Indoor Air Quality: Love – and Particles? – Are In The Air

In case the aisles full of chocolate and teddy bears weren’t a giveaway, it’s February – which means that Valentine’s Day is upon us once again. Friendship and love are everywhere… but what about particles, indoor allergens and pollutants? It’s time to talk about indoor air quality. If you haven’t had your HVAC systems inspected in a while, there’s a good chance that love isn’t the only thing in the air in your home. 

Checking for indoor air quality

What to Know About Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) 

Because we spend a significant amount of time in our homes, it’s important to know how indoor air quality affects our everyday lives. According to the EPA , poor indoor air quality can cause unpleasant side effects like eye, nose and throat irritation, and in extreme cases, can even contribute to more serious conditions like cancer or heart disease. So how do you keep indoor air pollutants and dust particles out of your air?

Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Services

You know that your local HVAC company can help with your furnace and air conditioner, but did you know that we can also help monitor and improve the air quality in your home? From recommending and installing dehumidifiers to helping with UV lights and more, we have your back in keeping your air clean. 

Some of the ways you can help improve your indoor air quality are:

  • Duct Cleaning: One of the most important things you can do for the quality of the air in your home is cleaning the ducts in your HVAC equipment. Over time, dust and other particles build up in ducts, which get blown throughout the house if they aren’t cleaned and maintained. Duct cleaning is an affordable service that goes a long way to maintaining the value and quality of your home. 
  • Humidifiers/dehumidifiers: Controlling the humidity level in your home goes a long way in cutting down on mold, mildew, and harmful particles.
  • UV lights: All surfaces have viruses and bacteria; however, some are more harmful than others. The sterilizing effects of UV lights can help ensure that your home isn’t playing host to harmful microbes that make your family sick.

How To Tell if Your Indoor Air Quality is Low

While you can’t see air quality, there are usually some good indicators that it’s time to have your HVAC system and air quality checked. If you’re experiencing any of the following, reach out to your HVAC servicer soon:

  • Family members frequently getting sick
  • New or worsening allergies
  • New or worsening asthma flare-ups
  • Frequent headaches
  • Feeling chronically “stuffy” or congested

About Universal Heating and Cooling

Universal Heating and Cooling is a family-owned company that has been providing affordable, high-quality HVAC services to the Miami Valley and Greater Dayton areas since 1976. Through fairly priced services and available financing options, we strive to make home comfort affordable and accessible for everyone. In addition to helping with air quality concerns, we provide services for full HVAC systems, including air conditioners, furnaces and heaters, ductless mini splits, and more. 

If you’re looking for ethical services at a fair price, reach out to us today at 937-222-4100 or

Steps To Winterize My HVAC System

As the cold temperatures settle in, many have begun holiday and winter season preparations. As the festivities continue, it is important to make sure your HVAC system is prepared for the winter temperatures. To ensure your HVAC system is the last of your worries, follow along in this blog to learn important steps to take to winterize your HVAC system in Dayton and surrounding areas!

Winterization Tips

Making sure your HVAC system is ready for the winter can save money and trouble on costly breakdowns. Doing this will not only keep you warm and comfortable during the winter months, but it will also allow your system to smoothly transition into the spring. Below are 3 steps to winterize your heating system:

  • Prepare your system
  • Protect your outside unit
  • Change your air filters

1. Prepare Your System

Before turning on your heating system for the season, it is important to ensure there are no obstructions. Debris can easily accumulate from the off season and harm your unit’s ability to function. If your heating unit is outdoors, remove debris such as leaves and trash. If your unit is indoors, dust and relocate personal items near the unit such as boxes. Cleaning the outside of your heating system can improve airflow and efficiency. Additionally, consider cleaning your air vents before turning on your system. Using a vacuum or dust rag to clear debris build up on your vents can improve air quality and keep your breathing easy all winter! Other benefits associated with removing dust particles include:

  • Decreases the chance of harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide being spread around your home
  • Enables the system to run smoothly
  • Saves money on energy bills

2. Protect Your Outside Unit

Although the air conditioning season is behind us, it is still important to ensure it is taken care of! Adding a protective cover can help keep dirt, moisture, and animals out of the unit. An easy and effective way to do so is using plywood as protection. Cut a piece of plywood that is slightly larger than the condenser’s measurements and place it on top of the unit. Then, secure it with bricks or other weights on the four corners to ensure it’s not blown away by the wind.

