HVAC Maintenance and Allergies

man sneezingIn recent years, research has shown that indoor air allergen levels can be significantly more problematic than those occurring outdoors. The good news behind these findings is that, with a little care and forethought, you can safeguard your home against indoor allergens to reduce or even eliminate their harmful effects.

The Persistence of Household Allergens

Unless removed or filtered out, indoor allergens tend to remain indoors once they become trapped in your house. The specific household pollutants that commonly trigger allergies differ dramatically from region to region and home to home. However, some of the more prevalent forms of indoor allergens include:

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Pet dander, saliva and urine
  • Waste from insect invaders such as dust mites and cockroaches

All of the above particles can take to the air. Once they’re airborne, your family and household guests can easily inhale them and suffer an allergic reaction.

Prevent Allergy Problems with Regular HVAC Maintenance

As it circulates air throughout your home, your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system can both collect and spread allergens. By applying a few preventive measures, however, you can optimize your system to significantly improve overall inside air quality.

Proper HVAC maintenance, especially in springtime, removes harmful allergens that already occupy your home while helping to prevent new allergens from building up. Start breathing easier today by adhering to these simple household guidelines.

Use the right high-quality furnace filter and change it often

Your furnace filter is your best defense against the airborne allergens in your home. Just remember, however, that not every filter is created equal. Ensure that your filters have a MERV 8 rating or better in order to trap a greater number of microscopic particles. Also remember to check your filter on a monthly basis and replace it at least four times per year.

Get rid of debris around your indoor and outdoor HVAC units

Both indoor and outdoor HVAC units pull air from their surroundings. Therefore, any dust and debris in the vicinity of these units is likely to become drawn into the air and circulate throughout your house.

Clean registers and return vents regularly

Although most people dust their house around once per week, they often forget about their registers and return vents. Because they deliver or receive airflow from each room in your home, if these portals are dirty, your air will be dirty.

Check for mold

Examine your ducts, evaporator coils and the air handler every month to look for signs of mold. If you smell a musty odor coming from your vents, contact a HVAC professional as soon as possible.

Schedule a Routine HVAC Maintenance Appointment

Although most people love springtime, others know it only as “allergy season.” Whether you suffer from allergies or not, spring is a great time to schedule a routine HVAC maintenance appointment. A qualified HVAC professional can not only ensure that your HVAC system is healthy but help keep you and your family healthy by keeping your indoor allergen levels to an absolute minimum.

If you have questions about the connection between allergies and your HVAC system, contact the team at Efficient Climate Control today.

Fluctuating Weather Patterns and Smart Thermostats

The state of Texas is so uniquely located that its climate can vary dramatically and change very quickly — from week to week, and even from day to day. Much of our weather can be the result of climatic interactions in other parts of the country or from surrounding waterways. Tropical west winds that blow in from the Pacific Ocean, hurricanes and tropical cyclones that begin in the Gulf of Mexico, arctic air that drops down from Canada, and high-pressure systems that originate in the Atlantic Ocean will all cause fluctuating weather patterns in Texas.

Fluctuating Weather’s Effect on Your AC or Heating Unit

Humidity, rain and changing extremes of hot and cold temperatures can negatively affect your air conditioning and heating units. Humidity especially, which is caused by warm air that is saturated with moisture, will put a burden on your AC unit. You may notice the moist, clammy air, fogged windows or a musty or damp odor in your home due to prolonged or high levels of humidity. Your AC system will have to work a lot harder to cope with humidity while attempting to provide sufficient cooling.

Residential heating units are also stressed during severe weather conditions, as Texas does get below-freezing weather days. And the wind coming off the Gulf in January through spring can make an average winter day that much chillier — about 10 to 15 degrees colder. Heat pumps and furnaces have to work that much harder to accommodate fluctuating temperatures caused by windy conditions.

Using Smart Thermostats to Ease the Burden on HVAC Systems

The result of constant variations in weather conditions is not only a burden on you HVAC system, but it also tends to increase your utility bills. Just one of the main benefits of smart thermostats is the ability to reduce unnecessary HVAC usage when you are not at home, while still keeping your home at a minimum temperature level until you return. Here are some other key features of switching to smart thermostats:

  • Save money by using less energy because smart thermostats allow a more energy-efficient management of your home’s temperatures. This can save you over $100 annually, which will pay for the thermostat investment.
  • Some smart thermostats can learn your preferred patterns for home comfort and will lower and raise the temperatures automatically, keeping your home warmer first thing in the morning and cooler overnight.
  • Even when you’re not at home, you can remotely access your thermostat via WiFi connection. Even when on vacation, you don’t have to worry if you neglected to adjust the thermostat.
  • You can monitor your home’s energy consumption to make smart decisions on how to program your thermostat to use even less energy. Some models even have maintenance reminders to change HVAC filters or have a system tuneup.

