Archive for James River Air Tips

Earth Day Tips – 4.22.22

Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection, restore damaged ecosystems, and to live a more sustainable life. In honor of Earth Day, James River Air Conditioning would like to share a few tips on how you can reduce your carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions through small improvements to your HVAC system. 

4 Tips to make your HVAC system more eco-friendly:

  • Change your filters – When was the last time you changed your air filters? If it’s been a month or more, we recommend checking them. You should change your filters every three months.
  • Clean debris, grass, and leaves from around the outdoor unit to ensure you are not restricting airflow. 
  • Inspect your ductwork – If you find any leaks in your ductwork, seal them off. Leaky duct work can be very problematic for HVAC efficiency. 
  • Inspect the insulation in your attic – If you have not checked your attic insultation, it is a great time to check and evaluate if your attic insulation is air-sealed. Without attic insulation, you cannot save money or energy.

These 4 tips are perfect for participating in Earth Day. Not only are these small changes better for our environment, but they can also help reduce your energy bills. While these Earth Day solutions are simple DIY tasks you can complete yourself, your system might require a more professional touch. Please call us today to schedule your spring HVAC tune-up or click the button below!

Top Warning Signs Your Crawl Space Is Impairing Indoor Air Quality & Energy Efficiency

Is Your Crawl Space Impairing Indoor Air Quality & Energy Efficiency?

Do you notice any of the following unusual sights or smells emanating from your home’s crawl space? (i.e. the narrow, unfinished area that resides under the base of your house)

  • A gross, musty odor
  • Humid air, discolored walls, or standing water
  • Condensation
  • Foundation cracks or rotted wood
  • Feeling a draft or noticed sagging in the floors
  • Pest (ants, spiders, beetles, etc.) or rodent (mice, rats, snakes, etc.) infestation

If you notice any of the above unusual sights or smells, these are all warning signs your crawl space may be compromised. 

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As we head into the damp spring season, and as more homes change hands in a fast-moving housing market, James River Air Conditioning, has advice on how to secure your crawl space – whether you’ve been in your home for years, or you have a new-to-you home. Many homeowners likely never think about the crawl space, but it can be a major contributor to poor air quality and overall home energy efficiency. Nearly 50% of the air you breathe in your home originates from your crawl space. 

The crawl space is the home’s foundation. It’s where electrical conduit, water lines, and other utilities are housed. Traditional crawl spaces are a leading source of high humidity, and thus, mold, and microbiological growth, which causes poor air quality and can be linked to asthma, allergies, and other health issues. On the energy side, homeowners can reduce energy bills by up to 15% by controlling air leakage in crawl spaces, allowing HVAC systems and ducts to perform more efficiency.

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So what can homeowners do to secure their crawl space?

Protecting, cleaning, and sealing the crawl space, and adding vapor barriers and dehumidifiers are a home’s best defense. The benefits of vapor barriers and dehumidifiers in crawl spaces include:

  • Improved air quality
  • Eliminates insect and pest infestation
  • Increased healthy living conditions
  • Prevents mold, mildew and rot issues
  • Hinders structural damage
  • Increased energy efficiency

Homeowners can schedule a FREE inspection of their homes crawl space with James River Air by calling 1-800-COMFORT or click the link below to set up your free inspection. Visit James River Air’s Blog for more tips for saving energy on your HVAC system!

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High Energy Bill Tips

James River Air’s 5 LOW- or NO-COST Things You Can Do Now To Increase HVAC Efficiency And Save Money Later.

More Than Half of Household Energy Use Comes from Heating and Cooling. 

Around this time of year, many of us take a look at our energy bill and ask: Why is it SO high? What can I do to lower my bill and improve home energy efficiency without sacrificing comfort?

Per the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Winter Fuels Outlook 2021 report, U.S. households that primarily heat with electricity can expect to spend 6% more than they spent last winter, on average.

And according to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling accounts for nearly HALF of a typical home’s energy usage. With HVAC energy consumption tied to the weather and seasonal fluctuations, it’s no wonder that Central Virginians are seeing sky-high energy bills this time of year.

