Improve Indoor Air Quality To Reduce Coronavirus Risk

Now that we’re spending more time indoors due to shelter-in-place, it is important that the air you and your family breathe is healthy and clean.

While there are several ways to limit your exposure to the coronavirus (hand washing, etc.), let’s focus here on how your home heating and cooling systems can play a role in a cleaner and healthier environment.

Upgrade Your Air Filters

According to the Center for Disease Control, the virus is mainly spread by large droplets in the air from coughing or sneezing. Your HVAC system’s air filters are the “face masks” of your home. They catch airborne particles but do not kill them. To reduce the risk of airborne exposure, consider upgrading your the air filters in your air conditioner and furnace. Higher density filters will trap airborne particles before they reach the air you breathe. Ask your HVAC contractor for the best air filter for your needs.

Change Your Filter More Often

A better air filter collects more particles. Especially when more of us are staying indoors, our filters will need to be replaced more often. If someone in your family is ill, consider changing your filters more frequently to minimize recirculating airborne particles.

Control Your Home’s Humidity

Keep your home’s humidity between 40-60% because viruses are least viable in this range. Several factors can improve your home’s humidity: installing insulation, installing a humidifier, and plugging leaking windows and doors. A skilled HVAC technician will conduct a thorough inspection and can recommend the best options to control humidity in your home so it remains within the recommended range.

Schedule an HVAC Assessment

A skilled HVAC technician will inspect your furnace and A/C systems for leaks and damage, checking your ductwork for proper alignment and ensuring it is fully sealed. Leaking ductwork forces your air conditioner and furnace to overwork, leading to higher energy bills. A well-maintained HVAC ductwork system traps indoor allergens in the air filters. They play a critical role in trapping allergens by trapping particles and preventing them from circulating through your home.

RC Mechanical Can Help

HVAC contractors are essential service providers. RC Mechanical can help you manage these indoor air quality risks and make recommendations to increase air quality.

RC Mechanical, Redwood City’s best HVAC contractor, is a trusted local company that will quickly diagnose and resolve your air conditiong, heating, and indoor air quality issues. Whether you need help selecting and installing the right air conditioner, replacing a furnace, or conducting a home energy audit, you can count on RC Mechanical for superior and cost-effective HVAC service. RC Mechanical is a local veteran-owned business and has provided expert furnace and air conditioning repair and installation to the Bay Area with integrity for over 20 years. Homeowners in Redwood City and throughout the Bay Area count on us for all their heating and air conditioning needs. Call us today at (650) 575-3915 and we will respond within 24 hours.

Breathe Cleaner Fresher Air This Spring

allergy free air Covid-19

Spring brings longer days and warmer weather. But spring can also bring miserable sniffling and sneezing for the 50 million Americans who suffer seasonal allergies. Eight out of 10 people in the United States are exposed to dust mites. What to do? Improve the air quality in your home to reduce allergy triggers.

What are the main sources of indoor allergens? Some of the biggest factors that affect home air quality are:

  • Pets
  • Wall-to-wall carpet
  • Damp areas
  • Soft furniture
  • Bedding

To make sure you and your family breathe easier this Spring, check out these four ways to improve indoor air quality:

Replace your air filters

The air filters in your AC and heating system are your first level of defense against bad air quality. The increased level of pollen in spring can overwork your air filters so be sure to clean or replace them more often. If your filters need to be replaced, check our tips on how to choose the right filter for your home.

Schedule an HVAC tune-up

Spring cleaning should also include an inspection of your furnace and air conditioner. A skilled HVAC technician will inspect your equipment for leaks and damage. A well-maintained HVAC ductwork system traps indoor allergens in the furnace and A/C air filters. They reduce allergens in your indoor air by trapping particles and preventing them from circulating through your home. RC Mechanical’s HVAC technicians will also check to ensure you have a properly sized heating and air conditioning system for your home and will make recommendations to increase air quality and save you money. We take pride in going above and beyond to make sure you don’t spend money on what you don’t need.

