The Benefits of Insulation in Tropical Hawaii

January 28th, 2021

Is home insulation in Hawaii really necessary? Let’s find out. 

Some parts of Hawaii can tend to stay warm nearly all year long. While this is great weather for outdoor activities, the indoors can sometimes become unbearable since the average temperature on a regular summer day hangs out around 85 degrees. And when the humidity kicks in, there’s no escaping it! 

If you want to enjoy a comfortable air climate in your own home, you should consider attic insulation. This article explores the benefits of insulation on the islands of Hawaii and all you need to know about insulating your home.

Home insulation

Most people assume insulation is only necessary for cold climates, but it can also be incredibly beneficial in a tropical climate. Here are some benefits of insulating your island home:

1) Insulation Prolongs the Life of Your HVAC System

Without insulation, your HVAC system usually has to work twice as hard just to keep your home at a regulated temperature. This is because most of the warm or cold air it releases is usually lost through your uninsulated attic, crawl spaces, basement, or joists. This causes faster wear and tear to your HVAC system, which means regular breakdowns, and costly repairs. 

When you have quality insulation in the right amounts, all the warm and hot air your HVAC releases stays inside; you can even turn it off after every few hours of running. This significantly boosts its lifespan and the comfort of your home.

2) Insulation Lowers Your Energy Bills

When you live in a beautiful, tropical area like Hawaii, an HVAC system is a basic need. It helps keep your home cool during the hot days here, and warm during any cold spells. 

However, without insulation, your energy bill will easily shoot to the roof. Most of the cool or warm air your HVAC releases is lost through the roof and other unsealed areas. 

This results in you running your HVAC at the highest setting to try and keep things cool. You also have no option but to keep running it all the time because, the moment you turn it off, it becomes unbearably hot or cold inside. 

This means your HVAC will use more energy than it should to cool or warm your space. Insulating your home prevents this from happening. According to the EPA, insulating your attic, basement, and crawl spaces can save you about 15% in heating and cooling in Hawaii. That’s about $200 in savings annually. 

3) Insulation Increases Your Home’s Value

Nowadays, home buyers are becoming more aware of the benefits of energy-efficient homes. Also, more buyers want to keep their carbon footprint low and are often open to paying more for an energy-efficient home

Attic insulation will not only keep your utility bills low but also it will make your home more appealing to buyers if you choose to put it on the market. What’s more, you can quote a higher selling price.

Where to Install Insulation in Your Home

Every home’s insulation requirements vary depending on its design. 

Conducting an energy audit is the best way to know where you should install insulation. To give you an idea of where to start, here are some of the spaces you should ensure are properly insulated:

The Attic

About 85% of a home’s energy is lost through an improperly insulated attic. According to the US Department of Energy, insulating your attic can lower your energy costs by about 10% to 50%. There are two types of attic insulation in Hawaii:

  • Cold attic insulation is done on your attic’s floor. It’s only ideal if you have an unfinished attic because it leaves your attic exposed to outdoor temperatures.
  • Warm insulation is done beneath your roof’s decking. This is the way to go since it keeps your entire space, from the attic to all other areas cool or warm throughout.

Other Areas to Prioritize

Other areas that require insulation besides the attic include: 

  • Vented crawl spaces 
  • Unheated garages 
  • Basement 
  • Exterior walls 
  • Ceiling
  • Floors 

Why You Should Hire a Professional Insulation Company

Although insulating your home yourself might save you some money in the short-term, hiring a professional for the job is always the best approach because of the following reasons:

Avoid Damage

DIY YouTube videos and step-by-step tutorials make installing insulation seem like a walk in the park while, in reality, a lot could go wrong. For instance, different homes are fitted with varying types of insulation materials. Commonly used insulation materials include: 

  • Fiberglass batts 
  • Cellulose 
  • Foam 

When you attempt to handle the project yourself, you might choose the wrong type of insulation material for your home. As a result, your space won’t be energy efficient, and you’ll have to hire a professional to remove and install the right type of insulation. At the end of it all, you’ll have paid more than if you’d hired a professional from the get-go. 

If your home already has insulation, you’ll have to remove it before the new installation project. The chances of you damaging your roof and other insulated parts are pretty high if you do it yourself. When you hire a professional insulation company, all these worries are eliminated.

