Cooling System Checklist

Carbon Clean Merv 16 filter

Carbon Clean Merv 16 filter

Here is a DIY checklist to make sure your cooling system will save you money on your electric bill this spring and summer.

  • Have the cooling system maintained and inspected yearly, by a qualified contractor like us.
  • Set the thermostat at 78°F.  Each degree higher saves approximately 6% on air conditioning costs.
  • Don’t turn the thermostat lower than the desired setting.  The house will not cool off any faster and can overshoot the desired temperature – wasting energy.
  • Install a ceiling fan to create air movement.  The air movement can keep you cool at a higher temperature, allowing you to avoid using your air conditioner, or letting you set the air conditioner at a higher temperature.
  • Cut back plants, bushes, and trees that may restrict air flow to the outdoor unit.
  • Keep the outdoor coils free of dirt, debris, and leaves.
  • Keep windows shut when closing up the house for the day or when running the air conditioner.
  • Make sure your clothes dryer is vented outdoors.  You don’t need the heat or humidity inside the house.
  • Close your drapes on hot days.  If there is some way to shade your windows from the outside, this will keep out even more heat.
  • Use kitchen and bath vents to rid the house of excess heat and moisture.  Turn off the gas furnace pilot light in the summer.
  • Change the furnace filter.  They need to be changed anywhere from every 30-270 days.

Whole-Home vs. Single-Room Air Cleaners

In the quest for cleaner, fresher air, two main types of air cleaners have become popular: single-room and whole-home.

How they work

Single-room air cleaners cover small areas

Single-room air cleaners are just like their name implies.  They’re small, portable, localized devices that are placed in individual rooms or areas to clean the air.  They usually incorporate a fan to move air, some kind of filter to remove particles, and often an electronic component that electronically charges the air to increase filtration.

Whole-home air cleaners are a more complete solution.

Whole-home air cleaners, on the other hand, are more of an “installed” solution, permanently integrated into the heating and air conditioning system in your home.  They rely on your furnace or air handler to move air through, instead of using their own fan.

Advantages of whole-home air cleaners

Whole-home air cleaners offer a serious advantage over single-room air cleaners because they affect all the air in your home.  Attaching an air-cleaning solution to your heating and cooling system will allow it to filter every bit of air in every room.HVAC Cabinet

Disadvantages of portable air cleaners

A single-area air cleaner may solve air quality issues in one room, but your home heating and air-conditioning system is still going to be circulating air from that room throughout your home. So whatever air issue you’re facing in that one area will eventually spread to every other room.

Whole-home options

If you’re going with an installed, whole-home air cleaner, you have several options.

  • Disposable filters: Most furnaces accept a 1” or 5” pleated or fiberglass filter that is thrown away when it becomes dirty.Filters filters
  • Washable filters: Usually made of foam or plastic fibers, these filters are washed when they become full of impurities.
  • Electrostatic filters: Remove impurities from the air by putting an electric charge on them as they pass through the air cleaner, causing dirt and dust to stick to a collection area for later vacuuming or washing.
  • UV lights: As air passes through your air cleaner, ultraviolet lights kill germs and bacteria so they can’t make you sick.

The only whole-home solution to everything.

A whole-home air cleaner makes sense.  And no whole-home air cleaner is more effective than the PureAir™ air purification system made by Lennox.  In fact, PureAir cleans the air in your home better than any single solution you can buy, using three different types of technology.  And it generates no ozone.

  • Filtration:  A CarbonClean 16 filter removes up to 95% of particles ranging in size down to 0.3 micron*, while its carbon component captures any latent ozone in your home.

    Carbon Clean Merv 16 filter

    Carbon Clean Merv 16 filter

  • UV lighting:  Removes OVER 90% of bacteria, fungi and germs ranging in size down to 0.01 micron*
  • Catalyst plate: Removes and destroys approximately 50% of household odors and chemical vapors in a 24-hour period**UV lights

New for 2015

PureAir was already the leading whole-home filtration solution, but for 2015, Lennox has added three new advantages.

