What Do HEPA and MERV Stand For, and What Do They Mean?

July 28th, 2014 by John Ortman

Indoor air quality is an important part of your overall comfort, and when looking for ways to improve it, there are two acronyms of which to be aware: HEPA and MERV. Each of these terms helps define what a specific air filtration system in Savannah can do for you and your home, so AAction Air has put together a little “cheat sheet” to help you.

What Is HEPA?

HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and it is an air filter that traps particles as small as 0.3 microns (the average human hair is 100 microns) and has an efficiency rating of 99.97%. In other words, for every 10,000 particles that pass through a HEPA filter, only 3 will escape.

HEPA filters capture allergens, including pollen and pet dander, some mold and mildew spores, some bacteria and virus microbes (usually not many, though, as those particles tend to be smaller than 0.3 microns), dust, dirt and dust mites. HEPA filters can help remove smoke, but they don’t help with odors or the elimination of gases such as carbon dioxide. HEPA filters do not destroy particles but rather capture them, so to truly eradicate biological pollutants, it’s a good idea to pair a HEPA filter with a UV germicidal light. HEPA filters need to be changed approximately every 3 months and they are not washable.

What Is MERV?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is the industry standard for measuring the effectiveness of filters. The scale for MERV ranges from 1 to 20; the higher the MERV rating, the more particles the filter removes. Effective home filters have MERV ratings in the range of 5-12; filters with MERV ratings of 13+ are made for properties like hospitals and can seriously constrict the flow of air in your air conditioning system. There are 3 basic quality levels when using MERV:

  • 1-4 MERV – good for blocking dirt and debris for your air conditioning system, but not really for improved air quality
  • 5-8 MERV – better for air quality, and can help with dust, debris, mold spores and pet dander
  • 9-12 MERV – superior performance for air quality; recommended for homes with allergy and asthma sufferers

The most recommended MERV rating for indoor air quality is 8 and up.

Wondering What an Air Filtration System Can Do For You? Call Us

If you or your family members have been feeling the effects of poor indoor air quality, adding an air filtration system to your Savannah home may be just the solution you’ve needed.

Call AAction Air today and schedule an appointment with one of our air filtration specialists to learn about how you can improve the quality of air in your home.

What’s Involved in an Energy Audit?

July 21st, 2014 by John Ortman

Your home is a miniature energy system, and just like a piece of powered machinery such as an air conditioner or a car engine, it has a measurable level of energy efficiency. To find out the efficiency level—and how that energy conservation can be improved—trained professionals conduct what is called an energy audit.

Your home can benefit tremendously from an energy audit in Richmond Hills, GA. Our technicians at AAction Air can locate the places where your home is bleeding out energy and the amount it is losing, and then provide you with recommendations for home improvements, such as increased insulation, ductwork sealing, and HVAC system upgrades, that will make your home both more comfortable and energy-efficient.

How an energy audit works

No two energy audits are exactly the same because no two houses and families are the same. To begin the process, the auditors who come to your home will ask you questions that will assist them with their tests and help them narrow down specific areas to test.

The principle step of the energy audit is to alter the pressure in the house so that the pressure drops and forces air the rush in through any possible crack in the air and heat sealing of the structure. The auditors will use a blower door, a device that fits over the front door and uses fans to draw out the air from the inside and cause a drop in pressure. Auditors then use equipment such as smoke pencils to pinpoint the air leaks.

The next major stage of an audit is to use thermographic inspection, devices that measure the home’s surface temperature. This finds where a house loses energy in ways unrelated to air leaks.

After seeing the large picture of the house, the auditors will move on to investigate specific areas. A large part of their attention will be on the HVAC system, where they will check for air leaks in the ventilation and the efficiency of the heater and the air conditioner. They will look over the insulation in places like the attic to see other spots where there could be improvement in trapping and expelling heat.

The auditors will also pay attention to the lighting of your home, which accounts for approximately a tenth of your electricity bills. The auditors will identify places where improved lighting schemes or energy-efficient LED lights can help your overall energy consumption.