Add an air purifier

What’s the difference between an air filter and an air purifier? An air filter simply catches the particles. Air purifiers actively clean the air through ionization. Air purifiers are better at removing pollutants such as bacteria, pollen, pet dander, dust mites, spores, and viruses than the standard air filter. One happy client raved that she was able to “taste the clean air”! Ask us about installing a whole-house air purifier. Our expert technicians are the best in the business and will recommend the best air purifier that is compatible with your air filter and A/C or furnace so all work together to give you fresher, cleaner air.

Clear and clean the registers

When was the last time you cleaned your furnace or air conditioner’s registers and grates? If these have dust accumulation, dust circulates into the room and can worsen allergies and asthma. Don’t forget to check that nothing is blocking the registers, such as furniture, drapes, or toys. Keeping the register areas clear enables your home’s air to be better distributed in the room. To clean your registers, simply wash them in your sink with warm water and mild soap. Leave them outside to air dry or pat dry with a lint-free cloth.

Ready for a cleaner fresher Spring?

RC Mechanical, Redwood City’s best HVAC contractor, is a trusted local company that will quickly diagnose and resolve your heating, cooling, and indoor air quality issues. Whether you need help selecting a new air conditioner, installing a furnace, or conducting a home energy audit, you can count on RC Mechanical for superior and cost-effective service.

RC Mechanical is a local veteran-owned business and has provided expert furnace and air conditioning repair and installation to the Bay Area with integrity for over 20 years. Homeowners in Redwood City and throughout the Bay Area count on us for all their heating and air conditioning needs.

Call us today at (650) 575-3915 and we will respond within 24 hours.

Keeping Warm at Night

The San Francisco Bay Area enjoys mild winters. However, in the first weeks of this month, temperatures plummeted to the 30s for cities along the Bay like Redwood City, San Carlos, and Burlingame.

Are you and your kids not sleeping well because everyone is cold? Here’s what to do to make sure your house is comfortable:

Check for leaky ducts

When rooms don’t stay warm, there may be leaks in your furnace ducts. This causes your furnace to work harder and take longer to get to the desired temperature.
If some rooms stay warm but other rooms feel cold, then you may have a furnace air flow problem. We can correct this by adjusting the furnace air that blows into each room. We do this through automatic zoning so you are warm and cozy wherever you are in your home.

Change your furnace filter

Dust and dirt prevent free air flow through the heating system. This could make the furnace’s heat exchange overheat and turn itself off.

Check the time on your thermostat

Did you adjust the thermostat for daylight savings time? Set your furnace thermostat to “On” instead of “Auto.”

Do you have the right size furnace for your home?

Our experts can determine the right size of furnace is most appropriate for the size of your home and the Bay Area climate. An overpowered furnace drives up heating bills, while an underpowered furnace struggles to keep you warm on cold days. We can help you evaluate whether it is time to replace your existing furnace and install a new heating system.

Get an inspection for your heating system

Your HVAC system is like your car and needs regular checkups and maintenance. Maintenance can lengthen the life of your furnace.

RC Mechanical, Redwood City’s best HVAC contractor, is a trusted local company that will quickly diagnose and resolve your furnace issues, and recommend repair or replacement. RC Mechanical is a local veteran-owned business and has provided expert furnace and air conditioning repair and installation to the Bay Area with integrity for over 20 years. Homeowners in Redwood City and throughout the Bay Area count on us for all their heating and air conditioning needs. Call us today at (650) 575-3915 and we will respond within 24 hours.

6 ways to prepare your home for summer

Before you know it, the summer heat will be upon us. With a little bit of preparation, your home will be ready to keep you comfortable through the dog days of summer.

Turn your AC on early

Turning on your AC will allow you to find out if it is in working condition. If you hear the equipment cranking up, then it is working. Then go to each register in the house to make sure that cold air starts getting blown in within 5 minutes. If not, then there is a problem. Call your AC technician to schedule an appointment.

