Your heating and cooling expenses may have taken a dip this month as early fall temperatures allow for wide-open windows, decreased humidity, and therefore the need for less air conditioning. However, as the thermometer continues to drop, the demand for a dependable heating system may be on your horizon. 

There are a few key factors to consider when calculating the price of a new heating system, and our experts are here to help break it down. 

Type of Furnace

“The average cost of replacing a furnace runs between $2,000 and $7,000 based on the model that best meets your needs,” home expert Bob Vila advises. “There are gas, electric, and oil versions, each using varying amounts of fuel that can affect the quality of home heating.” 

Make sure you know the energy source you’ll be depending on, and explore available varieties accordingly. In some areas, gas heaters may be less expensive than electric ones, but not if your home isn’t already connected to gas utilities. Your Mitchell Cooling + Heating specialist knows about the most efficient models and can make recommendations based on your fuel source. 

Desired Climate Control

Even if you know what type of furnace you want, understanding what size to get depends on your outdoor climate and how much you want to control it. Factors to take into consideration include:

  • External humidity, temperature, and wind chill
  • Desired internal temperature
  • Quality of internal insulation

Though software can help calculate the complex solution, “the final determination is still up to the professional who installs the furnace,” SFGate asserts

Internal Real Estate

Ultimately, the size of your home matters when it comes to determining your best heating system. If your furnace is too large for your space, you’ll waste valuable money and energy. If it’s too small, you’ll never get quite warm enough. 

A Manual J calculation may be one of the best ways to determine the most ideal system for your home. Published by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) to help HVAC contractors design heating and air conditioning systems, this calculation allows HVAC engineers to analyze the thermal characteristics of every wall, floor, ceiling, door, and window — as well as ductwork and the number of occupants — to advise on the heating system that is right for you.

You can also estimate the ideal number of BTUs for your home (and therefore the best size for your heating system) by estimating house square footage and using a simple online calculator. Though these simple mathematics can’t take every nuance into consideration, they can help you estimate an appropriate furnace size. 

While there’s plenty you can do to conserve warmth in cooler weather, give the experts at Mitchell Cooling and Heating a call before investing in an entirely new system. We’re available online, and you can also call for advice at 770-995-7585.

Back in 1994, job postings were listed in newspapers. That’s where Gustavo Loaiza, New Construction Manager, first heard about Mitchell Cooling + Heating 27 years ago.

“I saw an ad for a helper in heating and air,” Gus said. “Chris (Mitchell) provided training so I gave it a chance.”

With lots of energy and a can-do attitude to do whatever it takes to get things done, Gus remains happy at how long he’s continued to enjoy the job. After nearly 30 years on the Mitchell Cooling + Heating team, he hasn’t looked back. 

For him, every day is something new. Each construction project is a different challenge, requiring expertise to work with the unique demands of each commercial or residential builder and their specific construction timeline.

While each project is different, Gus’s workday has a consistency he enjoys. In the mornings, he helps his teammates load up their trucks by helping stock their equipment and material. After loading, he meets team members at the worksites to help during installations and ensure there are no installation hiccups. Afterward, Gus meets builders and contractors that need his HVAC expertise. In the afternoons, he starts preparing for the next day.

The most rewarding part of Gus’s job is the work, great coworkers, and customers he has the chance to help.

What does Gus attribute as the key for a successful 27 years in HVAC? 

“Be prepared to work hard, and find a good boss so it makes the work easier,” he says.

Gus has been married to his wife, Martha, for 40 years. They have two grown children and two grandchildren. 

The couple enjoys spending lots of time together, watching the grandkids play soccer, and having family dinners. The entire family is Atlanta United FC fans.

Warming up to fall? Give us a call to schedule a heater and furnace repair by calling 770-995-7585. You can also schedule a service online.

Georgians are no strangers to heat and humidity during the summer months, but increased rain showers (like the ones we’ve had this summer) can add to the humidity. This damp air creeps into your home, making things both wetter and warmer. 

We’ve discussed how dry air can have an impact, but too much humidity can also cause mildew or mold, peeling paint, and increase the population of dust mites.