Our technicians are highly trained and experienced to perform the steps that will help you find out how to heat and cool your house without excess energy loss.

If you want to put a stop to energy waste in your home, call on AAction Air today and talk to our Richmond Hill, GA energy audit specialists.

Steps Entailed in Commercial HVAC Maintenance

July 14th, 2014 by John Ortman

During a hot and humid summer in Savannah, GA, commercial HVAC maintenance isn’t an option—it’s a necessity. Your employees, customers, clients, and/or tenants won’t be able to get along for very long with the air conditioning malfunctioning or completely out of commission, which is a major risk if you don’t have preventive maintenance done. Even if the air conditioning maintains its normal level of cooling through the summer, your budget will suffer because of the drop in efficiency that will happen without a maintenance tune-up.

It’s easy to arrange maintenance for your company’s HVAC system: call up AAction Air and speak to our commercial service technicians. We can handle the maintenance fast and effectively, with minimum disruption to business. If you haven’t had a maintenance visit for the season yet, don’t hesitate any longer.

Some of the steps involved in commercial HVAC maintenance

Your business probably has a rooftop package HVAC system, in which case the maintenance will go fast and the technicians can do most of the work without any interference in the workspace.

The technicians will check all the important components of the package unit to see that they are operating correctly and not in danger of wearing down and malfunctioning in the near future. Here are some of the key steps:

  • Check refrigerant level. If there is any depletion in the refrigerant, the technicians will use leak detection equipment to find where the leaks are occurring.
  • Looking over the compressor. The compressor is the most crucial component in the whole HVAC system, since it creates the energy for the refrigerant that allows for the heat exchange that creates both heating and cooling.
  • Operation of the engines. The technicians will see that the key engines that run the compressor and the fans are properly lubricated and not in danger of running down.
  • Cleaning the coils. The evaporator and condenser coils will receive cleaning if necessary so that they properly absorb and release heat.

After this, maintenance will move on to check the ductwork system to see if there are any leaks causing a loss of air pressure. The check-up will then investigate the thermostats to see that they are operating and communicating correctly. The technicians will perform airflow checks from the vents and temperature checks to make sure that everything is working as it should. They will only consider their work done when they are certain that your HVAC system is operating the best it can and has no repair issues. They will make small adjustments to fix minor problems, and for larger problems they will help you schedule the repair work.

Have maintenance done sooner rather than later!

In general, you should schedule your maintenance checks for your system in spring and in fall. However, it’s never too late in the season to have it done… and it’s much better to have it done later than not at all!

If you are looking for quality commercial maintenance contact our excellent team at AAction Air for commercial HVAC maintenance in Savannah, GA today.

3 Distinctive Features of Photovoltaic Solar Energy Systems

July 7th, 2014 by John Ortman

The principal way to harness solar energy for modern buildings is through the installation of photovoltaic (PV) cells. PV cells in solar panels on a roof convert solar radiation into direct electrical current, and they have numerous advantages that make them the fastest growing green technology on the planet.

You can bring this power right into your home with photovoltaic solar energy systems in Hilton Head, GA. The clean, free, and efficient power of the sun is here for you to use, and the solar energy professionals at AAction Air are ready to help you. Call us today to find out how we can better your life with a PV system installation.

I. They do not require any moving parts

Photovoltaic cells operate through semiconductors that display a photovoltaic effect, which means they create an electric current of excited electrons when exposed to sunlight. This requires no moving parts at all, and this makes PV cells both durable (the will not wear down due to motion stress) and inexpensive to operate. They do not require any outside power to run them aside from the sun, so you can have PV systems that are entirely off the electric grid. (There are also optional grid-connected systems that do not require batteries for electrical storage.)

II. They can power your whole home

When you first begin installing a photovoltaic solar energy system, it will probably be to power a single appliance: a water heater, an air conditioner. however, PVs are capable of supplying current to any electrical system in a home: lights, computers, laundry machines, pool heaters… your whole home can eventually convert to solar power thanks to the installation of PV cells.

