Which Is Better? UV or Air Purifiers?

Which Is Better? UV or Air Purifiers?

There’s a lot of talk about air purifiers and UV lights to improve a home or business indoor air quality. Some say one is better than the other or both are necessary to get the job done. What’s right and what’s not? Well, there honestly isn’t a simple answer. Budget, size, and local environment make a combined difference in what you want or need. Let’s take a look at these two options.

UV Lights, What Makes Them Buzz?

So UV lamps don’t really buzz unless you’re talking about the attention they’ve gained over the last couple of years. UV stands for ultraviolet, a type of electromagnetic radiation that also includes X-rays, visible light, and radio waves. UVC is the specific type of light used in these lamps to be effective. It makes the genetic material within germs and microorganisms inert and unable to replicate. This means that illnesses are no longer able to spread or further infect others.

Installing UV lamps into your HVAC system isn’t a long complicated process. They’re typically placed either at the coils or along with the ductwork. As the air passes through your system, it’s enveloped by the light and saturates all those germs hanging around. An easy way to think of it, moss doesn’t grow on a tree side where the sunlight hits. UV systems are a compact form of sunlight that stops the “moss” from growing in your home.

Air Purifications Purpose

Air purifications systems take all the air in your home and make it all sparkly, squeaky clean right? Not quite. No two air purifiers are built the same. The main ones are HEPA filtration systems, ionizers that neutralize contaminants, and activated carbon filtration. Even though they are all designed differently, the main task is to remove particles like smoke, dust, lint, mold, pollen, bacteria, allergens, & even viruses. Most accomplish this through specific filters and modern technology additions.

The drawbacks to air purification are few. First, if the particles and contaminants can not go through the system, they are not able to be removed. An example of this is dust that has settled on furniture or the lint hanging out under your bed. The second is that some types create ozone as a byproduct. Ozone, also known as smog, can be harmful to your health in the same ways the compounds it removes are.

So Now What?

In the end, choosing a system for your home comes down to what you want, need, and the budget you have. While both systems are fairly economic to run, it’s also a good idea to look into the annual operating costs of each. When you want professional advice or to have a system installed, we’re here to help. Give Hansen Heating & Air a call today at 251-471-3047!

Energy Efficiency Tips for Your Home

Energy Efficiency Tips for Your Home

We have all seen energy-efficient stickers stuck to new appliances or home systems but what does it mean & why is it so important? The definition put simply is equipment completing the same job as a competitor or older machines while using far less power without sacrificing quality. This leads to a reduction in carbon pollutions, less stress on the power grid, and a reduction in monthly utility bills. Looking at different home systems can show just how much impact having an energy-efficient system can have.

Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Being the biggest & most used system installed in a home, it comes as no surprise that your HVAC system accounts for over half of all the energy consumed. Taking steps to invest in your heating & cooling unit is not always easy but can have big long-term results.

Retrofitting different areas of a home can save on average up to 35% annual energy costs. But what does retrofitting include?

Replacing & installing insulation to open areas like the attic reduces strain on the HVAC system by limiting air escaping through opening & outdoor temperature transfer to save 15% on heating & cooling costs.

Sealing leaks and added insulation for ducts can increase system efficiency by more than 20%. The best method to this approach is to start at the top (attic) and work your way out.

Installing a programmable thermostat, with proper use can annually save about $180 in energy bills.

Consider replacing or upgrading your HVAC system when the heat pump or air conditioner is 10 years old, the furnace/boiler is 15 years old, or the utility bills keep climbing without your home staying at a comfortable temperature. Energy Star models are held to extremely high guidelines & can save around 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

Water Heater

The second biggest use of electricity in the home is the water heater. It accounts for 14-18% of the total annual usage or nearly 600 dollars of annual spending on a four-person home. You can save 27%–50% with a new energy star-approved water heater.

LED Bulbs

Not all light bulbs are created equally. LED lights while a little more on initial cost far outweigh the competition on both longevity and power consumption. Today’s standard LED lights to lower the use of energy by at least 60% and can go well over 75% while lasting 10-25 years!

Federal Incentives & Rebates and Tax Breaks

It is worth it to mention that there are many different state and federal incentives in making your home more energy-efficient. Taking a little time to search for incentives both locally and nationally can bring you a lot of savings and great benefits.

