Here’s why indoor air quality matters here in Buffalo homes

It’s school and college graduation season, as well as the start of summer. While you’re planning a summer vacation to get out of the house for some fresh air, you really should take some time to think about how to bring more of that freshness back into your home. Here’s why indoor air quality matters.

In this blog, we’ll make the case for scheduling an indoor air quality test from our team here at Reimer. By improving your indoor air quality, you can live more comfortably, lower the impact of allergies, and spend the summer healthier.

To schedule your IAQ test, contact us today, or call us at (716) 694-8524.

Here's why your indoor air quality matters.

You probably already know what outdoor air does to your allergies. However, if you have poor indoor air quality, you’ll probably be feeling the effects indoors, too.

Poor air quality can aggravate your allergies

Springtime here in Buffalo is bad enough for your allergies without poor indoor air quality playing a role. However, trapped pollen, dust, and other contaminants in your home’s air can easily bring the misery of your allergies inside.

This is just one of the reasons that the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America notes that indoor air quality is just as important as outdoor air quality. Dust mites, mold spores, pet hair, and more can trigger an allergic reaction for homeowners.

If you’ve been sneezing, coughing, or experiencing headaches in your home, it might be a good time to call Reimer and schedule an indoor air quality test.

It can make you and your family sick

Beyond just allergies, poor indoor air can actually make you sick. Here’s why: trapped indoor air is a safe haven for airborne viruses and bacteria. Have you ever had an illness that impacted every family member, turn-by-turn? That’s probably because of their close proximity to one another in a closed space, with stale air filled with viruses and bacteria.

The team here at Reimer can install advanced air purification equipment in your home to help clean and purify your air. For example, we have UV purification equipment that kills airborne bacteria and viruses.

In fact, a UV device is on CNN’s list of some of the best ways to eliminate the flu virus in your home.

Bad air often smells bad

This might seem secondary to the other concerns, but it does matter. Poor indoor air quality and circulation issues mean that all sorts of bad odors are trapped in your home, just stewing.

From pet and body odors to dust and dirt and to, well, everything you’ve cooked in the last month, your house can start to smell pretty bad.

When you schedule your indoor air quality test this spring, be sure to ask your Reimer tech to assess the source of various odors in the air.

Adjust your humidity to be more comfortable

Indoor air quality isn’t just about what’s in your air. If your home’s air has been too dry or too humid, it’s time to have Reimer help adjust your humidity to a comfortable level.

In the summers, humidity tends to spike. This makes your home feel warmer, meaning that you have to use more air conditioning to keep cool. In the winter, the opposite effect happens, and you need to add humidity to make your home comfortable again.

Reimer has a wide variety of home humidification and dehumidification solutions. If your home has been uncomfortable so far this summer, give us a call to schedule an indoor air quality test.

Call Reimer for your IAQ test!

Reimer Home Services is your expert indoor air quality team here in Buffalo and Western New York. Schedule your IAQ test today by contacting us online or calling (716) 694-8524.

5 signs something is wrong with your furnace heat exchanger

Winter is right around the corner. Here in Buffalo and Western New York, your home is relying on your furnace to keep it comfortable and safe. In turn, your furnace relies on its furnace heat exchanger. Any problems there, and you’re not just without heat—you could actually be in danger!

What is the furnace heat exchanger, exactly?

The heat exchanger is the part of the furnace that separates breathable air and the combustion chamber from one another. The exchanger is made from a thin metal that allows it to transfer heat throughout the house. If it is damaged, the gases and the fumes from the combustion process mix with the clean air. Not good!

What are the signs of problems with the furnace heat exchanger?

Here are five signs that you need to call Reimer for furnace repair here in Buffalo:

furnace heat exchanger

Sign #1: You see soot

If the furnace has a soot buildup inside of it, then chances are that the heat exchange is damaged. This is a sign that the burner is not burning properly and needs to be fixed. The cause can be anything from tilted burners to cracks in the heat exchange itself.

Sign #2: You see cracks or damage

If other parts of the furnace show wear-and-tear, chances are the internal components have similar damages. Cracks due to machine stress are not uncommon and are actually inevitable over time.

Rapidly heating and cooling metal causes expansion and contraction, which causes damage to metal over time. The heat exchanger can also corrode with time due to constant exposure to the fumes and chloride.

When you spot these cracks or damage, call Reimer immediately for 24/7 emergency repair.

Sign #3: You see a change in the flames

A fully functional gas furnace should generate a steady blue flame. If the flame seems yellowish in color or erratic, the heat exchanger may be damaged or the burner may be grungy. If the flame leans to one side once the fan is turned on, chances are you have a cracked exchanger on your hands.

