What Is Indoor Humidity, and How Can I Control it?

If you’ve ever felt sticky inside your home or experienced dry eye and breathing problems, you may have poor indoor humidity levels. Moisture can make the air feel heavy outside, but at the right levels, it contributes to greater comfort inside.

What Is Indoor Humidity?

Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. Indoor humidity always differs from exterior humidity. Depending on your heating and air-conditioning, humidity levels may rise and fall inside your home throughout the year.

Overwhelming humidity inside a house may make the air feel thick, but even slightly elevated levels can contribute to mold and insect infestations. Black widow spiders, cockroaches, and other uninviting creatures thrive in moisture-rich environments. Humidity can contribute to rot, peeling paint, and unsightly water stains.

Poor humidity can cause wooden floors and furniture to contract and feel uncomfortable. Dry air contributes to dryness in the nose, throat, eyes, and skin, creating uncomfortable sensations and increasing the likelihood of illness.

Measuring Indoor Humidity

Both low and high humidity levels can affect musical instruments and cooking. The optimal indoor humidity level hovers between 40% and 60%. You can purchase a hygrometer at big box stores or online to find out your home’s actual levels.

Humidity may vary throughout your home. The kitchen, bathroom, and basement will likely be more humid than other rooms. To gain an understanding of your home’s general humidity, measure the levels in the most-frequented rooms before you try to adjust it overall.

Controlling Indoor Humidity

Some humidifiers work as complementary systems to HVAC systems. These built-in or attached solutions monitor and adjust humidity to maintain the optimal range. If you do not have a humidifier connected to your HVAC system, however, you can take these steps:

  • Purchase a humidifier or dehumidifier. Depending on the humidity levels in your home, you may need a humidifier, dehumidifier, or both. Dehumidifiers use cooling coils to pull water out of the air. The drier air moves back into the room, while the moisture moves into a removal container for emptying. Humidifiers, on the other hand, add moisture to the air using vibration technology or heat to produce water vapor. In the South, you may need a humidifier for winter and a dehumidifier for summer.
  • Install exhaust fans. To remove moisture from the air, you may also want to install exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathroom, and other humid areas. Fans direct moisturized air outside the home to keep humidity levels within optimal ranges.
  • Boil water. If you need some instant relief from dry air, put a big pot of water on the stove on high heat. Watch the stove to prevent the pot from burning, and enjoy the humidifying benefits of warm water vapor in the kitchen.

Humidity can contribute to or take away from your airflow experience. If you’re curious about your own home’s humidity levels, add a hygrometer to your shopping list and talk to your HVAC provider about possible built-in humidifying solutions.

Advent Air would be happy to help you better understand your home comfort options when it comes to monitoring and controlling indoor humidity. Contact us today for more information.

Types of Hood Fans

What Are The Differences Between The Different Types Of Hood Fans?

When most people think of air conditioning and ventilation, they think of keeping entire rooms cool. They may not consider individual appliances. However, certain appliances need cool air too. Your kitchen range is one of these. Grease, offensive odors, and heat can make cooking highly unpleasant. The right range hood fan will eliminate these issues.

Replacing Your Range Hood

How do you know if you need a new range hood and fan? Excessive heat is often the first sign. The top range shouldn’t be extremely hot when the oven is on. If the heat feels excessive compared to what you’re cooking, it probably is. Basic maintenance issues are another clue. If your range hood wobbles or you notice cracks or breaks, it’s time to buy a replacement. Finally, be particularly cognizant if you have a gas stove. If your eyes burn or water while you cook, replace your range and fan immediately to avoid permanent vision damage.

Crunch The Numbers

Before replacing a range hood, make sure it’s the right size. Hoods should be at least as wide as your cooktop; to be safe, they should be three inches longer per side. Read specified requirements for mounting height. If you still aren’t sure about size and width, ask for professional assistance.

Choosing The Right Hood

The type of hood you need depends on your kitchen style, what you cook on your stove, and many other factors. Each type has positive and negative components, so consider your choice carefully. Here are some things to consider when choosing a new hood:

  • Under-cabinet hoods. As the name implies, these hoods mount to the undersides of kitchen cabinets above your range or cooktop. One specific type is a chimney hood, which uses a flue to move hot air from the kitchen. You’ll need to remove all cabinets above the range to install a chimney hood.
  • Island hoods. These hoods are ideal if you have an island cooktop. They come in many materials and styles such as curved metal or glass canopies. They provide excellent ventilation.
  • Insert hoods and power packs. Many homeowners find these attractive because they’re built directly into the cabinet or cooktop. This way, the range hood doesn’t take away from your kitchen’s décor. With a power pack, you can ventilate the kitchen as much as you want, which may diversify the type of cooking you can easily do. Speak with an Advent Air professional to learn about your many power pack options.
  • Downdraft hoods. This is another type of hidden hood. They pull steam and smoke horizontally across your cooktop, preventing odors, eye irritation, and other annoyances. They also don’t require traditional installation, so the focus remains on kitchen décor. Finally, downdraft hoods may make it easier to see while cooking.
  • Wall mount hoods. These mount to walls instead of kitchen cabinets, making it easier to access the ingredients and tools you need while cooking. They’re often easier to install because you don’t have to remove cabinets.
  • Pro hoods. If you’re a professional or paraprofessional chef, you might want one of these. They have more power than a typical under-cabinet or other hood and support a variety of exhaust choices.