HVAC and the Mold Menace

HVAC and the Mold Menace

One of the last things any homeowner wants to hear, you have a mold infestation in your air conditioner. While it’s nice to think we could remove a hundred percent of mold & spores from the home it just isn’t possible. Spores are always present floating around the air & aren’t generally a major problem unless moisture conditions are met allowing for growth. Three main conditions that create the perfect environment for it to take hold are inadequate ventilation, condensation, & humidity. 

Ventilation

Poor ventilation makes it difficult for stagnant damp air to leave your home. These pockets of air filled with moisture settle leaving mold a place to develop. Common areas to have this problem are the bathroom, windows, and closets. A big red flag, condensation consistently developing on cooler surfaces like windows.

Condensation

Condensation occurs when the air is cooled to a certain point or there is enough moisture to create droplets. Normally as it runs, HVAC systems remove vapor and send it through the condensate drain line. If there is a problem with this function due to clogs or a breakdown, the water pools making it a very suitable place for mold to grow.

Humidity

Consistently high humidity along the coastline makes preparing for and preventing mold growth a top priority. Daily activities such as cooking, laundry, and showering also contribute to the amount of moisture within the home. These two factors are considered the number one reason for HVAC mold.

How can you tell if there’s mold in your HVAC system?

One of the most obvious signs is a musty stagnant odor especially near vents, ducts, and the unit itself. You or your family have symptoms that include allergic responses, headaches, nausea, and fatigue that clear when you are away from the home. Growth may also be spotted near vents, air ducts, or around the indoor unit. It’s important to call professional assistance to quickly take care of the issues to prevent further health issues for you & your family and damage to the home. They’ll be able to quickly find the source of the problem and either fix the issue or be able to recommend a solution that works for you. Preventing mold growth before it ever starts is even better.

What can help prevent mold in the air conditioner?

Semi-annual routine maintenance will keep your system running at its peak and find trouble before it begins. Indoor air quality systems are designed to purify the air with up to 99% removal of particles and spores. Dehumidifiers are a mechanical system that is suited for whole-home moisture control while also removing volatile organic compounds & particulate matter. Ultraviolet lights eliminate & stop growth on problematic areas of the HVAC system.

If you think you may have a mold problem in your AC system or need maintenance, give us a call today!

Electricity: Myth Vs. Fact

Electricity: Myth Vs. Fact

Making the distinction between fact and fiction isn’t always an easy task. There are myths, urban legends, and misunderstandings that all make it more difficult to discern the difference. When it comes to power and the voltage that runs through lines and electronics it is better to know what is right and what isn’t.

Static Electricity

Myth: Static electricity isn’t dangerous.

Running your feet and pranking someone with a little zap generally isn’t dangerous. When you pass that static on to electric devices it can damage them permanently. Sudden discharges of static electricity near flammable or combustible material can cause it to ignite or even explode. Even more interesting, lightning is actually a form of static electricity and we all know how dangerous it can be.

Rubber Apparel & Wood

Myth: Rubber clothing and wood both act as protection from voltage.

Rubber in its purest form does make for great insulation for voltage. However, shoes and gloves are not because manufacturers put in additives to make them more durable, flexible, & comfortable. Wood is actually a conductor, just not usually a great one. That is until it gets wet, then it becomes pretty decent conducting electricity.

Power Lines

Myth: Lines are installed with insulation.
Myth: If it’s not making sparks it has no power.
Myth: If I’m not touching it I’ll be okay.

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to power lines. What is safe and what is not? The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to any power lines is DON’T touch! If it’s down, stay at least 35 feet away, and call 9-1-1.
When put up most power lines in fact do not have any insulation. Instead, they have a coating to protect from the weather and that’s it. Our severe weather makes it more of a risk to see downed lines. When down, you’ll only really see sparks if there’s something for it to conduct too. Most of the time it lands either on asphalt, concrete, or dirt that won’t conduct the electricity. However, there is still quite a bit of power being delivered. When someone gets close enough, it could arc right to them causing serious health issues or even death.

Appliance

Myth: When not running or turned off appliances and electronics don’t use energy.

There’s a thought that when you aren’t using your TV, cooking on the stove, running the dryer, or have the lights off it doesn’t use any electricity. Thing is, they actually draw a little power all the time which is known as “vampire energy”. It’s just that when you aren’t using them it’s much less. The only way to stop this is by grouping them on a power switch that you can turn off, unplug when not in use, or use smart strips.

Remember when in doubt don’t touch exposed wiring!
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Hansen Electric

Is Your HVAC Hurricane Ready?