  • Better filtration: Carbon Clean 16 filtration is now standard.
  • Tighter cabinet seals: With virtually no air leakage
  • More energy efficient:  The new PureAir uses less electricity than ever.

Get your air quality consultation today

We at J & R Heating can tell you more about the quality of the air in your home, and help you deal with the specific problems you face.  Schedule your consultation today.

Article taken from the Comfort Matters Blog.  You can find more useful tips here.

How to Stay Comfortable in Your Home

Summer is here and it’s only going to get hotter, but you can beat the heat with just a few of these home energy saving tips.  You can keep the heat outside where it belongs and enjoy the comfort of your own home. This can all happen without breaking the bank, also!

Weatherproof your windows

Cracks may have developed around the area where window and walls meet, if you have older windows in your home.

See if adding spray foam or caulking to block hot air from coming in and cold air from leaking out will help. You might also consider applying clear insulating film to your windows, because while it’s more popular in wintertime, it does a fine job of keeping your home comfortable in summer too. The only problem with adding clear insulating film is you can’t easily open your windows.

Weatherproof your doors

Fortify your home against summer’s assault and keep the heat away. In simpler terms, weatherproof.

  • Weatherstripping comes first

    Vinyl or rubber weatherstripping on door jambs is an economical way to make your home more resistant to outside hot or cold air and retain the temperature your HVAC system has created.  Weatherstripping is usually easy to apply and self-adhesive.  Plus it creates a barrier that seals your doors when they’re closed. …Try weatherstripping also on the tops and sides of doors.

  • Door sweeps protect against floor-level gusts of air

    Contemplate adding a door sweep if your doors are leaking air along the bottom. The door sweep along the bottom creates a seal to keep weather away when the door is closed, but won’t impede opening and closing.

  • Draft guards block air leaks that even door sweeps can’t protect against

    Think about using a movable draft guard if your door sweep can’t even protect against the air leakage.

Get an air conditioning or heat pump check-up

A heat pump or air-conditioner check-up can pay itself off instantly by giving you peace of mind, and by keeping you comfortable and energy efficient. To schedule a summer tune-up that includes indoor and outdoor coil cleaning, an air filtration check, a freon (refrigerant) check and a few more other things that help your air conditioner not work as hard, give us a call at 402-362-5702.

Maintenance Agreement/J & R Heating

Get a home energy audit

Contemplate requesting a home energy audit from your local HVAC or utility company to find some unexpected ways to save energy and keep cool. For a home energy audit, an inspector will come to your home and check many of the most common areas where energy is lost and give you advice on how to stop it from happening. The advice of your home energy audit professional can often result in savings of 5-30% on energy costs, if executed properly.

Maybe a new air-conditioning system is in order

Older systems can be inefficient and cost you more and more money each month on your utility bills. No matter how much you weatherproof, insulate and prepare, it won’t make much difference if your air conditioner is over 15 years old.  Even on the hottest Summer days of the year, you may be surprised to see how much money newer technology can save you.  Check out our Energy Savings Calculator to see how much a new unit could save you.

What needs to be done for an air conditioner check-up?

This is what we do for cooling system check-ups.

Indoor Cooling System Maintenance Includes

  • Inspect thermostat, level if necessary
  • Oil blower motor
  • Inspect Indoor coil (when accessible)
  • Change duct dampers when applicable
  • Visually inspect furnace and blower for cleanliness
  • Check for dirty filter
  • Adjust belt
  • Inspect condensate drain, clean if necessary
  • Check for temperature difference

Outdoor Cooling System Maintenance Includes

  • Clean condenser coil, w/ chemical when necessary
  • Check volts and amps
  • Inspect contactor
  • Lubricate fan motor
  • Clean condensing unit, inside and out
  • Tightened electrical connections
  • Check refrigerant level
  • Apply protective coating to outside unit

Cooling System

How to Get Rid of Air Pollutants

A Breath of Fresh Air

There’s nothing like taking a deep satisfying breath of fresh spring air.  Now imagine taking that same deep breath in your home and getting lungfuls of air that is stale, slightly scented or even sticky.  Wait, that doesn’t seem right, does it?  Unfortunately, it’s all too common in today’s super-sealed homes.  Before you get too squeamish, here’s what you need to know…