Need help choosing the right range hood? For assistance choosing the best range hood for you, contact Advent Air Conditioning Inc. or come in for a consultation.

Air Vents and Grilles

Understanding the Differences in Air Vents, Registers, and Grilles

If your home has central heating and air, it contains a series of openings used to transfer air to and from the air conditioner and furnace. These openings are the grilles, vents, and registers. This is your guide to speaking like a pro when you talk about airflow within your home.

Understanding and Replacing Air Vents

“Vent” is a generic term used to cover all supply and return air sources connected to a central air-conditioning system. All registers, grilles, and returns are vents.

Home and building owners don’t need to know the difference between air registers and grilles. However, the knowledge may come in handy if you need to describe a problem to your technician or replace vents inside your home. In some spaces, you may have the option of installing a register or decorative grille interchangeably. Follow these tips to replace air vents within your home:

  • Look for the damper. If the vent you want to replace has a movable part that allows you to adjust airflow, keep that in mind as you search for a replacement. In some spaces, having an adjustable vent may improve the airflow experience
  • Identify the placement. Vents in walls, ceilings, and floors may look different and have different setups. When you replace your vent, you may need to look for a specific style to match the placement.
  • Measure before you buy. Instead of taking the old grille or register to the store with you, measure the air duct. The length and width of the opening will provide you with the information you need to choose a well-suited vent for your space.
  • Ask an HVAC professional. If you plan to replace several vents, ask your HVAC for recommendations. The style and location of the vents may affect your overall air quality.

Need AC Repair or other HVAC services in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area?

Contact Advent Air today.

How Air Registers Work

Air registers have slatted openings in the floor, wall, or ceiling that a user can control using an adjustable damper. Typically, a rolling guide or a lever on one side of the vent, the damper opens or closes access to the air duct for airflow management. These openings do not bring air back to the HVAC system, but deliver heated or cooled air into a space.

Heating and Air Grilles

Grilles are permanent, unmovable fixtures that may serve an air supply or return function. Grilles are found in residential ceilings and walls, but a company may install them in floors in certain cases. Depending on the system setup, a home may have one larger return grille or several small ones throughout the home. The air return is a grille that serves one purpose – to pull air back into the central heating and air system for reuse.

Whether you’re curious about HVAC terminology or you’re trying to understand more about the appliances within your home, hopefully this provided you with some insights into air vents. Registers, grilles, and returns all play important roles in heating and air conditioning, and keep you comfortable throughout the year.  Contact us today if you have any additional questions.

Clean Air Vents

Will Vacuuming or Dusting Air Registers and Vents Make a Difference?

If you look into your air vents or registers and see dust and debris, you may want to pull out the vacuum. Unfortunately, the DIY approach removes only surface grime, leaving other allergens and germs deeper within the ductwork. To clean the ductwork and other HVAC components thoroughly, you may need to hire a professional.

Vacuuming or Dusting Air Registers and Vents

Can you handle cleaning your own air registers and vents, or do you need a professional to clean your ductwork? Read on to find out what is the best approach for you.

When to Call in a Professional

Seeing visible dirt, dust, and other contaminants inside air vents is a clear sign you may need professional cleaning services. A professional will explain the process and offer services at a reasonable rate. Costs can range from a few hundred and a few thousand dollars, depending on the buildup and the size of your space.

Unless you see or experience signs of dirt or hazards in the ductwork, you may not need to invest in professional services. However, if you notice any of these red flags, contact a reputable company for an inspection and a quote.

General Home Concerns

If you aren’t positive about the previous owner’s cleaning practices, consider asking for a ductwork inspection before you move in. You may also want to consider professional cleaning after a remodeling project or any high-dust/debris work inside the home.

Mold

Mold requires professional remediation. To prevent serious negative health consequences, contact a company certified to handle mold in HVAC systems. You also may need a way to prevent a recurrence in the future.

Significant Contaminant Buildup

Insect and rodent infestations, dust, debris, and pet dander can all build up in air ducts and destroy the overall air quality. Sprays, air filters, and other solutions cannot clean the air until the source of contamination is removed.

After duct cleaning services, you can have peace of mind regarding your interior air quality. With a few additional steps, you may also reduce the risk of future problems.

Preventing the Buildup of Dust and Grime in Your HVAC System

While vacuuming the surface areas of air ducts won’t do much to improve air quality, you can take steps to keep your interior environment dust and allergen-free:

  • Dust, vacuum, and sweep regularly. Keep the surfaces in your home reasonably clean to prevent particulates from entering your HVAC system. This may also reduce the risk of an expensive vermin infestation.
  • Replace HVAC air filters regularly. Follow recommended guidelines for changing the filters for improved performance and air quality. Most filters have a life expectancy of four to six weeks, but every environment is different. Ask your service technician for replacement recommendations in your area.
  • Invest in a yearly tune-up. Make sure the service technician inspects the air ducts so you can plan for or postpone cleaning services as needed.
  • Groom pets. Keep indoor pets brushed and regularly bathed to prevent the accumulation of dander and fur in your ductwork.

Use these tips to manage the amount of allergens in your home, and contact a professional for cleaning as needed. Then, breathe easy knowing your home is completely clean and respiratory system-friendly. If you need professional help cleaning your ducts, give us a call today.