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Should I Turn Off My AC When I Am Not Home?

We still have a few more months of air conditioning here in Los Angeles, which means your AC bill will continue to be a large part of your monthly bills. Many homeowners are looking for ways to cut down on costs and energy used, such as wondering if they should turn off their cooling system when not home. In this blog, we will answer and discuss the in’s and out’s of turning off your air conditioner in the summer.

Will I Save Money By Turning Off My AC?

Simply put – yes, you will save money if you turn your air conditioner off at any time. Turning off your AC unit means it will run less and use less energy, because it is not cooling your home. However, there are factors to consider before you turn off your air conditioner in the Los Angeles heat. Below are a few things to consider before jumping to shutting your AC system off during the day:

  • Furniture and Flooring
  • Indoor Animals or Plants
  • Comfort When You Return
  • Humidity Levels
  • Technology

You may be thinking why you should consider these factors or why they relate to shutting off your AC system. The remainder of this article will explain the potential risks your home faces when powering off your system.

Furniture and Flooring

Wood or metal furniture can be damaged if it reaches a high temperature. If your AC is turned off, humidity levels will rise and cause wood to expand and leave cracks in your furniture. Similarly, wood flooring and paper can warp.

Indoor Animals and Plants

Do you have an indoor animal that stays at home while you leave? Consider their health before exposing them to the high temperature your house would reach if air conditioning was turned off. We encourage homeowners to consult a veterinarian before altering your home’s temperature. Indoor plants are put at risk if the climate is too hot for them to survive. For both animals and plants, it is not the best idea for their health to turn off your air conditioner during the day.

Comfort When You Return

If you turn off your air conditioning for your whole house in 85-90 degree weather, it will take time to cool it back down to a comfortable temperature. Depending on the size of your home and your air conditioner, it could take three to five hours to cool your entire home. This means if you come home at 5, you will sacrifice your comfort until about the time you go to bed.

Humidity Levels

Along with cooling your home, your air conditioner removes humidity. If you choose to turn your air conditioner off during the day, humidity levels will rise in your home. Mold and mildew are likely to grow in places and can affect your home and your health.

Technology

Consider your electronics before shutting down your AC unit. Many delicate electronics can not sustain high levels of heat and can be damaged.

How To Save Money And Your Home

We urge homeowners to consider these factors before turning off your air conditioner when the daily temperatures are highest. Instead, consider turning your thermostat temperature up a few degrees during the day. We recommend staying below 80 degrees to ensure the health of your home and the factors inside.

Another way to save money while keeping your home’s temperature intact would be to invest in a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats adjust your home’s temperature due to previously programmed settings. Homeowners are able to change the temperature from a mobile device to ensure it is cool when they arrive home.

Consider turning your home temperature up and not off this summer. For any questions or air conditioning repair in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, give one of our expert technicians a call to help!

Why Is My AC Not Blowing Cold Air?

Let us help solve why your air conditioner is blowing warm air!

In the Los Angeles heat, air conditioning is a must. An air conditioning breakdown is a nightmare in the summer due to comfort levels for you and your family. Like the saying goes, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. This rings true for air conditioning, because you never realize how much you rely on it until it breaks down or needs a repair in the summer. Your AC blowing warm air is just as uncomfortable as a broken air conditioner. If you notice your air conditioner is not blowing cold air, it could be due to a variety of factors. In this article, we will explain why your AC may not be blowing cold air and what to do to get you cool and comfortable once again!

While some reasons as to why your air conditioner is blowing cold air could be a simple fix, others require the help of an expert. When in doubt, we recommend always contacting a professional to ensure your safety and comfort. Below we have listed reasons as to why your AC is not blowing cold air and how to proceed.

Loss of Power

Your air conditioner uses a large amount of power to produce cool air. An air conditioner losing power can be due to an overloaded circut or whole home power loss. If your breaker trips or a fuse is blown, this could result in your air conditioner blowing warm air. Try safely resetting your breaker, but don’t go hunting for cut or loose wires.