So what can you do to maximize the efficiency of your home’s HVAC system, especially when temps are dropping and ice and snow are in the forecast? With proper care and maintenance, you can winterize your HVAC and ensure it’s running optimally. James River Air Conditioning has five no- or low-cost tips for saving energy in the winter so you don’t have to pay big bucks later on repairs or replacements.

  1. Make sure your air filter is clean – check it monthly and replace it regularly.
  2. Sub-freezing outside? Don’t crank the thermostat up to compensate; leave it at the same temperature you normally have it set. (The ideal winter thermostat temperature is 68 degrees.)
  3. Prevent HVAC unit damage by keeping snow or ice build-up off of your unit. Keep the unit clear with a soft brush or broom. (Never try to pick ice off with a sharp tool of any kind!)
  4. Check your exterior heating vents – snow or ice buildup can not only block but damage vents.
  5. Schedule annual preventive maintenance to ensure your HVAC system is running smoothly!

If you need help with your home energy bill, relief programs and services are available. Details from Dominion Energy: Energy Assistance | Virginia | Dominion Energy

 

 

Preventing Frozen Pipes

20 minutes can save you thousands of dollars and a major headache.

The pipes that are most at risk are those in unheated, interior spaces. Such as: basements, attics, and garages. But even pipes running through cabinets or exterior walls can freeze. The good news is there are a few easy steps you can take to keep your water running and your house dry.

Follow these simple steps to help prevent frozen pipes when the temperatures plummet:

  1. Keep your garage doors closed. Especially if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  2. Open your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing in your home.
    • If you have small children or pets, be sure to remove any harmful cleaners and household chemicals.
  3. Let the cold-water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – this helps prevent your pipes from freezing.
    • If your pipes do freeze, the release pressure in the water system will reduce the likelihood of a rupture.
  4. If you normally turn the thermostat down at night, don’t do it during frigid temperatures. Keep your thermostat set to the temperature both during the day and at night.

Don’t forget your outdoor faucets:

In frosty temperatures, the outdoor water spigots installed on the wall of your home can easily freeze and burst. Unfortunately, the rupture in the pipe often occurs just inside the walls of your home, where it can lead to water damage if not quickly spotted. But it’s easy to prevent this problem with a couple of winterizing steps:

  1. Disconnect your garden hoses. A hose that remains attached to the faucet may prevent residual water from draining. This trapped water can then freeze and cause your faucet to burst.
  2. Install an outdoor faucet cover over each spigot on your house. These covers cost less than $10 and can be purchased at any local hardware store or home improvement stores. They are easy to install and cheap insurance against potentially costly damage.
  3. If you want to take extra precaution and your home has separate shut-off for external faucets, turn it off and drain the water from those faucets.
  4. Turn off and drain your sprinkler systems. You may want to call your professional service provider to find out the best steps for draining your system.

We hope these preventive steps will save you from have any problems. However, if you do end up with frozen or burst pipes that you cannot fix, our experienced plumbers are ready to come get your pipes running properly. Give us a call at 1-800-COMFORT to schedule a service call. Or follow the link: https://www.jamesriverair.com/schedule-service-call to set up a service call online.

Protecting Your HVAC System from Snow and Ice

With totals of 4 to 6 inches of snow and some localities receiving more, it is important as homeowners to take care of your HVAC system. Without the proper care and maintenance, winter storms can damage your HVAC system. To help be prepared for the current winter storm, we have tips on HVAC protection to keep you and your home safe and comfortable. Because YOUR comfort matters!

6 Tips to Protect your HVAC System

  1. Check your air filter to make sure your heating unit is in good operating condition.
  2. If you have a furnace, make sure you know where your flue location is and that it is clear of snow. High-efficiency furnaces use PVC exhaust piping which must be kept clear of snow.
  3. Do not let snow or ice build-up on your unit. Keep your HVAC unit clear with a soft broom. Never use any type of steel pick or pick to chisel ice off unit.
  4. An efficient way to get ice off your fan blades is using hot water.
  5. Check your exterior vents – snow or ice buildup can block your exterior heating vents and can be damaging.
  6. Schedule annual preventive maintenance to ensure your HVAC system is ready to keep you and your home warm and comfortable!

