3 Reasons You Should Always Use a Licensed HVAC Contractor

September 25th, 2019

Island Comfort's air conditioner techniciansIt’s a homeowner’s worst nightmare: You wake up to a puddle on the floor because your HVAC system has caused water to come pouring through the ceiling. Or you notice a “funny sound” that you suspect is AC-related.

If you are in this situation, I sympathize with you. Luckily, there are trained technicians such as myself that can accurately diagnose and fix the problem.

Keep in mind that there’s a reason certain trades require licensing from a governmental body. When a person meets the requirements to achieve certification status, it proves they really know their stuff. Plus, the kind of dedication it takes to get there speaks volumes about a person’s work ethic.

If you are like me (and most other people) you take a great deal of pride in the things you have worked hard for. One of the proudest moments for many people is when they sign the closing paperwork on their home.

When it comes to repairs on one of your largest investments, why risk it?

1. HVAC Systems Are Complex

There are many moving parts and pieces that make up an HVAC system. Licensed and experienced HVAC workers are familiar with the intricate details. In the line of duty, we also acquire insight on the best-suited parts and equipment to use.

Because HVAC systems vary widely from home to home, a person with HVAC licensure has likely worked on many different brands. There is a good chance they will be no stranger to yours.

2. The Work Often Comes Guaranteed

Peace of mind – what is it worth to you? Many heating and air conditioning companies have confidence in the services they provide. This surety comes from believing their licensed team knows its stuff. So much so, in fact, that they will often guarantee their work with a warranty.

This may come in the form of promising (in writing) that they will honor their work to hold up for one, five or maybe even ten years. Should you have a repeat “puddle on the floor” incident, it would be taken care of at no cost to you. Isn’t that a refreshing thought?

3. A Jack-of-All-Trades May Not Know as Much As You Think

I’ve seen it many times: A customer decides to blindly trust a handyman who comes recommended by a neighbor on Nextdoor.com. You – in an attempt to save money – asked for recommendations for an AC repairman and ended up with a friend of a friend of someone who lives down the street.

The bottom line is that you should never allow someone to someone touch your HVAC system if they are not licensed to do so.

Even with the proper certifications, choosing the right heating and air conditioning specialist can be scary. The fear of being ripped off is understandable, and you should always do your research.

When you need an honest and reputable industry expert to help steer you in the right direction, call us as your licensed HVAC contractor.

What Is an Air Scrubber and What Are Its Benefits?

September 20th, 2019
 

Indoor pollution is a real concern for many people, especially as indoor pollutants can be worse than outdoor pollutants.

Because people suffer from allergies when inside, air scrubbers became the next way for us to clean the air of allergens and other harmful air particles.

What Is an Air Scrubber?

Air scrubbers are designed to improve the quality of our air by purifying the air and attached ductwork. We typically see air scrubbers used to clean mold spores out of the air or when companies renovate existing buildings.

Because of indoor air pollution at home or in the office, air scrubbers are also installed inside of existing ductwork and become a permanent solution.

How Do Air Scrubbers Work?

Beautiful cloudy sky background, sunny day, abstract natural backdrop, fresh air, peaceful cloudscapeAir scrubbers create what is known as a negative pressure environment. The negative pressure works to contain hazardous elements.

Consider the way that air always flows from high pressure to low pressure. By creating a negative pressure environment, the flow stays constant as it goes towards the air scrubber instead of outwards towards the surrounding areas.

Restoration companies use air scrubbers to decontaminate the air from things like lead, asbestos, mold, chemicals, and dust to keep them from being drawn into our AC units. They keep the rest of the area from being contaminated.

Having an air scrubber also improves the quality of our health. Certain contaminants are always around like skin cells or dirt, but the dangerous ones can cause problems when inhaled. Air scrubbers prevent that from happening.

What Are the Benefits of an Air Scrubber?

Perhaps the most obvious benefit to using an air scrubber is staying healthy in our everyday environments. Pathogens that would typically cause illnesses tend to stay trapped indoors, but with an air scrubber, they would be cleaned out of the air.