A smart thermostat will allow you to not only simply control, but to automate, your home’s temperature to avoid the wide temperature fluctuations caused by changing weather conditions. Your smart thermostat will continuously make small adjustments to keep your home comfortable and your HVAC units running smoothly.

Save Energy and Save Money

People are always looking to save money and cutting back on the cost of your monthly energy bill is a great way to do it. The Department of Energy is a great place to find lots of energy saving tips and information, like the infographic below that shows you eight things all homeowners should do to cost effectively lower their energy bills. In preparation for the upcoming Spring and Summer weather check out our How to Save Energy in the Summer Heat blog. 

American Standard Recognized by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America

Efficient Climate Control is proud to be an authorized American Standard Customer Care Dealer. American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning is the industry leader in HVAC systems, known for reliability, sustainability, air quality and customer care. They take great pride in providing top-notch customer service, and handpick Customer Care Dealers that have a proven commitment to excellence.

American Standard air conditioners may be one of the lesser known brands out there, but they also rate in the best of the best category. American Standard air conditioning offers superior quality components with industry leading warranties at a highly competitive price. 

American Standard was also recognized by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America’s asthma & allergy friendly® Certification Program

“The American Standard AccuClean uses a patented technology called Intense Field
Dialectics to remove common allergens from the home, like pet dander, pollen, dust
particulate, viruses, mold spores, tobacco smoke, dust mites and more.

Additional testing around efficiency recovery, accelerated loading, cleaning intervals, and life
cycle cost were validated. These are important factors when consumers choose the best
whole home filter for their needs.

To receive the certification, the American Standard AccuClean was independently tested
and required to meet benchmark standards as prescribed by ASL and AAFA based on
industry leading medical and scientific research in health issues and indoor air pollution.” (Read More.)

At Efficient Climate Control we offer nothing but the best for our customers. Visit our website for more helpful industry related information or to schedule a service call today. 

Ensure Your Home Is Ready for Winter in Texas

Here in Texas, you generally don’t have to prepare your home for the ice, snow and extreme cold of winter like Northerners do. Nonetheless, even mild Texas winters can bring problems to your home, such as excess moisture, freezing, wasted electricity and home damage. Have a more comfortable and cost-effective winter with fewer home problems by carrying out these preparation tips in advance of seasonal weather.   

Block Winter Elements from Entering

Before the winter hits, go through your home to check for areas that are not properly secured or sealed. You’ll want to make sure that the winter weather won’t come in but also that your heat won’t escape. By keeping the wet, cold weather out, you’ll also cut down on mold and mildew that can accumulate in a Texas home.

This step means checking for drafts that are coming through windows and doors, finding animal entry holes into the attic and searching for gaps and holes in the attic. Fix the problems yourself or hire someone to caulk areas, seal holes, add weatherstripping and perform other measures that keep the home closed to the elements. 

Check Your HVAC System

You might need to turn on the heat for some of those chilly nights while you may still need the air conditioning for the hottest times of day. To be ready for every temperature a Texas winter can bring, make sure your HVAC system is in proper working order before the winter starts.

This is the right time to take care of any HVAC work you’ve been putting off or to get an inspection to make sure your system will continue to work efficiently throughout the season. Also, it’s smart to take care of regular cleaning and maintenance, such as cleaning the furnace and changing your air filter, before the beginning of winter weather. 

Prepare Your Exterior

Since we all know a Texas winter can get wet, make sure you clean your rain gutters to prepare for the possibility of excessive rain. Cleaning them can keep too much water from running down the house and getting inside. Plus, you can help keep the gutters from freezing and creating damage.

Also, it’s a good idea to remove dead or broken tree branches near the house before the winter hits. This step can prevent branches from hitting the house and creating damage if they get blown during a storm.

Create an Extra Layer of Protection

A major protective step you can take is to prepare the home for colder weather. Ways you can do this include adding insulation to the walls and attic if there is not enough, wrapping the water pipes with heat tape or insulation, and insulating the hot water heater. In addition to keeping your home and water warmer and preventing problems from low temperatures, these steps can save you money on your utility bills. 

For more helpful information on your HVAC system, or to schedule a service call, visit our website today. 

Preparing Your A/C for Flooding and Storms

Even when you’re not in the direct path of a hurricane or large tropical storm, it can still bring flooding to your area. Water and electrical appliances, including your A/C unit, don’t mix. While most outdoor A/C units are designed to handle inclement weather, they aren’t designed to be immersed in water. Also, the metal components might inherently resist water, but the electrical components do not. Flood water can also carry small particles into previously sealed motor bearings and/or clog coils, which may not cause an immediate problem, but could cause total system failure in the near future. High winds and heavy rain can spell disaster for your air conditioner or HVAC unit, so take these steps to protect it before a storm or flood to avoid costly replacement.