Thermostat Issue

Once power loss has been checked, make sure your thermostat is properly working. First, ensure the thermostat settings have not been altered. Your thermostat should be set to “cool” or “auto” and read your desired temperature under the setting. If everything is properly set, try changing the batteries if it is battery operated. A communication issue between the thermostat and unit could be the problem, which requires professional help.

Blocked Compressor

If your air conditioner is not blowing cold air, it could be due to your outdoor unit. Debris such as grass clippings, branches, and leaves can harm your air conditioner’s efficiency and air flow, which results in warm air. Make sure your unit is clear and able to breathe easy, so you can do the same!

Refrigerant Leak

The refrigerant plays an important role in your air conditioner’s ability to function and could be the cause of your AC blowing warm air. Your refrigerant is likely leaking, but your air conditioner will continue to run and blow warm air. Your air conditioner is likely overworking itself, which can result in further problems and a high utility bill. If this is the case, give us a call to find the leak and get your home comfortable again!

Dirty Air Filter

Your air filter can be an indicator of many problems you may be experiencing, and blowing warm air is one of them. A dirty or clogged air filter harms your unit’s ability to push air through. While struggling to maintain airflow, your unit is working harder and using more energy. Your unit can shut down from overworking itself, so be sure to keep a clean air filter!

Clogged Drain Line

Your air conditioner cools and decreases humidity throughout your house. The water it pulls from the humidity and moisture exits through a drain line. Debris such as dust and dirt can be carried off by the moisture, which causes a build up over time. Excess moisture also causes mold and mildew and adds to the build up. A clog can prevent your air conditioner from blowing cool air or blowing any air in general. Drain line clogs are likely deep and require professional help, but we are happy to help get your drain line unclogged and your air conditioner working in no time.

Here at Brody Pennell, we have seen just about anything. We are air conditioning experts and get the job done right in a timely manner. If your air conditioner is showing problems such as blowing warm air, give us a call. We will help you beat the heat and get you comfortable and cool in no time.

7 Air Conditioning Tips For Summer

The heat has hit here in Los Angeles, which means it is officially air conditioning season! Air conditioners have a longer season in L.A. due to fall months typically staying warm. This means your AC unit has many warm days ahead, and we want you and your system to be prepared. Consider these seven tips to help keep you cool this season and save money on your utility bills!

Schedule AC Tune Up

We recommend air conditioning tune ups to start in the spring time to ensure you are prepared for the heat. Your air conditioner constantly runs when it is hot outside, and your unit needs to be prepared for this change. Tune ups allow your Brody Pennell technician to make sure your unit is functioning properly. Regular maintenance in the spring and fall season can prevent breakdowns and other malfunctions, because your technician catches the problem early. If you have yet to schedule yours, it is not too late! Call us today.

Clear Area Around Unit

Debris such as grass clippings, branches, and leaves can clog your air conditioner. It is important to inspect your unit once a week to maintain strong airflow throughout your house and keep your unit running efficiently. Loose vegetation can interfere with the system’s ability to perform, causing it to work harder and potentially raise your energy bills.

Test Your Air Conditioning Unit

Before turning on your air conditioner for the long haul, we recommend letting the unit run in smaller increments to prepare for running consistently. This tip is recommended sooner rather than later, because there is nothing worse than turning on your AC unit in the L.A. heat and finding out there is a problem.

Utilize Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans have two settings: one for summer and winter. Be sure to set your ceiling fan to rotate counterclockwise in the summertime, which causes air to be pushed down creating a cool breeze. Ceiling fans create the option for homeowners to set their thermostat a few degrees higher without feeling the temperature difference.

Install A Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat adjusts the temperature setting at different times during the day. The adjustment is based on settings imputed into the system, which can also be done from a mobile device. These thermostats can raise the temperature when the home is vacant during the day and lower before anyone arrives back home. Research suggests that programmable thermostats can save roughly $180 a year!