3. Change Your Air filters

Air filters play an important role in the overall health of your system. Dust, debris, and allergens all contribute to clogging your filter, which decreases its efficiency. When this happens, it diminishes airflow and forces your system to work harder to keep you warm or cool. Changing your filters is an affordable way to keep your system running smoothly if done so consistently. This important job should be done every three or four months, depending on factors such as animals and allergies. Maintaining your air filter will also help ensure when springtime and summer roll around again, your air conditioner will be working properly.

Other Home Winterizing Tips

Once you have prepared your HVAC system for Ohio winters, consider these other housekeeping tips to keep your home a cozy escape!

  • Check The Gutters
  • Protect Your Pipes
  • Seal The Cracks

1. Check The Gutters

Although icicles portray a winter wonderland, they can be quite troublesome for your HVAC system. When snow hits Dayton, be sure to remove any ice or heavy snow from your outdoor unit. Ice dams in the gutters can allow water runoff to slip behind your shingles, causing significant roof damage. Clean up your gutters, consider installing gutter guards, and make sure your attic floor is adequately insulated to avoid ice dams. Another thing to look out for is making sure that the attic is well-ventilated and roughly 10 degrees warmer than the outdoor temperature.

2. Protect Your Pipes

When the temperature falls below 32 degrees, your pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Ignoring a frozen pipe will send gallons of water onto the floor, damaging walls, flooring and ceilings. A simple way to prevent your pipes from freezing is to keep a few faucets flowing. Additionally, you should consider opening cabinet doors to allow warm air to surround the pipes under kitchen and bathroom sinks.

3. Seal The Cracks

Although this should be done at any point during the year, it is just as important to seal the cracks during the winter months as it is during the summer. Any inner and outer breaches in your home’s windows, doors, and walls might be allowing cold air to enter. Caulking or weather stripping is a cost-effective way to seal cracks for minor air leaks. Consider contacting a professional technician to thoroughly evaluate your property and plug any leaks that are causing your system to work harder than needed.

Schedule Service Today

Universal Heating & Cooling is here to help winterize your system before the cold months arrive. We know that getting through the holiday season with a broken heater is the last thing anyone would want to do! We are here for you when you need us most, give us a call to schedule heating repair in Dayton with one of our expert technicians!

When Should I Turn On My Heating System?

As the fall season approaches, the nights are cold and the days are warm. Many wonder when to officially make the switch from air conditioning to heating. The transition process can be tricky with home comfort and energy bills, which is why we are here to help! In this article, we will help guide homeowners through the process of turning on your heating system and common questions that arise.

How To Decide When It’s Time To Turn The Heat On

Turning on heating systems is partially about personal preference. If your home temperature becomes too chilly and uncomfortable, there is no harm in cranking on your heater. However, we recommend that you wait until your indoor temperature reaches 64℉ to make the switch. Utilizing the comfortable outdoor temperatures can lower your utility bills and give your HVAC system a break. Opening windows and doors can provide a comfortable temperature, but potentially sacrifice air quality.

What Should I Do Before Turning the Heater On?

Before turning on your heater, consider these steps to follow to ensure it’s health and your comfort!

  • Schedule Maintenance
  • Clean System
  • Have Ducts Cleaned
  • Seal Air Leaks

Schedule Maintenance

Before you turn the heater on, consider scheduling an appointment with one of our expert technicians to perform preventative maintenance on your system. Maintenance is encouraged by many HVAC professionals to ensure your comfort remains all season long and avoid costly repairs. Universal technicians can identify a problem before it becomes a bigger one, which can save your comfort and money. The best time to schedule your heating maintenance is in the fall before temperatures drop drastically.

Clean System

Your heating system is likely dirty from sitting all summer season. It is important to ensure the unit is free of debris before turning on. If you have a heat pump, it has endured outdoor weather this spring and summer. Ensure sticks, leaves, and other debris are cleared off the unit. If you use a furnace, be sure to dust and clear items around it. Cleaning your system will help maximize efficiency and effectiveness in heating your home.

Have Ducts Cleaned

If your ducts need to be cleaned, fall is the perfect time! At Universal, we specialize in duct cleaning to help residents breathe easy. Your ductwork may have accumulated dust and pollutants affecting your indoor air quality. The winter season brings many illnesses, which is why you should enter it with clean air and ducts!

Seal Air Leaks

Your home may have air escaping in your home, which can raise utility bills. Air leaks can be found in ductwork, attics, windows, and doors. While having your ducts cleaned, a Universal technician can identify any leaks. If you have leaks in your windows or doors, weather stripping and caulking can be a cost effective solution. Air leaks can raise heating bills, so we recommend sealing them before the winter season begins!

