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3 Contaminants That Impact Indoor Air Quality

3 Contaminants That Impact Indoor Air Quality

The quality of the indoor air in your Lakewood Ranch, Florida, home may be impacting your family’s health and wellness. Poor indoor air quality is a growing problem, especially as people spend more of their time indoors breathing recycled air. Understanding some of the most common contaminants and how they impact your home’s indoor air can help you protect your loved ones.

Volatile Organic Compounds Affect Indoor Air Quality

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are particularly concerning because many people don’t realize that they’re present within their homes. VOCs include various evaporated substances that are emitted by certain furnishings and building materials. For example, certain pesticides that you use to combat the presence of insects and other pests in your home can emit VOCs that impact your indoor air. Additional things that may emit VOCs include carpet adhesives, air fresheners, cleaning chemicals, furniture, and even some of the processes used to prepare foods.

Smoke

The presence of smoke in your indoor air can also impact its overall quality. If anyone in your home smokes, make sure they do so away from the house so the smoke doesn’t move into the HVAC system. Smoke from a fire can also decrease the quality of your indoor air, so be sure to have the home properly cleaned by a skilled professional to remove odors if you’ve had a fire in the space.

Biological Contaminants

Some of the biological contaminants that can reduce the quality of your home’s indoor air include certain types of bacteria, pet hair and dander, dust mites, pollen, and viruses. The best way to manage these contaminants is to make sure your home is cleaned and sanitized regularly, as well as to control the indoor humidity level. Moisture is a breeding ground for biological growth, and dust mites tend to grow in warm, damp environments. Make sure to change your HVAC filter regularly as well, as this is your first line of defense against contaminants in your air.

At Aqua Plumbing & Air, we can help you manage your indoor air quality and breathe easier, so call us at 941-306-3715.

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Everything You Need To Know About SEER

Everything You Need To Know About SEER

When you’re shopping for a new air conditioner or comparing two air conditioners, you may run across the term SEER, which is a measurement of system efficiency. Here’s what you need to know to make informed decisions about your next air conditioner or heat pump.

Understanding Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios (SEER)

SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, which is calculated by dividing the air conditioner or heat pump’s cooling power by its typical energy usage in Watt-Hours. The higher the ratio, the more efficient the air conditioner; that is, it uses less power to provide the same amount of cooling as compared to a unit with a lower ratio.

In the United States, the minimum rating is 14 for central air conditioners installed in the Southwestern and Southeastern regions (including Florida) and 13 for air conditioners installed anywhere else in the country. Some older systems, as well as window units, may be rated lower. Most central air conditioners are rated between 15 and 20. Ductless mini-splits and multi-splits can achieve considerably higher ratings, often in the 30-40 range.

It’s important to remember that when you compare air conditioners online or in a store, you are looking at a SEER rating computed by the manufacturer based on standard conditions. The actual performance may be higher or lower depending on local conditions in your area.

Benefits of a Higher Rating

Particularly in places like Sarasota where HVAC systems get extensive use, the rule of thumb is the higher the rating, the better. Even a small increase in efficiency can make a significant difference in your utility bills. Over the lifespan of your air conditioner, those differences can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

If you’re looking for a new air conditioner or heat pump, it’s important to work with an experienced HVAC professional to help you understand your options and interpret energy efficiency ratings based on conditions in Southwest Florida. For more information, check out our air conditioning solutions or call 941-306-3715.

3 Tips for Designing New Construction Plumbing

3 Tips for Designing New Construction Plumbing

Whether you’re getting ready to renovate your house or are building a whole new home, there are a lot of exciting and important design considerations in play. One of the most important decisions to make regarding your new construction is deciding on how the plumbing in your Sarasota, Florida, home will be laid out. The design of your plumbing can have a major impact on the flow of your home and the construction in general. Here are three important tips for designing new construction plumbing.

Wet Wall Sharing

Wet wall sharing is a handy way to reduce construction and plumbing headaches. It essentially involves having important plumbing on two sides of the same wall, like having the dishwasher on one side of a wall and a toilet on the other. By having the ‘wet’ appliances share one wall, you can consolidate drain lines and keep most of your important water lines in one general area for easy, convenient access. This can make future plumbing repairs a lot easier, especially if initially installed by an experienced and certified plumber.

Main Shut Off for Plumbing

While we all hope leaks never happen, they’re something homeowners should plan for. Leaks can be extremely destructive to the home and can lead to long-term issues, especially if not stopped in time. Having the main water shutoff located in an easy-to-access place can help stop leaks in their tracks and make it easier for your plumber to address important issues that require water stoppage. Convenient places are in the kitchen or near your other utilities.

Utility Conservation

Finally, keeping water and energy conservation in mind when designing your home can help keep your impact on the environment and your bills low. Common utility conservation choices include low flow toilets, tankless water heaters, and well-insulated pipes. You can also choose to install wastewater diversion, which allows water from plumbing like shower and sink drains to be used to water your lawn.

If you’re interested in learning more about new construction plumbing design and installation, give our experts at Aqua Plumbing & Air a call at 941-306-3715 to set up a consultation today!