Maintain Air Filters

Changing your air filters regularly is one of the most effective ways to keep you cool. Clean air filters improve air quality, air flow, overall comfort, and your system’s ability to function. A general rule of thumb is to change your air filters every 3 months or sooner depending on other factors such as indoor pets. Your Brody Pennell technician can help determine the best time frame to change your filter and the type of filter needed for your home.

Keep Your Windows And Doors Closed

Air can escape through the smallest openings, and it is important to ensure all windows are closed and latched and doors are shut while your air conditioner is running. Even if both windows and doors are shut, air can slip through. Caulking and weather stripping are cost effective solutions to resolve air escaping through holes.

We love the fresh air, but opening your windows while your air conditioning unit is running can harm your system and your air quality. As air escapes, your unit runs constantly to keep up with the temperature set on the thermostat. Your system can overwork itself and risk a breakdown or shorten its life by running consistently.

Give Us A Call!

We hope these 7 tips help you stay cool this summer and keep your air conditioner running smoothly. Here at Brody Pennell, we are here for you at all hours of the day. Give us a call at (310) 896-4911 for all your air conditioning needs this season!

Is it Time to Replace Your Water Heater?

As a homeowner in Los Angeles, you have plenty of home maintenance items on your to-do list. A water heater is one of those appliances that’s out of sight… and too often, out of mind. The fact is, we depend on our water heaters for many daily household tasks. Hot water is a requirement for clean laundry and sanitizing dishes, not to mention cleaning our own bodies! No one wants a cold shower. You may wonder when the time is right to replace your water heater. We’ve got you covered with this blog!

How Long Should a Water Heater Last?

Every appliance has an approximate duration of useful life. Most water heaters last for about 10 years. If you’ve had your water heater regularly serviced, it can last much longer. 

But age is just a number, right? Unfortunately, much like vehicles, any home appliance will start degrading in performance from the very first day you use it. So even if your water heater is 20 years old and still working, it’s likely that there are some invisible costs associated with running an older water heater, such as reduced energy efficiency. 

Don’t know how old your unit is? You can find the date of manufacture on the equipment nameplate. Also on that label you’ll find the brand name and serial number, which can help identify further details about the equipment. Take a picture on your smartphone of the equipment nameplate – it’s not only helpful for your own reference, you can text it to us when scheduling service to help ensure we have all the right materials on hand.  

Signs Your Water Heater Needs Replacement

Besides the age of your water heater, there are some sure signs that it’s time to replace. 

  • Rust in your water – Rust is a sign of corrosion – and that’s a problem that needs addressing immediately. If you’re seeing rust in the water coming from any of your faucets, it’s time for replacement. Call us ASAP for an estimate!
  • No hot water – Does it take forever for one of your faucets to produce hot water? That’s not normal! While there are several things we can do to troubleshoot, it’s possible that your tank is too small. In this case, reach out to a water heater installation professional like Brody Pennell for recommendations on how to proceed. 
  • Cloudy water – If the hot water coming from your faucets is cloudy or milky looking, that could indicate sediment build-up. Sediment gets created when your water heater heats and reheats the water in the tank. Over time, sediment can grow thick on the floor of your tank, causing inefficiency and damage to your equipment. 
  • Leaks – Water pooling around the floor of the tank is an indicator of a leak. Water leaks of any kind can damage your home, but because your water heater stores lots of water, take a water heater leak seriously. Although it’s possible the leak is coming from a loose fitting or connection, you should have a professional inspect your water heater storage tank ASAP for damage.
  • Rumbling noises – Water heaters operate quietly under normal conditions, so if yours is banging, rumbling, or otherwise loud, it’s time to take action. 

Water Heater Replacement Professional in Los Angeles

Water is one of the most-used resources in Los Angeles homes. And most of the time – we need water to be hot! So if your water heater is giving you any problems – from noise to cold showers – call a water heater professional to have it inspected.