Wondering what to do about the extra stickiness? Cranking up the AC and simply recirculating the air inside won’t necessarily solve your problem. 

Ensure Proper Ventilation

Opening a window for natural ventilation obviously won’t help now (as it might in the fall or spring), but spot ventilation can. Examples of common spot ventilators include “range hoods over stoves and bathroom exhaust fans,” the U.S. Department of Energy explains. Be sure these vents lead outdoors, and never into the attic, where moisture and other toxins can collect. 

This AC Unit is Too Big

As Bob Vila advises, “Bigger isn’t always better: An oversize window or central AC unit may be the reason for excessive moisture in a home.” The unit’s evaporator coil pulls humidity from the air as the system runs, but if it’s too big it may actually cool your space too quickly. “A longer runtime is needed to dehumidify a home correctly,” Vila explains, which means a runtime longer than 15 minutes. 

If you’re unsure whether your unit is the right size for your space, Mitchell Cooling and Heating experts can quickly make an assessment. 

Employ Dehumidifiers

Not only can a dehumidifier reduce stress on your air conditioning system, but it may help your health and allergy symptoms, as well. 

Allergy triggers include mold and dust mites, which can thrive in moist conditions. According to Healthline, “Drying out the air in your home keeps triggers to a minimum.” They also suggest it may make the air less heavy and more breathable for those with asthma. 

If you have a basement, your dehumidifier may pull the most moisture away there. But portable units can also work at the top of a staircase, in a bathroom, or any other room with high humidity. 

“Since dehumidifiers continuously draw air in and then expel it during operation, most models should be placed away from anything that would block air flow, such as walls and furniture,” Hunker recommends. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and keep your dehumidifier drained and cleaned, as well.

There are advantages and disadvantages between choosing portable dehumidifiers or whole-home dehumidifiers. Cost is certainly one. But the nature and location of your excess humidity may also determine which system is right for you. Consultation with a professional may shed the best light when it comes to making this decision. 

Consider A Zoned System

“Zoning allows home or business owners to save energy and money by not having to heat or cool rooms that don’t need it,” International Energy Conservation Consultants LLC explains. Rather than heating or cooling your space based on feedback from a single thermostat, these take into consideration the temperature and humidity levels in multiple areas.

But to zone an HVAC system requires zone dampers, multiple thermostats, and a zone control panel. It’s best to let the experts advise you about and install this type of system.  

Whether you’re considering a whole-home dehumidifier, zoned system, or regular service on your current AC unit, Mitchell Cooling and Heating experts are here to help. Schedule a consultation online or call us for advice 770-995-7585.

At the peak of summer, you may be well aware of how much your home depends on a well-functioning air conditioner. But do you know where it came from? And where it’s going?

Early Beginnings

The Mitchell Cooling and Heating team has been serving Atlanta and the North Metro area for almost thirty years, but air conditioning (and, consequently, A/C service) has been around for much longer.

Attempts to control indoor temperatures perhaps began in ancient Egypt, where water-soaked mats were hung in doorways to help cool rooms from the dry desert air.  Later, in Rome, elaborate aqueduct systems were implemented in part to circulate cooling water through villa walls. However, internal climate control wasn’t widespread until electricity became more readily available. 

At the turn of the 20th century, Willis Carrier developed a cooling system, upon which modern air conditioning is built. Originally designed to resolve the problems humidity caused in image printing at Brooklyn’s Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographic and Publishing Company, Carrier’s system is largely credited as the origin of modern air conditioning.

The future success of Carrier’s invention stood on the shoulders of others. 

“Long before Carrier was even born,” Smithsonian Magazine explains, “University of Glasgow professor William Cullen evaporated liquids in a vacuum thus creating refrigeration technology as early as 1748.” And in 1841, John Gorrie also invented his own ice-making machine in an attempt to cure Yellow Fever. 

Combined together, each of these technological breakthroughs established the current cooling we enjoy today. 

Modern Progress

The growing popularity of movie theaters and hotels helped spur air conditioning’s progress. Memorial Day weekend of 1925, the Rivoli Theater in New York City debuted its own air conditioning system, offering cooler respites from summer doldrums. The experiment was a success, with Adolph Zukor, president of Paramount Pictures, proclaiming on the day of the reveal, “Yes, the people are going to like it.” 

