The Truth About Closed Heating Vents

closed heating vent, closing heating vents

Most homeowners this winter are looking for affordable ways to keep the home cozy. One trick they are resorting to is closed heating vents in unoccupied rooms. Does closing heating vents actually work to improve home heating and circulation?

Why Closing Heating Vents Supposedly Works

The idea behind this DIY trick is that sealing vents in unused spaces redirects the airflow to the rooms in use. The belief is that when air hits a dead end, it reverses direction and spreads to rooms with open vents. Homeowners will actually tape cardboard over the vents to seal them. Unfortunately, the closed heating vent tactic doesn’t work, and might actually be counterproductive. 

The Truth About Sealed Vents

If your air vents are in top condition, then this method may have a small beneficial effect. However, most residential ductwork contains cracks and leaks. The heat from the furnace will just escape through these exposed openings. 

In fact, this might increase overall heat and air loss. How so? Even if you close off a vent, the room still has other openings, such as doors and other access points. The room will use these openings to draw air from rooms with unsealed vents.

The bottom line is that furnaces and ACs operate optimally when the airflow is evenly distributed. You cannot get more air to one room by cutting off heating vents in another. The air will naturally find a way to rebalance its distribution. A sealed vent results in air distribution through less efficient means, leading to hot and cold spots.

We Restore Air Flow Balance

If you suspect air flow is less than optimal, then call Aurora Edmonds Furnace Cleaning. This is the time of year for furnace and dryer vent maintenance. The takeaway lesson here is that closing a heating vent is never the way to improve air flow.

Air Vent and Ductwork Repair

Serving Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue, King Countyand South Snohomish County

HVAC Inspection for Homebuyers

HVAC inspection, homebuyer inspectionWhen buying a home, you need to perform your due diligence. During the tour of the place, you need to enquire about the condition of the foundation, roof, plumbing, etc. Most people, though, gloss over the HVAC system. An HVAC inspection for homebuyers is a must.

Inspect the HVAC

The AC and furnace components of the system are usually out of sight. You should request to see these units. Obviously, a visual inspection alone doesn’t tell you much. So ask if the homeowner is willing to agree to an inspection by a technician. The inspector will look for anomalies, such as rattling noises, that may indicate signs of trouble.

Know the System’s Age

Enquire about the age of the system. This gives you a ballpark idea about how much life the system has left. Typical systems last between 10 and 15 years. With that being said, an older HVAC system doesn’t have to be an instant deal breaker. If the homeowner has maintained the system over the years, then it should still have plenty of juice. This takes us to our next point. Continue Reading →

Fall Furnace Cleaning: Why Autumn Is the Season for Furnace Maintenance

fall furnace cleaningFall is here. This means the autumn chill is also fast approaching. Within the coming weeks, expect to turn up your furnace to keep your home cozy. Now is the time of year for a maintenance. Learn why a fall furnace cleaning is a must for optimum energy efficiency.

Why Fall Furnace Cleaning Matters

Mid to late fall is when households usually begin using their furnaces again after a long hiatus. Over the spring and summer, dust can accumulate in the air ducts that the heat travels through. This is also true of other materials, such as pollen, mold, and insect parts.

You also probably used the AC a lot between June and August. This causes airborne particulates to accumulate in the same ducts.

Early fall is the transition period between the summer heat and autumn chills. We believe this is the best timeframe in which to schedule a cleaning. Continue Reading →

Why Is Your Home So Dusty?

dusty home, dusty house, vent cleaningA house naturally collects dust. All you can really do in response is wipe the table surfaces and upholstery. Where exactly is all this dust coming from anyway? We’ll explain what causes a dusty home and what you can do to minimize it.

Dirty Air Ducts

The air ducts collect dust, not to mention a host of other debris, such as insect remains and droppings. When the HVAC switches on, all that stuff blows into the rooms through the vents. This is precisely why you need to schedule an air duct cleaning at least once a year. Dust from air vents is especially problematic for carpeted homes. The carpet fibers can hold onto buckets full of dust. Vacuuming only removes the surface layer.

On the subject of air ducts, punctures in the ducts are another problem. When the HVAC comes on, the suction can pull air and accompanying pollutants from the outdoors and blow them indoors. Continue Reading →

What You Need to Know About Cigarette Smoke and HVAC Systems

HVAC cigarette smokeWe don’t need to tell you that smoking is bad for your health. However, not many people are aware of the possibility of third-hand smoke from a neighbor in an apartment or condo. Yes, the residual fumes do spread from one living unit to another. Residents need to be aware of the connection between cigarette smoke and HVAC systems.

How HVAC Systems Cause Cigarette Smoke to Spread

We highly advise against smoking indoors if you live with other people. Even if you’re home alone, the residual smoke lingers for a long time. The carcinogens and other chemicals remain in the air and on furniture surfaces for hours.

You can minimize residual chemicals with regular dusting and vacuuming. However, some of the chemicals still remain in the inaccessible parts of the air vents. Every time you switch on the AC or furnace, the air just blows the chemicals back into the interior. Continue Reading →

Hazards of Operating a Dryer Without a Vent

dryer vent hazardsSome homeowners who buy a new dryer don’t know how to hook it up to the vent. Instead of calling in an installer, they just use the dryer like normal without ever attaching the hose. Is this acceptable? No. There are hazards to operating a dryer without a vent.