In Los Angeles, homeowners trust Brody Pennell for their water heater installations. We install high-quality Bradford White water heaters, both tankless and standard storage tank styles. Call our friendly team today for a no-obligation estimate on a new water heater for your home: (310) 896-4911.

Studies Reveal New Science about Indoor Air Quality and COVID

Back in March of 2020, no one was expecting the pandemic to last several months… or many years. But for over a year, Los Angeles has been battling the spread of COVID-19. Since the early months of the pandemic, we have learned a lot about how the virus spreads. Namely, we now know it spreads via aerosol droplets. When it comes to indoor spaces, optimizing the Indoor Air Quality or IAQ can do a lot to prevent the spread of the illness. We have been reading up recently-published research on the topic; our summary is below. 

Improve IAQ With Many Methods – Not Just One.

Research indicates that the buildings with the highest indoor air quality employ many techniques rather than just one or two. 

One method familiar to many LA residents is by each person taking their own safety measures. For example, social distancing, limiting large group events, and wearing face masks are all helpful in reducing virus spread. But a challenge with solely using this approach is that it relies on individual decision making. 

To promote great indoor air quality no matter what individuals decide, we can add what researchers call “engineering controls” – things that any individual person cannot change. Some examples might be adding ventilation, high-efficiency filters, and air purifiers. 

These recommendations are also reflected in the core recommendations from ASHRAE

  • Ventilation –  dilute the “dirty” air inside with fresh air from outside
  • Filtration – replace filters with high-quality air filters
  • Air Purification – air cleaners can help remove viruses and other pollutants from indoor air

Preventing Spread of COVID in Los Angeles Homes

So much of the COVID and IAQ research is focused on facilities where many people from different households will be interacting with one another. So, should we do anything about our homes? 

ASHRAE’s task force issued these recommendations for residential homes: 

  • Maintain normal temperature and humidity. Make sure your HVAC system is keeping things between 68-78F and 40-60% relative humidity (RH). It’s common in SoCal to shut off your HVAC system to save energy during mild temperatures. But when it comes to IAQ, that can do more harm than good. Keep things comfortable! 
  • Turn on those ceiling fans. The engineers at ASHRAE report that stagnant air should be avoided. So if you’ve got fans, now is the time to use them! And outside of the IAQ benefits, there are more good reasons to use fans! They are a great way to reduce your energy consumption
  • Upgrade your air filter if possible. For filter efficiency ratings, the higher, the better. But before you find the highest MERV on the market, keep in mind that more filtration means there is more resistance on your HVAC system. When there isn’t enough airflow, you can expect to see higher energy bills, reduced performance, and even iced coils. So if you want to level up your filter game, give us a call for a custom recommendation on how high of a MERV filter your system can tolerate. 
  • Air cleaners can remove pollutants. If an ultra-high efficiency filter doesn’t make sense for your home comfort system an air purifier should be your next choice. Modern whole home air purifiers are proven to improve IAQ by removing viruses, bacteria, and other particulates. A portable air cleaner, like the kind you plug into the wall, will filter air in a single room or area. A whole-home air purifier will clean all the air in your house. 
  • Maintain your HVAC system.  Getting regular maintenance on your heating and cooling system is an important part of keeping your family healthy. It all goes back to our first bullet – thermal comfort is the most important item in this list. Tuneups are essential to ensuring your HVAC systems are functioning, as long as you take care of necessary repairs.  

Indoor Air Quality Services in Los Angeles

Here at Brody Pennell, we prioritize education and learning for our entire team. That means we take the time to be informed about the latest research in our industry. When we combine this knowledge with our many years of IAQ experience in Los Angeles, you’ll get a trusted expert on your side. Contact our team today for help improving your indoor air quality!

Spooky and Scary HVAC Mysteries, Solved!