Professional Experience

A professional in heating and cooling in Hawaii not only has formal training but also hands-on experience. Your Island Comfort HVAC technician has handled many similar projects before; they know what type of insulation fits your home, and what to do if they run into problems. 

HVAC technicians know how to fill every nook and cranny of your spaces to prevent air leaks in your home. They complete the job on time and efficiently so costs stay low. 

In other words, they’ll get the job done right the first time, and right on schedule, saving you from a huge potential headache in the future.

Other Benefits of Hiring Professionals

  • HVAC techs have professional tools for the job 
  • Professionals boast special training for mold, mildew, and asbestos removal during installation
  • Safe removal and disposal of your home’s old insulation
  • Optimize energy-efficient insulation

Get Professional Home Insulation Services Today

Insulation is an investment worth making. It keeps your energy bills low, increases the efficiency of your HVAC system, increases your home’s value, and most importantly, enhances your home’s comfort. To enjoy these benefits, it needs to be done right. 

Island Comfort is your go-to local HVAC company. We offer heating and cooling services in Hawaii, as well as attic and other insulation services on Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island. 

Get in touch for more information about our services, or to request an estimate.

HVAC Tips for Winter in Hawaii

January 27th, 2021

The idea of spending winter in the Hawaiian Islands is something most mainlanders would consider a dream. However, the reality can be uncomfortable if the air in your home isn’t up to par. Having a proper HVAC system installed will bring you one step closer to “livin’ the dream.” 

Knowing where to find the best HVAC unit available is only half the battle. After that, you need the reassurance of a professional installation to keep your home at the right temperature all year long. 

Securing a reliable team of professionals for regular HVAC maintenance will help guarantee that your system runs flawlessly for years to come. Routine maintenance can also save you from spending thousands on a new unit before it’s due for an upgrade. 

Hawaii mainland

Before you decide which unit is right for your home, let’s discuss some tips to ensure your HVAC system runs well this winter. 

HVAC in the Winter?

While some of our neighbors in the continental US prepare for winter with snow shovels, things are different here on the islands. Winters in Hawaii tend to be cooler than summers. However, the mid-day temperature can still make your home uncomfortably warm. 

Aside from temperature control, a properly installed air conditioner will: 

  • Improve the air quality of your home by filtering out unwanted contaminants
  • Maintain your home’s humidity level with its ability to both add and remove moisture 
  • Enhance your sleep quality by maintaining the perfect temperature 24/7
  • Decrease the number of insects in your home with its filtration system, as well as allow you to keep windows and doors shut 

Air conditioning is often seen as a luxury, but it does have many essential benefits. The benefits are even more significant if you share your home with people or pets who are sensitive to temperature changes. Those with respiratory issues like asthma will appreciate the relief an air conditioning unit brings to their breathing. 

Protecting Your Home

An Hawaii houseYou just read about the filtration system keeping unwanted insects out of your home.

The protective benefits of an air conditioner extend beyond that. An AC can protect you and your family from environmental toxins. 

By having an air conditioner in the winter, you will: 

  • Enhance your air quality: Filtering indoor air helps to trap air pollutants, which you later dispose of each time you replace your air filter, keeping your family and your pets more healthy. 
  • Protect your electronics: Computer rooms are known for being ice cold, and there’s a reason for that. If your electronics sit in heat or humidity for too long, they won’t perform well and may get damaged.
  • Keep your furniture mold- and mildew-free: High humidity allows moisture to seep into furniture, rugs, and carpets, which can lead to harmful mold growth or putrid-smelling mildew. 

Not only can an air conditioner protect your home, but it can also save you money.

How HVAC Save You Money

Hawaii is known for having one of the highest costs of living in the US. If you’re like most, you look for ways to save money wherever you can. Typically, that may turn you away from wanting an air conditioner installed in your home. 

Consider that an AC can help save you money by: 

  • Protecting your home from pests: Without an AC to control the heat and humidity, your home is the perfect environment for cockroaches and centipedes. You then have two choices: introducing harmful chemicals into your home or hiring a costly exterminator. 
  • Reducing additional cooling needs like a ceiling fan or window fan. Fans do not change your home’s temperature but rather circulate existing air along with its humidity. Instead of racking up your electric bill for something that barely makes a difference, use an AC for efficient results. 
  • Preventing costly home repairs: Again, humidity is the culprit. Without an AC reducing excess moisture in your home, mold spores can reproduce into full colonies and lead to expensive home repairs. 
  • Eliminating unnecessary medical bills: The same mold that could wreak havoc on your home can also make you seriously ill. Mold has been known to cause serious, long-term medical issues; the filtration system, along with the humidity control that your AC offers, could prevent this altogether. 

