Category Archives: Health and Safety

Your HVAC Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring is here! The sun is back, and the days are getting longer. Now is the perfect time to work your way through your spring cleaning list. Make sure you add your heating and cooling system maintenance to that list, too! Here are some important things to remember when it comes to your HVAC spring cleaning checklist.

#1: Schedule your spring tune-up.
Your body needs regular check-ups, and your car needs regular oil changes. Your heating system needs regular tune-ups, too! Professional HVAC maintenance is a critical part of keeping your system working well and running at peak efficiency. During your appointment, our team of HVAC technicians will clean the blower motor, clean and/or replace air filters, and talk to you about any issues they notice that could turn into potential problems later. We want to make sure your system is running as efficiently as possible, so you can save on your utility bill and not force the system to work too hard.

#2: Consider adding an air purification system to your home or commercial space.
Springtime allergies and cold viruses are a real drag. Sometimes the air you breathe is dirty and contaminated with harmful pathogens that contribute to sickness, asthma, or allergies. A reliable air purification system kills bacteria, spores, or other allergens that try to make their way into the air you breathe. This means you’ll breathe easy knowing that the air in your home or office is as clean as possible.

#3: Don’t forget your air filters.
When was the last time you checked your air filters? Dirty air filters translate to dirty air. Remember, the thicker they are, the more layers they have to collect dust, debris, and dirt. All of that debris will be recirculated into the air you breathe, too. We recommend that you change or clean your filters every 1-2 months.

Our team of heating and cooling experts at Specialty Heating and Cooling can help get your home or commercial system running at its peak! So, whether you need a maintenance appointment, a repair, or want to get a new system installed for spring, contact us today for details!

HVAC Noises You Shouldn’t Ignore

Your heating and cooling system is a complex machine that has a lot of different parts to it. When everything is operating at peak efficiency, it should only make a quiet humming as it blows the air out. If you have any unusual sounds coming from the machine, this could be a sign that something is wrong. Don’t ignore any HVAC noises! This could be a costly mistake.

Looking to troubleshoot before you call our team of experts at Specialty Heating and Cooling? Here are some of the most common sounds and what they could be trying to tell you.

Clanking, screaming, or banging:
Over time, parts inside your machine can become loose, become disconnected, or fall off. This could cause a clank or banging sound. Screaming noises are sometimes caused by refrigerant leaks or too much pressure in the compressor.

Screeching:
Metal on metal is never a pleasant sound. This could also indicate something is wrong with a broken belt, or a motor part. These are things that you should have a professional look at.

Humming:
This might indicate a loose wire or something else that could be wrong with the electrical portion of the machine. If you suspect something wrong with the electrical components, don’t use the machine. This could not only damage the machine further, but it could also be a fire hazard.

If there are any odd sounds or smells coming from your HVAC machine, don’t ignore them. Pay attention to what they are trying to tell you and be proactive by contacting our team of professionals at Specialty Heating and Cooling. We can interpret what the sounds mean and make sure things are fixed so your machine is running reliably.

Why Changing Your Air Filter is Important

Your air filter is one of the most important parts of your heating system. And because it’s not easily seen, our team at Specialty Heating and Cooling often discovers that the filters are forgotten about. That’s why we’re here to remind you to clean and change your air filter regularly. Doing this will help prolong the life of your system and help you breathe cleaner air.

The importance of air filters:
Dust, debris, and other particles try to make their way into the ductwork of your home. If this debris gets into the actual heating system, it could wreak havoc and cause some big damage to it. The filter is essentially a layer of protection. It prevents dust and other harmful air particles from getting into the system, as well as the air you breathe inside your home or office.

Reasons to change or clean your filter regularly:

Reason #1: Clogged filters restrict airflow and decrease efficiency.
Restricted airflow means your system is working really hard to do its job. This makes the machine more inefficient, using more energy and ultimately increasing your utility bill. Clogged filters can also cause the system to short cycle, which puts additional strain on the machine.

Reason #2: Increased wear and tear.
Your heating system is a big investment for your home. By taking care of it and staying on top of regular maintenance, your system should last 10-15 years. But if you neglect it, it could break down in less than 10 years. That’s an expensive mistake and something that you can easily avoid. Simple air filter changes or cleaning is easy. But dipping into your savings for a costly repair or having to finance a new system before you were planning to, could be stressful.

At Specialty Heating and Cooling, we care about the quality of air you breathe and want to make sure that system you have in your home or commercial space lasts as long as possible. We are happy to help answer your air filter questions and can also help with repairs and free quotes for a new system. Contact us today!

