Categories Heating & Cooling Systems, hvac efficiency, HVAC replacement, hvac system, hvac westminster md, quality hvac, Uncategorized

Time To Change Your HVAC?

5 Signs Telling You It’s Time

It’s old 

If you’ve clicked on this article, you might be experiencing an issue with the way your HVAC system performs. The first question your HVAC technician will ask during your service call is: How old is your HVAC system?

HVAC systems tend to have a lifespan of between 10-20 years. Systems that have been serviced regularly run longest and most efficiently. However, bear in mind that as a system ages, reduced efficiency and repairs become factors in your decisions moving forward. If your system is older than 10 years and you’re facing many medium-to-large repairs, HVAC replacement might be a better option.

It’s Inefficient 

You might notice your HVAC system’s inefficiency in the running costs, but you can also tell if your HVAC is not working properly by the following:

  • The amount of time the system is running or the fan is blowing 
  • If your system seems to struggle to keep the temperature consistent 
  • Evidence of  increased dust piles
  • A noticeable higher than comfortable humidity level 

While these issues might point to a specific HVAC issue, they can also impact the overall efficiency of your unit’s operation. Depending on the age or severity of the issue, you may find it’s time to replace your HVAC.

Cost to Run: Repairs & Monthly Bills 

Costly repairs or high monthly bills are two big reasons to consider HVAC replacement. Here’s a general rule for making the decision to repair vs. replace:  Replace your HVAC system if the repair costs are more than half of a new system. 

Monthly bills should also stay consistent year to year (while accounting for things like fuel cost increases and inflation). For example, if this summer you notice a substantial increase in your bills compared to last summer, this may indicate that something is going on with your HVAC system. 

To stop habitual repairs and costly monthly bills, replacement might be the way to go.

It’s the Wrong Size 

If your system can’t keep the whole house at a consistent temperature, can’t keep different rooms at the set temperature, or achieves a temperature so quickly that it shuts down mid-cycle, it might be the wrong size unit for your home. 

That’s right! HVAC systems are not one-size-fits-all and having the wrong size unit can lead to inefficient operations. To remedy this situation, you may want to consult an HVAC professional about getting your HVAC system replaced so that it’s the right size for your home. 

There are Odd Noises & Smells in Your House

Grinding, hissing, or clunking noises are not good sounds to hear while enjoying time in your home, especially if they are coming from your HVAC system. Loose or broken parts within  your unit can be to blame, especially with older HVAC systems. 

Burning, sour, or foul smells–also not good to be experiencing in your house–may be coming from your HVAC system if something is wrong. Mold, melting pieces, a fire, or a dead animal in the vents could all be the culprit. 

If you have an older HVAC system or it’s going to take a major repair to fix the sounds or smells coming from your HVAC system, a new HVAC system might be in order. 

Call Us

No matter what issue you’re experiencing, we can figure out the best course of action. At Exxel Mechanical Service, our team is ready to serve you. Call or email us today at (443) 821-1040 or bob@exxelmechanical.com. It would be our pleasure to see how we can help you.

Categories Heating & Cooling Systems, hvac efficiency, Indoor Air Quality, quality hvac

Ways to Increase HVAC Air Quality

One of the many benefits of a first-rate HVAC system is that you can rely on it to improve the air quality in your home. During the winter or summer when you’re unable to crack a window for fresh outside air, you want to be able to know your HVAC is doing one of its many jobs: keeping the air fresh and contaminant-free. 

What do we mean when we say contaminant-free? We’re talking about eliminating all kinds of contaminants regularly linger in the air, including: 

  • excess moisture,
  • smoke from a fireplace, cooking or cigarettes,
  • regular house dust and dust from home renovations,
  • pet dander,
  • pollen. 

More serious air contaminants or pollutants include mold, bacteria, carbon monoxide, asbestos, or lead particles. If any of these types of contaminants are an issue in your house, you need to address them through more direct means than simply relying on an effective HVAC unit. However, for the “every day” contaminants such as those listed above, an HVAC system in good working order can improve and maintain air quality. 

To make sure your HVAC is circulating healthy air around your home, consider these 4 ways to improve air quality inside your home.

  1. Clean your air filters

When researching the question of how to make your HVAC system work better, the most common answer you’ll find is to clean or replace your air filters. Not only are clean filters able to pull more dust and other contaminants out of the air, but they won’t block air flow which increases the problem of dust and other particles collecting all over your house.