Ensuing efforts continued to adapt the technology to create smaller, safer, and more affordable cooling methods — ones that could be implemented in homes or schools. Thanks in part to research and development by engineer Henry Galson, “By 1947, 43,000 of these systems were sold — and, for the first time, homeowners could enjoy air conditioning without having to make expensive upgrades.”

Future Forward

These days, air conditioning systems are nearly everywhere. But keeping up with the technology’s maintenance and growth could be as important as creating it in the first place. 

According to an October 2020 Forbes report, “IBISWorld expects 1% average growth in this $47.6 billion (estimated 2020 revenue industry) through 2025.” There will be a great demand for experienced technicians who can keep up. 

However, the impact of climate change is also something to keep track of as well. As the planet gets hotter, more cooling solutions will be needed, but systems that don’t further contribute to climate change will also be crucial.

“With more energy-efficient air conditioners and less super-polluting refrigerants,” Fast Company reported in July 2020, “we could avoid releasing greenhouse gases  . . . in the next four decades—like preventing eight years of total annual greenhouse gas emissions.”

Technicians will need to remain knowledgeable about this changing technology and help anticipate solutions for what’s to come. 

At Mitchell Cooling and Heating, our experts are continually educated to guarantee your system’s efficiency all year round. Give us a call anytime at 770-995-7585 or schedule a service appointment to ensure your system is in prime shape — and ready for the future.

21 years ago, Service Manager Bill Lord stepped through Mitchell Cooling and Heating’s doors and hasn’t looked back since. With 37 years’ worth of experience in the HVAC industry, the only surprise he’s encountered in his career was staying at one company for over two decades.  

Bill was introduced to the HVAC field by a friend’s dad who had his own repair and installation company. As a teenager, he started out as a helper for that company and quickly grew from there.

The Day to Day

As Service Manager, Bill’s role has him involved in several key parts of Mitchell’s day-to-day operations. In the morning, he helps the team by going over any pending work from the previous day and making sure each technician has what they need for upcoming service requests. 

Additionally, Bill is available to the office staff to make sure parts are ordered and that customers are fully satisfied with their service. On top of this, he makes sure to have the phone nearby in case any technicians out in the field need support.

For Bill, while there’s not enough time in the day to take care of everything, knowing that he gets to help someone every day is reward enough to keep going.

Three Pieces of Advice

With nearly four decades of experience, Bill only has three pieces of advice for people in the field.

“You can make a great career in HVAC, just get as much training as you can, and stay up to date on technology,” he says.

At home, Bill lives with his wife, Valerie, and their dogs. They have three adult children and two grandchildren. Outside of work, you can find him spending time hunting, fishing, and of course relaxing with Valerie and the rest of his family. This summer, they have big plans to hit the pool and grill out.

Do your big summer plans include updating your HVAC? Give us a call to schedule it by calling 770-995-7585. You can also schedule service online.

We’ve already sweated through some hot spring afternoons, but here in Georgia we know the sultry scorchers are still on the way.

When those sweltering days arrive in Atlanta and North Georgia, will your air conditioner be ready to keep you and your family cool? And will your AC keep you comfortable without barbecuing your bank account with searing hot energy bills?

Don’t let the dog days of summer catch you (and your pets) unprepared. Now’s the time to make sure your air conditioner is in tip-top condition. Here’s what you can do… 

A Measure of Maintenance Goes a Long Way

Some basic annual maintenance will go a long way toward helping your air conditioner cool effectively throughout its expected lifespan. And most of it is easy to do yourself.

Vacuum Vents. Run a vacuum over all your home’s vents, registers, and grilles to remove any accumulated dust and debris. While you’re at it, make sure that each vent has about a foot of unobstructed space around it. Relocate any furniture, artwork, and other life debris — we’re looking at you, winter boots dropped by the front door three months ago — to allow for easy air flow.

Clean the Condenser. As we suggested in last month’s post, clean up any branches and leaves on or around your outdoor condenser unit, then use a hose to spray dust and grime off the fan and condenser coils. You can also use a shop vac and soft-bristled brush to vacuum the condenser fins. (They’re delicate, so proceed with care.)