Winter Fire Safety Tips

House fires increase during the winter months. The reason: people are inside more often. Electricity is almost always on, furnaces, candles, and fireplaces are in use. Being a victim to a house fire is a very scary experience to go through. Do what you can to stay safe by following these winter fire safety tips.

#1: Don’t neglect maintenance and servicing on your furnace.
Brrr…winter weather means your furnace is working hard to keep you comfortable. To ensure there aren’t any unexpected furnace breakdowns or expensive repairs, make furnace maintenance a top priority. A tuned up system by our team at Specialty Heating and Cooling ensures its running at peak efficiency and that no issues will pop up that could create a safety hazard.

#2: Don’t cover vents.
Your heating vents provide the critical warm air that you want this winter. Make sure that no vents are blocked or covered. Blocking vents with furniture, curtains, or other fabrics and materials not only hinders air flow and causes unevenly heated rooms, but it could also cause the materials to get too hot, which could be a fire risk.

#3: Check smoke alarms.
Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors save lives. Unfortunately, many homeowners forget to test them. Many house fires can be prevented with regular testing and battery changes. Check them every month to make sure they are in good working order. That way, you can depend on them to alert you in a fire emergency.

#4: Don’t use space heaters.
They keep you warm, but portable heaters can be dangerous. If you do choose to use a space heater, never leave them plugged in while you leave and don’t put them near loose fabric or bedding. If children or pets are in the home, keep them away from the heater because they get hot to the touch and could burn.

Pacific Northwest winters are chilly, so get ready to cozy up inside. Remember that a reliable furnace is the key to staying comfortable this season. Contact us today for your maintenance or repair appointment, or to talk to us about furnace replacement options.

How You Can Keep Your Family Healthy & Safe This Season

This year has been incredibly devastating for millions of people. With COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc and cases still increasing, restrictions on gatherings, indoor dining, and more have become the norm. Whether it’s the flu, the common cold, or the pandemic that may threaten to damper your fall and winter, it’s important to find ways to keep you and your family healthy this holiday season. Here, we have some tips on how to do that.

#1: Invest in a home duct purification system.
Knowing that your home has the cleanest air possible is a great feeling. We install the Reme Halo by RGF. This system been proven to kill up to 99% of bacteria, mold and viruses, including those that live on surfaces. A recent environmental group study also showed that the REME Halo inactivates COVID-19.  They are both easily integrated with your existing HVAC system. Having one of these in your home is one of the most effective ways to stay healthy all year long.

#2: Stay on top of preventative maintenance.
Staying warm and comfortable during the coldest days and nights of fall and winter will help keep you healthier. Preventative maintenance will ensure that your system is running reliably, so you won’t need to worry about a surprise system breakdown. These also help prolong the life of the system, so you don’t need to replace it prematurely.

#3: Clean or replace your filters.
Are your air filters clean? They need to be cleaned or replaced every other month. These filters capture dirt, dander, bacteria, dust, and other harmful substances that try to make their way into your home. If they get clogged in the filter and build up, the dirt and bacteria will continually recirculate back into your home.

Our commitment to health and safety:
Along with you, our team at Specialty Heating and Cooling will continue to navigate the many changes that the coronavirus has brought to our world. We continue to make the health and safety of our employees and our customers the highest priority through each and every interaction we have with one another. Our company continues to take the following precautions:

  • All service technicians, installers and consultants have been outfitted with gloves, masks, booties, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes
  • We keep our conversations and time limited with you, only providing essential services in your home
  • Both our office team and field teams will remain home if they are not feeling well or if someone in their home is not feeling well
  • We communicate with our teams consistently to ensure that they are healthy
  • We respect the 6-feet rule of social distance
  • We will not have you sign anything that is unnecessary & have protocols in place to limit interaction and signatures required on iPads

Contact us today with any questions you may have about our safety procedures that are in place, so you can feel confident having us in your home to get your furnace repair, maintained, or installed. We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you.

How to Get Your System Ready for Freezing Temps

It’s officially November and colder weather will be here soon. Freezing temperatures can be uncomfortable. So, is your heating system ready to keep you warm? Here are some tips on how to weatherize your home and get your system ready for freezing temps.

#1: Get your preventative maintenance appointment scheduled.
Annual preventative maintenance is very important. It helps prolong the life of your system and it also keeps things running efficiently. That translates to a more reliable system and less likelihood of a furnace system breakdown. During your appointment, we will make sure to clean your filters, look closely at all of the internal workings of the machine, and talk to you about issues that may become problematic later. We’ll make sure things are fixed and ready to go so you can rely on your system all season long.