Change the filter

Filters clean the air of some impurities before that air is forced into the home. A cleaner filter means that the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioner) will be able to move the air through the filter effortlessly. This leads to not only cleaner air, but also more energy efficiency leading to lower utility bills. A dirty filter, on the other hand, will make the HVAC work harder to push air through the filter leading to a higher utility bill and a stressed HVAC system.

Change the filter in the spring to help your AC running smoothly throughout the summer and check the air filter every month. If it is dirty, replace it.

Keep area around AC clean

AC works by pulling in air from its surroundings, cooling the air, and then forcing the air into the house through the ducts and vents. If the AC is installed outside the house, there should be at least 2 feet of clearance around the equipment. Make sure that there are no plants growing within 2 feet of the AC and clear out any yard debris from around the equipment to ensure proper air flow.

Do a visual inspection of the equipment, and if any coils look like they are frayed, then it is in need of repair. You may need to call your HVAC technician for help.

Close your windows

Curtains, blinds, and drapes are not only for aesthetics, but also serve a purpose. They block the harsh sun that can otherwise damage wood floor and furniture over time. They also help keep the house cooler by blocking the sun. A cooler house means that the HVAC has to do less work to keep the home comfortable, leading to a lower utility bill.

Clear and clean the registers

Make sure nothing is blocking the registers, such as furniture, drapes, and other items. Keeping the register area clear would enable the air to be better distributed in the room.

Over time, register grills can accumulate dust and grime. When the air is forced into the house, these get blown everywhere, which can affect people suffering from asthma and other respiratory ailments. Be sure to keep these grates clean with soap and water.

Schedule an HVAC tune-up

It is a good idea at the beginning of the season to get an HVAC technician to inspect your equipment to make sure there are no leaks or other damages. The technician should also be able to inspect your ductwork for proper alignment and to make sure that it is fully sealed.

Call us today at (650) 575-3915 to make an appointment. We’ll keep you cool and comfortable through the summer.

4 ways to improve your home air quality

Good air quality inside your home is important to your family’s well being and comfort. Bad air quality can adversely affect you and your family’s health. The effects can range from sneezing to chronic asthma or worse, especially if a family member has compromised health.

These are the four devices that have the biggest impact on your indoor air quality, and you should make sure that they are working at their optimal capacity.

Air filters

Air filters are your first level of defense against bad air quality. A high pollen season (spring) or outdoor air pollution (fire season) can put a lot of stress on these devices.

It may be necessary to change these often, as extended use can put a lot of wear and tear to these instruments. If you are looking to buy a new air filter, be sure to visit https://rcmechanicalinc.com/choosing-the-right-filter/ for advice on how to choose the right air filter for your needs.

Air purifier

If a regular filter isn’t enough for you, then you should look into an air purifier. Air purifiers differ from air filters in that they actively cleanse the air through ionization, whereas an air filter simply catches dust and other contaminants that go through it. This makes air purifiers better at removing pollutants such as bacteria, pollen, pet dander, dust mites, spores, and viruses than the standard air filter.

IQAir purifier is the industry gold-standard for air purifiers. The IQ hyper-HEPA filter produces hospital grade air. Both are gold-standards in the air purifier industry and produce hospital-grade air. When one was installed in a client’s home, they said that they could “taste the clean air”!

Humidifier

During California summers, the air can get very dry. Chronic dry skin, chapped lips, and getting static shocks often can be a sign of low humidity, meaning that the water vapor in the air is at lower than normal levels. Breathing dry air over a long period of time can lead to respiratory issues.

Your health is not the only thing that can suffer from not installing a humidifier. When a home is excessively dry, paintings, wallpaper, and furniture can all suffer permanent damage.

Installing a whole-home humidifier can prevent all of these issues. In combination with your HVAC, your home will maintain an optimal level of humidity throughout the seasons.

Carbon monoxide detector

One of the most dangerous pollutants is carbon monoxide (CO). It is a colorless, odorless, invisible, and tasteless gas, but if CO leaks into your home, you may suffer from symptoms ranging from headaches and dizziness to a loss of consciousness.

