Author Archives: Cajun Comfort

How to Test Indoor Air Quality

man examining an indoor air vent

Keeping Your Air Clean

Do you rush to get home and out of the big city traffic and air pollution? There’s a good chance you’re not getting any better air quality at home. Yes, you read that correctly. The air quality in our homes can sometimes be worse than the air in downtown New Orleans!  Now you’re probably wondering, “How can I check the air quality in my home?” Right?

Not every home will require the same indoor air quality testing because not every home is subjected to every potential particulate or pollutant. The age and location of your home can give you an idea of what should be concerning. And anyone in the house that is experiencing health issues can give you an idea of air quality testing you need. 

Here are four air quality testing suggestions to consider: 

  • Indoor air quality monitor: Choose between a model that detects toxins with electrochemical sensors or one that estimates PM (particulate matter) based on the particulates.  Air quality testing equipment can detect harmful gasses that are odorless, like carbon monoxide and radon, some models detect volatile organic compounds, VOCs, or pollutants such as PM. 
  • Or you may find a more advanced indoor air quality testing monitor that measures the humidity and temperature. There are air quality testing monitors that detect specific pollutants to centralize your specific concerns.
  • Test for Mold: there are various forms of air quality testing for mold including air pumps, swabs, tape strips, and basic Petri dishes. The swabs and tape strip tests are used on counters and tabletops to collect potential contaminants and while you get the results in a matter of minutes, they aren’t specific as to what type of mold. There are tape strips, along with air pumps, and petri dish air quality testing that is collected and then sent in for lab analysis, giving more accurate results. 
  • Radon Testing:  Common in areas with certain rocks and soil, radon gas comes from them and seeps through the foundation and into homes. Short-term radon air quality testing will detect radon levels with immediate but not as accurate results, typically taking 90 days. Or long-term testing over several months that is sent into a lab for interpretation.  There is continuous radon monitoring as well. 
  • Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide, a dangerous poisonous gas that is odorless can cause confusion, dizziness, and headaches, even death. Carbon monoxide air quality testing detectors are standard items like smoke detectors. 

What affects indoor air quality?

Because the air quality in your home is likely not to be as healthy and safe as we may think, it is important to be aware of these five Major indoor air pollutants causes that can have an affect the indoor air quality and ways how to improve indoor air quality:       

Humidity Level

Homes along the coast cannot avoid humidity, like here in New Orleans. able. By managing the humidity levels though, you can improve the air quality in your home. The indoor humidity is typically caused by water leaks or moisture in the crawlspace, or trapped moisture from outside.

The idyllic relative humidity for indoors is between forty and fifty percent. If the humidity level is more than 50%, buy a dehumidifier. If the humidity level is 30% or less, purchase a humidifier. 

Poor Ventilation

Poor ventilation causes polluted air to recirculate, leading to dust and pollen buildup, which leads to health issues like allergies, asthma, or other breathing concerns. Opening windows on nice days can help or have a new ventilation system installed. 

Pets

Yes, your fur babies can be a significant problem to the indoor air quality of your home. From dander to shedding fur, and whatever they bring in from rolling in the grass, you can be sure your indoor air quality testing is going to be poor. Keeping the air filter changed every 30 days, or more frequent, can minimize the allergic reactions caused by cats and dogs. 

Dust

Dust particles will accumulate when your home isn’t dusted on a regular basis, and that affects the IAQ of your home. Using a microfiber cloth and dust on a routine basis you can minimize these things, along with frequent vacuuming.  Place air cleaners around your home that circulates the air and trap any unwanted particles. An annual air duct cleaning is recommended to minimize and rid your home of any buildup in airborne particles.

Volatile Organic Compounds

VOCs can come from new floor materials, paint, and a myriad of household products that will show a poor level with air quality testing.  It is inevitable that you’ll have some VOCs in your home, but you can choose products that are labeled as VOC-free to help lessen this problem. Any painting that you can do outside is recommended and keep things like paints and other products outside if possible. 

Why is indoor air quality so important?

Because it can affect your overall health and well-being. How does indoor air quality affect our health? The immediate effects of indoor air pollutants include eye, nose, and throat irritation, dizziness, and fatigue. Many people suffer from constant headaches and asthma symptoms are enhanced for asthmatics. There are long-term effects to be concerned with too resulting in chronic illnesses. 

What are the symptoms of poor air quality?

In addition to the things that we listed above, other health issues that can result from poor indoor air quality are: 

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Allergies and Hypersensitivity.
  • Sinus issues and consistent congestion.
  • Coughing and sneezing.

Not everyone in the house will be affected in the same way, some members of the household may be more sensitive, especially if they have any pre-existing health conditions. Different contaminants affect everyone differently, but the more the air quality deteriorates or the longer the exposure to these contaminants, to more serious the problems can get.

green leaves in front of an air vent in a ceiling

In Closing – Improving the Air Quality at Home

It has long been the belief that we need more plants inside our homes. So, do plants help indoor air quality? Yes and no.  Yes, they do make a little bit of improvement, but a home without plants isn’t going to have much lower air quality testing results than a home full of plants. So, does opening windows improve air quality? Yes! This is a natural way of improving air quality – and on hot, sunny days, keep the blinds closed. 

How Can I Keep My House Cool When My A/C Is Broken?

a ceiling fan inside a home

Dealing With Damaged AC

Even when the calendar says it is still spring, in New Orleans and the surrounding area, it feels like summer already. The heat and the humidity are here to stay, making air conditioning a ‘must have’, but what do you do when your air conditioning quits working and you’re waiting for an air conditioner repair service? What other methods for cooling a home can you use to get through the hot and humid summer?

What do you do if your house doesn’t have air conditioning? Here are nine ways you can keep cool at home while waiting for your air conditioner repair technician to arrive (or worse, waiting for a part to arrive that will get your air conditioner repaired!):  

1. Make Your Ceiling Fans Spin Counterclockwise: Most people do not realize that there are two settings on ceiling fans: clockwise and counterclockwise. During the sweltering summer, with or without your air conditioner repaired, set it to spin counterclockwise. And if you are waiting for an air conditioner repair technician, set it at the highest speed. This will create a breeze and keep the heat up at the ceiling. 