#2: Get your ductwork cleaned.
Duct cleaning helps you breathe cleaner air. Indoor air quality is incredibly important – especially as you head into the winter months when viruses and sicknesses tend to peak. Our outstanding team of professionals at Specialty Heating and Cooling can clean the ductwork in your home thoroughly through our powerful HEPA level filtration machine. In 4 to 6 hours. This will leave the ductwork completely cleaned and you can take a deep breath knowing the air is cleaner.

#3: Consider a programmable thermostat installation.
Programmable thermostats are a fantastic way to stay comfortable and save energy in the long run. Program the furnace to turn down while you’re away or asleep and turn back up again before you get home or wake up. This simple programming adjustment can save a lot every year and will help you keep your home more evenly heated this winter. They work with any existing heating system and are affordably priced, too.

Winter can get chilly and you’ll need to rely on your heating system – no questions asked! Get your routine preventative maintenance appointment scheduled right away, then talk to us about programmable thermostat options. We can help ensure you can stay comfortable through the rest of the fall season and into the winter, so contact us today!

Which Air Filters Are Best for Smoke?

The Pacific Northwest is seeing record devastation due to wildfires. This has left thousands of people evacuated and the aftermath of the smoke has produced air quality that is the worst in the world. We have received a lot of calls in the last week asking about air filters and how air purification systems can provide clean air. Here are some important must knows.

What does an air filter do?
Air filters play a big role in the overall functionality of your home’s cooling and heating system. The filters essentially do what their name says: they filter the air. That means the air that’s coming from outside, travels through the machine and toxins, pollutants, and other harmful particles are filtered out. Your air filter traps these, and it collects on the filter.

You should clean or replace your filter every other month, or more often if you have pets or are experiencing a high level of pollution or smoke, like we currently are in the Northwest.  Furnace filters with a thickness of one inch, usually need to be changed more often. But, if it’s thicker – up to 4 inches, it will not need to be changed as much. That’s because it has more layers and surface area to collect debris.

What is a MERV rating?
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating measures how much matter passes through your air filter. The ratings are from 1 to 16 – the higher the number, the better the filter.   The different values are very helpful when comparing performance of different filters.

See below or visit the EPA website here for more information.

  • 1 to 4 MERV rating: captures particles that are bigger than 10 micrometers, such as bugs dust mites, and other household debris
  • 5 to 8 MERV rating: catches particles bigger than 3 micrometers, such as mold and pet dander
  • 9 to 12 MERV rating: catches particles bigger than 1 micrometer, including dust and other common pollutants
  • 13 to 16 MERV rating: captures particles greater than 0.3 micrometers such as bacteria or smoke/pollution

*Particles of smoke are smaller; an air filter with a MERV rating of 11 or higher would be efficient enough to remove them.

We install a variety of air purification systems that can help you breathe cleaner air. One of our most popular products is the Carrier Infinity DGAPA Air Purifier. This has a MERV rating of 15. It works alongside your heating and cooling system, using Carrier’s unique Capture and Kills™ technology that traps up to 95% of particles, killing or inactivating them with an electrical charge.

Contact us today for questions about your air filters. We’ll help you select an air purification system that’s right for you.

How To Improve Airflow in Your Home This Summer

Does the air inside your home feel muggy or stuffy? Poor indoor air quality can make you uncomfortable – especially during the warm summer months. It can even contribute to feelings of sluggishness, which isn’t fun when all you want to do is get outside and soak up the sun. Here are some tips on how to improve air flow in your home.

#1: Check for airflow blockages.
Are all of the vents inside of your home clear? Closed or blocked air registers or vents will obstruct air flow. This can cause your system to work harder than necessary and create unneeded wear and tear on it. Be sure to keep your air registers open and move any furniture, rugs, or drapes that are blocking them.

#2: Stay on top of air filter replacement and cleaning.
This is a home maintenance to-do item that many people forget about. But regular cleaning or replacing of your air filters is essential to maintaining a long lifespan for your system. In addition, dirty air filters bring in dirty air to your home, which can be especially harmful for those living with summer allergies or yearlong asthma. Clogged air filters also keep air from flowing freely into your home. We recommend cleaning and/or replacing your filters every other month or longer depending on the type of air filtration system you may have.