Sign #4: You see discoloration and buildup

If the heat exchanger develops cracks, the metal will get discolored with the soot that builds up on it. The cracks will allow that deposit through, making the heat exchanger appear “sooty,” as discussed in the section above. The site of the crack should have a buildup as well, or there might be spots that are darker than the rest of the metal.

Sign #5: You detect carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide can be a byproduct of the combustion process in your furnace. It’s a colorless, odorless gas that can be fatal. This is why it’s important to address furnace heat exchanger problems before they turn into a major danger to your family and house.

In addition to keeping an eye on your furnace for signs #1-4, you should have a functioning carbon monoxide detector. If you suspect there’s a leak, evacuate and then call the fire department and Reimer for HVAC repair.

Contact Reimer for 24/7 emergency furnace heat exchanger repair

If you’ve been noticing that your furnace heat exchanger is exhibiting any of the five signs above, it’s time to call Reimer for 24/7 emergency furnace repair in Buffalo and Western New York. Our technicians will inspect your furnace and make sure it’s safe to use this winter. If not, we’ll address your repair needs.

To contact Reimer for service, give us a call at (716) 694-8524 or contact us online. And remember: dealing with your furnace heat exchanger sooner than later can save your furnace and keep your home heated and comfortable.

Here are 7 reasons why your air conditioner isn’t working as well as it could be (and what to do!)

It’s summer. The last thing you want when the temperatures outside are rising is to be wondering why your air conditioner isn’t working.

Pictured: Call out Reimer techs to help diagnose why your air conditioner isn't working this summer.

Pictured: Call out Reimer techs to help diagnose why your air conditioner isn’t working this summer.

An air conditioner can fail to properly cool the room for a number of reasons. In this blog, we’ll review 7 of the most common reasons that your air conditioner isn’t working and is unable to cool your home. If you’re experiencing AC problems, call Reimer this summer for AC repair.

Here’s 7 reasons your air conditioner isn’t working

1. Dirty condenser coils

It’s possible that your air conditioner’s condenser coils are loaded with dirt or other debris, preventing the air conditioner from cooling your home effectively. Here’s why: your condenser coils are responsible for dissipating heat outside during the cooling process. The less effectively they can do that, the less cool your home will be.

Best case, your air conditioner can still get your home down to the right temperature, but has to expend more energy to do so, costing you more money on your energy bills. Worst case, dirty coils can cause the system to overheat and shut down entirely, leaving you and your home without cooling.

One good way to ensure that your condenser coils are clean ahead of summer is by scheduling an AC tune-up in the spring. When a certified, experienced technician looks over your system, they’ll clean the coils and ensure they’re at max heat dissipation.

 2. Coolant problems

Coolant is quite literally the lifeblood of your air conditioner. Your air conditioner’s coolant moves heat energy out of your home and puts it outside, thereby cooling your home’s interior.

The coolant exists in a closed-loop system, both because of its toxicity and because that’s what drives energy-efficient cooling. In theory, free from evaporation or any means to escape, your AC’s coolant should last for the life of the unit.

That’s theory. In practice, however, coolant can leak, especially if the lines feeding it to the outdoor evaporator are worn or damaged. Such a coolant leak needs to be dealt with immediately; keep pets and children away and call in your local HVAC technicians.

Even beyond the toxicity of coolant, insufficient coolant means less heat energy is being transferred out of your home. Let’s return to that blood analogy: the blood in your body transports oxygen and removes carbon dioxide. If you were steadily losing blood, that process would be slowed or stopped altogether, causing serious problems.

Whether you suspect a coolant leak or insufficient coolant, call in a professional from Reimer to diagnose the problem. If low coolant is the issue, they’ll refill the coolant as required.

3. Clogged air filter

This is a very common reason that air conditioners work harder than they should and eventually break down. However, unlike every other item on this list, it’s the one that most homeowners have the power to do something about.

Your air conditioner can produce all the cooling it wants. If it can’t get that air to your home because the air filter is clogged up with dirt, dust, or other debris, your home isn’t going to cool down. This starts a vicious cycle, as your air conditioner continues to ramp up the cooling, which isn’t getting to the thermostat.

If you’re able, locate your air filter. Some air filters are reusable, and made to be cleaned. If so, make a plan to clean it at least once per-month in the summer. We recommend vacuuming it and then spraying it down with a hose to remove baked-in dust and dirt. If your air filter is not reusable, make sure you make a trip to the hardware store to grab a new one on a regular basis.

If you have questions about your home’s air filters, or want an opinion on the airflow in your home, call Reimer. Our techs are true cooling experts who are eager to help you with your home’s needs.