People living with asthma also benefit from using an air scrubber because irritants that would typically trigger an asthma attack are removed from the air.

We love a fresh smell, and an air scrubber provides that when it cleans the air around us. Mold spores can sometimes cause the air to smell foul, but an air scrubber takes care of that.

By scrubbing the air, air conditioners are protected. We know that dust can clog an AC unit, but with an air scrubber cleaning out those particles, the HVAC system steers clear from having that debris from unwelcome clogs.

Air Scrubbers Are Worth Having

Some of us have to cope with allergies and asthma, so air scrubbers are a godsend. They help us feel healthier and improve our overall quality of life.

Scrubbers also make our homes smell fresh and clean as they pull mold, bacteria, and other pathogens out of the air. If you’ve never thought about having one, maybe now’s the time to consider the possibilities!

Does Attic Insulation Really Help? Yes.

August 23rd, 2019

Man Climbing Into Loft To Insulate House Roof

Technological advancements help to lower energy costs, but even with those improvements, we still believe that attic insulation helps to keep you cool.

Insulation in the attic is especially useful because it gives you an extra barrier to the hot temperatures outside. Cooler temperatures inside also mean more efficient cooling which translates into lower energy bills.

How Insulation Materials Work

Insulation materials are not just some fly by night kind of thing – they serve a real purpose in keeping our homes cool in this Hawaiian heat.

The materials act as a barrier to keep our homes from getting too hot while also keeping the cool air inside where we like it. When the house is cooler, then our air conditioner doesn’t have to work quite so hard to keep us cool.

Types of Insulation Materials

There are different types of insulation materials, but the one we probably recognize the most is fiberglass. Fiberglass is made of superfine glass fibers that are woven together.

The weaving creates natural air pockets which work to block heat. We use various sizes of fiberglass insulation as needed. Take note, working with fiberglass means wearing gloves because those thin fibers can get stuck in the skin just like splinters, so it’s best left up to professionals.

Another insulation that is relatively commonplace is cellulose. If you ever wondered where our recycled newspapers went, here’s the answer.

Cellulose is made of shredded newspapers that are treated to be fire retardant. Natural fibers work to keep the heat at bay after it has been blown into an attic.

Benefits of Attic Insulation

Attic insulation can provide plenty of benefits that are worth looking into, especially in a humid climate like Hawaii. Consider the following as positive points to embrace attic insulation if you haven’t already.

Air Conditioners Live Longer

Air conditioners that don’t have to work as hard are going to live longer.

The short of it is that AC units have a lot of different parts that are continuously under stress. The less stress we can place on it, the longer life the equipment will have.

Fewer AC Repairs Needed

Fewer AC repairs are in line with longer life. Regular maintenance is essential to keep air conditioners functioning properly – prevention is critical.

By reducing the thermal load, we also prevent premature wear, which results in fewer repairs throughout an AC’s lifespan.

Saves Money

When the AC isn’t working as hard, it’s not going to be pulling as much energy, which means a lower bill that we have to pay. In looking at the savings, adding insulation to our homes can pay us back in a few short years.

Depending on how old the house is, we may need to add more insulation even if the home was initially insulated years ago. It’s a good idea to get it checked after several years because it settles and becomes less effective.

Yes, Insulation Really Does Help

Adding insulation is cheaper than the cost of cooling a home that isn’t insulated. If nothing else, that should be enough to encourage all of us to insulate our homes.

It will be better for your pocketbook in the long run!

Why You Need Air Conditioning in Hawaii

August 5th, 2019
 

Island Comfort van in OahuIf you look at real estate in Hawaii, you’ll notice that there are plenty of homes that don’t have air conditioning.

Heat and humidity being as high as it is would make you think that air conditioning is necessary to stay comfortable.

At least, that’s how it is on the mainland. You wouldn’t dream of owning a home in the tropics if it didn’t have air conditioning, but it’s not always like that in Hawaii.

Here’s the scoop about why you may or may not need air conditioning in your island home.

Single Wall Plantation Homes

Hawaii shoreOlder homes in Hawaii are built as single wall plantation houses, and so are designed for proper ventilation.