III. They recoup installation costs faster than any other system

Installing solar energy panels often intimidates people because the costs are higher than for installing standard electro-mechanical or gas-power systems. When budgeting on the short-term, it’s true that PV solar energy systems can seem too costly. However, no sustainable or renewable energy source will pay back the amount needed to manufacture it than photovoltaics. Recent studies in Europe have shown these systems return their costs in 1.5–2.5 years, depending on the amount of solar exposure. Because of PV durability and longevity (thanks to having few moving parts), they offer homeowners many years after the payback period of providing essentially free power.

Installing photovoltaic solar energy systems in Hilton Head, GA, as with installing them anywhere, is a task for specialists only. You will not have a guarantee that your PV solar energy system will operate efficiently and deliver you the savings you want if amateurs handle the job (or you try to do it yourself).

If you are interested in solar energy for your home or business call AAction Air today to talk to a staff of solar experts who can find out the best way to hook up your home for solar energy.

The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

July 4th, 2014 by John Ortman

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the singing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The scene Trumbull depicts is the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on the July 4—although many years later.

Our family at AAction Air hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.

3 Problems Caused by Poor Indoor Air Quality

June 27th, 2014 by John Ortman

Indoor air quality is an important part of your comfort during the summer months. After all, if the air quality in your home is causing you problems, your comfort level is compromised, regardless of the cooler temperature. We all know what poor outdoor air quality feels like, but it can be harder to discern poor indoor air quality in your Bloomingdale property. This is why AAction Air provides extensive indoor air quality services to the Bloomingdale area and beyond. Let’s take look at some problems that can be caused by poor indoor air quality.

Factors That Contribute to Poor IAQ

Your indoor air contains a lot of different types of particles. Not all are bad for you, but there are some common factors that contribute to problems with the inside air:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity level
  • Ventilation issues (is there enough, are the vents clean, etc.)
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Dust
  • Dirt

3 Problems Caused By Poor IAQ

There are a number of side effects caused by poor IAQ, so we’ve grouped them into 3 classifications to illustrate how important it is to be breathing healthy air:

Basic Irritations

Some symptoms of poor indoor air quality can be broad and look like allergies or common colds:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Respiratory congestion
  • Worsening of allergic reactions

Respiratory Problems

  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Inflammation of asthma
  • Dyspnea (difficulty of breathing or painful breathing)

Severe Health Effects

  • Conjunctivitis (eye infection)
  • Rashes
  • Nausea
  • Myalgia (muscle pain

While most people suffer from the basic irritations in regard to poor indoor air quality, those with chronic respiratory problems such as asthma or COPD can have a difficult time with poor indoor air quality. In addition, allergy sufferers can also find that their allergies are more inflamed with poor IAQ.

Options for Improving Indoor Air Quality

The good news is that it isn’t difficult to improve your indoor air quality, particularly with a whole-home air filter. By adding a high-efficiency air filter or air purifier to your system, you can greatly improve your indoor air quality.

At AAction Air, we have been helping customers improve their indoor air quality in Bloomingdale with air filters, Bryant air purifiers, and other products for a long time.

If you think you could benefit from improving your indoor air quality, call AAction Air today and schedule an appointment with one of our trained experts.

What Are the Differences between Heat Pump Maintenance and Air Conditioning Maintenance?

June 20th, 2014 by John Ortman

Heat pumps can do the job of both an air conditioner and a heater. However, very little separates a heat pump from a standalone air conditioner in basic design. Essentially, a heat pump is an AC: it uses refrigerant to move heat from one place to another, absorbing heat along an evaporator coil and releasing it along a condenser coil. When in cooling mode, a heat pump’s indoor coil acts as the evaporator and the outdoor coil as the condenser. When turned to heating mode, the heat pump swaps the function of the two coils.

Because of the similarity of the two units, ACs and heat pumps have similar maintenance requirements. They aren’t exactly similar, however; we’ll look at a few of the crucial differences.

