causing wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.

How do I know if the amount of mold in my home will affect my health?
The Illinois Department of Health states that testing cannot determine whether health effects will occur based on just the amount of mold found since people have different tolerances to mold.

But what do you do if your mold problem is coming from your HVAC system?
Read part 2 about Mold Problems here.


Summer is almost here – why too much humidity is bad for your home & health

We are always looking to help our customers be more comfortable in their homes. And a lot of factors contribute to that comfort. Especially humidity. Moisture levels in the air can do a lot more than ruin your that comfort. Let’s dive into why high humidity is a problem for your home.

Humidity is really the measure of the level of moisture vapor suspended in the air around you. Although you can’t see it, it’s still there and boy do we feel it. Normal humidity levels for optimal comfort are somewhere between 30% and 50%. That doesn’t mean that the air around you is comprised of 30-50% water. Instead, it means that the air is holding between 30-50% of the maximum amount of moisture that it can contain.

When the air has too much humidity, it can harm your comfort, your home, your possessions and your health. When there’s too much humidity, your body can’t regulate its internal temperature through the process of evaporation. In fact, if you’re in a humid room that’s the same temperature as a room with less humidity, the humid room will feel warmer to you.

Overly humid air can create a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can cause staining and damage to your home. High humidity can also cause wood to deteriorate over time. Moreover, moist wood in your basement and attic can attract bugs and other unwanted pests.

Your stuff – If you have too much humidity in your home, it can cause swelling in furniture and other items, which can cause them to warp.

Your health – Too much humidity won’t just make you uncomfortable, it can also make you sick. High moisture levels encourage the growth of fungus, mold and dust mites, both of which can create breathing difficulties for people with asthma and allergies.

If you need services that help fix humidity issues – which are a problem once warm weather hits Chicago in your Glenview, Evanston or Skokie home, call us at 847.509.2024. We sell product lines from Lennox, as well as American Standard and Ruud.


Proper humidity levels help indoor air quality

Have asthma? Allergy problems? Respiratory issues? Maintaining good humidity levels in your home is a major factor in improving indoor air quality. High humidity levels breed common household contaminants like mold, mildew and dust mites. Your AC system not only cools your home, but it should also dehumidify the air.

There are several reasons why your HVAC system could be ineffective towards humidity reduction and management that an expert at American Weathermakers can identify for you with a simple inspection. For example, if your air conditioner is oversized, it will not run long enough to remove humidity from the air and your home will feel like cool and clammy. This environment causes a perfect breeding ground for these contaminants. If the air in your home contains too much moisture, it will promote the growth of bacteria and mold as well as common allergies.

For ideal indoor air quality, relative humidity should be maintained between 40% and 60%. If you notice that dampness and clamminess is an issue in your home, we can help you figure out the problem and fix your humidity levels so you have minimal contaminant growth or allergy ailments. Call us at 847.509.2024 today for more details.


5 Tips to get your HVAC system ready for spring!

When the warm summer weather hits in Glenview, Wilmette or Skokie in the Chicago area, issues with your HVAC system will be the last thing you want to be worrying about. A properly functioning air conditioning system is essential for summer comfort and the surrounding area. These 5 tips will help you prepare your HVAC system for spring.

Schedule a Seasonal Tune-Up
This tip is as simple as making a phone call to an air conditioning repair or installation or heating repair or installation contractor in the Glenview or Northbrook and the surrounding area, and scheduling a preventive maintenance appointment. Your system will run more efficiently this spring and summer and will be less likely to break down on a hot summer day.

Air Filter
No need to call an air conditioning repair or installation or heating repair or installation contractor for this easy task. Simply purchase a new air filter and replace the current one. Your air quality and efficiency will be improved by this simple step. Be sure to check your air filter every thirty days during summer use and replace it when needed.

Ductwork
Have an air conditioning repair or installation or heating repair or installation contractor test your ductwork for leaks this spring. Having leaks in your ductwork repaired will increase your system’s efficiency and help your HVAC system cool and heat your home more effectively.

Consider an Upgrade
Spring is a great time to have a new air conditioning system installed by an air conditioning repair or installation contractor or heating repair or installation contractor in the North Shore. If your system is old, having it replaced by a new, efficient system will save you money in heating and cooling bills.

A Programmable Thermostat
If you do not have a programmable thermostat, have one installed this spring. You will enjoy better control of the temperature in your home, and possibly lower energy bills since you can set the temperature so that your system runs less when you are not there.

If you need help with your American Standard, Ruud, or any other brand of furnace or air cooling system, contact American Weathermakers at 847.509.2024 and we’ll get your HVAC system serviced today!


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