Can You Have an HVAC System Installed in an Old Home?

You may think that your home’s age is a reason not to have an HVAC system installed this winter. What you may not know is that not all systems are made the same. 

Old homes in Hawaii have the potential to burn through electricity. This is because of how the houses are built, along with their lack of more modern insulation. Running a central air conditioning unit in a home like this would only increase your electric bill exponentially. 

A new HVAC system doesn’t necessarily mean central air conditioning, though. With options like split AC units, you have the option of controlling the temperature and humidity of specific areas in your house without running up your electric bill. 

Why You Should Maintain Your HVAC System

If you already have an HVAC system installed in your home and are wondering what you can do to make it more efficient this winter, look no further. Getting a 32-point AC tune-up will guarantee your system is in perfect working order. 

Our HVAC tune-ups cover everything from the motor and fans to the filtration system and electrical wiring. We leave no stone unturned, giving you peace of mind knowing that your system will keep your family comfortable.

Performing regular maintenance will save you money by: 

  • Reducing electricity usage with less stress being placed on the system
  • Preventing unit failure, which will save you from needing a costly new system
  • Having proper amounts of refrigerant to control the temperature and humidity levels efficiently 
  • Avoiding electrical shortages due to dated or poor-quality wiring that could cause serious damage 

Choose Island Comfort for Your Winter HVAC Installation

Your home is the most significant investment of your life, and we’re here to help you protect it. By installing an HVAC system from Island Comfort this winter, you’re not only protecting your home but also safeguarding your health. Our professional team is available year-round for your HVAC installation needs. 

Not sure what your best HVAC options are? Contact us today to see how we can help make you more comfortable this winter.

Why Is It Important to Have Air Conditioning in Kona?

November 20th, 2020

Air conditioning is a luxury for most people. In fact, those who call the islands of Hawaii home often find that they do not require the use of an AC unit on a regular basis. This is due to homes being designed with ventilation in mind and allowing the natural trade winds to cool the homes. Although, with more modern homes going up, why is it important to have air conditioning in Kona?

Is AC Necessary on the Big Island?

Known as the Big Island, Kona has a warm, tropical climate. Temperatures average between 68- and 87-degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making Kona pleasant for both locals and visitors alike. One thing worth noting is that the island is known for its steady temperatures, so while it can be cooler and breezy in the evenings, the daytime can get quite warm, though, usually never going over 90-degrees. 

This has many individuals wondering just how important it is to have air conditioning in Kona and have it running year-round.

Sure, many people can comfortably live in this warm tropical climate with ease. However, some people can benefit from having an AC unit running in their home, at the very least during the warm daytime hours, including:

  • The elderly
  • People with breathing conditions who need better control over air quality
  • Those sensitive to temperature change/with certain medical conditions
  • Pets with thicker coats 

If you’re not quite sure whether you need an air conditioning unit in your home, then you’ll want to consider the following facts. 

Homes in Kona

 

8 Facts to Consider

Considering adding a new AC unit to your living space? You’ll then want to consider these eight facts as to why it is important to have air conditioning in Kona. 

1. Improves Air Quality of the Home

One of the most common reasons people choose to include an air conditioning unit in their home and run it regularly is that it gives them better control over their home’s air quality. In fact, an AC unit, whether it be an HVAC unit or mini-split unit, helps to:

  • Maintain the desired air temperature in the home/room
  • Cleans the air by filtering out pollutants and allergens
  • Helps maintain a comfortable humidity level by either adding or removing moisture from the home

These are all important for those with health conditions such as Asthma and COPD who are sensitive to the home’s air quality. 

2. Decreases the Number of Insects and Viruses in Your Home

Most AC units use a filter or system of filters to help provide you with the cleanest air possible. These filters work by filtering out small insects and helping to filter the air of certain bacteria and viruses to ensure you and your family are breathing in the cleanest air possible

3. Helps Improve Home Security

This may sound a bit odd, but it’s worth considering. When running your AC unit, you should have your windows and doors close to help keep the cold air in and the hot, humid air out. When these entry points of your home are shut, they are likely locked as well, which helps keep your home safer from intruders. 