Dryer Operation Without Vent Attachment; Yay or Nay?

In spite of what some people may say, the answer is an emphatic “no.” Operation in this manner can cause premature damage to the dryer; it is also creates safety hazards.

When the dryer is in operation, it emits moist air. The air has to go somewhere. Without a vent attachment, the air circulates into the home interior. Humid air combined with hot summers is the perfect recipe for mold growth. The air also contains microscopic lint particles, which you don’t want to breathe in. Continue Reading →

Cleaning Your A-Coil This Summer

A-coil cleaning, evaporator coil cleaningSummer is when homeowners really turn up the air conditioning. Before use, though, we recommend cleaning the air ducts and furnace. This also includes a thorough wipe-down of the A-coil—also known as the evaporator coil. Most homeowners overlook this component. A-Coil cleaning is necessary as part of routine HVAC maintenance.

What Is the A-Coil?

The A-coil/evaporator coil, is a triangular-shaped tube located above the furnace. Air passes over this component before exiting the vents and into the living space. The air flows across this coil whether you’re using the AC or heater.

Due to the constant shuttling of air, the coil surface is susceptible to contaminant buildup. It can accumulate dust mites, pet hair, insect parts, and microscopic allergens.

Does the A-Coil Require Cleaning?

You can perform a visual inspection if the coil is accessible and not encased. You can easily spot signs of debris buildup and grime. A dirty A-coil is usually also a sign that the filter is equally dirty. A clogged filter enables larger debris to slip through and cling to the coil. If the A-coil is filthy, then you need to schedule a professional cleaning. Continue Reading →

Dryer Safety and Fire Prevention Tips

dryer safetyWhen you think about house fires, you may think about the stove or electrical wires as the most likely culprits. The dryer, though, is another fire hazard. We’ll discuss dryer safety and some alarming statistics.

Dryer Fire Statistics

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released some startling figures regarding dryer fires. Both washers and dryers are capable of erupting in flames. However, in 92% of instances involving dryer and washer units, the dryer was the sole culprit. In 2017, 15,970 U.S. homes sustained damage as a result of a dryer fire. Those instances resulted in 440 injuries and $238 million in damage.

How Dryers Cause Fires

Fires often arise from the ignition of accumulated lint, dust, and other debris. The NFPA estimated that roughly one-third of dryer fires are due to failure to clean the vent. Dryer vent fires also peak during the winter. Nevertheless, the danger is present year-round. Continue Reading →

Do You Have Leaky Air Ducts?

leaky air ductsHomeowners often think of the pipes or the roof when a leak comes to mind. Did you know, though, that air ducts are also susceptible to leaking? Not a leak of water, of course, but of air. In fact, according to one estimate, 10% of indoor air loss is due to leaky air ducts, thus contributing to energy waste.

Signs of Leaky Air Ducts

Higher Utility Bills—Is your utility bill gradually increasing month by month? If your household shows increased usage, then the ducts may be to blame. Air loss causes the HVAC unit to work harder compared to a unit hooked to a well-sealed air duct system. The effects eventually take a toll on your wallet.

Inconsistent Temperatures—Where does the escaped air go? Much of it escapes outside or into the attic. This also prohibits the air from reaching certain rooms. If you were to switch on the AC, you might feel the full effects in the living room but not in the personal bedrooms. Continue Reading →

Are Your Cleaning Products Affecting Indoor Air Quality?

cleaning products indoor airWe’re going to let you in on an inconvenient truth: most cleaning products do more harm than good. Sure, that brand-name spray will clean the countertop, but the chemical ingredients can induce bad reactions in anyone with sensitivities. Cleaning products affect indoor air more than one realizes, so we recommend exercising caution.

How Do Cleaning Products Affect Indoor Air?

Common window, upholstery, and countertop sprays emit chemicals, such as glycol and terpenes. These are harmful endocrine disruptors that can exacerbate allergies. Such chemicals are also found in other everyday items, including:

  • Floor polish
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Air fresheners
  • Toilet bowl cleaners

When buying cleaners, carefully read the label and avoid products with any of these compounds:

  • Ammonia
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Triclosan
  • Perchloroethylene, usually abbreviated as “PERC”
  • Phthalates, mainly found in air fresheners

How to Improve Air Quality

We recommend switching over to all-natural cleaners. You should also avoid products with lemon or pine scent, especially during spring allergy season. When applicable, try sticking to warm water and soap. This is nothing fancy and is as basic as basic gets, but it gets the job done in most cases.

Ventilation must also be adequate. Aside from opening windows and doors, your air ducts should also be in good operating condition. We also recommend refraining from the use of ionizers, electrostatic precipitators, or other home purifier devices during cleaning. These devices produce ozone, which may react with the cleaning chemicals in the air and produce harmful fumes.

We’ll Improve Your Home Air Circulation

What you can’t see often does the most harm. Call Aurora Edmonds Furnace Cleaning to maintain your air ducts, furnace, and dryer vent. With allergy season here, take steps to improve the air in your home. Most cleaning products affect indoor air, so a properly running ventilation system is crucial if you plan to do some spring cleaning.

Air Duct Cleaning for Better Indoor Air Quality

Serving Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue, King County and South Snohomish County