Schedule Service Today

If you think you’re ready to make the transition from air conditioning to heating, give us a call! We will help ensure your heating system is working properly and to avoid any costly breakdowns this season. The last thing you want is to be stranded in cold temperatures with a heater that will not turn on. Give us a call today at (937) 222-4100 to schedule your preventative maintenance service with one of our trained technicians.

Simple Ways To Preserve The Life Of Your AC

Air conditioning systems are a large investment for your home that should last for many years. The average air conditioner lasts between 10-15 years, but longer if properly maintained. Correctly caring for your cooling system can provide many benefits to your home, including lengthening its lifespan. In this article, we will list ways to preserve the life of your AC system.

Avoid An Overworked System!

Your air conditioner’s lifespan depends on the maintenance and care given. If an AC system is overworked, it leads to breakdowns and repairs. Wear and tear from frequent repairs harm its ability to cool your home each time. Below are 6 ways to avoid an overworked unit and extend its life.

  • Maintain A Clean Outdoor Unit
  • Regularly Change Your Air Filter
  • Ensure Air Vents Are Open
  • Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance
  • Install A Programmable Thermostat
  • Pay Attention To Repair Warning Signs

Maintain A Clean Outdoor Unit

Your outdoor unit is exposed to all weather conditions and can collect debris. Debris such as sticks, grass, and trash can harm your air conditioner’s airflow and efficiency. If debris becomes lodged inside your AC unit, it can lead to possible damage. Maintaining a clean outdoor unit can improve your system’s ability to function and avoid decreasing its lifespan.

Regularly Change Your Air Filter

A dirty air filter can be the source of many air conditioner problems and repairs. If your air filter is clogged, your AC unit works harder to push air through the pores. It is essential to change your air filter every three months or sooner to maintain a healthy air conditioner.

Ensure Air Vents Are Open

Contrary to popular belief, you will not save money by closing air vents in your home. Closing vents can lead to built up pressure and possible air duct leaks. If your ducts have air leaks, cool air escapes out of your home. Leaks make it difficult for your air conditioner to effectively cool your home and double the workload due to lost air. Additionally, you should not put furniture directly over air vents because the same problem may occur.

Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

Similar to doctor check-ups, your air conditioner should be looked at by a professional once a year. Your Universal technician can provide a thorough inspection to ensure all components are functioning correctly. We typically recommend scheduling AC maintenance in the spring before the summer season begins, because it allows time to prepare your unit for the upcoming cooling demands. A technician can catch a problem before it becomes one, which can increase the lifespan by preventing a breakdown.

Install A Programmable Thermostat

A programmable or smart thermostat can reduce your air conditioner’s workload. The home devices can alter your home’s temperature at different times, such as sleeping hours or during the work day. Raising the thermostat temperature during the summer can decrease the air conditioner’s load and chance of overworking itself.

Pay Attention To Repair Warning Signs

Air conditioners often provide warning signs they will break down soon. Paying attention to the warning signals can prevent wear and tear and broken components. Below are common signals your unit needs repair soon.

  • Insufficient airflow
  • High utility bills
  • Unusual noises
  • Warm air from vents
  • Bad odors
  • Water leaks
  • High humidity

If you take care of your air conditioner, it will take care of you. Consider these ways to preserve the life of your air conditioning system to ensure a long, healthy life! For air conditioning repair in Dayton, Ohio, call the experts at Universal Heating and Air!

How To Use Your Ceiling Fan To Save Money

If you are looking for ways to save on your utility bills and stay cool this summer, you have found the right place! Did you know your ceiling fan can actually save you money? Although your ceiling fan uses electricity to operate, it can decrease your monthly air conditioning bill if properly used. In this blog, we will explain how a ceiling fan can save money while maintaining your comfort.

Ceiling Fan Settings

Ceiling fans use a substantially less amount of energy than air conditioners do. If used properly, they will help save on air conditioning costs. What many homeowners don’t know is that ceiling fans have different settings for summer and winter temperatures. The blades should rotate different directions for each season.

Summer Settings

In the summer, your ceiling fan should be rotating counterclockwise. This allows the blades to push air down and create a breeze. Your ceiling fan helps keep a consistent temperature in the room and can give your air conditioner a much needed break.

Winter Settings

It may seem silly to use your fan in the winter, but it can actually help with your home temperature. Your ceiling fan should spin clockwise in the winter to help circulate heat. Due to warm air rising, the updraft created by the ceiling fan allows the warm air accumulated near the ceiling to be redistributed.