Whether you have a heat pump or an air conditioner, it needs annual maintenance to keep it running efficiently and with as few repair needs as possible. Call AAction Air today to sign up for heat pump maintenance in Hilton Head, GA. You can trust to our NATE-certified technicians for quality work.

Places where heat pump maintenance differs from AC maintenance

The component that differentiates how a heat pump operates from an air conditioning system—indeed, the key to the heat pump’s ability to perform two comfort tasks—is the reversing valve. This valve sits on the line exiting the compressor in a heat pump, and it either sends the refrigerant to the outdoor coil or the indoor coil. When you have the heat pump in heating mode, the valve sends refrigerant first to the indoor coil; when you switch to cooling mode, the reversing valve switches the direction of refrigerant flow and sends the refrigerant to the outdoor coil first. Air conditioners do not have this component, and making sure the reversing valve in a heat pump is operating correctly and not in need of replacement is one of the important steps in maintenance.

Another way heat pumps are different is that they have two sets of condensate pans and drains, since they must remove excess moisture from the indoor coil (cooling mode) and the outdoor coil (heating mode). Technicians must inspect and clean both sets of condensate pans, drains, and pumps.

Finally, a heat pump’s connection to the thermostat is different from a standalone AC. The thermostat must not only turn the heat pump and its fans on and off, but also control the reversing valve by sending a charge to excite it. Technicians will see that the thermostat is correctly operating the reversing valve.

Inspections and tune-ups require trained professionals to handle, so make certain that you hire only the finest NATE-certified technicians to take care of your heat pump maintenance in Hilton Head, GA.

AAction Air offers an excellent maintenance program with a 34-point checklist that will make sure your heat pump will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The Function of Modular Units in Commercial Air Conditioning

June 13th, 2014 by John Ortman

Whenever someone thinks of commercial air conditioning, it brings to mind gigantic metal boxes sitting on tarmac or on top of a roof. This image isn’t incorrect – but new innovations have led to better, more efficient commercial air conditioning that no longer requires an enormous AC. One of these new innovations is the modular commercial air conditioner, and it can be a great option for those needing commercial air conditioning in Savannah.

It’s important to call a commercial air conditioning specialist like AAction Air when considering a modular system as the installation is very different from a residential installation.

What Is Modular Air Conditioning?

Modular air conditioning is a commercial air conditioning system that delivers the cooling needed for large, commercial spaces, that has a level of flexibility not found with large, singular rooftop commercial systems. As the name indicates, modular air conditioning comes in separate pieces that can be installed easily and indoors. Each unit is designed to cool a specific amount of space; if more cooling is required, another module can be added; if less cooling is required, a module can be turned off. Modular commercial air conditioning brings a level of efficiency and flexibility to commercial air conditioning that hasn’t been accessible before.

What Are the Benefits of Modular Air Conditioning?

Here are some of the benefits our AAction Air modular air conditioning customers have seen:

  • No expensive rigging, equipment or permits required
  • No rooftop penetration required
  • No field piping, evacuation or charging (charging is done in the configuration stage)
  • No worries about outdoor air conditioner damage from severe weather events
  • No major ductwork or electrical modifications are required
  • No exterior condensing unit required
  • Very adaptable system
  • Very space-saving
  • Efficient

Why Consider a Modular Air Conditioner?

There are several reasons to consider a modular air conditioner for your commercial space:

  • Energy efficiency – with modular air conditioning, you are able to control what areas receive cooling. For instance, if you have a property with multiple independent business spaces, and one of those spaces is temporarily empty, you can turn off the cooling to that space, saving you energy and money.
  • Flexibility – let’s say you have a property that needs an expansion due to growth. With a modular air conditioner, cooling that new space will only require the addition of another module.
  • Easy installation – each module is delivered fully completed, including refrigerant charging. In addition, because the system comes in separate pieces, installation can occur outside of business hours and on weekends, creating far less disturbance to businesses and employees. Lastly, cooling during installation won’t be interrupted.
  • Wide range of loads – modular air conditioners can handle cooling loads from 12 to 70 tons

Considering a Modular Commercial Air Conditioner? Call an Expert

A modular air conditioning system may be the perfect solution for your Savannah commercial air conditioning needs – but to know for sure, you should work with an expert. Call AAction Air today and schedule an appointment to talk to one of our experts about your commercial air conditioning in Savannah.