2. Close the Curtains: When you are waiting for air conditioner repairs, you want to keep the sunshine out of your home, so close the curtains when the sun is beaming through the windows.

3. Open the Windows: You may be asking yourself – should I open the windows if the AC is out? Yes, once the sun starts going down, open the windows for the cool night air to enter, which will also eliminate the stuffiness inside. 

4. A DIY ‘Air Conditioner’: Build a DIY air conditioner by filling bowls or pans with ice, then position it in front of stand fans. Does putting ice in front of a fan work? Absolutely, the ice will melt, and the fan will create a cool mist by blowing particles of the cold water around the rooms.

5. Turn On Exhaust Fans: Use the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to pull out the hot, humid air while waiting for the air conditioner repair. 

6. Drink Lots of Water: While waiting for your air conditioner repair service, make sure everyone in the house is drinking plenty of water. This keeps the body temperature regulated and hydrated. 

7. Get a Cross Breeze: Yes, a fan pushes hot air around, but if you place two fans in the right positions, you can create a cross breeze. This will create two airflows, one blowing the cool air toward you and one pulling hot air away.

8. Keep the Oven and Stove Off: It’s basic common sense that the oven and stove will create heat, so use the microwave and grill outside while waiting on your air conditioner repair to be done.

9. Cold Showers: A cold shower during the hottest part of the day is a quick way to cool down! 

Once your air conditioner repairs are done, take steps to keep it running, or consider not using it as much. Is it cheaper to run the fan or the AC? It only makes sense that a fan doesn’t use as much energy as an air conditioner when you consider the amount of energy it takes the two types of cooling to function. It is a matter of apples to oranges when comparing the two sources. 

Why? Because they do different things. Where an air conditioner will lower the temperature in a room, a fan just moves the existing air around faster. The fan evaporates the sweat, making you feel cooler, but when the temperature hits the nineties, the fan is blowing 90-degree heated air. The air conditioner, however, is lowering that 90 degrees to 78 degrees.

Use both and save money! Because a fan evaporates the sweat and makes you cooler, the air conditioner can be set at a higher setting. For each degree you raise the thermostat, you are saving as much as 4% on your energy costs. That doesn’t sound like much does it? Do the math though and you’ll get hot under the collar thinking about how much money you could be saving: 

Example: Your air conditioner costs you $180 each month with the thermostat set at 71 degrees. Raise that thermostat to 78 degrees, your energy bill drops to $125 per month. Turn a fan on and that 78-degree setting will fill like 71 degrees, while you are saving money! 

How many hours should your AC run per day?

Ideally, an efficiently maintained air conditioner that is running properly will cycle every fifteen to twenty minutes 2 to 3 times an hour. The higher the temperature is outside and the higher the setting on the thermostat, the longer the air conditioning will run. All in total, within a 24-hour period, your air conditioner shouldn’t run more than 8 hours. 

If you notice it is cycling more frequent than every 20 minutes and seems to run more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period, change the air filter. If that does not help, you should schedule a professional air conditioner repair service. 

What happens if the AC runs for too long?

If your air conditioner is constantly running, the pressure in the cooling coil or evaporator is reduced and cause them to freeze up. Once the coil or evaporator freezes up, if the air conditioner is kept running, it can burn out the compressor, leaving you with either a big air conditioner repair bill, or even needing a new air conditioner altogether.

Should I leave the AC on when I’m not home?

This is when having a programmable thermostat is needed!  You can program the thermostat at 80 degrees while you’re at work and have it drop to 78 degrees within an hour of being home. Then the house is nice and cool when you arrive!  You can do the same type of setting at night too. 

If you do not have a programmable thermostat (get one if you don’t!), yes, you should leave the air conditioner on, at a higher setting.  Keeping the air conditioner turned on will keep the indoor air supply dehumidified and minimize the chance of mold developing inside your home. 

close-up of an air conditioning thermostat being adjusted

Closing Up For Summer 

To Keep Cool – What is the best AC temperature to save money? The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) advises us to keep the thermostat at 78 degrees during the summer. While most of us prefer 72 degrees (many of us like it even lower), this slightly elevated temperature setting will balance the cost of your air conditioning so that you aren’t wasting money on cooling air when the thermostat is already low. Again: Think Programmable Thermostat! 

Which is the Most Efficient Heating System?

heating system with red and blue water tanks

Best Heating Systems

Cajun country may be in the southern part of the country, but the winters here can still get cold, especially at night. Like any other part of the country, homeowners here look for heating installation that gives them the best heating system possible at the best price possible. 

How do I know what heating system I have now?

That may seem like an odd question to ask, but for somebody that just moved into a home, they may not know all the caveats of the place yet. So, how can you tell what system the heating installation is currently in? There are 5 common heating installation systems used today which we have listed here and can help you identify which one is yours: 

  • Furnace: Also known as a forced-air system is the most common in this country. The air is heated in a furnace ha is powered by electric, gas, propane, or oil and is distributed throughout the house through air ducts and vents.  The main part of the furnace is usually installed in the attic, basement, crawl space, or closet.
  • Heat Pumps and Geothermal Heating Systems: Heat pumps are fairly new in the way of heating installation and is more commonly found in moderate climates. They are powered by electricity to move heat throughout the air ducts and typically have two components. One inside the home and the other on the exterior. A geothermal system heating installation is pulling heat from the earth and distributes it throughout the home. On the exterior component, there will be a label that will tell you if you have a heat pump system, along with the brand and model number. 
  • Boiler Heating Systems: A boiler converts stored water to steam, and the steam heats the home through baseboard radiators. Boilers use either electric, gas, oil, or propane and also heat the water used for bathing and cooking. 
  • Radiator Heating Systems: This type of heating installation is typical for older homes. The sealed metal container usually works in conjunction with a boiler that heats the home with some containing electric coils. The steam generated from the boiler circulates through the radiator. The heated metal then radiates through each room where a radiator is present. 
  • Package Units Heating System: This heating installation system includes air conditioning too and is typically installed on either on the roof or on a slab outside of the home. These are powered by electricity or gas and cool or heat the home through ductwork that is connected through the roof or an exterior wall.