How To Change Your Ceiling Fan Setting

Changing your ceiling fan setting is simple for most types of fans. If your fan is remote or panel operated, there is likely a button to change the rotation. For most fans, there is a switch on the side of the fan body or light fixture below the blades. (pictured below) Simply flip the switch in the opposite direction, and monitor how the fan spins. If it is rotating counterclockwise, you should feel a cool breeze standing below the fan.

ceiling fan

Saving Money

Running your ceiling fan in the summer can help cut back on cooling costs, and here is why. The breeze your fan creates can make the temperature feel cooler. As a result, homeowners can raise their thermostat settings as much as 5 degrees without feeling a difference. For example, if your home is set to 72 degrees this summer, you can raise it to 77 degrees without sacrificing your comfort. It is important to note that your ceiling fan does not alter the temperature. Fans are just using more electricity if they are running and no one is in the room to feel the breeze on their skin.

Ceiling Fan Tips

  • You will only remain cool and comfortable if ceiling fans are utilized in every room. If the fan is not being used, you will feel the 5 degree temperature change.
  • Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. Turn off fans when you leave the room, much like turning off the lights.
  • You will only use more energy if you do not alter your thermostat setting.
  • The higher you alter your thermostat setting, the more you will save.
  • Ensure your ceiling fan is an appropriate size for the room.

Everyone loves a little extra summer spending money and helping the Earth by decreasing energy levels. Consider utilizing your ceiling fan this summer season to help keep your home a comfortable temperature and save on cooling costs. As always, give us a call with any questions or AC repair in Dayton!

FAQ About Air Conditioning Systems

If you find yourself constantly Googling questions regarding your air conditioning system, you have come to the right place! We don’t expect you to be the air conditioning expert, so having simple or detailed questions is normal. In this blog, we will answer common homeowner questions about everything HVAC!

How can I tell if my air conditioner is broken?

If your air conditioner is broken, there are likely warning signs such as:

  • Warm air flowing from your vents
  • Insufficient airflow
  • High utility bills
  • Strange noises

When should I replace my air conditioner?

With proper upkeep and preventative maintenance, your unit can last around 15 years. Frequent breakdowns and costly repairs can start around the 10th year. Homeowners start replacing their systems depending on the price to continue repairing.

Which way do I put in my air filter?

Air filters have arrows printed on the sides to indicate which way to install. If your filter is on the wall, the arrows should face the wall. If on the ceiling, the arrows should face the ceiling. If you are replacing your furnace air filter, the arrows should face the furnace. Take note of the previous air filter’s placement and replicate it if placed correctly.

Why is my air conditioner freezing up?

The most common reason why your air conditioner is frozen is due to a dirty or clogged air filter. A dirty filter restricts airflow, causing the coils to freeze. The coils need warm air to blow across them, which is restricted with a dirty air filter.

Why is my air conditioner not blowing cold air?

There could be multiple reasons causing your air conditioner to blow warm air, but here are the most common:

  • Leaking or Low Refrigerant
  • Dirty Air Filter
  • Thermostat Issues
  • Problem with evaporator coil
  • Blocked Condenser

How often do I need to change my air filter?

You should be changing your air filter at least every 90 days. Depending on factors such as indoor pets, air filters should be changed about every two months.

What are the different types of air conditioners?

There are many cooling options for your home, but the most common air conditioners are:

  • Central Air Conditioner: circulate cool air through a system of supply and return ducts
  • Window Air Conditioner: a single unit with all of the parts and components contained inside one box or casing
  • Portable Air Conditioner: a cooling system that can be moved around easily, just requiring a window and electrical socket
  • Ductless Mini Split: one indoor and one outdoor unit which do not require ductwork

Related Article: Ductless Mini Splits vs/ Central Air Conditioning

What are common AC problems?

  • Refrigerant leaks
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Drainage problems
  • Sensor problems

Why is my air conditioner making noises?

It is normal for your air conditioner to make a little noise, but if the unit begins banging, squealing, or rattling something could be very wrong. Noises can indicate a broken or loose part, which can develop into a much bigger problem.

Where should I go for air conditioning repair in Dayton?

At Universal heating and cooling, we are committed to servicing every customer with the repair and service they deserve. We have been providing quality HVAC services to homeowners in Dayton, Ohio since 1976. What makes us different, you ask? We provide the same pricing for weekdays and weekends, because you shouldn’t have to pay more just because of a certain day of the week. We have no hidden or diagnostic fees and maintain transparency with our customers. We guarantee your satisfaction at Universal, so give us a call for any air conditioning services you need this summer! If you don’t believe us, see what our amazing clients have to say in our Google Reviews!