Cleaning Supplies

Pollutants.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollutants include: chemicals, such as those from cleaning supplies, paints, pesticides, dirt, and tobacco smoke; gases, such as radon and carbon monoxide; allergens, such as pet hair and dander; and mold and pests.  Whew, that’s quite a list!  Most of us can recognize at least a few immediately.  These indoor pollutants may cause headaches, itchy or burning eyes, nose and throat, not to mention allergies and respiratory problems.  This leads us to…

How to clean it.  Qualified HVAC professionals (like us!) have many tools to clean and purify your air depending on your home’s specific issues.  There are options for everything from systems that cycle fresh air into your home all the way to cleaning ductwork for immediate results.

To decide what your family’s best option is for fresh, clean air, give us a call.  We’ll take a look and, best case scenario, your air will already be pristine and mountain fresh – no harm done.  If not, you’ll get practical solutions to help your family breathe easier this season.  Either way, you win.  Just let us know – we’re here for you.

Although adorable, pets can cause air pollution.

Although adorable, pets cause indoor air pollution…but so do humans so keep them around.  🙂

Indoor Air Quality Checklist for Your Home

Take a few moments out of your day and answer the questions on this checklist.  You may be suffering from the effects of poor indoor air quality and not even know it.  If you answer yes to any of the bullets on the checklist you should try the Healthy Indoor Air Quality Solution Finder.  What is recommended for you may surprise you.  I found out that I could really use a humidifier because my skin is incredibly dry and I get nose bleeds all the time.

  • Are there small children, elderly people, or bedridden people in the house?  The elderly, children, and sickly people who are exposed to indoor air pollutants for long periods of time are more susceptible to problems caused by poor IAQ (indoor air quality).
  • Do you or any of your family members have respiratory problems or allergies?  Allergies and respiratory problems are symptoms that can occur due to poor air quality.
  • Do you feel a difference from when you are outdoors to when you are indoors?   To determine whether or not your symptoms are related to IAQ it is important to try to isolate when you experience those symptoms.  If your eyes and throat are irritated when you are at home, but you feel better when you are out, the air in your home may play a role in the physical symptom.
  • Have you installed new carpet in your home recently?  New carpet can hold chemical emissions.  Normal household items you may think of as harmless can actually emit contaminants into the air.
  • Do you have indoor pets?  Pet saliva and dander are considered to be biological contaminants and contribute to poor IAQ.
  • Does someone in your family smoke in the house?  Did you know that over 40 of the compounds found in smoke are known to cause cancer, and many other are strong irritants?
  • Does your home contain fireproofing or asbestos insulation?  When materials that contain asbestos are damaged or if the start to disintegrate, they will release microscopic fibers into the air.  Another indoor air pollutant to look out for is radon.  Radon and asbestos are the most publicized indoor air pollutants and are also both carcinogens.
  • Is your home to humid or dry?  Improper humidity levels and high temperatures can increase concentrations of indoor air pollutants.  

Join our mailing list for more information on improving indoor air quality.

Allergy Prevention

Allergy season is coming up and there are some simple things you can do to avoid allergy triggers at home, work school, outside and when you travel. 

When You’re At Home.