Is Your HVAC Hurricane Ready?

The officially marked start of the hurricane season is here and predictions are saying it’s going to be another bumpy year. Your storm plans probably include having stocked shelves, emergency supplies & places to store furnishing from the yard. But have you taken the time to add protection for the outdoor part of the heating & cooling system? Like anything else left out in the severe weather, it’s vulnerable to debilitating damage that leads to costly repairs or even replacement.

Keep Your Cool

No, it isn’t necessary to build a fortress around the condenser unit. So can you help keep your HVAC unit safe? Just follow these simple suggestions to help prevent a broken system.

Lock It Down

Tie-down straps are a great addition that will keep your air conditioner in place when high winds start blowing through. Typically they’re attached from the condenser to the concrete slab it’s placed on. Tie-downs in this fashion are rated to withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour. Coastal HVAC installers sometimes add these when the system is first installed, getting you ahead of the game.

Stop the Surge

With the wind and rain comes lightning. Lots of it! What the means for your electronics are outages and plenty of surges that could potentially ruin sensitive parts. Adding surge protection stops unwanted voltage from reaching the HVAC equipment. Even better, it can act as blanket coverage if you go with a whole-home option. No costly replacements of appliances or other home systems!

Clear It Out

Debris is another factor to be considered when it comes to safeguarding your air conditioner during a hurricane. Tuck away lawn furniture, potted plants, toys, and other outdoor items to keep them from becoming flying projectiles. Check surrounding foliage and trees for branches that are just hanging around or dead. Those will be the first things to come whipping and banging around the yard. It may be needed to look at the border between your home and the neighbors as well to remove any shared issues.

Should You Cover?

While covering the unit with a tarp or other material is a good idea, you should never cover the condenser while it is operating or could turn on. If the unit won’t be coming on during or after the storm, go ahead! Taking this step can help prevent the buildup of leaves, other debris, & standing water on the inside of the system. 

When to Call a Professional

Having an inspection done before a hurricane arrives will make sure your system is running at its best and less likely to need some TLC at just the wrong time. After the storm has passed, check your air conditioner for any signs of damage. Should you find any, call a professional to check it out before turning it back on! They will locate and repair any issues before it becomes a bigger problem or safety hazard.

As always, stay safe through the storm season. If you have any questions or need expert service call Hansen Heating & Air at 251-471-3047 or visit www.hansenair.com/contact-hansen!

Light The Way

Light The Way

Redesigning & renovating a home is a big project that is both exciting and daunting! Taking all the little details into consideration is an investment of time and effort. Planning out pleasing and convenient lighting for the room or home is just as important as choosing the right paint color. Here are a few of our tips and suggestions to get the most out of upcoming home improvements.

Consider The Space

The first thing to consider is how each space will be used on a day-to-day basis. Ask yourself what will we be doing in this room? Then create a potential layout where each piece of furniture will be placed. This will help figure out where additional lighting may need to be added depending on function or location. Also, you may want to decide on accent lighting to add a bit of creativity, highlight beautiful artwork, woodwork, or even wall textures.

Variety of Lights

Placement matters to how lighting affects each room but so does the type of lighting in each space. An example of this is wall washes. They are typically used in areas where you want the room to feel larger, often picked for use in bathrooms and kitchens. Other common types include pendant lights, low wall, ceiling, & gaining in popularity extrusion lights. Making time to research all the available options will help you create a plan that works best for your home. A tip to keep in mind, don’t jump on the latest fad. It can leave your space feeling outdated within just a few years!

Outlets & Switches

Permanent lighting should be the first priority however, it’s also advisable to plan out where outlets will be placed for free-standing light and other electronics. Picking the right spot will make future rearrangement much smoother and reduce the need for additional upgrades and installations. Having the light switches installed in easy to reach places not only keeps you from fumbling in the dark but also keeps you from detracting from the beauty of the room’s aesthetics. Our suggestion is to also install dimmer switches where possible so only the amount of light you need is given.

The Right Fit

Once you have everything picked out, do a double-check of the estimated cost. Does it fit the budget you set in the beginning? If you find that the final cost goes beyond what you can afford, don’t worry! Talk to your electrical expert who may be able to suggest alternative solutions that still work with the plan you had. They may be able to help point you in the direction of even better fitting products, fixtures, and placements.

For all your electrical needs, contact Hansen Electric at 251-214-0620!