The spookiest month of the year is here, and we thought we’d share some of our most frightful HVAC stories. As Los Angeles heating and cooling professionals, we see our share of “paranormal activity” with HVAC systems. And while our team may not be ghost busters, we’ve tracked down the cause of these happenings. So read on, dear visitor, there’s no need for a garlic necklace. Our team here at Brody Pennell knows exactly how to avoid these hauntings!

Air Conditioner Frozen in Fear

On another gorgeous Los Angeles afternoon, you notice a sight often unseen in Southern California… ice… on your AC unit. A chill runs down your spine, causing goosebumps to rise on your forearms. How is it possible for an air conditioning unit to freeze over, even with our mild LA temperatures? 

Allow us to break the spell. A frozen AC unit or coil is not the work of a ghostly creature; it’s typically either a refrigerant leak or an airflow problem. If your AC system doesn’t have enough refrigerant, the pressure inside the pipes changes, causing the coils to freeze up. 

The other issue is an airflow problem. Air conditioners need a clear airflow path. So if you have witch’s hats and brooms blocking the vents to your system, that could be the cause. If you need any help, contact our team for AC repair and service.

Screeching and Squealing 

Recently, a customer called us complaining about whining and howling coming from their attic. The man said the ghost hunters who came last week were unsuccessful in detecting any paranormal phenomena. The Brody Pennell team arrived on the scene and discovered the high-pitched crying belonged to… the heater

Screeching noises from the attic COULD be ghosts, but it’s more likely that a damaged fan belt or another component that requires replacement. Squealing sounds like this are a sign that your unit is dying for a repair… or maybe it’s time to put your aging system to rest and replace it. Contact our team for an HVAC professional’s opinion

Hovering Dust Bunnies

Have you ever been alone in a room and had an unsettled feeling? And out of the corner of your eye, you think you see someone. Maybe it was a shadow. Or a reflection in the window. Yes, that’s it. 

Or perhaps it’s the most terrifying of all. 

Dust and pollen floating in the air of your home. 

There will always be dust in your home, but when the particles are large enough that they are visible to the eye, the air is not being filtered completely. And dust isn’t the only villain; there are invisible particles (such as bacteria and viruses) in your home as well. And if you do nothing about it, they just keep recirculating through your HVAC. 

It’s time to take control of your IAQ (indoor air quality). First, replace the air filter in your furnace. If you still see mysterious hovering orbs after 48 hours, it may be time to investigate an in-ductwork air purifier or UV sterilizer to eliminate the problem. 

Don’t Get Spooked This Holiday Season!

Brody Pennell wishes you a spooky and safe Halloween holiday! Got an unsolved mystery with your HVAC system? Since 1945, we’ve been courteous and friendly to the ghosts residing in Los Angeles, so you can trust that your HVAC repair, maintenance, or new installation will go on with no unusual activity. Contact us now!

5 Nest Thermostat Features That Will Make Your Life Easier

Here at Brody Pennell, we are big fans of the connected home trend in Los Angeles. SoCal homeowners with smart homes benefit from time-saving automations, energy conservation, and peace of mind with complete monitoring and control of their home right from their smartphone. In this blog, we wanted to zero in on the benefits of the Nest Thermostat. 

You might wonder, “is a Nest Thermostat really any better than a programmable thermostat?” Short answer: yes. A 2015 study of homeowners revealed that 40% of programmable thermostat owners didn’t use the programmable features at all, while another 33% of homeowners had the features enabled but used override functions which eliminate the benefit of programming. With most homeowners not using their existing thermostat properly, a Nest Thermostat can make a big difference by automating some decision-making. 

Here are five more features of the Nest Thermostat that may sway your decision:

Save Energy and Money with a Smart Home

This one’s simple: conserving energy is good for the environment. But using less energy also translates to lower energy bills. That’s something to get excited about! 