Full or clogged air filters can also damage your HVAC unit. Dirty filters make the HVAC system work harder and can even lead to broken parts or even a total unit breakdown. When it comes to air quality, it’s important to consider clean air filters your go-to for keeping the air fresh in your home.

Another consideration is the use of the correct air filter for your HVAC system. While having your HVAC serviced, ask your HVAC technician if there’s a preferred filter type or size for catching more particles and keeping your air cleaner. 

  1. Check on ductwork & other components of the HVAC system

The air conditioned by your HVAC system flows through your ductwork. Keeping your ductwork clean is another way to combat contaminants from growing and blowing around your house. Dust or even mold can build up inside ductwork (especially if the ducts were not installed well). During a tune up with an HVAC technician, ensure that the ducts are examined and given a good cleaning. 

Another area of the HVAC system that is prone to getting dirty with potential mold or bacteria is the coil inside the HVAC system. It’s possible to install special ultraviolet lights that can kill any growth inside the unit, making the system more efficient as well. 

During tune ups, the HVAC technician will also clean unit parts like the air handlers, grills, fans, and motors. These are functional parts of the HVAC unit that should only be handled and cleaned by a professional. Keeping your HVAC system and ductwork clean is one of the best ways to make sure the air blown through the system is also clean.

  1. Make use of air purifiers

You might consider using multiple means of cleaning the air, aside from your HVAC system, to improve air quality and reduce the strain on your HVAC system. The use of plants, cooking vents in the kitchen, air purifiers, humidifiers or dehumidifiers are all helpful tools to keep the air fresh. Whether you are fond of cooking foods in oil or butter, or you have a full house requiring daily showers and extra loads of laundry causing increased humidity or are enduring an especially frigid winter leading to cracking dry skin because there’s no humidity – all these place additional strain on your HVAC system. Whatever stress may be placed on your air quality, your HVAC system will thank you (through the longevity of the heating and cooling units) if you take steps to mitigate air quality issues through creative means.

  1. Run the fan more often 

Running your HVAC system’s fan more often can also help with air quality. Depending on the age of your thermostat, you should be able to turn the fan to the “on” mode. If it’s a newer, programmable thermostat, you may have the option to set the fan to remain on for a certain number of minutes per hour. 

While keeping the fan on can cost more on your utility bill or even bother you due to the sound of the fan running, it can help to filter the air as it will run the air through the air filters. But remember that if you are running the fan more often, you might need to clean or change the air filters more often. 

Keep efficiency in mind

Air quality is certainly important, especially if you live with someone who is immunocompromised or has a respiratory issue like asthma. And the Covid-19 pandemic made us more aware of airborne contaminants and ventilation than ever before. We need to think about air quality and controlling contaminants that might be getting into indoor air.

It’s also important to note that air quality also impacts the efficiency of your HVAC system. Air filters clogged with dust or pet dander can cause issues within the whole system, and high humidity will strain the system as it tries to keep it under control. Keeping the air clean helps your HVAC system heat and cool more effectively.

Call us 

Indoor air quality is an important part of a working HVAC system. Our HVAC technicians have experience with a variety of air quality problems, and we’re ready to answer your questions and provide solutions.
Exxel Mechanical serves a 30-mile radius of Winfield, Maryland, serving Westminster, Owings Mills, and Frederick. Our reputation in this area precedes us, as we pride ourselves on placing our customer as our highest priority. Call us today at (443) 821-1040, and it would be our pleasure to see how we can help you.

Categories hvac contracts, HVAC maintenance, hvac service plan

Are HVAC Maintenance Service Contracts Worth the Money?

A maintenance service contract is a common offering from HVAC companies when installing or servicing HVAC systems. Since you never know if you’ll have issues with your HVAC system, and repairs can be costly, service contracts can be like having an insurance plan for your HVAC system. Service contracts often include periodic or seasonal maintenance, discounted parts, inclusive emergency repairs, and priority service in times of emergency. But is a service contract worth it?

Ask the tough questions

When considering a service contract, be sure to ask your HVAC company exactly what is included in the contract, and then compare these features against the non-contract fees for servicing or emergency repairs (including parts) for your specific HVAC system. Some contracts can cost as little as $150 a year, others are more expensive but offer more. The cost vs. services included analysis is a good place to start. 