Single wall plantation homes have windows on opposite sides to the trade winds can work as a natural source of cooling, as do the post and pier foundations.

In these older homes, air conditioning isn’t as needed, but it would be a nice-to-have amenity. Do keep in mind, though, that the old homes are purposely not sealed the same way newer homes are, so it would take monstrous amounts of electricity to maintain a cooler temperature.

Mainland Style Homes

Newer homes that are built in more of a mainland style don’t have the ventilation that the older homes do, and so to stay comfortable, air conditioning is a must.

Sealed houses make it nearly impossible to get a crosswind moving through the house to keep the inside cool.

Ceiling fans help to circulate the air, but the truth of the matter is that to stay even moderately cool, an air conditioning unit is going to be a good idea.

Your Location Matters

In case you couldn’t tell, the location of your home also makes a difference as to whether or not you should have an air conditioning unit.

The elevation makes a considerable difference as to how your house will cool even if it is built in an older plantation style.

Some neighborhoods are hotter no matter how the ventilation is designed, so in these areas, air conditioning is a must, even with temperatures in the mid-80s regularly.

A Few Final Thoughts on Air Conditioning

Island Comfort Logo over Hawaii beachEnergy is expensive in Hawaii with costs for electricity so high that most people can’t afford to take advantage of air conditioning. You’ll want to check in your area for your local rates.

You don’t have to go with central air conditioning either. While that is the most popular choice on the mainland, you could consider going with a split AC unit to take care of the most popular rooms.

Something else to think about is the possibility of how you see temperatures. If 85 degrees with high humidity are hot to you, then you probably want to have an air conditioner.

On the other hand, if you prefer warmer climates and don’t mind the heat, then you may not need an AC at all.

 

How to Hire a Reputable AC Company

July 16th, 2019

So, your air conditioning unit is on the fritz, and it’s the middle of the summer. You know you’ll likely need to replace your AC or at least find a way to fix it, but you’re not sure where to look to find the right repair company. Here are some tips for hiring a reputable AC company.

Things to Look for When Hiring an AC Company

Air conditioners on the side of a homeAsk these questions before choosing your AC company. 

Are They Experienced?

Before hiring a service technician, it’s important that they have experience working with the type of air conditioning system that you have in your home or office. If they don’t have the experience or they can’t offer any proof of that experience, then look for someone who can.

What Credentials Do They Have?

HVAC technicians should be properly certified by your state and through established accrediting bodies, and that certification should be up to date. Be sure to check the credentials of the company that you intend to hire a technician from before getting any farther in the A/C repair or replacement work.

Do They Have References?

When looking for an AC company that can work on your air conditioning system, start with recommendations from trusted friends or family. Compare references on different companies from your local network so that you know you’re making a solid choice when the time comes.

Check Their Reviews

Look at a company’s reviews online and see how they have worked with other members of your community. Look beyond the reviews and see if they have responded to any of them – you can tell a lot about a company by watching how they interact with their community, as well as how they respond to any negative reviews they might receive.

Get a Detailed Estimate before Work

In order to ensure that you’re getting the best service for the best price, make sure to get estimates from multiple companies that you’ve determined are reputable before you start work. By taking this step after you’ve found a few companies that will work for you, you can save time and money when the work finally begins.

A Few Questions to Ask Your AC Company

While searching for the right AC company, here are a few questions that you can ask to help make the choice easier.

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Are you licensed to do this work?
  • Is the price being quoted the final price, even if you missed something? (Get this guarantee in writing)
  • Can you show me a copy of your worker’s compensation insurance?
  • Do you know of any rebates that I qualify for?
  • What is your rating with the Better Business Bureau?
  • Is there an additional fee for permits and inspection?
  • Is there an extended warranty available?

Doing Your Homework Saves You Money in the Long Run

While finding a reputable AC company may seem like an overwhelming experience, doing your homework can save you money and time in the long run. You may have the urge to just pick the first company that you see, but if you take the time to really find a good AC company, you’ll get a great service for a great price.