So, the time has come when to replace a heating system, there are several questions that come to mind after reviewing each of the 5 heating installations we listed. Questions such as what is the cheapest heating system to install and What heating system do I need?

At an average cost of just over $2,500, an electric boiler is the cheapest, and at just over $3,000, an electric furnace is the next cheapest option for heating installation. The third cheapest at $3,500 is a gas boiler and the most expensive heating installation at $4,000 and upward is a heat pump. These prices are average for the initial cost.

What is the most efficient electric heating system?

A heating installation with a geothermal system will provide you with the most efficient heating. They have proven to cut a heating bill as much as 70 percent. In addition, they are environmentally friendly and safe to operate.

What is the most eco-friendly heating system?

Again, a geothermal heating installation is a winner for this category too!  According to Energy Star reports, this is an environmentally friendly heating installation that is an efficient and safe way to heat a home. The geothermal heating installation is beneath the earth’s surface, pulling heat from the earth to heat your home. 

What is the best heating system for an old house?

For most older homes, experts recommend a heat pump for your heating installation.  Heat pumps transfer heat from outside the home to the inside and can be used for air conditioning too. Less electricity is needed and is environmentally friendly too!  Makes for a win-win situation.

What are the parts of a heating system?

A few of the more important parts of an HVAC heating installation system are the blower motor, combustion chamber, condenser, evaporator, heat exchanger, and thermostat. These all work together with the type of power your home is set up, typically either electric or gas-powered. 

What is wrong with my heating system?

In most cases, the problem with a heating installation system not working is dirty air filters. Dirt and dust collect in the air filters and restrict the airflow. When the air filters become clogged, the heat exchanger can will overheat and shut down. If the blower motor is running but there isn’t any heat coming out of the vents, try replacing the air filter.

Last Few Words 

Your heating system is as important as the cooling system from a comfort aspect and economical aspect. Choose a reputable dealer to visit your home and review the situation you have to help select the best heating installation for you.

If you want a heating system repaired or replaced, give us a call at 985-764-8191.

How often should a heating system be serviced?

close-up of a thermostat being adjusted

Keeping Your Heating System in Shape

This may be Cajun country, but that doesn’t mean the winters don’t get cold! If you haven’t had to fire up your home’s heating system yet, now is the time to check and determine if your heating system is not working. Because once that first frigid winter weather hits, getting professional heating service is going to be a challenge. 

What are the components of a heating system?

To know how a heating system works, it helps to know what the components make a heating system function. With that knowledge and understanding, you can often fix small issues yourself, you’ll have a better idea why maintenance is important, and it can also help you explain any problem you’re having when you call for professional heating service. 

THE HEAT EXCHANGER

The heat exchanger is within the frame of the furnace. It absorbs heat and warms the cool air when the thermostat activates it. A heat exchanger is part of all furnace types and is an important component made from solid stainless steel that is temperature-resistant. This structure prevents the unit from cracking and some models have a specialized duct that lets cool air enter faster so your home heats faster. 

This is the part that can be related to carbon monoxide leaks when it isn’t working properly. If anyone in your home is having headaches and problems with nausea, you should have a professional heating service inspect the system. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless matter, having a CO detector installed in your home is recommended along with having a professional inspection annually. If the detector signals there is CO in the air, call a heating service immediately. 

THE BLOWER MOTOR

Once the air in the heat exchanger reaches the temperature you have the thermostat set, the electric blower motor turns on the fan that forces that warmed air through the ductwork. From the ductwork, that warmed air blows through the air registers in each room. When the blower motor goes out, it is easy to replace, but having a professional heating service do the replacement is recommended so that you have a warranty. By doing it yourself, you could void the warranty on the entire HVAC system. 

THE COMBUSTION CHAMBER

For a furnace’s combustion to work properly, it must have oxygen. This allows the furnace to add air to fuel inside the combustion chamber, aka the burner. The heat cycle starts in a gas furnace when a small bit of air and gas mixture gets inside the combustion chamber. 

Then the pilot light ignites that mixture, and a controlled fire burns and air moves it over the burner. If the pilot goes out and won’t stay lit, you need to have a professional heating service inspect the unit. After the heat has been off all summer, it isn’t uncommon to have calls from homeowners their heating system smells like burning. In most cases, this is nothing more than dust burning off from the summer. However, a service call is worth the expense if there is a concern.

THE COMPRESSOR OR CONDENSER COIL 

The compressor or condenser coil is part of the air conditioner and is typically installed on the outside of your home. A condenser cools your home as it releases heat outside. This happens as it compresses and condenses the refrigerant from the warm gas it comes in, to a cold liquid. And then the fan blows air over the compressor and disperses the heat to cool the refrigerant quicker. Then, the HVAC system sends the liquified refrigerant through a line or tube to the evaporator coil.

THE EVAPORATOR COIL

Your evaporator coil is another important component of the air conditioner. As the HVAC system brings the liquified refrigerant to several small nozzles, the liquid refrigerant is sprayed so that it can evaporate into a gas faster. This process absorbs heat and makes your home cool. 

THE THERMOSTAT

The thermostat is what tells the air conditioner or heater to turn on. It is usually located in the center of the house on an interior wall that is away from direct sun or drafts. Often, technicians with heating services have found that when a homeowner complains of the heating system blowing cold air, it is the thermostat is not set correctly. 

What is the most efficient heating system for a house?

If you’re trying to figure out when to replace a heating system, you have a lot to think about. Another question you may have isWhat heating system should I install?” That’s an understandable concern because there are many different types available today. Most homeowners will replace their furnace with a similar furnace; for example, a gas furnace with another gas furnace, or electric with electric. But you may want to look into a geothermal system. 