Douse the Drain. Your indoor evaporator unit has a drain pan under it to capture dripping condensation. A drain line then moves the water outside. Once a year, pour a cup of a 50/50 mix of bleach and water down that drain line, wait a few minutes, then flush it with lots of clean water. This will stop the growth of algae and help prevent clogs. If the water you pour in doesn’t drain, give your HVAC service provider a call right away. Pooling water in your drain pan can cause water damage and will keep your air conditioner from cooling as effectively.

More Maintenance for Fewer Problems. Professional preventative maintenance goes beyond the measures you can manage yourself, and it may lengthen the life of your equipment. Give us a call if you’d like to schedule an annual preventative maintenance appointment.

Lower Energy Bills are Cool Too

Some simple energy efficiency measures can help keep your energy bills cool without sacrificing your family’s comfort.

Be a Fan of Fans. Moving air moves heat off your skin, so make the most of fans. Ceiling fans, floor fans, desk fans, heck even hand fans will all keep you cooler, even with the thermostat set a few degrees higher. Just remember that fans don’t do you any good in an empty room, so turn them off when you leave.

Delete the Heat. With all the heat Mother Nature is making outside, don’t add to the problem by running stoves, ovens, dishwashers, and dryers during the hottest parts of the day. That’s just inviting in more heat that your air conditioner will then have to remove. Many modern dishwashers and dryers can be programmed to run at a set time, late at night or when you’re away from home. And outdoor grilling is a smart summertime substitute to running your oven and stove.

Savings Made with Your Shades. Some of your simplest cost-cutting cool tools are old school curtains and shades. Close them during the day, especially for windows that get direct sunlight, and you’ll send a lot of excess heat back outside to play.

More Ways to Beat the Heat

These are only a cool half dozen of the many ways you can keep your family comfortable this summer while saving on your energy bills. Want more? Give us a call anytime at 770-995-7585 or schedule a service appointment. We’ll be happy to help!

With the azaleas in bloom and warmer temperatures inviting us back outside, spring is our favorite season in Atlanta and North Georgia. (Pay no mind to the pollen coating our cars and sinuses.)

But with the winter chills mostly behind us and summer’s heat ahead, it’s a good time for some spring cleaning of your heating and cooling system.

Keep It Cool

You know when’s the worst time to find out your air conditioner isn’t cooling properly? During that first 95-degree day in early summer. Check out your AC now instead, when you can address any needed repairs before the heavy heat sets in.

As an easy test, simply turn on your air conditioner — in most cases, by adjusting your thermostat down below the current temperature. Wait a few minutes, then feel the air blowing out of your HVAC system’s exhaust vents. Is it cool? Good news! If not, then at least you have time to address it.

(Remember to turn your thermostat back up when you’re done with the test.)

To keep things running smoothly and efficiently, take a quick trip to your outdoor unit with a hose and a broom. Clean up any branches, leaves or other debris that are on your condenser unit, and clear a buffer area of a couple feet around its base. Then use the hose to spray excess grime off the condenser coils and fan. (Spraying water on the unit is safe, as long it’s properly installed. It is, after all, designed to run in the rain.)

For a more thorough test and tune-up of your air conditioner or heat pump, consider scheduling an inspection and maintenance call. It’ll give you peace of mind to know you’re all set for the heat.

Avoid the Allergens

But about that pollen… along with winter’s dust and your pet’s endless supply of dander and shed hair.

We say it every season, but that’s because you should do it at minimum once every three months: Change your air filter, replacing it with a high-efficiency filter that’s appropriate for your HVAC system. (We can advise you on that if you’re not sure.)

According to the Department of Energy, “Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.”

Spring is also a good time to vacuum or dust off your intake vents. If your allergies are worse than usual, you might also investigate having your ductwork cleaned. (It’s not something we or the EPA recommend for everyone, but in some cases it may help.)

Save on Spring Energy Bills

Spring is also a good time to get ahead on controlling your summer cooling costs while keeping you and your family comfortable at home. The tips we’ve already covered also help your HVAC system’s efficiency, but we’ve got more!