The Nest Thermostat helps reduce energy usage through several features. One such feature is the Eco Temperature setting, which can detect if you and your family members are inside the home or not. If the Nest Thermostat determines no one is home, it will automatically change the temperature settings to conserve energy. 

Monitor Performance of all Nest Products

These days we can monitor many data in our life. We receive notifications from email, social media, and updates on our favorite sports teams. When you have any of the Google Nest products installed in your home, you’ll receive the Nest Home Report in your email each month. The report summarizes energy usage, safety events, and more. 

Control Nest Thermostat Remotely

Perhaps the best feature of the Nest Thermostat is that you can control temperature remotely. 

Simply log in to the Nest app on your smartphone and adjust the temperature. Imagine sitting in the airport about to leave for vacation and realizing you forgot to set your temperatures back. That’s a lot of energy wasted on an empty house! Now you can adjust your home’s temperature from anywhere with Nest.  

Nest Thermostats Light Up When You Approach

Have you ever tiptoed late at night to adjust your thermostat, only to realize you can’t see it? When you enter a room to check a Nest thermostat, the display automatically lights up. Now you can easily view the current temperature, time and weather, no matter the lighting conditions in the space. This is one of those small design touches that makes a big difference in your daily life!

Integrates with Google Home and Nest Hub

A smart speaker is another fun addition to any Los Angeles connected home. Here at Brody Pennell, you might overhear us saying “Okay Google, play The Eagles.” Still, smart speakers can do so much more than play music. You can connect your Google Home or Nest Hub devices. That means if you’re feeling warm you can just say, “Okay Google, lower the temperature by 2 degrees.” It’s your home… but connected! 

Brody Pennell is a Nest Elite Pro

Brody Pennell has been trained and certified as a Nest Elite Pro. That means our team has completed rigorous training on the installation and configuration of Google Nest connected home products. We can help install the Nest Thermostat, the Google Nest camera products, Nest Security products, the Google Hub, and even the Google Nest Doorbell. Trust a trained professional to get your smart home all set up so you can enjoy the benefits with no frustration. Call us today for more information!

How to Know If Your Thermostat Is Broken

Your thermostat is your direct line of communication to your air conditioning system. If it’s working properly, it will tell you everything you need to know about what your equipment is doing and even if there’s a problem with your AC system in your Los Angeles home. Unfortunately, sometimes the thermostat will malfunction. Here’s how to tell if the problem is the thermostat… or something else.

What To Look For If You Think Your Thermostat is Broken

When our customers call with thermostat issues, there are two main scenarios: the thermostat is blank and completely unresponsive, or it’s thermostat is acting abnormally. 

Is your thermostat display blank? Don’t be too quick to assume it’s broken. First, try pressing a button to see if your thermostat was simply conserving power and in sleep mode. 

If the display still appears to be off after pressing some buttons, make sure that there are no problems with power. Even if lights and plugs in the same hallway as the thermostat are working, that is not enough to verify that power isn’t the culprit. It is common for thermostats to get their power from the main air conditioning unit. So if your AC doesn’t have power, your thermostat won’t either. Check your electrical breaker box for any tripped fuses and reset them. If your thermostat comes back on, then there are likely no other issues. 

Is the thermostat is blinking, flashing, or displaying an error code? It’s possible that the thermostat is operating correctly and notifying you of an issue with the system. One common thermostat alert is a dirty filter that needs replacing. These notifications might have an unfamiliar icon, but a quick check of the thermostat’s owner’s manual can help you verify.

More sophisticated thermostats may even notify you it’s time to schedule annual or other regular maintenance on your unit. In these cases the thermostat is the opposite of broken, it’s helping make sure you stay comfortable moving forward! 

If you’re still not sure and cannot clear any messages or alerts, homeowners in Los Angeles are always welcome to call our team. We’re happy to help troubleshoot over the phone. 