They have proven they provide a more efficient heat, which helps you with your utilities, up to seventy percent, and the environment. Like other types of heat pumps, they are also very safe and environmentally friendly to operate.

worker setting up a boiler for a heating system

At The End of The Day 

So, another question you may have – which is the cheapest heating system to run? Today, of the four different types of power electricity, natural gas, oil, or propane most professional heating services will advise you to go with natural gas heating. It burns cleaner and more efficiently. For most homes in this country, natural gas is their source for heating and cooking.

Increasing Your Heater’s Energy Efficiency

heat pump sitting outside a home

How important is energy-efficient heating? 

Even here in Louisiana, the winters can get cold. January and February of 2021 are proof that even Cajun country can get snow. So in any home that didn’t have energy-efficient heating, the homeowners realized they needed to do something to increase what they had… or get some period. Since the winters aren’t as brutal here, most homeowners didn’t care until then. Now they’re asking, “What is energy efficiency?”. 

Surprisingly, energy efficiency doesn’t just apply to heating your home. We should all be aware of energy efficiency in all things we do in and around our homes. Energy efficiency is how energy expenditures are measured and finding ways to achieve the same comfort and convenience at less cost financially and environmentally. The less loss in energy, the better we can achieve a specific purpose using less energy. So energy-efficient heating would mean having the most efficient heating system possible in your home. 

It is crucial that more of us find ways to improve energy efficiency in our homes all around the country. Today, we hear about climate change and the impact our lifestyles are having on the country’s economy, the environment, and society. We have realized there is a connection between the greenhouse gas emissions we create and the adverse impact on the climate and environment. 

Finding ways to be more efficient with our actions, like installing energy-efficient heating and air conditioning, are essential for improving our environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The additional bonus to this is the savings on our personal finances as this same energy-efficient heating and air conditioning will cost less and still keep us comfortable. 

How can I improve energy efficiency in my home?

With a little research and studying the many websites and other means, it is easy to learn how to make homes energy-efficient today. Because Louisiana doesn’t have really cold winters ordinarily, a homeowner here may not be aware of the different home heating solutions available to them. 

During the winter, no matter what part of the country you live in, heating your home is important. Use of tht heat can add up quickly if you don’t have energy-efficient heating. In fact, experts say half of our household budget in the winter goes to heating our homes. So, what are some energy-efficient heating methods?

Heat Pumps

This is considered one of the best systems, especially for areas like Louisiana where the average winters are mild (with rare exceptions). The principle of a heat pump is to capture heat and move it to where it is needed.

This means that in the summer, a heat pump pulls heat out of your home and returns to the earth. During the winter, it pulls heat out of the earth and dispatches it through your home. There are two types of heat pump systems, and any qualified heating contractor can explain the differences and help you choose the right one for your home. 

Residential Furnaces

This is the most commonly used heating system today, with the gas-powered type in approximately sixty percent of all homes. However, the older these furnaces get, the less energy-efficient heating they provide. Today, residential furnaces have new features and better technology that boost the energy rating to extremely high levels. There are three common residential furnace types: 

Gas: Natural gas is a natural resource that is plentiful, and it is how most residential furnaces are powered. Local utility companies supply the natural gas via a supply pipe that is installed in the home. A furnace that is powered by natural gas costs less to operate compared to the air-source heat pump energy-efficient heating method because of the cost of gas.

Oil: Oil furnaces burn fuel oil, which produces the heat needed in a home. The oil comes in bulk from a local supplier who delivers it into a tank. This type of heating requires the fuel supply to be monitored, especially in the winter, so that you don’t run out of oil, which would mean no heat. Whether a heating oil or propane gas, it is a more expensive way to heat a home. 

Electricity: Electric furnaces work by powering heating coils to generate heat. Because no fuel is used, there isn’t any carbon monoxide or exhaust gases creating possible health and safety hazard risks. However, in regards to cost, they are not an energy-efficient heating method. 

Wrapping Up – How To Warm Up

The type of heating method you use is just one part, although the biggest part, in energy-efficient heating concerns. You can also do things around your home and to your home that can ensure more energy-efficient heating and cooling. Some energy-saving tips for your home include: 

1. Daily Habits 

Adjusting your daily habits is one of the biggest improvements for energy efficiency. This can be achieved by turning off appliances and lights when not in use and hang-drying clothes instead of putting everything in the dryer. As you replace your appliances, choose the highest energy-efficient replacements possible and resort to doing as many household tasks as possible by hand. 

2. Light Bulbs

Many of us still have traditional incandescent light bulbs in our homes and these are the biggest pull of energy. By replacing them with energy-efficient alternatives like halogen incandescent bulbs, CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), and LED bulbs (light-emitting diode bulbs), you’ll use up to 80 percent less electricity. Note that these also last up to 25 times longer, meaning fewer light bulb replacements. 

3. Power Strips

The electronics in your home, in use or not, are referred to as “phantom loads”, meaning they are a big part of the energy use in your home – as much as 75% in fact. This equals up to around $200 annually or more, but with smart power strips, you can eliminate that extra cost. These smart power strips shut the power off to any electronic that isn’t in use, and they can be programmed as to what time of the day or night to shut off. With remote switches, you can easily adjust them as needed. 

4. Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat will automatically turn off the cooling or heating as you have it set to do during school and work hours or reduce it during sleeping hours. This eliminates the wasteful energy use that cooling and heating your home can cause without upgrading the entire HVAC system and save you almost $200 a year too.

5. Energy Efficient Appliances

The appliances in our homes use as much as 13% of our total energy, and in some homes, maybe more. When you replace your appliance, go with an energy-efficient model, and judge them by the price and the annual operating cost. The upfront cost may be higher than you expect, but operating costs are where you’ll get your money back – up to 25% when you get the ones with the ENERGY STAR label.

6. Reduce Water Heating Costs 

Reducing your water heating expenses will be a major contributor to lowering energy costs and you can do that in three different ways – purchase a new water heater that is energy efficient; use less hot water; and turn the thermostat of your water heater thermostat. Before you decide to replace your current water heater with a tankless model, get several quotes because there are installation and setup costs you need to be prepared to take on. An energy-efficient tankless water heater can save as much as 300% in energy compared to a conventional tank water heater.