With professional service and expert care from our team of licensed technicians here at James River Air, we stand ready to take care of your HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing, and Appliance needs. Give us a call if you have any other questions or would like to set up a service call today. 1-800-COMFORT.

Legionella And Your HVAC System

What you need to know: Legionella and Your HVAC System

Most of us don’t really consider the indoor heating or cooling system as dangerous. The systems are there to cool or heat the building up and that’s it. Proper maintenance ensures that you can enjoy the heat during winter and cooling during summer. But did you know that your building ventilation systems could make you sick?

If you’re involved in any aspect of a building’s HVAC system, then you need to know about the bacterium known as Legionella.

Legionella is a bacterium which causes Legionellosis (also known as Legionnaires’ disease). If you don’t know, Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia which is characterized by chills, a high fever, coughing, aches, and other terrible symptoms you don’t want to experience.

The bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease is commonly found in cooling towers or commercial-size heating and air systems.

• It thrives in warm, stagnant water. When people inhale the mist or vapor contaminated by the warm air, pushed through the building via the HVAC system, it easily spreads and causes sickness.

Preventive Maintenance is Your First Line of Defense Against Legionella.

• The bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s disease thrives in stagnant water that has been allowed  to grow warm – the ideal temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, its main point of contact in commercial buildings is cooling towers within large, centralized cooling systems. The main way to protect your building’s occupants from Legionnaires’ disease is by keeping up with your HVAC system’s preventative maintenance.

• Scheduling routine, preventative maintenance for your commercial air conditioning systems not only saves you money and extends the life of the system, but it will also save lives. 1 in every 10 cases of Legionnaires’ disease is fatal.

Early Detection Equals Early Remediation.

One of the primary goals of early detection is to allow existing and effective techniques to be implemented as quickly as possible to destroy Legionella bacteria. With airborne Legionella and cooling towers making news headlines, call the HVAC professionals at James River Air Conditioning to discuss testing and treatment options that can identify and handle the problem.

Click Here To Download Our Legionella Fact Sheet.

Safety is always first, so call James River Air Conditioning Company to schedule your maintenance visit today!

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Spring Into Action – Keep Your Home in Shape

spring  

Spring cleaning gets all of the attention this time of year, but spring maintenance is just as important to keep your home working properly, so we’ve created our free Spring Home Maintenance Checklist.

After a long winter, it is a good idea to spend time on preventive measures to help maintain your home and property. Making sure all the elements of your home are in good working order can help keep your family safe and your maintenance expenses lower over the long run.

Do these things now & you’ll be able to spend those summer weekends relaxing!

HVAC

  • Service your AC Unit (Yes, this is somewhat self-serving, but it really is important to do.) Before summer arrives, make sure you have a maintenance agreement in place.
  • Clean out around your outside AC unit by removing leaves, dust, overgrown shrubbery and debris.
  • Change your interior AC filters now and on a regular basis throughout the warm weather.
  • Furnace: This is a good time to clean or replace your furnace filter.

Plumbing

  • Check for signs of water leaks around toilets, under sinks and around the dishwasher.
  • Check all the caulking in your home around sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets to ensure it is in good condition. Be sure to check that there are no leaks, gaps, seepage or mildew.
  • Inspect Grout & Joints in bathroom tiles for any discoloration and crumbling. Grout protects flooring, shower enclosures and countertops from water damage, and it costs much less to replace than any of those items.
  • Check your water heater for leaks and corrosion.
  • Don’t forget to make sure the sump pump is working properly before spring and summer storms hit.
  • Check outside hose faucets and their pipes for freeze damage.