Before the Storm Hits

Pay attention to the weather so you have plenty of warning before a major storm hits. Anytime flooding is imminent or excessive wind speeds are predicted, make vital preparations to ensure your A/C unit receives the least amount of damage.

Step 1: Turn off the electricity to your unit.

This is the most critical step to protecting your A/C unit. Leaving your unit on during a storm can cause serious damage from power surges, lightning strikes or constant power interruptions. You could also burn out the motor should it become clogged with debris. Unplug the unit, if applicable, and shut off the breaker. Never turn the unit back on during the storm, even if your home is becoming unbearably hot, it could damage your unit and endanger your family.

Step 2: Remove debris and other items that could cause damage.

Wind can be just as damaging as water. Clear the area around your A/C unit to eliminate anything that could blow into or fall on top of your unit and damage it. Trim trees with large branches that could fall on the unit. Put away objects like bicycles, outdoor furniture, gardening tools, planters or anything that could be caught by the wind and crash into your unit. High-speed winds can cause debris that normally wouldn’t harm your unit to crash into it with enough force to cause damage.

Step 3: Anchor and cover your unit for further protection.

Storms with extremely strong winds can actually blow your outside unit over or move it out of place. Properly anchor your system to the ground for extra stability. Secure your unit with condenser straps or bolt the system to a concrete pad. Cover your unit with a heavy-duty tarp or plywood to keep out as much rain as possible and further protect it from flying debris. You can also opt to install a metal cage around the unit or build a small shed out of 2x4s to further protect it from damage during a storm.

If you live in an area prone to flooding, even lighter rain showers could cause flooding. Watch for rising storm water and consider elevating your unit, instead of leaving it on ground level. Flooding not only exposes your A/C unit to water, but also debris that gets washed inside the unit. Either could cause problems when you turn the unit back on. A thorough inspection and cleaning is necessary, especially if your unit was under water.

Flooded Air Conditioners and AC Units in The Woodlands

Houston Flood
Credit for this photo to Woodlands Online

After the so recent flooding in the Houston, Spring, The Woodlands, and so many other areas we are now in the process restoring our lives. The many neighbors and friends we have in The Woodlands are now in the process of rebuilding. Where do we all start?

Is it safe to turn my AC unit on after being flooded? DO NOT OPERATE IF WATER IS IN THE UNIT!!!!!

The answer depends on the amount of water that went into the AC unit. GET THE UNIT LOOKED AT BY A LICENSED CONTRACTOR. Most electrical components are up high in the outdoor unit, also called condensing unit. There are three major components in the unit: The compressor that sits low, the fan motor that is usually high in the unit, condenser coil which the louvered panel protects, and then miscellaneous electrical components.

THE COMPRESSOR: Do not run the unit if water is still present. There is a potential to short circuit the unit. Give the unit time to dry. There will always be the potential of the electrical connections rusting which will lead to poor connection.

OUTDOOR FAN MOTOR: Again do not operate if water present. This motor needs to dry before using. Operation of a wet motor will burn it up. The motor has sealed bearings which could have gotten wet. Chances are, if the outdoor fan motor was in water it will eventually fail.

OUTDOOR COIL: This coil is normally hidden from view and can get restricted with debris. Leaves, dirt or anything else can get into it. It will need cleaning to obtain performance. PLEASE, IF YOU AS A HOMEOWNER WANT TO CLEAN IT BE CAREFUL OF SNAKES THAT COULD BE INSIDE IT. ELECTRICITY IS DEADLY SO IT’S RECOMMENDED THAT AN AC CONTRACTOR PERFORM THE TASK.

ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS:  There are several parts such as contactors, capacitors, and relays that can also burn out or short circuit. All electrical connection can possibly oxidize or rust. All these components should be dried before operation. Capacitors will sometimes hold water causing them to short out. Contactors will get debris in them causing them to short out or stick. This will cause AC not to work or possibly cause the compressor to stay permanently on, causing indoor coil to ice over or damage the compressor.  

Water removal and the drying process: AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

The first and most important thing is to get the water out of the home by any means. Anything that got wet remove it from the home. Sheetrock acts as a giant sponge retaining water and spreading it. What ever the amount of water, you need to cut sheetrock to that point so what remains is dry. Remove and dispose of all old sheetrock and wet insulation. Wet furniture, clothes, and furniture all need to be removed to aid in drying. Fans will help dry the home, dehumidifiers work but are usually too small, operating the AC helps, and even running the furnace will help. THE MAIN THING IS GET THE HOUSE DRIED BEFORE MORE SERIOUS DAMAGE IS DONE.