Female hand setting a digital thermostat

Some Additional Notes on Energy Efficient Heating

Another thing you can do for your energy savings is to have new energy-efficient windows installed. Your current windows could be leading to 25% of your energy expenses. The energy-efficient heating and cooling new windows can provide will pay for themselves in a short time. 

Upgrading your HVAC system can save you a substantial amount over the year, and one of the best and most energy-efficient steps you can take with heating and cooling is to seal up any air leaks you find, typically around doors and windows. Don’t forget to have the attic insulation checked too – it may be time to add or replace the insulation. Ready to get started with new energy-efficient heating? Give us a call at 985-764-8191.

How do I choose an air conditioner?

Close-up of air conditioning unit.

The Importance of AC

Here in Louisiana, home of Cajun cooking and Mardi gras, having working air conditioning is pretty important. When we say things are hot here in Louisiana, we’re not always referring to the Cajun food and parties. Professional ac installation is just as vital and with the cost of that work, you want it done right – just like the jambalaya. 

Two things that are essential to a homeowner here are professional ac installation and maintenance. So we tend to leave the job to professionals with AC installation experience and knowledge. Before you get to the ac installation part though, there are things that a homeowner has to decide on, like the budget. Meanwhile, if it’s time for you to schedule your ac installation in Norco and New Orleans, LA you can reach out to the pros at Cajun Comfort by calling 985-764-8191.

How much does it cost to install central air conditioning?   

Yes, to have a working air conditioner during a Louisiana summer is a blessing, so when it quits working, it becomes a major issue. It is important for a homeowner to stay within their budget and get their home cooling now for their own comfort. However, you should consider if you are to ever sell your home, you want to make an investment now with your ac installation that will give you a good ROI too. 

In other words, cheapest is not necessarily the best in the long run. But then, you’ve got to do what you can, which is understandable. The general ac installation estimate for a New Orleans, Louisiana home can average from a low cost of $2500 and upward to $3500 or more. There are several factors that determine the cost of ac installation such as: 

  1. Cost of materials – the AC unit, duct work, registers, return vents, etc. 
  2. Labor cost by professional, certified, and licensed technicians. 
  3. Project preparation of the exterior and interior areas and surfaces for components and machinery
  4. Cleanup and disposal fees.

What this general ac installation quote doesn’t include are the following: 

  1. Permits required by the City of New Orleans. 
  2. Inspection and/or building fees.
  3. Sales tax on the materials and supplies used. 
  4. General contractor fees paid to the City of New Orleans.

What size AC unit do I need?

When getting a new ac installation, you need to choose an air conditioner that is the right size. There are several factors to be considered in determining the right size. 

  • The roof type on your home
  • The ceiling height
  • The number of windows
  • The type of insulation in your home

The manufacturer’s guidelines for choosing the right size are generic in nature, so these factors we’ve listed are not necessarily incorporated into their recommendations. So, what size of unit do you need for your ac installation? You should know upfront, this is not referring to the physical size of the unit, but the tonnage of the AC unit. The tons of an HVAC unit is used to evaluate the amount of heat it removes in one hour. 

For instance, a typical HVAC unit is one ton, which can cool 12,000 BTU per hour. BTU is a measurement of heat. So, you need to know the square footage of your home and choose a unit for your ac installation that can cool that area within one hour. 

Get the square footage of a room – this is done by multiplying the length by the width. Now multiply that by 25 BTU. A room that is 15’ long x 12’ wide is 180 square feet. You would need 4500 BTU minimum to have ample cooling. If you were going with a window ac unit in a bedroom that is 300 square foot in size, you need an ac installation of a unit with no less than 5000 BTUs.

Which AC brand is best?

The major factor for most homeowners when getting ac installation done is the total cost. However, the level of each brand is something to consider as well. Some brands are known for having longer lifespans with little technical service needed. Some brands will have a longer warranty or better SEER rating (energy efficiency). Not all ac installation companies will offer all brands either, as some have specialized certification with certain brands. The most common brand names are, in alphabetical order: 

  • American Standard Air Conditioners
  • Carrier Air Conditioners
  • Goodman Central Air Conditioners
  • Lennox HVAC Units
  • Rheem Air Conditioners
  • Ruud Central Air Conditioners
  • Trane Central AC Units
  • York AC Units

How long do AC units last?

The life of an air conditioning unit can vary with different factors involved such as the brand name and level of that brand purchased, the ac installation, routine maintenance such as changing the AC filter, and if you’re following recommended professional inspections. With all these things taken care of, you can get up to 15 years from your ac installation. If any of these factors are overlooked or not done on a routine schedule, you could get less than 10 years. 

Hand pressing the button on a thermostat.

The Money Saving Question – Can you install central air yourself?

Well, you can certainly buy an HVAC system yourself and you can set it all up, including the wiring, the connections, and the ductwork. Where you’re going to have ac installation problems is getting the refrigerant needed to charge the unit. 

Due to EPA laws, refrigerant is only sold to certified and licensed ac professionals. Besides the refrigerant factor of your ac installation, a professional service can offer you maintenance contracts which will include routine schedule checkups and inspections. With that, any small issues your ac unit has can be caught and taken care of before it becomes a major problem. If you find yourself in need of help with ac installation in Norco and New Orleans, LA, call the Cajun Comfort team at 985-764-8191 to schedule your service.

What is wrong with my central air conditioning system?

wall air conditioner system

What causes central ac to stop working?

We are into the summer weather now here in Louisiana, and the word hot is describing more than our gumbo.  Temps are in the 90s and inching into the three digit mark with a humidity that matches. Now is not the time to have problems with your central air conditioning.  Nor do you want to be on the wait list for new central air conditioning installation!  

We are going to answer some questions today about central air conditioning and why it would just quit working all of the sudden. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t just stop working. We just aren’t always paying attention to indications that it is about to quit working! 