My Thermostat Is Showing the Wrong Temperature

Many homeowners call us with concerns about the thermostat displaying the wrong temperature. This doesn’t always mean your thermostat is broken. An incorrect value on the thermostat could be one of many problems: 

  • The thermostat could be displaying the temperature setpoint and not the current temperature of the space.
  • If the rest of your home feels hot but the temperature on the thermostat shows that it’s normal, it could be the result of where it’s located in the home. Most homes only have one temperature sensor in their home: right at the thermostat. If you have hot spots, that’s something we have a lot of experience in troubleshooting.
  • If your temperature setting keeps changing, that could be a result of automatic programming or a temperature schedule. 
  • If you have verified all the thermostat settings are correct but your AC still isn’t working as expected, it could be a communication issue between the two devices. In this case, it’s best to call in a professional to diagnose where the problem lies exactly.

Brody Pennell Can Help With Thermostat Repair and Replacement

If you’re confident that the problem is a broken thermostat, it may be time for a new one. There are a lot of replacement thermostat options available today, including connected smart thermostats and traditional simpler devices. 
Our team of knowledgeable, NATE-certified technicians can help diagnose your thermostat problem and give you our honest opinion about repair or replacement. We know the needs of Los Angeles homeowners are unique, and we will recommend the best solution for you. No matter what you choose, the most important thing is staying comfortable in the LA heat. A thermostat problem could be an indicator of a larger issue, so if you are unable to resolve the problem on your own, be sure to call Brody Pennell right away!

Prepare Your AC For Hibernation

Many of the appliances in your home work for you year-round. Dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators operate 365 days a year. Your air conditioner is a little unique, because it only works for a few months of the year, then sits dormant for several months while no cooling is needed. In this article, we’ll talk about how to best prepare your AC for the winter months so that when it’s time for cooling again, your system is ready to go. 

How to Prep Your Air Conditioner for Winter

Here in Los Angeles, the winter months are pretty mild. So, some of the advice you may find on the web are simply not applicable to Southern California. We don’t have to worry about protecting air conditioners from snow or sub-zero temperatures. For this reason, we don’t recommend that you cover your HVAC unit with a tarp or covering. It’s simply unnecessary, and will cause problems if you turn on your AC without remembering to remove the cover!

The best thing you can do for your air conditioner before the winter months is to give it a good cleaning. Cleaning your outdoor unit is a good preventive maintenance measure. Before starting, disconnect power to the AC unit. You can usually do this via your circuit breaker box. Then, use a broom to sweep off any twigs, leaves, debris, or anything else that may have collected on or around the AC. Use a hose to wash off dirt or dust which has accumulated.

Also, don’t forget about what’s inside! Make sure to change your filters at least quarterly, even during winter months. Replace filters more often if you have family members which are elderly or with allergies, or if you have pets. Another reason to replace filters frequently is due to wildfires or other air quality problems. A clean filter is not just good for healthy air, it also helps your AC move airflow more freely throughout the system. This improves energy efficiency and performance year-round.

Schedule Maintenance in the Spring for your AC

Homeowners should have a reputable HVAC contractor perform seasonal maintenance on all heating and cooling units in your home. We recommend maintenance just before you expect your system to turn back on for regular operation.That means you should schedule heater maintenance in the fall, and air conditioner maintenance in the spring. 

A licensed professional will inspect your complete home comfort system, preparing it for the months ahead. During AC maintenance, our technicians complete a 26-point air conditioner checklist. Tuneups keep your AC running smoothly. And don’t forget, regular maintenance is required to maintain your equipment warranty. 

In our 75+ years of experience serving the Los Angeles market, we’ve found that many homeowners don’t have time to remember to schedule maintenance. That’s why we started the Brody Comfort Club – a convenient, time-saving preventative maintenance program. Members get automatic scheduling of tune ups, priority service, and professional service from our award-winning team. It’s the easiest way to make certain all your HVAC needs are covered.