Remember to reverse the direction on your ceiling fans (assuming you did so for winter). In warm weather, you want the fans to push the air down, so the moving air cools your skin. For most fans, that means it’s spinning counterclockwise from your perspective looking up.

According to the Department of Energy, “A ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.”

Spring is also a good time to search for any cracks or leaks that are letting the outside air sneak in. Close them up with caulk and weatherstripping.

As is true year-round, a programmable or smart thermostat can help you optimize your cooling, keeping you comfortable at home while conserving energy while you’re away. (We’ll be happy to install one for you.)

And if you’re looking for an excuse to upgrade your outdoor grill, we’re here to help: Cooking outdoors during the warm months saves your air conditioning system from having to remove all that extra heat. Those flame-grilled burgers are saving you money!

Need some help getting ready for warmer weather? We’re here for you and ready to help, any time. Give us a call at 770-995-7585 or schedule a service appointment. (Inviting us to your barbecue is optional.)

For 25 years, Assistant Service Manager April Johnston has been one of the most familiar friendly voices answering the phone when Mitchell Cooling and Heating customers call in asking for help.

Johnston joined the Mitchell team during her senior year at Dacula High School, back in 1996. As part of a work-based learning program, she would spend half her day at school, then half in the Mitchell “office.” At the time, the whole operation was run from a single, long desk with one computer and two phones, all of which she shared with Kathy Mitchell and Lindy Strickland

“We were literally elbow to elbow,” says Johnston. “We worked hard and we laughed, and we just had fun.”

In the early days, Johnston did a lot of filling out paperwork, filing, and making copies. “Everything was on paper, so everything took longer,” she says. “The copier was my best friend.”

As the company grew, so did Johnston’s responsibilities. In time, she took charge of answering customer calls, dispatching technicians, and coordinating the daily service schedule. While additional team members now take some of the customer calls, you’ll still often hear her voice when you call in. Some long-time customers even ask for her by name.

People You Know

Though raised in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Johnston went to Dacula for school, church, and softball practice. “It was a very small town when we were younger,” she says. “Everybody knew everybody. Until a few years ago, just about everybody who worked here, we knew them or knew their family.” (Mitchell is now headquartered in neighboring Auburn, Georgia.)

It’s part of why she has stayed so long at Mitchell. “I get along with everyone,” she says, “I’m paid well, and they treat me well. And when it comes down to it, they know me. We’ve been through the good, the bad, and the ugly together. There’s a lot of benefit to really knowing the people you work with.”

She says that many of Mitchell’s customers feel the same way.

“They like that it’s the same people when they call, no matter how long it’s been,” she says. “They know they’re not just another customer to us.”

Rearranging the World to Make It Work

“I do the best I can for every customer, every time,” Johnston says. “Not just because they’re someone special. Not because they’re so-and-so’s mother. Every customer who needs help is someone who needs help, and I do everything possible for them. I will rearrange the world to make it work.”

After 25 years at Mitchell, she and Lindy Strickland can even troubleshoot some problems over the phone, saving customers a service call by talking them through something simple like flipping a breaker switch back on.

“We don’t try to charge them for things they don’t need,” she says. “We’re not constantly pushing something new on them. We’re honest, and we do what we say we’re going to do.”

Family and Fun Adventures

Johnston and her husband have three children, two now grown, married, and out of the house. Because of the pandemic, it has been over a year since she last saw her son, who is in the Army and currently based in Alaska. She hopes she’ll be able to visit him soon. Her daughter lives close by, so they’re able to visit her more often. Johnston’s youngest is still at home and is enjoying time as the only child in the house. 

Johnston and her husband are nevertheless content making the most of their time with family. “We enjoy being together, doing whatever comes up or just hanging out,” she says. “We may wake up Saturday morning and decide to go for a mountain hike, head to the lake, visit an antique store, or just take off for the day.” Sundays and some weeknights are taken up by church.

After years of marriage, they know each other well and have been through a lot together. Loving someone, trusting them, and knowing them well for so many years… What else could anyone want?