There are 7 common reasons why a central air conditioning unit will stop working: 

  • LOW REFRIGERANT. The refrigerant is what removes the heat and humidity from the air inside your home. If it is low, usually from a leaking refrigerant line or a bad compressor, the unit quits working. This needs the attention and service of a certified, licensed air conditioning technician. 
  • EVAPORATOR COILS FROZEN. The evaporator coil of your central air conditioning system is filled with that refrigerant and is what absorbs that heat, much like a sponge absorbs water. If the coils don’t have warm air around them , they can’t work properly and ice forms over them. 
  • CONDENSER COILS DIRTY. The condenser coils are in the outdoor component of your central air conditioning unit. They get rid of that heat the evaporator coils removed and expel it outside. When they are covered in dirt and grime, they can’t work. 
  • THE FAN. The blower fan is what blows the indoor air over the evaporator coils and cools the air inside your home. There is also a fan that blows air over the outdoor condenser that helps expel that absorbed heat. When one or both of those fans aren’t working right, you aren’t going to get cool air flowing through the house. 
  • DUCTS LEAKING. The ductwork in the ceiling and walls carries that cooled air throughout your home. If there are any holes, splits, are crushed ducts, that cooled air isn’t getting where it needs to be. So, you’re paying for cooled air to fill your attic, inside the walls, or under the house. 
  • THERMOSTAT PROBLEMS. If you have the old school thermostat with a dial, it probably is mis-calibrated, and your central  air conditioner isn’t getting the instructions it needs to cool your home. Fortunately, this can be an easy fix by installing a programmable thermostats.
  • DRAINS CLOGGED. As the coils and evaporators do their thing, it creates moisture from the hot air and sends it to a drain pain. However, if the lines to the drain pan or the drain pan itself becomes clogged and full, that moisture can’t go anywhere. It backs up into the central air conditioning system and flows over, creating water damage and before you know it, your central air conditioning is not working.

How do I know if my central air conditioning thermostat is broken?

The following five signs are telling you it is time to replace your current thermostat:

  • Your Central Air Conditioning is Turning On and Off: The main job of the thermostat is to communicate with the central air conditioning. If the system is turning off and on irregularly, repeatedly, or just randomly turns on or off, then replace the thermostat. It could be the internal wiring has been damaged, frayed, is simply wore out. 
  • The Reading is Incorrect: If the thermostat is showing an incorrect temperature, which can be tested by comparing to a portable indoor thermometer, you need to replace your central air conditioning and heating thermostat. It is likely the sensor inside the current thermostat is old or it has a manufacturing defect.
  • The Energy Bill Increased Excessively: If your utilities have increased an exceedingly high amount this year, it may be the thermostat is reading the room incorrectly and causing the central air conditioning to overwork, which is using more electricity.  To find the source of a skyrocketing energy bill, start by switching out the thermostat. 
  • Temperature Swings Constantly: A thermostat that is malfunctioning won’t stay at the setting you place it and may shift temperatures quickly without warning. You lower it, it raises back up, or vice versa, change out your thermostat. 
  • An Old and Outdated Thermostat: If you haven’t replaced your central air conditioning’s thermostat in the last 10 years, it is outdated and time to be replaced. Consider a programmable replacement and get your home upgraded with the advanced technology available today. Whether your central air conditioning is gas or electric, a programmable thermostat will help this summer and the winter too! 
air conditioner system

How do you diagnose central air conditioning problems and what do I do if my ac isn’t working?

When your central air conditioning has suddenly stopped working, it is panic time here in Louisiana during the summer. Take a moment to calm down and check the following: 

1. Won’t Turn On

Check outside to see if the condenser is running. Is everything plugged in, and the thermostat is set on air conditioning? Move the thermostat down 5 or 10 degrees and see if it cuts on. 

If that didn’t do anything, check the fuse or breaker box, and see if it threw the switch. If all is in place there, see if there is ice on the coils or compressor. If there is, call your central air conditioning technician.

2. Not Cooling the Air

Check that the thermostat is set at air conditioning and is turned on. See if the air condenser is blocked or dirty on the outside unit. It is important to keep debris, grass, and weeds down so the air circulation isn’t blocked.

Next, check the air filter and change it or clean it if you haven’t been doing that. When the air filter is clogged or dirty, the air is restricted to the evaporator coil, causing it to freeze. 

If none of this helps get the air cooling and the central air conditioning is noisy,  you’ll need to call your central air conditioning technician. 

3. Not Cooling Adequately 

If the central air conditioning and thermostat are set properly and your home still isn’t adequately cooling, the system may be too small for your home. 

Sometimes, like your computer, a central air conditioning system simply needs to be reset. How do I reset my central air conditioning system? That is done in 4 easy steps: 

  1. Shut your central air conditioning system off at the thermostat. 
  2. Flip the circuit breaker off. 
  3. Wait 30 to 60 seconds then turn the circuit breaker back on. 
  4. Then turn the thermostat back on 60 seconds later. 

If these steps don’t help your cooling issue, call your technician. Need help with your home air conditioner in Norco and New Orleans, LA? Call the experts at Cajun Comfort at 985-764-8191.

How can I improve indoor air quality?

dusty vent

How do you test indoor air quality? 

Do you come home every day feeling relieved that you’re getting away from the air pollution outside? You may be shocked to know that the indoor air quality in your home is just as bad, maybe worse.  Yes, your home’s indoor air quality and health of your family members could be linked. 

It would be nice to know that you have clean air at home to breathe wouldn’t it? One way to find out is to test your home’s indoor air quality. Proper and thorough testing will tell you if your home has allergens, mold, or radon. Here is a list of 4  different ways to test a home’s indoor air quality: 

  • Purchase a Monitor: There are several indoor air quality monitors today, each having some of the same features, some having some unique to them. These devices generally check for levels of allergens, tiny dust particles, volatile organic compounds, and other things that we inhale without realizing it, also referred to as PM2.5. Some also keep track of the humidity (checking for mold) and the temperature. 
  • Check for Mold: Your eyes and nose are two of the best mold detectors. Mold is typically found in the basement, drains, and ductwork, recognized by a musty odor. Depending on how bad this mold is, you may need it professional removed. 
  • Purchase a Carbon Monoxide Detector: Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. This byproduct from appliances used throughout the home, fireplaces, furnace, grills, stoves, and water heaters, can be deadly when inhaled. So, you and your family could be breathing it in without being aware. By installing a carbon monoxide detector on every floor in your home, it will alert you if it senses a high level of CO. 