How Can Zone Control Systems Be Installed in a Central System?

June 6th, 2014 by John Ortman

If you’ve heard of “zone control” for home comfort systems, then you know about the basics of what they do: permit control of the temperature settings in individual sections of a home (the zones), instead of cooling or heating the whole home down at the same time whenever the HVAC system turns on. The number of zones can range from one for each room to only two that divide the upstairs and the downstairs. Ductless mini split heat pumps are zone control systems by design, since they use separate blowers mounted in different rooms to send air directly into a zone.

But what about central forced-air heating and cooling systems? Once you have one of those installed in your home, or one was already installed in it, how can you have zone control put in so you can enjoy the benefits of superior comfort and energy savings?

It’s not as difficult as it sounds. At AAction Air, we often retro-fit central ACs and heaters for zone control systems in Rincon, GA and other towns. Call us today and talk to our specialists about how we can help you with the benefits of zone control.

How zone control fits into a central system

When installers come to a home to retro-fit an HVAC system for zone control, they access the ductwork and determine spots to place dampers inside them. The number of dampers they select depends on how many zones the homeowner wants to divide the house into. The installers place these dampers, which can reduce and cut off the flow of air to the vents, inside the ducts.

Each of these dampers then connects to a local thermostat which can be used to adjust the temperature in that zone, permitting people in a home to set the comfort level for their own needs, or to fit the temperature to match the room’s function. All of these thermostats then link to one central control panel that gives the homeowner control over all the zones and the ability to program them.

The whole process can be done speedily and with minimum disruption to your life. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a new level of comfort in your home combined with a reduction in heating and cooling costs since you won’t be wasting power for rooms that no one is using.

The installation procedure is still a complex one, so make sure you call up experts with years of experience doing the work.

AAction Air can handle your installation of zone control systems in Rincon, GA and take care of the necessary maintenance and any repairs you may need to keep enjoying your new system.

The Purpose of Modular Units in Commercial Air Conditioning

May 30th, 2014 by John Ortman

Here in Bluffton, commercial air conditioning systems are a common sight among our offices and retail stores. They operate according to the same basic principles as residential air conditioning systems – cycling refrigerant gas through a series of valves and coils — but utilize different organizational methods to deliver it. Specifically, they use modular units, often placed on the rooftop, while most residences use just a single centralized unit. The purpose of modular units in commercial air conditioning goes a long way towards explaining these differences.

Every air conditioner in the world has a specific power load: the amount of cooling power it can generate. That power needs to be carefully balanced against the needs of the building to which the air conditioner is attached. If it’s not powerful enough, it won’t cool the air properly. If it’s too powerful, it will cycle on and off repeatedly, increasing strain far more than it should.

With residential homes, sizing isn’t usually a problem. The needs of the space remain more or less unchanged regardless of who’s living there, and as long as the system is properly sized, nothing more needs to be done. But commercial systems require a lot more flexibility. Occupants come and go as the needs of their business shift and new residents may have much different cooling needs than old ones. For instance, an office that has a huge amount of computers requires extensive cooling, while one that specializes in storage might need only a fraction of that cooling power.

Modular systems allow the building to adjust to those needs without replacing the entire system. If your cooling needs increase, you simply connect a new modular unit to the existing system. If your power needs drop, you can disconnect a single unit without disabling the rest of the system. It makes a lot of sense, both in practical terms and when looking at the bottom line for operating costs.

For more on the purpose of modular units in commercial air conditioning, or to discuss installation options, call on the experts at AAction Air.

We operate throughout Bluffton, commercial air conditioning systems are part of our service, and we won’t rest until you are 100% satisfied with our work. Call us today!