Here are some links that we thought may be helpful if your house was flooded:

This has tips from the Houston Chron including a link to a FEMA inventory sheet:

This one has what to do in the first 24 hours to get the most out of your insurance:

3 Things You Can Do to Prepare Your Home HVAC System for the Hurricane Season


Many of us Atlantic and Gulf Coast dwellers may be beefing up our first-aid kits, stocking up on gallons of water and checking our battery-powered radios in preparation for this year’s hurricane season. The basics are important. They’re vital, in fact. But an often-overlooked item on the preparedness checklist is maintaining and protecting your home HVAC system.

Here are 3 things you can do to keep your home HVAC system safe and operational when that next potential “Mother of all Storms” comes sweeping in.


When purchasing an HVAC system, there are a few things that you can keep in mind, not only its general functionality and cost-efficiency, but also how well you can protect it in a fierce storm situation. In this case, bigger is not always better. Smaller units tend to run more efficiently but — more importantly — they are smaller. The smaller the system you have, the more you have the opportunity to work with it.

A small, single-stage unit is easier to shield, protect and maintain. So when you are buying or installing your own HVAC system, keep this in mind. You should, in most cases, be able to use a smaller, single-stage unit to heat and cool the average-sized house. Proper sizing and simplicity will take you a long way.


It’s important to maintain your HVAC system. If you can afford it, have an experienced HVAC technician come by about a month before the hurricane season starts. That way, you have an idea of what kind of shape the unit is in. Making sure all the wiring and connections are secure could be the difference between some basic repairs or having to purchase a whole new unit after the storm passes. If an electrical surge hits, one loose wire could fry your entire HVAC system. 

If money is tight, just do your best to check your system. Make sure it is fully secured to the ground. Get an idea of what kind of shape it’s in externally and do your best to make sure the system is clean and free of debris.

Before the storm fully arrives, it’s a good idea to turn off your HVAC system and keep it off for the duration of the storm. And that brings us to …


Turning off your system before the storm hits is the best thing you can do to ensure that an electrical surge doesn’t have the chance to permanently damage your system. That’s why having a backup generator is a really good investment. Not only can it provide you with some power, it will also help give your HVAC system the extra kick-start it may need after the storm passes.

Besides internal protection, you’re also going to want to fortify your system as much as possible. Hurricanes are violent storms with winds that can reach up to 120 mph. Here are a few easy and quick ways you can further protect your HVAC unit:

  • Clear the area as much as possible. Make sure to trim any trees or large branches that could potentially fall on the unit.
  • Get a tarp. A lot of people like to use a vinyl tarp to wrap the system, keeping out as much rain and debris as possible. Some heavy-duty twine and bungee cords should do the trick.
  • Make sure the system is secured to the ground. I’ve known people who have laid cement and bolted the system to the ground for extra stability. 

And finally — this is where that smaller, single-stage system will benefit you — build some kind of outer protection. The smaller the system, the less work you have to do to protect it. You can install a metal cage around the unit or simply use 2×4’s to build a small shed around it. Anything to help the unit withstand any extra damage.

 A quick recap:

  1. Proper sizing and unit size consideration
  2. Maintaining and preparing your HVAC
  3. Protecting your HVAC system internally and externally

There you have it — 3 things you can do to prepare and keep your home HVAC system safe, protected and operational during the hurricane season. If you need to schedule a maintenance call on your HVAC system contact us today or visit our website for more information. 

How to Improve your A/C’s Performance During the Summertime

The hot days of summer put your air conditioner to the test, straining its capabilities and making it work its hardest. However, improving your A/C unit’s performance is possible while saving energy and reducing your utility bills at the same time. The following four tips can help you achieve efficient climate control with your air conditioner this summer. 

Change Your A/C Unit’s Air Filter

Over time, your air conditioner’s filter collects dirt, dust and grime; this layer of debris lowers airflow, worsens your home’s air quality and generally makes your A/C unit work harder. Besides reducing its cooling capabilities, this extra strain on your air conditioner can shorten its lifespan. How often you’ll need to change your filter will depend on your specific unit. ac blowing warm air

Take Advantage of Shade

Protecting your air conditioner’s outdoor unit from direct sunlight can help boost its efficiency by as much as 10 percent. If your unit is currently exposed to the sun’s rays, you can create your own shade by building a wall or ventilated enclosure.

Patch Any Leaks Around Your Home

Holes and cracks throughout your home that let cool air escape make your air conditioner work harder and reduce its ability to cool effectively. Take a look around your windows and examine your exterior walls for leaks; sealing with caulk or insulation can make a big difference.

Clean Your Air Conditioner’s Condenser

Your air conditioner’s condenser will collect dirt, lawn clippings, twigs and other debris over time, reducing the unit’s efficiency. Make sure to clean your A/C condenser at least twice a year, including at the beginning of summer.

Unsure that you’ve done all that you can to maximize your air conditioner’s efficiency and performance during the hottest months of the year? The professionals at Efficient Climate Control can help. Contact us today to schedule service.