What are the four most dangerous indoor air pollutants?

Most of us don’t give a lot of thought about the dangerous pollutants affecting the indoor air quality of your home. The American Lung Association tells us that there are more of us starting to recognize these dangerous elements though, and these four are the most dangerous, and the most common in most homes: 

  • Biological Pollutant: These pollutants include bacteria, dust mites and insect waste, mold, and pet dander. All of these things accumulate inside the air conditioning coils, ducts, and filters, then circulates throughout the home. These are the things that aggravate allergies and asthma  while causing respiratory infections.
  • Combustion Pollutant: Any appliance or device that burns fuel like fireplace, furnace, gas stove, heater, and water heaters emit combustion pollutants. When the fuel is burned, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are released. These colorless, odorless gases are very dangerous by disrupting the delivery of oxygen through the body. This results in dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms. The eyes, nose, and throat become irritated by nitrogen dioxide, causing infections. If left unaddressed, the exposure can be extremely harmful.
  • Radon: This is a natural occurring gas that is radioactive and has been labeled as being the second leading cause in this country of lung cancer. Radon infiltrate the indoor air quality of your home through cracks in the drains, floors and walls, and other opening that it can find coming up from the ground.
  • Tobacco Smoke: We’ve all heard it a million times how dangerous secondhand tobacco smoke can be, yet it is still on the top 4 of the most dangerous pollutant to our indoor air quality. There is approximately 200 different poisons in a cigarette, along with 60 cancer causing chemical called carcinogens. Indoor cigarette smoke exposes your home to various ranges of poison from carbon monoxide to formaldehyde that lingers and floats through the air. 

What is the most threatening indoor air pollutant?

If you have or know anyone that has asthma, you know that indoor air quality for asthma patients is important. One of the most threatening things to affect the indoor air quality for an asthma suffer or anyone with allergies or other respiratory issues is cigarette smoke. 

Not only does cigarette smoke make it difficult for people that suffer from these things to breathe, but they are also be exposed the second-hand smoke that has shown to cause cancer. Yes, to 200+ poisons that tobacco is putting in the air along with the carcinogens is adding to their already difficulty in breathing. 

Why is air quality worse at night?

Okay, standing on the street corner with traffic going by, the bus that stops to load and unload passengers can put out hazardous toxins. However, staying inside isn’t much better. In fact, some studies have found indoor air quality is five times worse than the outdoor air quality. Even cooking everyone’s favorite holiday meal, Thanksgiving, is toxic to the indoor air quality. 

So, open the door and let the fresh night air in, right? Wrong again! As the nighttime temperature drops, those car emissions, CO2, and all those other pollutants get trapped in the ground level atmosphere. If your home doesn’t have good ventilation, it just makes it worse to breathe. 

healthy plant in home

How do I clean the air in my house?

Indoor air quality and plants have been associated for years. Purchasing one life green plant for each room will do wonders for the indoor air quality. Other ways to achieve indoor air quality benefits are: 

  • Step One: Increase the ventilation. Houses today are sealed tighter than ever because we’re trying to ease our utility bills with less cooling and heating.  There are ten inch screens that you can install on your windows that provide trickle ventilation  through filters that allows the fresh air in while getting the pollutants inside your home out. 
  • Step Two: Turn your air conditioner on: Yes, that pretty much standard in the summer, but is important to improving your indoor air quality. Why? Most pollutants are water-soluble and because the air conditioner removes water out of the atmosphere, it is also removing the air pollutants, particulate matter, and pollen.
  • Step Three: Install a HEPA  Filter. Not only do you need to change or clean the air filter every 30 days, but by using disposable HEPA filters, you’ll clean and improve the indoor air quality in your home even better.

Call 985-764-8191 today for your indoor air quality testing needs in Norco and New Orleans, LA.

What Is Metal Sheet Fabrication?

Metal Being Fabricated.

What does metal fabrication mean?

Most of us don’t know what sheet metal fabrication is, but it is a part of our everyday lives. You may be using it right this very minute while reading this article. Sheet metal fabrication covers several different processes where sheet metal is used. There are several different professionals in various industries where sheet metal fabrication is part of the process. 

Two industrial terms that are linked and often confused as being the same thing is ‘fabrication’ and ‘manufacturing’ because both are a process of construction or production. Yet, they are totally different, and with that, we are going to discuss sheet metal fabrication in this article. 

Sheet metal fabrication is the process of using one or more different processes to combine other standardized parts to construct other products. Sheet metal fabrication, for example, is achieved by cutting, bending, and assembling sheet metal resulting in metal structures. 

What is an example of fabrication?

Those that know how to do metal fabrication and create sheet metal fabrication products are professional fabricators. Some of those products include:  

  • Metal Furniture
  • Stainless steel storage units
  • Metal cabinets
  • Steel shelving
  • Stairwell Railings
  • Fencing
  • Cages 
  • HVAC Industry 
  • Ductwork
  • Grating
  • Venting
  • Lighting Hoods
  • Scissors
  • Structural Elements
  • Stainless steel bridge skeletons
  • Aircraft framework 
  • Silverware

What are the types of fabrication?

Sheet metal fabrication is done by taking raw sheet metal stock material and turning it into a part or piece that is used in the assembly process of another product. Sheet metal fabrication and welding are often used together in addition to several other steps in the process of other common steps involved, some of those being the following: 

  • Cutting the sheet metal
  • Folding the sheet metal
  • Machining to shape the sheet metal
  • Punching holes in the sheet metal
  • Shearing the sheet metal
  • Stamping imprints on the sheet metal
  • Additive Manufacturing to add sheet metal material in creating another object

What type of steel is used for sheet metal?

