With the cold, damp North Carolina winter weather around the corner, more families will begin using their home’s heating system again. If a strange smell fills the house when the heater is turned on, this may be a sign that it is time for furnace maintenance. While it could be a simple fix, the issues should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid more expensive repairs in the future.
- 04/26/2021 - 0 CommentsShould You Be Worried If the Heater Smells Funny When You Turn It On?Read More
- 04/26/2021 - 7 CommentsHow Clean Air Ducts Help During COVID-19Read More
A home’s air ducts perform extensive work without everyone inside having to think about it. As COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to homeowners across the country, air ducts may play an even larger part in protecting people from becoming ill. Discover the additional benefits clean air ducts can provide during the pandemic.
- 02/03/2020 - 3 CommentsHow Moisture Affects Your Home’s FoundationRead More
Often, homeowners don’t think about maintenance for their home’s foundation until an issue arises. Especially here in coastal North Carolina, moisture is an ever-present risk to the safety and longevity of a property’s foundation. When moisture levels are high, it can cause the soil around the foundation to expand and push on the foundation. Then, as the soil dries, it contracts and moves away, causing a dangerous cycle that can hinder the integrity of the foundation. Understanding the causes and common signs of an issue will help homeowners catch a problem early and prevent expensive—and dangerous—damage.
What Causes a Moisture Problem?
Living by the ocean comes with many perks. But it also means a constant battle to manage moisture levels. While most homes here in Wilmington are built without a basement due to the high water table, water can still impact the foundation and crawlspace area under the home. The most common cause of moisture damage comes from heavy rainfall and improper drainage. Particularly if drainage leaves water settling unevenly on the property, it can cause the foundation to shift and crack. Trees can also become a culprit for moisture damage if they are planted too close to the home. The roots can expand, collecting moisture underneath the foundation and drying out the surrounding areas.
What Are the Signs of a Moisture Problem?
The first sign of a moisture problem is often visible water. If water is leaking or pooling around the exterior of the home, this is not a good sign. Homeowners should also regularly check the crawlspace for signs of wood rot or mold. Black or brown mold could be a sign of rot fungus, which can cause serious structural damage to the home. Other signs of damage include cracks and gaps in the floors, walls, concrete, and chimney structure. If doors and windows become skewed, making it difficult to open and close, this could also be an indication of the foundation shifting due to moisture.
Moisture can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation and crawl space. But with regular inspections and maintenance, you can help protect your biggest investment from serious damage. Let our expert team at Advanced Air Solutions help you with structural repairs and crawlspace renovations to seal out moisture and remove contaminants. Call us at 910-791-7888 to get your free estimate today.
- 11/18/2019 - 11 CommentsAir Duct Maintenance: Three Signs That It’s Time for a CleaningRead More
Determining how often to schedule a professional air duct cleaning can be tricky. While the National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends a cleaning every three to five years, more frequent cleanings may be advised, particularly if a family member suffers from asthma or allergies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also recommends that an air duct cleaning be performed if homeowners notice one or more of the following signs.
Mold Is Visible on Ducts or Other HVAC Components
A serious health hazard, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that exposure to mold can cause a wide range of respiratory concerns in people of all ages, particularly children, the elderly, and the immune-compromised. If it is suspected that mold is present in the air ducts or obvious mold growth is visible, it’s important to contact an air duct cleaning service right away to mitigate the issue.
Bugs, Rodents, or Other Vermin Are Infesting Ducts
Particularly during cold winter months, warm air ducts make cozy environments for rodents and insects to thrive. Not only can they contribute to hygiene and air quality concerns, but they can also destroy the ductwork itself. If any vermin are seen entering or exiting vents, an air duct cleaning can resolve the problem and help prevent further damage.
Excessive Dust and Debris Are Noticeable
Over time, dust, dirt, pet hair, and other debris build up in air ducts, causing restricted airflow, potential damage to ducts, compromised air quality, and even increased electric bills. The issue may become evident when dust is visibly released into the air from vents or a buildup is noticeable on registers. A qualified air duct cleaning professional can help remove the majority of these particles.
If you’ve noticed signs that your air duct system may need to be cleaned or it’s been more than three years since your last cleaning, the skilled contractors at Advanced Air Solutions can help. From air duct cleaning and HVAC maintenance to crawlspace inspections and mold remediation , we have decades of experience in helping Wilmington, NC area homeowners maintain the integrity of their homes. Contact us today at (910) 791-7888 to schedule your free estimate.
- 09/24/2019 - 809 CommentsShould Crawl Spaces Be Ventilated?Read More
Many residences have crawl spaces to give homeowners access to their utility systems. Unfortunately, crawl spaces tend to trap moisture, which can lead to the growth of mold, mildew, and rot.
