Categories Uncategorized

10 Spring Cleaning Tips for HVAC Units

You’re smiling because the crocuses are starting to pop up; you’re scheduling a Saturday to clean up those soggy dead leaves; and you’re thinking you need a tanning bed and some lotion before you bust out those arms and legs. 

Spring is here! 

While you get your affairs in order for the warmer weather and tackling spring cleaning, don’t ignore adding “clean HVAC” or “HVAC replacement” to that list. Here are 10 tips for getting your HVAC ready for spring:

1. Clean the outside of the AC unit 

During the fall and winter months, debris like leaves and dirt can gather around the outside of the AC unit. Make sure that between 1-2 feet around the unit is cleared out, including trimming bushes or plants that may have grown too close to the unit. 

2. Clean the accessible parts inside the AC unit 

After ensuring the AC unit is shut off, clean the fins by vacuuming and wiping off any dirt from the fins of the AC fan, and lightly rinsing off the unit with a hose. You can also use this opportunity to check out as much of the unit as you can see, noting anything that looks damaged so that an HVAC professional can check it out during a routine tune up. 

3. Clean or replace the air filters

Here we go again about the air filters! But seriously, cleaning or replacing air filters is step #1 for making your system run more efficiently and providing cleaner air. Air filters should be cleaned or replaced at least yearly. 

4. Clean the air vents throughout the house

Dust can build up in the air vents throughout the winter, so cleaning them before you switch from heat to AC is a great way to make sure your HVAC unit isn’t working too hard and is circulating clean air. Remove the vents’ grills, vacuum the grills, wash the grills, and vacuum inside the wall vent as much as possible. 

5. Clean the AC coils 

Refrigerator coils can collect dust, making them less efficient. Take some time to carefully clean them off as spring comes around. You can search on the internet for instructions, or you can let your HVAC professional take care of this chore. 

6. Have the ducts cleaned

While this isn’t necessarily a yearly job (once every three to five years is sufficient), you might consider adding duct cleaning every spring to keep your HVAC system efficient and your air as clean as possible. If you live with someone with allergies or asthma, cleaning the ducts can be helpful for alleviating their symptoms. 

7. Dust the house

Dust, pet dander, and other allergens can all collect in the house. Additionally, spring brings its own allergens, the most significant being pollen. Pollen will try to sneak into your home, worsening allergies for those affected and clinging to the dust. Cleaning your home of dust where it has collected in corners, on ceiling fan fins, and in other hard-to-reach places is a good move to get ready for spring. 

8. Get rid of “things” 

Another part of your spring cleaning that’s also directly related to helping your HVAC system run well is getting rid of excess furniture or clutter. Extra stuff, especially clutter blocking vents, reduces air flow and spreads dust in the house. If possible, clear out the areas in front of or on top of air vents so that your HVAC system can run more efficiently. 

9. Seal windows & clean window treatments 

Vacuuming and re-sealing your windows is a spring cleaning task that will also help an HVAC system efficiency in time for warmer weather. Vacuuming and beating the dust out of window treatments will greatly reduce dust buildup in the house.

10. Have an HVAC professional clean & tune up all the rest

HVAC repairs or tune-ups are smart to schedule in the fall and in the spring. While you might do a great job of cleaning everything you have access to, there are some internal pieces and parts to your HVAC system you can’t reach. Having a professional come to clean your system will leave you satisfied knowing your system is running as smoothly as it should be, and it’s ready to cool your home as the warmer months approach. 

Call us 

Whether it’s HVAC repair, HVAC cleaning, or HVAC replacement, Exxel Mechanical Services is ready to help you get ready for spring! We serve a 30-mile radius of Winfield, Maryland in Westminster, Owings Mills, and Frederick, Maryland. Call us and see why our reputation precedes us! Call or email Exxel Mechanical Services today at (443) 821-1040 or bob@exxelmechanical.com. It would be our pleasure to see how we can help you.

Categories hvac efficiency, Indoor Air Quality

Why you should care about indoor air quality in 2022

Since mid-2020, we have thought about indoor air quality more than ever before. Due to fears about viruses and the spread of illnesses, you may have seen an increase in the use of air purifiers indoors. Whether in medical offices, schools, or businesses, people have taken steps to ensure the air inside is cleaner. 

But the truth is, air quality has always been important to monitor, and viruses aren’t even the biggest offenders when it comes to poor air quality. Scary pollutants can include noxious gasses, while dust, pet dander, and mold are among the top culprits for poor indoor air quality. Each of these pollutants can start or worsen health issues. 

Why you should care about indoor air quality

If you or anyone in your family is immunocompromised or has any respiratory issues— the most common being asthma— then you are already aware how extremely important air quality is for ensuring their health. Small dust particles, fumes from cooking or smoking, excess humidity… any of these can be devastating for someone already struggling with respiratory problems. 

On the other hand, you might consider yourself and your family members to be perfectly healthy. However, poor air quality in your home can still affect your health. 