It is vital for every house to have a working CO detector. These devices are available in hardware stores and are easy to install. For them to maintain their effectiveness, remember to change the battery every year.

We at RC Mechanical, take pride in diagnosing and improving our clients’ indoor air quality. If you have any questions or concerns, or are looking for more information, contact us today at (650) 575-3915.

Make your home comfortable

Does it ever feel that certain parts of the house are very comfortable and others are not. They could either be too hot or too cold.

This could happen even if the furnace is working well. The main culprit is the duct design.

When the furnace is actively blowing warm air into the home, they tend to pool in certain areas. Warm air rises. So the upstairs would be much warmer than the downstairs.

Even though the same type of pooling of warm and cold air happens in the summer as well, the comfort level will be better downstairs in the summer. This is because we are looking to keep ourselves cool.

If this sort of pooling occurs, then run your fan. The main job of the fan is to push the air into the room. The duct work should be designed to deliver the correct amount of warm/cool air to a specific room.

If you have a 2-story house with only a furnace, and the upstairs is warmer than needed, then most likely you have a air flow balance issue. This is corrected by adjusting the amount of air that goes into each area.

If you have a 2-story house with one furnace with AC, if you have issues of comfort, that can be achieved by automatic zoning. This is by having 2 thermostats (noe upstairs and one downstairs) and redirecting air as needed. Call your HVAC guy to achieve this.

Imagine you are filling your bathtub with warm/hot water to take a bath. The water just under the spout will be much warmer than the side of the bathtub farthest away. Before getting into the bathtub, we mix up the water or wait until the water is evenly warm everywhere.

This is exactly what we are trying to do with the fan. The fan circulates the air from all parts of the house and keeps the whole house at an even temperature.

During the fire season, you can keep your inside air clean by running the fan. This filters the air of impurities. Remember to change the filter often when the air is declared unsafe for outside activities. Check your filter more often and replace if needed.

There is another advantage to using the fan. Since the air goes through the duct is blown into the home, the air has to pass through the filters. This makes the air cleaner. So if you suffer from allergies, then running the fan is a great way to filter out the allergens in the air by running the fan.

Choosing the right filter

Keep your home comfortable

Air filters are an important, but often overlooked, part of the HVAC system. The primary purpose of a furnace or a/c filter is to trap and remove dust, dirt, hair, fur, fibers, bacteria, pollen, mold, etc. from the air in your house, and to protect the HVAC system. Without a filter, these impurities will compromise the efficiency and longevity of your heating and air conditioning equipment.

Furnace and A/C filters vary considerably in quality. The MERV rating is used to measure the ability of the filter to remove pollutants from the air. The higher the MERV rating, the better job the filter does in cleaning the air. Furnace and air conditioning filters are available at various price levels. It is usually true that the higher the cost of a filter, the better for your indoor air quality and your HVAC system.

Let’s now look at the different levels of filters in terms of price and their effectiveness.

$1.50 filter (MERV 1-4)

This essentially protects your small child or animal from being sucked into the furnace! Jokes aside, there isn’t much else that this furnace and air conditioning filter does.

These are usually flat filters with less surface area with which to clean the air. They also need to be changed more frequently than higher-quality filters.

$3 filter (MERV 5-8)

HVAC filters at this level provide basic filtration for your heating or air conditioning system. They can trap dander, pet hair, and mold to help keep the air free of these highly allergenic particles.

$15 – $20 filter (MERV 9-12)

At this MERV rating, filters are able to trap dust particles and are perfect for homes where there are people with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.

Such filters are generally pleated. Pleats give more surface area for the air to move through and get cleaned.

These are the best filters for your money. They keep the air clean, protect the HVAC system, and don’t need system modifications for their installation.

$45 filter

At this price range, you can get electrostatic filters. These furnace and air conditioner filters use static electricity to clean the air.

An electrostatic filter is made of multiple layers of mesh or vented metal. These are washable filters. In essence, you don’t have to replace them at all. Simply wash them clean and reuse. The downside to such a filter is that it restricts the flow of air.