Next, ask your HVAC professional specific questions to make sure you completely understand what services you are receiving with the maintenance service contract.

Relevant questions may include:

  • Does the service contract cover seasonal maintenance only, or does it also cover emergency visits or as-needed repairs? 
  • What does a routine maintenance visit entail? 
  • What is covered specifically– for example, parts and labor for tune up visits only or are these included for emergency services as well?
  • What is the typical cost of repairs for my HVAC system? 
  • What is a typical emergency repair or issue for HVAC systems in my area? 

Conducting an informed costs, benefits, and risks analysis for your unique situation will help you make a decision that not only makes sense but also makes you feel good about your decision.

The benefits

One of the biggest benefits in opting for a service contract is the money saving aspect, should you require an unexpected HVAC repair. However, an additional benefit is the fact that a maintenance service contract guarantees you will take better care of your HVAC system. Why? Because having clean air filters and nipping any issues in the bud with a routine maintenance check are a couple of the best ways to save money through energy efficiency or preventing a total HVAC emergency repair or even replacement. 

At Exxel Mechanical Services we always stress to our clients that taking care of an HVAC system will make it more energy efficient and last longer, which saves you money in the long run. 

If you have a spacious house with a large HVAC system, if you don’t enjoy performing routine maintenance to your HVAC system yourself, if potential cost savings is important to you… an annual service contract could be a great option for you. 

Call us

Give us a call! Our experienced team can discuss our different offerings with you, and we will be happy to see if a service contract seems like the right move for you. 
Exxel Mechanical Services serves a 30-mile radius of Winfield, Maryland, serving Westminster, Owings Mills, and Frederick. Our reputation in this area precedes us, as we pride ourselves on placing our customer as our highest priority. Call us today at (443) 821-1040, and it would be our pleasure to see how we can help you.

Categories hvac efficiency, hvac westminster md, Indoor Air Quality, quality hvac

How indoor air quality affects hvac efficiency

When you think about bad air quality, you might think about factories billowing smog, or fires causing clouds of smoke in the air. While pollution and outdoor air quality is a health consideration, indoor air quality– the air circulating in sealed homes and buildings– is also extremely important and often overlooked, as most people spend the most of their days inside. 

Cleaning the air: the importance of HVAC systems

As Covid-19 spread, many of us have turned our attention to improving ventilation knowing that the air we breathe in sealed environments can truly impact our health. When it comes to indoor air quality, the biggest offenders that we concern ourselves with are humidity, dust, carbon monoxide, and radon. Other culprits we might not think of immediately (from this list from the EPA) include: smoke from cigarettes, cooking emissions, or dust from remodeling. And as the pandemic showed us, viral contaminants are also factors in air quality. 

HVAC systems are vitally important when it comes to reducing these air quality contaminants. They filter, condition, and circulate the air. But what happens to HVAC systems when there is an excess of contaminants in the air?

Poor air quality and the impact on HVAC systems

While we rely on HVAC systems to clean the indoor air, we should also be aware that an overabundance of contaminants will make HVAC systems work harder. For example, excess humidity increases the workload on an AC unit, forcing the unit to work harder and longer to achieve low humidity to make your home comfortable. Another example is cigarette and other smoke, which causes air filters to get clogged. Clogged filters make it difficult for air to flow, making the unit work overtime.

When it comes to indoor air quality, we expect our HVAC system to be doing the work. Understanding the ways you can improve air quality in your home or office will help your HVAC system do its job, become more energy efficient, and have an extended life. 

Contact us!

If you have children or older adults in the home, someone with asthma or other immunocompromised health issues, or if you simply notice the air quality in your home or workplace seems off, it’s worthwhile to have a professional check it out. 

Whether adding a dehumidifier or air purifier, having your air filters or ductwork cleaned or replaced, or servicing or replacing your entire HVAC system to remedy a poorly functioning system that is cycling bad air, our professionals can provide insight on the issue you are facing. Even a simple fix can make a substantial improvement to your air quality. 
Indoor air quality is important! Exxel Mechanical serves a 30-mile radius of Winfield, Maryland, serving Westminster, Owings Mills, and Frederick. Our reputation in this area precedes us, as we pride ourselves on placing our customer as our highest priority. Call us today at (443) 821-1040, and it would be our pleasure to see how we can help you.