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Reverse Osmosis: What is it?

Reverse Osmosis: What is it?

Having fresh, clean water in your Bradenton, Florida, home is for the health and comfort of your family. A reverse osmosis system is designed to purify your home’s water and remove unwanted contaminants. Here’s a quick breakdown of everything you need to know about a reverse osmosis, or RO, system.

How It Works

An RO system sounds fancier and more complicated than it really is. Osmosis is the process of water passing through a semi-permeable membrane and an RO system takes that concept and applies it to plumbing. By using different areas of pressure, an RO system forces water through a series of filters and a membrane. This force allows the system to remove even the smallest contaminants or debris, thus making the water purer than water that goes through a traditional filtration system.

Maintenance Requirements

Maintenance for an RO system is relatively low. The sediment and carbon filters that are in front of the membrane should be changed regularly, about once a year. If these are taken care of correctly, a properly functioning system can run without membrane changes for up to five years, though water tests should be performed. Since the membranes are so thin, they can tear easily and it may be difficult or impossible to see perforations. A simple water test can tell you if anything is coming through the membrane, indicating an issue.

Benefits of RO

You’re unlikely to get purer water than an RO system provides outside of a lab setting. By utilizing the two filters and membrane, almost all impurities should be removed from the water. This means you don’t need to worry about harmful chemicals or contaminants affecting your family’s health. Many homeowners do choose to take supplements if they add an RO system to their home: some minerals the system removes, like magnesium, are important for health.

Ready to install an RO system in your home? The experts at Aqua Plumbing & Air can help. Call us at 941-306-3715 to set up an appointment today!

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When Should I Consider a New Toilet and What to Choose

When Should I Consider a New Toilet and What to Choose

Year after year, the toilet in your Ellenton, Florida, home is there for you and your family’s needs. However, over time, you might notice that it is not flushing as powerfully as it should or that it runs constantly. With so many new innovations that make toilets more efficient and use less water, you might want to consider replacing your old model with a brand-new one. How do you know if you should replace your old toilet and what should you look for in a new one?

When Should I Replace My Toilet?

If you are constantly calling a plumber to fix water leaks, take care of clogged drains, and to replace faulty parts, then it is time to consider a new one. Many of the first generation low-flush toilets require more than one flush and often get stopped up. Don’t waste time plunging over and over — have a modern dual-flush toilet installed that works much more efficiently.

What Should I Look For?

Modern flushing toilets have come a long way from the first ones that were designed in 1592. Not only are modern toilets more efficient at saving water, but technology is helping to improve the entire experience of using it. Automation is one of the biggest advancements in modern toilet design.

Lids that automatically lift and close help you avoid having to touch them. Lights around the seat help with nighttime illumination and heated seats are wonderful when you live in cold climates. Cleaning systems, often known as bidets, help to reduce paper waste and subsequent clogging of pipes due to the paper down them.

There are many different toilet options available, the key is to look at your budget and choose the features that are most important to your family’s needs. Give our experts at Aqua Plumbing & Air a call today at 941-306-3715 to discuss the best modern toilet for your home and to schedule the installation of your new one.

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Should I Shade My Outdoor AC Unit?

Should I Shade My Outdoor AC Unit?

Residents in Longboat Key, Florida, often wonder whether shading the outdoor air conditioning unit can improve energy efficiency. This concept is actually a myth based on the idea that constant sun exposure can heat up the AC unit’s components and make it harder for it to produce and circulate cool air indoors. Before you invest in shade for your outdoor AC unit, take a look at how it can negatively impact your HVAC system and what to do instead.

How Your HVAC System Works

An HVAC system relies on components housed in both the indoor and outdoor units to operate properly. The outdoor unit contains the compressor, which circulates refrigerant throughout the system. Refrigerant removes heat from the air, providing a cool, comfortable indoor atmosphere. Your compressor and the other outdoor components need plenty of space to encourage airflow and efficient operation.

Using a Shade Can Prevent Airflow to the AC Unit

The components housed in the outdoor unit of your cooling system are designed to be exposed to the elements, including the heat and humidity. Some types of shades can actually impede the airflow needed for the air conditioner to operate efficiently.

If you use plants to provide shade, having them too close to the outdoor unit can also prevent air from circulating properly, resulting in lower efficiency. You don’t have to cut down all of your landscaping around the outdoor unit, but you should trim back shrubs, trees, and other plants growing near the unit to make sure the condenser has plenty of space to release warm air outside and create cool air for inside.

Using Shade in the Yard

Landscaping to shade the entire space around your home can actually help maintain your AC unit’s efficiency. Adding plants and shrubs that increase the amount of shade in the yard can create a cooler microclimate, taking some of the pressure off your air conditioning system. Landscaping also adds value to your property and creates a more pleasant atmosphere, allowing you and your family to enjoy your outdoor space.

If you’re looking for more solutions to improving and maintaining your HVAC unit’s efficiency, our team at Aqua Plumbing & Air can help. Contact us at 941-306-3715 today.

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