Different metals and metal alloys can be produced in sheets and used for sheet metal fabrication parts. The application requirements are considered when choosing which type of metal or metal alloy along with these factors:

  • It Has Configurability
  • It Is Weldable
  • It Resists Corrosion 
  • The Durability and Strength
  • The Weight
  • The Cost

Popular choices of metal and metal alloys for sheet metal fabrication include:

  • Stainless Steel: Available in a non-magnetic form and doesn’t require heat or any type of stress relief for manufacturing. Comes in different grades of corrosion resistance, configurability, and weldability. 
  • Cold rolled steel: Industry referred to as CRS provides smooth finished steel with a tighter tolerance for forming. Available in two different alloys of 1008 and 1018.
  • Pre-plated steel: A sheet metal material that comes as hot-dip galvanized steel or as galvannealed steel.
  • Aluminum: This is a moderately-priced material with a wide range of characteristics in different grades that can meet different application requirements. From a relatively low strength that is chemical resistant and weather-resistant but ductile and weldable for deep drawing. Also available in an affordable, formable, stronger, weldable grade that is corrosion-resistant or a significantly stronger grade that is still formable, corrosion-resistant, and weldable. Another grade option is a structural alloy that isn’t formable but is a strong, corrosion-resistant material that can be welded with a strong weld.
  • Brass/Copper: When a ‘red’ color metal is required by designers and engineers, the ETP of brass or copper are the best choices in metal for sheet metal fabrication project.  

What is the strongest sheet metal?

There is more than one metal to be considered “the strongest sheet metal”. Among those are: 

  • Carbon Steel
  • Chromium
  • Iconel – a heat-resistant alloy combination of nickel, chromium, and iron. 
  • Stainless Steel
  • Titanium
  • Tool Steel – a variety of alloy steel and carbon steel 
  • Tungsten
Fabricated Sheet Metal

In Closing – Just where do metal fabrication ideas come from? 

When developing a product, first comes the conception or idea. This could be any person from a personal experience or in conjunction with a process or product they have already that could be improved upon. 

A product design doesn’t go directly to manufacturing. After the conception or idea, the product design state follows, with engineering and protoype next. Then the sheet metal fabrication stage comes. Before a product idea can become a product, these other steps are necessary, especially if customization is necessary. 

Throughout the process, once a concept or an idea gets to the design stage and going forward, it is teamwork toward getting that end result that the originator had envisioned. Rarely does a concept or idea of a product go right from design to production. There is collaboration with engineering, the originator, and the rest of the team. 

Once the product is ready to sell, there are the other tasks of finding vendors and a marketing plan. The marketing plan involves several layers as well, all of which can take some time before selling the product comes to fruition. 

How do I service my generator?

generator system

Is it OK to run generator all night?

Here in Louisiana, homeowners have learned over the years that a generator is almost as necessary as the stuff it powers, like the lights and refrigerator. Why is a generator so important to the homes in this area?  Not necessarily all year long, but during hurricane season, when the storms knock out your power, a home with a generator can make getting through the rest of the storm more comfortable. With a home generator, electric power for the important things is still possible, like the lights and the refrigerator. 

First thing we recommend is to read the manual that came with your generator, and if you bought it used, search the internet for an online version of the manual. The more  you can learn and know about a generator, you’ll know the correct way to use it when you have a power emergency. When a generator isn’t used correctly, it can be dangerous, even deadly. 

Most generators can operate non-stop for eight hours, then they need to be refueled.  Keep in mind, if you don’t have power, there is a good chance the nearby gas station doesn’t either. This is why homeowners that live in areas where storms are common, hurricane and tornado areas, keep gasoline stored.

How often should I start my generator?

So, you have a generator, but hurricane season has arrived, do you need to anything with your generator in the off season? Yes! Year round maintenance is needed, even if hurricane season comes and goes quietly (it could happen!). To make sure your generator power is ready when you need it, we recommend starting it once a month and let it run for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Also, if your portable generator has a battery, make sure it is fully charged before you store it away after each hurricane season. Many generator owners will invest in a battery trickle charger that keeps the generator ready to go at all ties. 

How often should I change my generator oil?

A generator is a small-engine, like your lawnmower or any power equipment. This means that the oil should be changed on a regular basis, whether you’re using it or not, but especially after 100 hours of use. Again, we recommend being proactive when it comes to those hurricane power outages and get stocked up on gas, oil, and oil filters. That generator isn’t going to do you much good if you don’t have the supplies to keep it running. 

What is the lifespan of a whole house generator?

Everything has a lifespan expectancy, including your generator. How long of a lifespan is dependent on a few factors, with the main one being the maintenance you do on that generator. Just like your lawn mower or car, basic maintenance is a must to get the most from your generator, starting it every 30 days even when you’re not using is, and keeping the oil changed as the owner’s manual recommends or as we’ve suggested in this article. 

With all that being followed, you can get up to 40 years from your generator. Don’t follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, you may get up to 20 years lifespan. If you have priced generators recently, new or used, you know they aren’t cheap. This is because those selling generators know what they have is what you’re needing. So, after paying that amount of money, doesn’t it make sense to take care of it so you have for years to come? 

Are whole house generators worth it?

Consider a whole house generator as an insurance policy. It provides a peace of mind that your family is comfortable, and your home is protected from power surges and voltage fluctuations during natural disasters and storms. Other advantages of a home generator are: 

  • During the cold winter months it can prevent the water pipes from freezing and bursting.
  • Keeps the refrigerator on so your food doesn’t spoil.
  • Keeps your security system on powered.
  • Keeps the air conditioning and heating on
  • Water heater still heats water
  • Sump pump keeps working (important with the amount of rain a hurricane can bring)
  • Electric garage door is useable
home generator

Can you use a home generator without transfer switch?

A transfer switch provides a dedicated set of switches for every circuit you need to power, like the refrigerators, air conditioning or heating, the sump pump, etc. Not using a transfer switch can damage your appliances or anything you have powered by the generator. If you’re shopping for a generator, make sure it either comes with a transfer switch or purchase one that fits your generator. 

Even if you don’t live in an area of the country where the power is known to go out, a whole home generator backup can be handy. As we mentioned earlier, a generator can be considered an insurance policy, ensuring that you’ll have power regardless of the situation. Call 985-764-8191 today for your generator repair service in Norco and New Orleans, LA.