These aren’t the best filters for homes because they can damage your equipment. The price of this filter is high because you don’t have to replace filters.

Such a filter is best for a home where the only concern is to protect the HVAC equipment and nothing else.

IQ Air filter (MERV 16)

This is the Rolls Royce of filters!

These are outstanding filters. If you want the air inside your home to be as clean as possible, this is the filter you want for your furnace and air conditioner.

Before we install the filter, we use a particle scanner to measure the quality of the air. After installation, we test the air again. The change is generally dramatic!

When we installed the IQ filter in the home of one of our Redwood City clients, they said that they could actually “taste the clean air”!

For these filters to be efficient, the furnace or air conditioning fan has to run continuously. The IQ filter will last 3 years or 18 months with a fan running continuously.

They cost between $350 and $400 for a set of 4 filters and cost between $2600-$3200 to install. We said it was the Rolls Royce of filters, didn’t we?

Have questions about filters, furnaces, ducts or air conditioners? Call Redwood City’s best HVAC contractor. RC Mechanical is an owner-operated Redwood City business and has provided expert furnace and air conditioning repair and installation to the Bay Area with integrity for over 20 years. Call us today at (650) 575-3915. Homeowners in Redwood City and throughout the Bay Area count on us for all their heating and air conditioning needs.

5 furnace checks to do before the winter

HVAC fixes for simple issues

When the furnace doesn’t turn on on that first cool fall day, you may worry what it might cost, and how long you will have to live without a furnace.

There are a few things you can do to take care of small HVAC heating system issues. This blog post will show you how to diagnose and fix the most common simple issues with your furnace.

1. Check your thermostat

Some programmable thermostats can be complicated to program. Here are the most common things to check in a thermostat:

    • First make sure that your thermostat is turned on for furnace. Thermostat should be set to “Heat”. Without this setting, the furnace won’t start.
    • The temperature setting on the furnace’s thermostat should be higher than the temperature inside the house. E.g., if your room temperature is 65 degrees and your thermostat is set to 60 degrees, the furnace won’t kick in. The furnace setting should be at least 5 degrees over the room temperature for the furnace to start
    • Check the time on the thermostat. If it isn’t displaying the correct time, fix it.
    • Make sure that the furnace’s thermostat wires are not cut, frayed, loose, or otherwise compromised all the way to the furnace.
    • Set or turn the furnace fan to “On” or “Auto”.

While you are checking the furnace, don’t forget to replace the battery. Without this, your thermostat settings will be lost if the power goes out even for a second.

2. Switches

Make sure the furnace’s power switch is turned on. Without this, your furnace can’t get the electricity and won’t start.

3. Breakers

First, turn off the furnace switch in the electrical panel. Now check the fuse in the power switch. If the fuse is blown, replace it.

If you don’t know how to replace it, it is time to call your furnace repair technician for inspection and repair.

4. Pilot light/electronic ignition

If you have a gas furnace, then check its pilot light. If it is not on, then depending on how handy you are, you may either call your furnace technician to light it or light it yourself.

If you have an igniter instead of a pilot light, make sure that you hear a clicking sound when the furnace is supposed to turn on. If not, you have a problem with the igniter. Call RC Mechanical, Redwood City’s best HVAC contractor, to quickly diagnose and resolve your furnace, thermostat, and air conditioning issues.

5. Change furnace filters

A clogged furnace filter can turn the furnace off. Dust and dirt don’t allow the air to move freely. This could make the furnace’s heat exchanger overheat and shut off.

Still stumped?

At the end of checking all these checks, if your furnace still doesn’t turn on, then call your local Redwood City HVAC technician for an inspection and possible repair.

RC Mechanical, Redwood City’s best HVAC contractor, is a trusted local company that will quickly diagnose and resolve your furnace and air conditioning issues. RC Mechanical is a local owner-operated Redwood City business and has provided expert furnace and air conditioning repair and installation to the Bay Area with integrity for over 20 years. Homeowners in Redwood City and throughout the Bay Area count on us for all their heating and air conditioning needs. Call us today at (650) 575-3915.