_____

Is it time for your spring HVAC maintenance? Give April a call to schedule it or talk with anyone else in the office by calling 770-995-7585. You can also schedule service online.

In our January blog, we discussed the negative impact dry air can have on your home and your personal health. We also offered a few solutions for testing the humidity of your air, including scheduling a service call with our team. If your home does have low humidity during the colder months, a whole-house humidifier may be the best solution and will benefit you and your family in several ways.

1. Better Health

Low humidity can dry out your nasal passages, sinuses, throat, and even lungs. By raising indoor humidity to healthier levels, a whole house humidifier may lower your family’s risk of sinusitis and sore throat.

For some people, a humidifier can also reduce the severity of allergies and asthma, although you should always consult with your doctor first. And make sure to keep up on regular maintenance, as a poorly maintained humidifier can spread mold or bacteria, making allergies and asthma worse.

Adding moisture to your home’s dry air may also help prevent the spread of airborne viruses, such as colds and flus. Basically, in drier air, viral droplets evaporate into smaller aerosols faster and float longer, giving them more opportunity to infect the people in your home.

Finally, if you or someone in your family has a cold, cough, or other respiratory disease, healthy humidity levels may help reduce inflammation, open airways, and ease congestion.

2. Better Sleep (and Less Snoring)

Low humidity indoor air can dry out your soft palate, triggering snoring or making it worse. A whole house humidifier moistens the soft palate, throat, and nasal passages. It may also reduce allergies and congestion, both of which can cause snoring.

With less snoring, easier breathing, and better overall comfort, you and your family may sleep better too.

3. Comfort

No matter how much lotion and lip balm you apply through the winter, properly humidified air is going to be more comfortable for you and your family. You’re less likely to develop chapped lips, dry skin and eczema, and irritated eyes and throat.

A whole house humidifier also reduces static in your home: the static that may mess up your hair, cling to your clothes, or give you a shock when you touch a family member or pet.

Drier air also feels colder, so adding moisture will help you feel warmer at lower temperatures.

4. Energy Savings

Because moist air feels warmer, you may be able to lower your thermostat a degree or two, saving money on your utility bills. Powering the humidifier does consume a little electricity, but, as we’ll discuss below, some types of whole house humidifiers are extremely efficient. You can easily have a net savings on your utilities.

5. House

Finally, maintaining moderate humidity in your home is better for your house and many of your belongings.

Excessively dry air can shrink, warp, or crack wood floors, framing, molding, and furniture. It can dry out and cause peeling in paint. It can even damage wooden instruments such as guitars and violins. And the increase in static electricity can damage sensitive electronics. All of this can be prevented by maintaining that 30-50% relative humidity range.

Whole house humidifiers are also better for your houseplants. Most common indoor houseplants come from humid tropical climates, so they tend not to do well in dry air. They’ll thank you for the added humidity with healthier green leaves.

Whole House vs. Portable Humidifiers

As you are probably aware, there are many portable humidifiers available on the market. While these may be a quick, temporary fix for a single room, whole house humidifiers offer many advantages.

  1. As the name suggests, whole house humidifiers treat the air throughout your house, while portable units generally only treat a single room.
  2. Most portable humidifiers don’t have hygrometers (humidity sensors). They don’t sense the room’s humidity and maintain it at a set level. Whole house humidifiers always have hygrometers and automatically adjust to maintain ideal indoor humidity.
  3. Whole house humidifiers are generally healthier, as long as you keep up on annual maintenance. Portable units are prone to developing mold and bacteria, and some types may even spread allergens and irritants (white mineral dust) in the air.
  4. Portable humidifiers require regular deep cleaning, and you have to refill their reservoirs daily or more often. Whole house humidifiers are easier to maintain. They only need annual maintenance, and they are directly connected to your home’s water supply, so you never have to refill them.
  5. According to Energy Star, portable humidifiers typically must be replaced every 3-5 years. Whole house humidifiers last 10 years or more. Because many key parts are replaceable, you may even be able to extend their lifetime much further.
  6. Many whole house humidifiers are more energy efficient than portable units. There are many variables to calculating this, but the most efficient types of whole house humidifiers let your existing HVAC system do most of the work.