Issues With Enclosed Crawl Spaces
Enclosed crawl spaces are typically built with solid concrete or masonry foundation walls. These extend to the structure’s footings, where crawl spaces come into contact with porous materials, like wood or insulation, that trap water when they get wet. The resulting humidity often promotes the growth of fungi and mildew, which can cause people to get sick.
The Assumed Benefits of Ventilating a Crawl Space
Crawl space ventilation allows air to circulate under the floor, potentially preventing the buildup of moisture. However, ventilating a crawl space can increase a home’s energy bills while not keeping it as dry as many believe.
To Vent or Not to Vent
Research conducted by Advanced Energy, a global energy company, yielded surprising results about the effects of ventilating a crawl space. They monitored a modular housing development in Baton Rouge, LA, which is hot and humid for most of the year. They also monitored 12 stick-framed homes in the colder, drier climate of Flagstaff, AZ. Their research found that unvented crawl spaces stayed drier than vented ones, no matter how hot or humid it was.
Crawl Space Encapsulation
Because a significant amount of air exchange takes place in crawl spaces, having mold or mildew in this part of the home can seriously affect indoor air quality. Encapsulating a crawl space in a polyethylene vapor barrier can drastically reduce moisture infiltration without relying on expensive ventilation options. Encapsulation can also lower energy bills and help heating and cooling equipment last longer between HVAC maintenance checkups.
Encapsulating a crawl space is an effective way to prevent moisture from being trapped in crawl spaces. For decades, Advanced Air Solutions has helped people in Wilmington, NC and the surrounding areas maintain a high level of air quality in their homes. For more information about keeping crawl spaces dry, call 910-791-7888 or contact us online.
Photo Courtesy of Jesus Rodriguez.
- 07/06/2018 - 0 CommentsHow to Decide Whether an A/C Unit Should Be Left on During a VacationRead More
Most Americans spend practically the entire year looking forward to a relaxing vacation. Stressing out about the state of an air conditioning unit should be the least of a vacationer’s concern! Before taking a trip, here are factors that should be considered when deciding where to set the thermostat.
Length of Vacation
Leaving home for a day is different from leaving for a week, even when it comes to air conditioning. For a short trip, leaving a properly maintained air conditioning unit on during an absence is often the preferred choice. This is because, after the home warms, it takes a great deal of energy to lower the temperature back to a comfortable state. Therefore it can be more economical to just leave the air conditioner on during a short absence. For longer trips, it makes more sense to expend energy to re-cool a house than to keep it cool while it sits empty for multiple days or even weeks.
If the weather is predicted to be cool and rainy, leaving the A/C off is a safe bet. Hot, drier forecasts indicate the unit should be left on to prevent cooling systems from working overtime. This will also prevent any pets left at home from becoming uncomfortable or distressed. Finally, it’s helpful to know the structure of the home to understand how to plan a vacation. Homes with a great deal of attic insulation, lower air filtration, and efficient windows are less likely to become drastically overheated if the air conditioning unit is left off. Any necessary structural repairs, such as crawl space repairs to seal out moisture, should be completed before a trip.
One last consideration to make is whether or not to leave the air circulating in the home regardless of temperature conditioning. For those with homes in humid environments, air cycling can help reduce humidity and protect hardwood floors, doors, and cabinetry. Keeping humidity down can also reduce heat in the home, making it easier to cool upon return. In addition to this, it can minimize build-up that requires air duct cleaning.
More Energy-Saving Tips
Whether the air conditioning unit is on or off, there are other ways to conserve energy for a vacation. Closing curtains can significantly reduce the amount of heat that is trapped in a home, regardless of whether the air conditioning unit is on. Make sure to turn off the main water supply in advance of an extended absence; unplugging electronics and turning off unnecessary lights can also cut down on waste. For those looking for a tech-savvy way to reduce energy use, Advanced Air Solutions recommends a wifi thermostat. It works through an app on your smartphone and lets the customer check the temperature and humidity in the home while away.
While all of these tips are helpful, staying cool requires a reliable air conditioning system above all else! If you need an examination or an upgrade, get a free estimate from Advanced Air Solutions or give us a call at 910-791-7888 today!
- 05/11/2018 - 7 CommentsCrawlspace 101: Easy Maintenance and Care TipsRead More
For many homeowners, their crawlspace is “out of sight, out of mind” unless using it for storage. But crawlspaces are an important part of the home, and it’s necessary to properly maintain them to prevent serious structural damage.
Importance of a Clean Crawlspace
Failing to maintain the crawlspace can cause thousands of dollars in structural repair costs. A poorly insulated crawlspace allows moisture to accumulate underneath the home when there are drastic temperature changes, which we know all about here in North Carolina! This moisture can lead to mold growth and an influx of warm or cold air beneath the home, leading the heating and cooling systems to work overtime. Plus, anything toxic in the crawlspace, whether from mold, mildew, or pest feces, gets circulated through the home.