Here For You. Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

We’ve been serving this area since 1945. There is no other HVAC contractor in Los Angeles that can say that! We’ve stayed open for 75+ years for a reason: “old school” customer service, fully-trained technicians, and 100% satisfaction guaranteed. If you have any questions at all about your HVAC system, don’t call anyone else but Brody Pennell!

How to Protect Your Indoor Air Quality During Wildfire Season

A thick layer of smoke coating the Los Angeles skyline is a sure sign that wildfires are active. Longtime LA residents know that preparing for a wildfire can put your mind at ease and keep your family safe. When the outdoor air quality becomes very poor, local officials may advise residents to stay indoors. That might make you wonder: is the indoor air quality (IAQ) any better than the outside air quality during a wildfire? 

In this blog, we’ll explain more about indoor air quality specifically as it relates to outdoor smoke and wildfires in California. 

Is Indoor Air Any Better than Outdoor Air During a Wildfire?

The reason that officials advise homeowners to stay inside during a wildfire is because most homes in Los Angeles do not have any openings to the outdoors. That means the air inside your home is recirculating continuously.

If you have air conditioning, the fan inside your AC does all the work. The blower pulls indoor air across an air filter and a cooling coil before pushing that refreshingly cold air to your living spaces. 

This recirculation process has both advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, your home is mostly sealed off from the outdoors. So during a wildfire, your indoor air quality can be better than outside. Here’s the downside: since the air is recirculating, any addition of pollutants to the air will stick around for a while.

So, indoors is definitely better than outdoors during a wildfire. But since you are relying on your home’s air to be clean and healthy to breathe, it’s important to protect – and even improve – your home’s indoor air quality. 

What Can I Do to Improve IAQ During a Wildfire

Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do that will make a big difference during California’s wildfire season: 

  • Check Door and Window Seals – Remember how we said your home is mostly sealed off from the outside? One way that smokey air can make its way into your home is through small cracks and openings. Door stripping and window sealing break down over time, creating holes that allow air inside. A quick trip to the home improvement store to seal air leaks can repair most of these issues. And perhaps it goes without saying: keeping windows and doors closed during a wildfire is paramount. Only open windows and doors if it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Upgrade and Replace Your Air Filter – We normally recommend replacing an air filter every 3-4 months, but if wildfires are rampant, replace them monthly. And don’t be fooled by the color of the air filter – replace air filters before they discolor. Upgrade to the highest efficiency filter your unit can accept, remembering that a filter which is too high of efficiency can cause performance issues for your air conditioner and furnace. If you’re not sure what type of filter is suitable for your HVAC system, call us!
  • In-Duct Air Purifiers are the Real Deal – During the COVID-19 pandemic, room air purifiers grew in popularity. If you own an air purifier, make sure you have it at the ready. But if you’re in the market for one, or if you’re looking to upgrade your air purification game, we strongly recommend a whole-home air purifier. We install these air purification devices inside the ductwork of your HVAC system. This way, as air recirculates through your system it passes through the air purifier – treating every molecule of air inside your home. The Carrier Infinity Air Purifier is the best solution to treat the air in your home and eliminate many pollutants from smoke, to pollen, even to the coronavirus. 

One other recommendation: take care not to generate any new pollutants that dirty up your indoor air. Things like burning candles, spraying room scents, cooking greasy food, and even vacuuming introduce more particulate matter into the air. 

Brody Pennell Can Help Prepare Your Home for Wildfire Season

The IAQ experts at Brody Pennell can offer solutions to improve the health of your home to prepare for the wildfires. We have been serving the LA area for over 75 years, so we know a thing or two about how wildfires impact indoor air quality. Families here trust us because we invest in training our team on the latest industry technology and best practices, which is why we have a sparkling reputation. If you’re ready to get started on your IAQ project, call us at (310) 896-4911.

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Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning has provided Los Angeles with award-winning HVAC service. Our team can service, repair, and install any brand heating and air conditioning system. We are here for you!

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