Maintaining indoor air quality 

The EPA recommends ventilating indoor spaces with fresh outdoor air, using HVAC systems with good filters (that are cleaned or changed regularly!), and using air purifiers as ways to improve indoor air quality. The EPA published this guide in 2018 on how to choose air cleaners for improving indoor air quality in the home. The guide details how different cleaners or systems work and which options are available. 

Call us

Make sure your indoor air quality is good and that your HVAC system is contributing to the circulation of healthy air by calling in the professionals at Exxel Mechanical Services. An HVAC professional will be able to examine areas in your system that might be contributing to air pollutants and ensure that your HVAC system does its part in keeping your air clean.
Call or email us at Exxel Mechanical Services 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 replacement

When is the best time of year to replace my HVAC system?

We suggest you not break up with your sweetheart before Valentine’s Day. We also think getting a flat tire the night before a road trip is ill-advised. 

And to anyone going through HVAC system issues in the dead of summer or winter, we obviously do not recommend an HVAC system replacement during those times of year. You’ll not only be in dire need of said HVAC system; but also HVAC companies are at their busiest during these times. 

Of course you can’t always choose when you’ll have to replace your HVAC system. But, if you’re taking the proper maintenance measures, (link to how to avoid emergency HVAC repair article) you’ll know what shape your HVAC system is in, and hopefully avoid an emergency repair or replacement. 

Do I need to replace my HVAC system?

HVAC systems typically need to be replaced between 10 and 20 years old. With regular maintenance you can extend the life of your HVAC system, but it’s also true that older systems are simply less efficient and may be costing you more to run. If your energy bills are high, you are continuing to put money into your system with repairs, or you’re facing an especially expensive repair, these may be signs it’s time to replace your entire system.

What time of year should I replace my HVAC system?

If you’ve reached a juncture where your HVAC system has been needing many repairs recently, or you know it’s old and will need to be replaced sooner rather than later, it’s best to plan ahead. An HVAC replacement in early or mid-fall, when temperatures are moderate and you’re less likely to need your HVAC system, is ideal. Additionally, by planning ahead, you won’t be in a desperate situation when working with different companies and getting quotes. 

Schedule a visit with one of our professionals or call for a quote! 

If you give us a call, we can help you get some clarity on your situation by sending one of our professionals at Exxel Mechanical to check out your system. They can advise if you need a full replacement or if there is a simpler repair that can extend the life of your system. If you already know your system needs to be replaced, we’ll be happy to give you a quote or schedule a time– perhaps in the fall or spring– to get that entire system overhaul you need.

Categories Uncategorized

3 Tips to Prevent an Emergency HVAC Repair

HVAC systems are like romantic partners: a little attention goes a long way. If you want to avoid drama, as in emergency HVAC repairs, taking a little time to maintain your HVAC system can help prevent issues that might otherwise arise. 

1. Be attentive to the sounds, monthly costs, and general condition of your HVAC system

Awareness of what your HVAC system should be doing is one of the best ways to take care of it. This includes knowing what sounds your HVAC system typically makes when operating, how much it typically costs to run per month, and generally knowing what is normal and what isn’t. That way, if you hear abnormal noises or the bill shoots up for no good reason, you will be alerted to these abnormal occurrences and will know to call a professional to check out your unit immediately.  

Some other examples of attentiveness include monitoring the way your HVAC system drains the water that it collects from the air inside your home as well as knowing what a clean air filter looks like. Checking on these conditions can help to prevent emergency HVAC repair and extend the life of your HVAC system.

2. Get your HVAC system checked and serviced bi-annually  

This is advice you will find on any website or article concerning HVAC systems. Like getting an oil change and tune up to keep a car running, servicing your HVAC system regularly– at least twice a year– can keep you from needing serious HVAC service and repair or perhaps prevent an emergency HVAC system issue. 

The HVAC professional will check that all systems are working and will clean inside your unit, making sure it is working as efficiently as possible and preventing a possible system failure. Evaporator coils, drain pan and drainage system, refrigerant levels…these terms might mean nothing to you, but an HVAC expert will inspect these parts and more to ensure your HVAC unit is in tip-top shape.

3. Keep it clean & treat it nicely

Cleaning the drainpipe and the fan atop the condensing unit; keeping the area around your HVAC unit free of debris; and clearing vents inside your home are great do-it-yourself strategies for ensuring an efficient and healthy HVAC system. While your unit will most likely not stay shiny and new looking, maintaining key parts can help ensure that it is able to do its job. 

All this attention and cleaning you are doing for your HVAC system might tempt you to feel free to adjust the thermostat depending on your preferences, such as turning it up or down a few degrees when you leave the house. However, leaving it alone is often the better option. Remember: Every time you adjust the temperature, the HVAC system has to work a bit harder. 

If you follow these three tips, your HVAC system should stay healthy and last a long time. Contact us to set up an HVAC service plan today!