Types of Whole House Humidifiers

There are three main types of whole house humidifiers.

Bypass humidifiers periodically spray water onto a pad or filter through which your HVAC system’s blower pushes heated air. Because bypass humidifiers piggy-back on the forced air your HVAC system is already moving, they are extremely efficient. However, they cannot run independently of your furnace and blower. The heat must be running for the humidifier to add moisture. For extremely dry air, this may not be enough.

Fan-powered humidifiers work similarly to bypass humidifiers, but they also have their own fan to push humidity through your ductwork even when your HVAC system’s main blower is not running. They draw a little more electricity but are still relatively efficient.

Steam humidifiers heat water to generate steam, which is then pushed through your ductwork. They are highly effective but use 14 times as much electricity as bypass humidifiers, according to Energy Star. (PDF)

For the Health and Comfort of You and Your Family, We’re Here to Help

Whether you’re trying to decide if a whole-house humidifier makes sense for your home, or are wondering which kind is right for you, we’re here to help. Give us a call anytime or schedule a service call. We’ll give you our best advice. Then we’ll help you with whatever you decide makes the most sense for your family’s health and comfort.

The climate in Atlanta and North Georgia is certainly no desert. Outside, the average monthly relative humidity rarely drops below 60% and it rises up near 80% in sultry August. But in the late fall, winter, and early spring, our heating systems can create desert-dry air in our homes.

You may notice dry air first through the discomforts it can bring. Dry, itchy skin. Chapped lips. Irritated eyes. If dry air persists, you may develop a sore throat, inflamed sinuses, and even nose bleeds.

Your body will also feel colder in dry air. Moisture evaporates more easily from your body, cooling you down. You’re likely to turn up the thermostat to compensate. This can raise your monthly energy bills and make the dry air even worse.

In addition to discomfort, dry air can cause or worsen many respiratory problems. It may even damage your house, furniture, plants, and other belongings. Learn about the effects of dry air below!

How Does Your Heating System Dry Air?

While the details of the answer vary somewhat for different kinds of heating systems, furnaces generally do not remove water from the air inside your home. Rather, the cold air outside your home cannot hold as much total moisture as warm air. It tends to have a lower absolute humidity[1] even if its relative humidity[2] is still high.

As your furnace heats up that cold air from outside, the air’s capacity to absorb moisture goes up, but there’s no more moisture in the air to absorb. Your home’s relative humidity goes down, and the air goes looking for other sources of moisture to absorb… sources such as your skin, eyes, and respiratory system.

How Can You Measure the Humidity of Your Home Air?

Recommendations for the ideal home humidity vary slightly from source to source, but both the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Mayo Clinic suggest maintaining a relative humidity of 30-50%.

Some models of smart thermostats have a built-in hygrometer (a humidity sensor), so you may be able to get a relative humidity reading directly from your thermostat.

If your thermostat does not include a humidity sensor, you can find many affordable, battery-powered hygrometers online or in your local hardware or home store. If you find them for a good price, consider buying a few and placing them in different areas of your home. Or buy one and move it around from time to time to compare humidity levels.

You’re likely to find more humid conditions in your basement, bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room. You may find drier air in bedrooms, living rooms, home offices, and other living areas.

You’re also welcome to schedule a service call with us, and we’ll test your humidity levels for you. (If you’re concerned about dry indoor air, it’s best to do this during the colder months, when your home’s humidity is likely to be at its lowest. Call us in the summer if you’re concerned about indoor air that’s too humid.)

Our Team is Here to Help

However you test your home humidity, if you find levels below 30%, it’s time to consider a whole house humidifier for healthier indoor air. In our next blog, we’ll discuss the five major benefits of getting a whole house humidifier, differentiating why it’s safer than a portable humidifier, and making a few recommendations for which type of whole house humidifier would best fit your needs.

Or, if you’re interested in learning about our recommended whole house humidifiers or have any further questions on the effects of dry air, reach out to us here or give our team a call at 770-995-7585. We look forward to your call!

[1] The total mass of water vapor in a volume of air.

[2] The mass of water vapor as a percentage of the maximum amount the air could hold at the current temperature.