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Adding a pet to your household can be a very rewarding experience, both for your family and the pet itself. If one of your family members has pet allergies, however, dander from the pet may cause symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes or other problems. In many cases, pet allergy symptoms can be significantly reduced by doing a few simple things around your home.

pet allergiesMaintain the HVAC System

Making sure that your HVAC system is clean and well-maintained can help reduce the amount of pet dander in the air dramatically. Have an HVAC professional perform routine maintenance on the system at least twice a year, including replacing the air filter and cleaning the blower fan, air handler and the evaporator coil thoroughly. Between visits, check the air filter yourself every month and replace it as necessary. Consider upgrading your air filter to one with a higher MERV rating to remove more particulates from the air, or consider installing a HEPA filter for the best protection.

Dust and Vacuum Often

Reduce the amount of pet dander and hair collecting in your home by dusting often with either electrostatic cloths or damp rags to catch all the small particles. Vacuum the entire home on a weekly basis at least using a machine with a HEPA filter, and eliminate clutter to reduce the amount of surfaces that collect dust and dander. Avoid installing carpeting, if possible, and take throw rugs outdoors once a month to clean them thoroughly.

Keep Bedding and Furniture Clean

If possible, try to keep pets out of the bedrooms of family members with pet allergies, and use hypoallergenic mattress covers, sheets and pillowcases in each room. Wash all bedding at least once a week. Vacuum upholstered furniture weekly, and consider installing furniture covers or throws that can easily be removed and washed to reduce pet dander accumulation.

For more ideas to help alleviate pet allergies in your home, talk to our HVAC experts at Conditioned Air today. Since 1962, we have been providing quality HVAC services to the Southwest Florida region, including Ft. Myers and Sarasota.

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Your home heating and cooling system is your primary tool for keeping your home comfortable, but insulation is another factor that can have a significant effect on indoor comfort. The type of insulation you use in your home must be carefully chosen, and the insulation R-values must be appropriate for your geographical area. Here is a brief guide to insulation R-values and why they are important.

Insulation R-values For a Comfortable HomeThe Purpose of Insulation

Insulation prevents the flow of heat from warmer to colder areas. In a residential setting, insulation keeps warm air in during the cooler months and out during the hotter part of the year. Without insulation, or without enough insulation, heat from your furnace or heat pump escapes from your home in winter, while your air conditioner is overwhelmed with incoming heat during the summer. This makes your indoor spaces uncomfortable and increases the amount you pay for heating and cooling every month.

R-Values and Their Meaning

Insulation R-values indicate how effective a particular type of insulation will be at resisting the flow of heat. There are several types of insulation available to choose from, including fiberglass, cellulose, and foam. Each type of insulation will have an R-value, while better-quality insulation of each type will typically have a higher R-value. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation will be a resisting the flow of heat.

The R-value of insulation can also be affected by the thickness and density of the material, and whether or not the insulation material is compressed. Each layer of insulation is considered separately when calculating R-value, with the values of each layer added together to reach the final R-value rating.

In southern Florida, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends insulation with an R-value of R30 to R60 for attics, R13 to R15 for walls, and R16 to R19 for floors.

Conditioned Air serves heating and cooling customers in the Florida communities of Sarasota, Bradenton, Ft. Myers, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information on insulation R-values and the benefits that proper insulation can have for your home.

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Uneven temperatures in your Southwest Florida home are not only uncomfortable, but they may also indicate a problem with your HVAC system or the house itself. By troubleshooting hot and cold spots in your home, you can find the source of the problem and take steps to correct it.

Malfunctioning HVAC Systemtroubleshooting hot and cold spots in your home

An improperly-sized or malfunctioning HVAC system can easily lead to hot or cold spots in your home. Make sure the air filter is not clogged or excessively dirty, and replace it if necessary. The air filter should last several months, but it is a good idea to check it at least once a month. Inspect both the indoor and outdoor coils of a heat pump or air conditioner. If the coils are dirty or clogged with debris, the system will not heat or cool properly, and they will need to be cleaned. If you have a furnace, make sure that the burners are free of dirt and soot to keep it heating efficiently. If the problems remain, have a professional inspect the system and make sure that it is sized properly.

Duct Problems

Blocked or leaking ducts can also cause uneven temperatures. Make sure all the vents are open, and check inside the ducts for obstructions and remove them, if possible. Inspect the outside of accessible ducts for cracks, holes, disconnected joints and missing or damaged insulation. If the ducts are leaking, missing insulation, excessively dirty or obstructed, have a professional repair them.

Drafts or Air Leaks

Hot or cold spots can be caused by air leaking into or out of your home. Seal drafty windows, doors, and any holes in the exterior walls with weatherstripping, caulk or expanding foam insulation, and make sure that your home is properly insulated.

Thermostat Problems

Make sure that your thermostat is working correctly, and replace it if necessary. Also, make sure that it is in a suitable location to get a correct reading, and not in a drafty or sunny spot.

For more tips about troubleshooting hot and cold spots in your home, talk to our experts at Conditioned Air today.