Home Safety Devices

  • Change the batteries in all your smoke detectors and test each one to make sure they are working.
  • Check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Make sure outlets, fuse boxes and extension cords are not overloaded.
  • Inspect your fire extinguishers, including the hose, nozzle, and other parts, to make sure they are in good condition. Also, check that the pressure gauge is in the “green” range.

Appliances

  • Clean out the dryer vent: Dryer lint can build up inside the vent pipe, causing a fire hazard. To clean it, disconnect the vent from the back of the machine and use a dryer vent brush to remove lint. While your back there, clean up all lint, dust, and anything you find behind the dryer. Outside your house, remove the dryer vent cover and use the brush to remove any lint from the other end of the vent line.
  • Inspect Laundry Room water-supply hoses each spring for cracks.
  • Vacuum behind the refrigerator: One of the easiest ways to improve the efficiency of a refrigerator is by pulling the refrigerator away from the wall and gently vacuuming behind it to make sure it’s getting enough air circulation and the coils are not running too hot.
  • Clean your garbage disposal: To remove any food particles left on the blades, simply feed a tray of ice cubes through it while running cold water. To eliminate any bad smells, you can run a mixture of baking soda and vinegar through the disposal.

Windows & Doors

  • Check seals around windows and doors: Cold weather can cause seals around windows and doors to crack or loosen, letting air leak in and out of your house. Repairing any problems you find can help increase your home’s energy efficiency and reduce your cooling costs.
  • Check & clean screen doors and windows: Before putting your screens in, be sure to carefully check each one and repair any holes or tears, no matter how small, so bugs can’t get in. You can find screen repair kits at most hardware and home improvement stores.

Attics & Basements

  • Don’t overlook your attic: Search for signs that indicate insects or animals have made your attic their home. Also, look carefully for mold, which often takes the form of gray or black blotches that look like staining. Proper insulation and good ventilation will deter mold growth in the attic, especially in the heat of the summer.

Roof, Chimney & Gutters

  • Inspect your roof: Check for damaged shingles, which can make your roof susceptible to leaks.
  • Examine the exterior of Chimney: While you’re looking at your roof, be sure to check out the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage.
  • If you have a wood burning fireplace, then have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.
  • Clean and examine gutters: Clean leaves and other debris from your gutters and downspouts to keep water flowing and reduce the possibility of water damage. Multiple freezes and thaws during the winter can result in sags and dips so be sure to check for those and get them fixed so water doesn’t drip onto exterior wood like fascia boards.

Wood, Brick & Patios

  • Inspect brickwork and stucco: Check for chipping, deteriorated mortar, and unsightly deposits.
  • Inspect driveways and paths: Freezing and thawing are rough on concrete, asphalt and other hardscaping materials. Take a walk around your property to look for damage to walkways, paths and driveways, and schedule repairs as needed.
  • Inspect Wood Decks, Railings, Windowsills and Steps: Check the wood around your home for any rot that took hold during the winter months. If boards become soft or splinter, they create an unsafe situation for you and your family.
  • Probe the Wood Trim: Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings, and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.
  • Repair Paint: Keep painted surfaces in good shape by scraping off any chipped and peeling paint and spot painting exposed surfaces. The worst thing you can do is leave wood exposed because that’s when it will begin to rot.
  • Check Foundation Vents: A house with a crawl space has vents along the foundation walls. The vents provide air circulation that helps dissipate excess moisture and prevent mold growth. The vents have screens that keep critters from taking up residence under your residence. The screens usually are recessed and become blocked with leaves, twigs, and debris.
  • Trim Overgrowth: Spring is a good time to trim branches of shrubs and trees away from your house. Keep branches 5 to 7 feet away from your house so they can’t conduct moisture onto your roofing and siding. You’ll also help discourage squirrels and raccoons from exploring ways to nest in your attic.

If you’ve found any HVAC, plumbing or electrical issues that you can’t fix yourself, just give us a call at 804-358-9333. Also, don’t forget to call us to have one of our experienced HVAC technicians come out to Inspect and Tune-up your Air Conditioning System before the hot weather hits. Visit JamesRiverAir.com for more information.