4. Keeps You Cool 

Again, this may seem like a bit of a no-brainer. However, it’s a frequently overlooked fact simply because it is so obvious. Tropical environments such as Kona’s can have an adverse effect on some people’s health and wellbeing. For example: 

  • Elderly individuals have a lower core body temperature, and these climates can easily lead to them overheating
  • Hot and humid weather can lead to a variety of heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps and heatstroke
  • Certain health conditions can prevent the body from properly cooling itself, resulting in heat-related illnesses

Having AC in your home allows you a reprieve from the heat and humidity. 

5. Improves Sleep Quality

If you’re someone who has trouble sleeping in warmer weather, then you’re not alone. Research has shown that cooler sleep temperatures can contribute to getting restful sleep. Ideally, your room should be around 65-degrees to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

6. Protects Your Electronic Devices

If you use quite a few pieces of technology in the home, then you’ll want to make sure you maintain a cooler, drier environment to help preserve the integrity of your devices. Running too many devices in a warm room could cause them to overheat, shut down, or worse. 

7. Helps to Reduce Chances of Dehydration

By maintaining a cooler home, you are ensuring that your body isn’t working overtime to keep itself cool. Several health conditions can impact your body’s ability to cool itself and can cause excessive sweating and/or the inability to sweat. Both scenarios can easily lead to dehydration, and if you aren’t adequately rehydrating your body, you can fall victim to one of many heat-related illnesses.

8. Less Noise Pollution in the Home

Noise pollution is defined as regular exposure to elevated noise levels. These levels can have an adverse effect on those in your home. This can become a problem for those living in busy city centers and experience a lot of traffic, construction, etc. 

When you are using an AC unit to cool your home, you, again, have your windows and doors shut, helping to filter out the excessive noise from the outside world. Some AC units can also produce a soothing white noise that allows you to tune out the world around you and relax.  

Call the Air Conditioning Experts in Kona

There are several options available to those looking to either install an air conditioning unit in the home or who are looking to replace an old system. While you may be tempted to take care of it yourself, many things can go wrong, which is why you need a team of experts you can trust to get it right. 

The experts at Island Comfort are familiar with a variety of unit types, including:

  • Full HVAC systems
  • Mini-Split Units

It doesn’t matter if you are looking for an installation, system repair, or system maintenance. The Island Comfort team employs only the best technicians to ensure that your unit’s system is running at its absolute best.

Your health and comfort are our top priorities. 

If you’re wondering why it’s important to have air conditioning in Kona, then contact our team today, and we’ll be more than happy to explain further.

6 Signs Your Mini-Split AC Needs Repairing

November 20th, 2020

Two-thirds of U.S. homes have air conditioners. However, most homeowners don’t know how to clean and maintain their AC units, resulting in malfunctions and early wear and tear.  

In this article, we will identify telltale signs that your mini split air conditioner needs repair. We’ll also give you cleaning and maintenance tips to keep your AC running in excellent condition.

Signs That You Need AC Repair

Seek help from a professional HVAC technician If you experience the following problems with your ductless mini-split air conditioner.

1. Leaking Water

Your mini-split AC uses refrigerant to circulate cool air, which may cause condensation. However, water or moisture should not accumulate and leak into your home.

Leaking water around or below your AC unit means your air conditioner is not working correctly. The condensate drain line may be blocked or broken.

Aside from water, the refrigerant may also leak from your AC unit. Refrigerants are poisonous and hazardous to your health. 

If you notice a pool of water under the AC, moisture buildup with odd color, it’s time to call an HVAC professional for repair. In the meantime, do the following:

  • Turn off the AC unit to stop the water flow and prevent further damage.
  • Shut down appliances and electrical devices to avoid electric shock.
  • Remove the water and wipe the floor and affected areas immediately.

2. Unusual AC Noise 

A low-noise ductless mini-split AC operates at around 40 decibels – this is comparable to the sound of a desk fan. Contact an HVAC professional to inspect your AC unit if you hear unusual sounds or noise, such as:  

High-Pitched Screaming or Hissing 

A high-pressure buildup in your AC’s compressor produces a high-pitched hissing sound, which can destroy the unit. Turn off the AC unit immediately if it doesn’t automatically shut down.  