#3: Keep your outdoor HVAC unit clear.
Springtime brings plenty of wind and rain. Now that the warm summer weather is here, it’s a great time to get outside and clean the outdoor unit of your heating and cooling system. This can easily accumulate debris or dirt over time, so keep it cleaned off so there is unobstructed airflow.

Following these simple tips will improve air flow and provide a solution for stuffy, dirty air. Perhaps your old, outdated heating and cooling system just simply isn’t up to the task of keeping you comfortable any longer. We can help! We’ve been serving customers in Oregon for more than three decades! Contact our experienced team of HVAC professionals at Specialty Heating and Cooling today.

 

Why Are Some Rooms Too Hot or Too Cold With the AC On?

Our experienced team of technicians at Specialty Heating & Cooling regularly works on homes with multiple levels. We often hear that homeowners are finding it difficult to obtain comfortable temperatures that are the same from room to room. Have you noticed that the upstairs is warmer than the downstairs, or some rooms are not as cool as the others? Inconsistent temperatures are frustrating. That is why we offer zoning systems to help.

What is a zoning system?
Zoned temperature control is a great way to keep your home efficiently cooled or heated. There are several thermostats placed throughout the home that are wired to one on control panel that pumps air through your home’s forced air system via the ductwork. The thermostats recognize the specific zone temperature and will open and close dampers accordingly to make sure the temperature is correct for the specific area.

The benefits of zoning:

#1: Money savings
Zoning is a great way to save money on utility costs! You can simply adjust temperatures according to usage. You will not overheat or overcool your home and use energy that increases your utility bill. At the end of the year, this could help you with save big. Each zone will heat or cool independently from other areas of your home. It is a concept that translates to real savings at the end of the year.

#2: Reduced wear and tear
Your system works hard to keep you comfortable all year long. If it doesn’t need to work as hard to cool or heat your home, you’ll help prolong the life of the system. Because you will only be providing air conditioning or heat to the spaces that you designate, your system will last longer & it will function at peak efficiency.

A zoning system can benefit almost any home, but especially homes with two levels or more – even those with sunrooms or garage apartments. Utilizing a zoning system will give you the technology you need to be comfortable from room to room, no matter what the weather is doing outside.

So, contact us today to talk about zoning system options! We’ll work with you to determine what system is right for your home based on its unique layout. Most of all, we will work with your budget! Contact us today to ask questions about zoning systems or to schedule an appointment!

COVID-19 Update from Specialty Heating & Cooling

This week, Governor Kate Brown issued a stay-at-home order for all of Oregon. Our team at Specialty Heating & Cooling is committed to serving you safely.

As a company, we continue to strive for the highest level of caution – from our first meeting with you to the very end of clean up after a product installation. Fortunately, most of your heating and cooling equipment is located outside of your living environment. Please be assured that we are taking all the steps necessary to do our part in stopping the spread of coronavirus.

We are taking the following precautions to better serve Oregon customers:

  • All service technicians, installers and consultants are outfitted with gloves, masks, booties, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes
  • We will keep our conversations and time limited with you, only providing essential services in your home
  • Both our office and field teams will remain home if they are not feeling well or if someone in their home is not feeling well
  • We communicate with our teams consistently to ensure that they are healthy
  • We respect the 6-feet rule of social distance
  • We will not have you sign anything that is unnecessary & have protocols in place to limit interaction and signatures required on iPads

We are working hard to ensure our team and clients are safe, and we ask the same of you.  Please alert us if someone in your home is experienced flu-like symptoms prior to us entering your home or has traveled outside the United States within the last 14 days.

Many of us will be spending more time indoors in the next several weeks. Now is a great time to prepare your system so you can stay comfortable. Here’s how:

  • Change your HVAC filters: We sell filters if you need one! You can pay for the filter over the phone and will leave outside for pick up in our covered area or we can deliver to your home.
  • Schedule your annual tune-up if you feel comfortable; many times, we do not need to enter your home.
  • Schedule repair for your HVAC system that is not running at its peak or if you don’t have reliable heat.
  • Invest in a whole home duct purification system. We are currently offering the Reme Halo by RGF or the Air Scrubber by Aerus, while supplies last. Contact us for more details.
  • We also offer water heater replacement! Visit our website for our NO appointment process.
  • Currently, Carrier is offering Cool Cash rebates or low payment 0% financing for equipment replacement or for air conditioner installations.

We value our clients and their safety, and we will continue to send updates as we navigate the information that is sent out.

We’re Not Comfortable Until You Are!

Warm Regards,

Cory & Sarah Streeter, and the Specialty Heating & Cooling Team