  • Prevent mold spores. Mold spores grow in moist areas. If you reduce the moisture in the bathroom and kitchen, you will reduce the mold. Fix any leaks inside and outside of your home and clean moldy surfaces. Plants can carry pollen and mold too, so limit the number of houseplants. Dehumidifiers will also help reduce mold.
  • Dust to control mites. By dusting surfaces and washing bedding often, you can control the amount of dust mites in your home.
  • Use air conditioners. Use home and auto air conditioners to keep out molds and pollens. Add special HEPA air filters to air conditioners to reduce allergens. You can also use individual HEPA cleaners in bedrooms. Follow manufacturer directions in cleaning filters (
  • Vacuum like a germaphobe. Although cleaning can sometimes trigger allergic reactions, with dust in the air, vacuuming once or twice a week will reduce the surface dust mites. Wear a mask when doing housework and consider leaving for a few hours after you clean to avoid allergens in the air. You can also make sure your vacuum has an air filter to capture dust.
  • Reduce pet dander. If you have allergies, you should avoid pets with feathers or fur like birds, dogs and cats. Animal saliva and dead skin, or pet dander , can cause allergic reactions. If you can’t bear to part with your pet, you should at least keep it out of the bedroom.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals, fumes, tobacco smoke, air pollution, etc. These irritants can trigger nasal congestion and make your allergic reaction worse (
  • Shut out pollen. When you clean your windows, do you see a film of pollen on the frame or sill? One easy way to prevent pollen from entering your home is to keep windows and doors closed. Use an air filter and clean it regularly or run the air conditioner and change the filter often.

When You’re At Work.

Allergies at home and work are similar and affect millions of people each year.  Allergy symptoms, like sneezing, nasal congestion and headache, may make it difficult to concentrate.  Every work environment will have specific allergy problems so talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about how you can prevent allergies at your specific workplace.

When You’re At School.

Children may face allergens in the classroom and playground. In fact, children in the United States miss approximately two million school days each year because of allergy symptoms. Parents, teachers and health care providers can work together to help prevent and treat childhood allergies. Monitor the classroom for plants, pets or other items that may carry allergens. Encourage your child to wash his/her hands after playing outside. Many of the allergens in the home will also be found at school. Although it may not be an option to vacuum or dust the classroom, there may be treatment options to help a child manage his/her symptoms during the school day.

When You’re Outside.

There are certain times during the year when plants and trees release pollen into the air. The timing of these pollen seasons depends on your geographic location. Different regions have different types of plants that pollinate at different times. Depending on where you live, allergy seasons may be mild or severe.  Experts estimate that 35 million Americans suffer from allergies because of airborne pollen!

Tiny particles that are released from trees, weeds and grasses are known as pollen. These particles are carried by the wind from tall treetops all the way to your nose.  But before you shrug off fancy flowers in fear of sniffles, remember that the types of pollen that most commonly cause your allergies are from plain-looking plants, such as trees, grasses and weeds. These plants produce small and light pollen, perfect for catching a ride on a gentle breeze.

Similar to pollen, mold spores are a seasonal pest. If you are sensitive to mold spores, you may have symptoms from spring to late fall. Yet, even after the first frost of winter, some mold spores can continue to grow in freezing temperatures. The severity of your mold spore allergies can depend on the climate that you live in. In the warmest areas of the United States, mold spores grow all year! But before you move to Antarctica, remember that mold spores also grow indoors, making it a year-round problem.

When You’re Traveling.

We are all on the go and there are a few things to keep in mind to prevent outdoor allergies during peak season, when the pollen count is high.

  • Stay inside during peak pollen times, usually between 10:00 a.m. and
    4:00 p.m.
  • Keep your car windows closed when traveling
  • Stay indoors when humidity is high and on days with high wind, when dust and pollen are more likely to be in the air
  • Shower after spending time outside to wash away pollen that collects on your skin and hair

If you suffer from allergies, there may be other concerns when you travel.  The allergy climate may be different than the one where you live. When you travel by car, bus or train, you may find dust mites, mold spores and pollen bothersome. Turn on the air conditioner or heater before getting in your car and travel with the windows closed to avoid allergens from outside. Travel early in the morning or late in the evening when the air quality is better. 

When flying to your favorite vacation spot, be prepared.  Remember that air quality and dryness on planes can affect you if you have allergies. If a cruise is your next vacation, be aware of the season and temperature at your destination(s). In tropical, damp climates there are allergens like dust mites, mold spores and pollen. In cold, damp climates, you may be exposed to dust mites and mold spores. Once you arrive at your hotel, there may be dust mites and mold spores lurking. If you are staying with family or friends, the same types of allergens that you find at home may be present.

Information is from unless stated otherwise.