Keeping the crawlspace clean doesn’t have to involve tons of effort, but there are a few necessary steps that, if taken now, can prevent thousands of dollars in damage down the road.
– Inspection: The first place to start is a professional inspection, where a qualified technician can check for moisture, mildew, and mold. If moisture is detected, the perimeter drain or sump pump may need to be repaired or replaced. If a rodent or pest infestation is detected, an exterminator will need to eliminate that problem. Skipping the initial inspection can lead to wasted time, thousands of dollars in wasted money, and major problems in the future.
– Ventilation: Once moisture and pest problems have been eradicated, it’s time to check the space for sufficient airflow. Additionally, if any holes or gaps are found in the walls, around vents, or around the entryway, they will need to be sealed to prevent additional unwanted critters from entering.
– Vapor Barrier Installation: The vapor barrier is a thick plastic sheet that lines the walls and floor to prevent additional moisture from accumulating in the crawlspace. All moisture must be eliminated during the inspection, or this step is a waste of time and money!
– Insulation: After the vapor barrier is installed, the crawlspace is insulated with one of several materials, such as fiberglass batts or spray foam insulation. The insulation creates a tight seal to keep air and heat out, and it protects against moisture and mold growth.
– Dehumidifier: A mechanical device installed in the crawlspace that keeps humidity in acceptable ranges and includes a digital remote monitor that lets the customer monitor the humidity in the crawlspace.
The crawlspace isn’t a part of the home that can be ignored until it’s needed for storage space; it’s part of the foundation of the home and needs to be properly maintained to avoid thousands of dollars of damage. To schedule a crawlspace inspection with a free estimate, contact Advanced Air Solutions at 910-791-7888.
- 03/13/2018 - 2 CommentsFour Common Hiding Spots for Dry Rot and DecayRead More
Sometimes it’s easy to tell when a home needs some attention—perhaps there’s a leak in the roof or the HVAC system is having issues. Other times, not-so-obvious issues are going on that can lead to serious damage if left untreated. Dry rot is one of these problems, and it can cause wood to decay, crack, and deteriorate, creating severe problems with the structure of the home.
What Is Dry Rot?
When moisture collects on a wooden surface for an extended period, this moisture and fungus break down the fibers in the wood surface, resulting in dry rot. This typically happens in poorly ventilated areas, and it only occurs when the moisture sits on the wooden surface for an extended period, so there’s no need to worry about leaks or floods that are immediately addressed and resolved. Unfortunately, dry rot often goes unnoticed when homeowners don’t spot the moisture build-up until structural repairs are required.
Spotting Dry Rot
Because dry rot isn’t always visible, homeowners should periodically check certain areas of their homes for signs of the moisture buildup, including the following:
– Window and door frames: Window sills are particularly vulnerable to dry rot since rainwater tends to collect there. Wood that’s soft to the touch or caves easily should be replaced right away. Exterior doors sometimes rot quickly since they face the elements, so all parts of the door and frame, including the very bottom, should be thoroughly inspected for soft or spongy areas.
– Roof: The roof and roofline can be inspected from the ground using a pair of binoculars and an observant eye. Discoloration below the roofline, damaged or missing shingles, and cracked seals around the chimney are all strong signs of dry rot. Homeowners who want to brave climbing on the roof should watch for weak, spongy patches in the wood.
– Deck: The deck should be inspected for dry rot from all sides, particularly the wood that attaches the deck to the home. If this piece, called the ledger board, isn’t flashed in aluminum, then it wasn’t installed correctly and is prone to moisture buildup and dry rot.
– Inside the home: There are several places in the home where moisture is most likely to accumulate, including in the bathroom around the toilet and bathtub or shower, under the dishwasher or clothes washer, and around the water heater. The bottoms of sink cabinets are also prime candidates for dry rot, so cabinets should be emptied out and thoroughly inspected. Watch for moisture, discoloration, shrinking or cracked wood, spongy areas, swelling in the floor, and musty odors.
If you live in the areas of Wilmington, Raleigh, Jacksonville, New Bern, or Fayetteville and suspect your home has dry rot or mold issues, then contact Advanced Air Solutions at (910) 791-7888 for a free estimate. Our professional contractors can inspect your home to make sure moisture stays out for good with structural repair and mold remediation services.
- 07/17/2017 - 0 CommentsSite LaunchRead More
Our new website is finally up. We’ve worked hard to get a beautiful new site ready and we’re proud to show it off. Thanks for reading our blog. We have lots of great blog posts in the works. Please check back or contact us now to find out how we can help you.
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