Choosing The Right Size HVAC System For Your Home

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to your heating and cooling unit. The size of your unit needs to be specific to the size of your space for optimal heating and cooling. This blog will help you decide the right size HVAC system for your home to make sure you stay comfortable.

Why Size Matters

Too Small: Units are designed to heat and cool a certain sized space. If you install an undersized air conditioning unit, it will struggle to cool your home. This will overwork the system and raise your energy bill.

Too Large: An oversized unit is programmed to heat and cool larger spaces. If your space isn’t the size intended for this unit, it will cool the space quickly and shut off. You may be thinking, “What’s wrong with that?” When the space starts to lose the desired temperature, the unit will turn back on, re-cool the space, and shut back off. The constant off and on can cause damage to your unit.

How To Calculate Size

One of the main deciding factors will be the square footage of the space you need to cool. Multiply your square footage by 25 to calculate a rough estimate of how many BTUs needed to cool your space. A rule of thumb is it takes about 25 BTUs to cool one square foot.

Other factors to consider in your calculation:

  • Sunrooms
  • High volume rooms
  • Number of windows

Call one of our trained professionals to evaluate your space and help calculate these other factors.

How To Choose A Unit

The calculation of your home will help decide if you need a split system, packaged unit, or mini split system.

Split System: A split system has both indoor and outdoor units connected by copper tubing. Split systems are typically best for larger homes.

Packaged Unit: A packaged unit contains all parts for heating and cooling in one outdoor unit. Packaged units are best for smaller spaces and individuals looking for an all electric system.

Mini Split: Mini splits allow you to control indoor temperatures in specific rooms or spaces. This is a good option for someone looking to heat and cool a desired space rather than the whole house.

Related Article: Ductless Mini Splits vs. Central Air Conditioning

Let us help decide what HVAC unit is best sized for your home. Give us a call at (937) 222-4100 to help keep you comfortable this summer!

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality With Air Duct Cleaning

Are you already ready for allergy season to be over even though it just began? It feels like the moment you step foot outside, the pollen attacks your sinuses. If you are lucky enough to have mild or no allergies at all, enjoy the smell of spring tulips while the rest of us enjoy them from afar. Have no fear – we have a solution to keep your spring allergies at a minimum. In return for the pollen attacking our sinuses, we can attack the pollen through air duct cleaning. This will improve your indoor air quality overall, let us help!

Why should I clean my air ducts?

Your air ducts are the “lungs” of your house. For them to function properly, your ducts need to have a clear pathway for air to travel. Allergy pollutants such as molds, pollen, bacteria, and dust mites settle in your ducts. When your HVAC system is turned on, the contaminants travel straight to the air you are breathing inside your home.

Although your air filter’s main purpose is to capture these particles, you can further prevent their travel by nipping the source from your ductwork. Debris can build up if your air filter is not regularly changed. If you notice dust on the outside of your filter, there are most likely pollutants settled in your ductwork. Dirty ductwork can also attract rodents or insects, which would bring a whole new issue to your home. 

What are the benefits of clean ducts?

  • Minimize your allergies. Our main goal is for you to be comfortable inside your home. Cleaning your ducts decreases the allergens that enter your home which lessens possible triggers of your allergies.
  • Save money. With your ducts clogged with debris and pollutants, your system has to work harder to allow air travel. A proper duct cleaning can lower your energy use and save you money. Duct cleaning also prevents your system from overworking to the point of a breakdown, which could bring costly repairs.
  • Cleaner House & Smells. Like the pollutants can settle in your ducts, they also can settle in your home. If you notice more dust than usual, it is probably a sign of dirty ductwork. Sanitizing your ductwork can also improve bad odors in your household. Bacteria and mold can come with an unpleasant smell. Odors can also come from rodents in your ductwork. Trust us, you do not want your house to smell like rodents!

Duct Sanitation

Here at Universal we offer Duct Sanitation. Sanitation entails applying an antimicrobial chemical to destroy bacteria and/or airborne contaminants while reducing the risk of re-contamination. Duct sanitation, unlike spraying your kitchen counter or cleaning your bathroom sink, must be done only when necessary to eliminate excessive bacterial development. Only in safe and effective ways are our experts careful at Universal Heating and Cooling to apply duct sanitizers. 

If you are ready to breathe easy and stay comfortable in your home, contact our team of air duct cleaning specialists in Dayton, Ohio today at (937) 222-4100!

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