Metal Screeching 

The metal on metal screeching sound can come from loose or broken fan motor bearings in the outdoor unit. In this case, your AC unit may require a fan replacement.

Squealing Sound from the Indoor Unit 

This can mean a fan belt problem. Initially, this sound comes and goes, which leads many to ignore this problem. However, if the fan belt has an issue, it will eventually break and lead to your AC unit’s shutdown.

Clanging Sound from the Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit fan may be loose or hitting the protective cage. Check for obstructions or loose mounting.

Bubbling Noise

The gurgling sound can come from the condensate drain or a refrigerant leak, leading to a bigger problem. This needs immediate attention.

Clicking Sound

This sound in the outdoor unit could mean a small obstruction in the fan, which strikes it as it runs.

If the AC unit doesn’t switch on, the clicking sound could mean an electrical problem in the air conditioner’s components.

3. Foul Odors from the AC

An unpleasant or unusual odor coming from your AC unit when it blows air can mean different problems. If you notice a burning smell, it can indicate an electrical wiring problem or an issue with the unit’s insulation.

You could be experiencing mold contamination in your home if you notice a musty smell coming from your AC unit. Report this issue to your HVAC technician immediately since spores in your indoor air can harm you and your family.

Duct cleaning can remove mold and odor that accumulate in the ductwork. Ultraviolet (UV) light can remove microbial growth in your AC unit.

4. Poor Airflow

Your AC unit will cycle more frequently and work harder to reach your desired temperature because of weak airflow. Insufficient airflow indicates different air conditioner problems: air duct leaks, compressor problems, a broken motor, or clogged air filters.

An HVAC professional will diagnose the cause of insufficient airflow, address the problem, and may suggest implementing zoning systems to regulate airflow and temperature in different parts of your Hawaii home.

A mini-split outside of a home

5. High Energy Bills

If you noticed a sudden spike in your energy bills without significant changes in the use of electrical appliances, the AC unit might be the culprit.

This means that your air conditioner is working longer and harder to deliver your desired temperature. This may be from a clogged air filter, which prevents cool air from circulating, or a frozen evaporator coil. 

Other problems can cause your AC unit to overwork, which, left unattended, can cause your system to break down.

6. AC Freezes Up

An air conditioner freezes up because the thermostat is set too low. It could also be because of a leak that needs repairing, or you have a clogged and dirty unit. 

Here are other reasons ice forms inside your AC unit:

  • Broken blower fan. Excessive condensation can build up and freeze the evaporator coils with a damaged blower fan. 
  • Low refrigerant. This means there’s a leak in the refrigerant line, which will eventually freeze the evaporator and condenser coils. 
  • Dirty air filter. Clogged air filters prevent air from going through the evaporator coil, which causes ice buildup. This also results in poor indoor air quality.

Simple AC Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Follow these simple air conditioner cleaning and maintenance tips to prevent the hassle of costly repairs and AC unit replacement:

  • Clean or replace air filters every two months or more often if you have pets and children in the house.
  • Ensure the outdoor unit is free from dust, debris, or any obstructions.
  • Remove airflow obstructions by moving furniture, appliances, and curtains that block air vents and prevent cool air from circulating.
  • Look for air duct leaks and seal them to prevent cool air from escaping and jacking up your energy bill.

AC Maintenance and Repair with Island Comfort

Regular cleaning, inspection, and maintenance of your ductless mini-split system are all it takes to keep your AC unit running in excellent condition for a very long time.

Our HVAC experts at Island Comfort will perform a thorough inspection of your AC unit, which includes:

  • Checking for freon line leaks using a freon leak detector
  • Refrigerant operating pressure monitoring
  • Evaporator coil inspection
  • Air filter cleaning
  • Blower motor voltage and amperage measurement
  • Thermostat testing and calibration
  • Wiring connection inspection
  • Safety issues check

We’ll make sure that you will experience the comfort, convenience, and excellent indoor air quality from your mini-split AC unit in your Hawaii home all year round.

Call Island Comfort at (888) 781-0364 for ductless mini-split AC installation, maintenance, and repair services in Kauai, Oahu, and Kona.