Prep your AC for the summer

HVAC air conditioner

Check if your AC works before the summer season hits

Since the weather is still fairly cool, you may not think that it is time to worry about AC just yet. This is precisely the time you should!

It is important to make sure that your AC is working well before the summer’s hot days are upon us.

As a homeowner, prepare your AC for the summer months by first testing it yourself. If you are lucky, your equipment may have weathered the winter just fine.

Follow the 4 steps below to check if your AC is ready for the summer.

1. Physical inspection

This involves physically looking at the AC equipment and clearing the dust, leaves and other debris around it. Clear out cobwebs and dirt from around it. You may also use your hose to give the equipment to clean the exterior of the AC. Check for any missing panels.

Change your air conditioner’s filter at the beginning of the season.

2. Turn system on

Before you turn the AC on, visually ensure that the electrical wiring is not damaged.

Turn the AC on. If it starts, hooray! If not, check to see if the equipment is plugged in!! The air conditioner’s plug could have gotten accidentally dislodged from the outlet.

Make sure all the the circuit breakers and fuses are in place and turned on.

Also, set the thermostat to ‘cool’ and make sure that the thermostat is working properly.

3. Check the ducts

Air conditioning ducts carry the cool air from the AC to all the rooms. Ducts are hidden from view. The way to check the ducts is to find out if the air is coming out of all the registers in the house. Initially the air may not be cool and that is ok. At this point, we are just checking to see if the air is coming out of all the registers in the house. If it is, then the ducts are working well.

If the air doesn’t come out the register with the same force as in the other registers, then we may have an issue with the ducts. Call your AC contractor.

4. Check the temperature

The last step is make sure that the AC is actually pushing cool air. You can use a regular meat thermometer for this.

After 30 minutes of running the AC, the temperature of the air being pushed at each of the registers should be 55 degrees. If it is not, then your AC may be low on freon or there may be some other issue with the AC.

Summer days will be here soon enough. Make sure you are ready for them with a well-maintained and efficient air conditioning system.

RC Mechanical is an owner-operated Redwood City business and has served the Bay Area with heating and air conditioning expertise for over 20 years. Call us at (650) 575-3915 if you need any help getting your AC ready for the summer. Homeowners in Redwood City and throughout the Bay Area count on us for all their heating and air conditioning needs.

Filters & Allergies

Allergy season

Would you like to make sure that your home is a safe haven from allergies?

Often people buy filters for their heating and air conditioning installations but then are disappointed when their allergy symptoms don’t improve. In fact, having an air filter is just one of many things that need to be done to make your home safe from allergens.

When you call us to request changing your air filter, we first ask about the sensitivities you have. Are you allergic to mold, dust, pollen? We can’t control the outside, but we can certainly make sure that the air you breathe inside your house is keeping you comfortable.

Then we test the house for a variety of issues. We measure the rate of air changes per hour. The standard is 3-5. If it is 5 or more, then that means that there is air leakage into the home. The air is most likely coming in from either the attic or the crawl space.

Depending on how many symptoms you want to tackle, we can recommend the best air filter for your needs. Filters have merv ratings. The higher the number, the better the filter. Merv ratings go from 1 to 16.

We recommend an IQAir Perfect 16 filter for homeowners who want their air to be as clean as possible. These filters have a merv rating of 16. When we install this filter, we just don’t tell you how this filter is operating; we show you. We take air quality readings before and after we put the filters in.

When you use a cheaper air filter with a merv rating of 2 and under, you are helping protect the furnace but not doing very much to protect your health.

Have any questions about filters? RC Mechanical is an owner-operated Redwood City business and has served the Bay Area with heating and air conditioning expertise for over 20 years. Homeowners in Redwood City and throughout the Bay Area count on us for all their heating and air conditioning needs. Give us a call at (650) 575-3915 and let us help you.