(Again, this is a good time to remind you that a spring tune-up can make a big difference for your air filters and your system as a whole!)

4. A defective thermostat

Most AC problems have to do with a lack of maintenance or a fault within the system. In some cases, however, the issue can be that the thermostat is sending the wrong temperature readings to the air conditioner. This manifests in two ways:

  • The thermostat tells your air conditioner that the home is cold enough, when it’s really not. The air conditioner doesn’t turn on or respond to you lowering the temperature, leaving your home hot.
  • The thermostat tells your air conditioner that the home is hot, when really it’s at temperature. The air conditioner runs endlessly and is constantly starting and stopping in an attempt to lower the temperature.

If you suspect that your thermostat is non-responsive, or that there’s a problem with the connection of your air conditioner and your thermostat, you need to call in the experts to take a look. By the way, thermostat functionality is something that your Reimer tech will examine during your AC tune-up in the spring, if you schedule one.

5. A faulty compressor

Another reason that the air conditioner does not properly cool the room is due to a defect in the compressor. The compressor is the main cooling unit of the air conditioner. It is simply a motor that compresses the coolant and circulates it through the condenser coils and the evaporator. If the compressor becomes faulty, the air conditioner will not be able to cool the room.

6. Very high temperatures

It’s a general rule of thumb that air conditioners can only realistically cool your home about 20-30 degrees. Yes, they can often stretch beyond that, but at some point, you’re running your air conditioner inefficiently and not sufficiently removing humidity.

Here in Buffalo and Western New York, we don’t typically encounter the type of summer highs seen in the South or West. That being said, when a heat wave rolls into town, your AC may struggle to get down to 65 degrees like it does on days where it’s 75 out.

This isn’t something that necessarily requires repair, but if you do want a technician to take a look at your thermostat and adjust for higher summer temperatures, give us a call.

7. An undersized (or oversized) air conditioner

Of all the items on this list, this is the one that you really can’t do much about once the air conditioner is installed. An air conditioner that’s too big (or too small) will just run inefficiently (“Bigger is better” is actually a common AC myth). Here’s why:

  • A too-small AC unit will have to run constantly to keep up with the space you’re asking it to cool. It might seem like your air conditioner isn’t working at all, just because it’s losing a battle it can’t compete in.
  • A too-big AC unit will have trouble running smoothly. Instead, after turning on, it will run, quickly reduce the temperature, and then shut off. Then, it will have to repeat that process. That constant starting and stopping, over time, causes not just wear-and-tear on the system, but reduces your home’s energy-efficiency.

(Size is just one of the things you should consider when buying a new AC system)

This is why it’s so important that you have a professional HVAC technician meet with you and provide you with a list of air conditioners that are right for your home and your cooling needs. Finding that “Goldilocks” air conditioner is easy here in Buffalo: just give Reimer a call for a free in-home estimate. We’re air conditioning installation experts.

Call Reimer for help diagnosing why your air conditioner isn’t working

Now that you known the 7 deadly sins of air conditioners, you can better diagnose why your air conditioner isn’t working on the hottest days of summer—and decide when you need to quickly diagnose problems and determine when you need a professional to look at your system. Here in Buffalo and Western New York, we’re those professionals!

Contact Reimer when you need AC repair this summer.

Indoor air quality testing from Reimer

The air you breathe matters, no matter where you are. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why indoor air quality testing is so important to your family’s health, and what it might find in your home’s air.

Invisible, but important

When your air conditioner stops working in the summer, you’ll know it because your home will get hot. When your furnace stops working in the winter, you’ll know it because your home will get cold. However, when your home’s air ducts begin transporting air filled with dust, pollutants, bacteria, and who knows what else, how will you know? It’s possible for your home’s heating and cooling systems to be working just fine, yet the indoor air quality in your home is suffering.

Air Duct Cleaning Can Also Help | Indoor Air Quality Testing

Cleaning your air ducts is one of the most common recommendations from indoor air quality testing.

The good news is that the team at Reimer Heating, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing can help you identify potential problems with indoor air quality testing. This professional assessment of your home’s state will find any major red flags and let you know what’s coming in from the outside. Our report doesn’t just show you what’s wrong and then leave: instead, we take the time to review multiple mitigation strategies for correcting issues, so that your home’s air is clean and good to breathe in. Keep reading to learn more about indoor air quality and what we look for when testing.

Why should you get indoor air quality testing?

Indoor air quality matters. On a daily basis, you likely spend more time in your home than anywhere else: after all, think about all the hours you spend sleeping there alone. That’s a lot of breathing. Now, imagine that your place of work also has questionable indoor air quality. You’re lungs are taking in a lot of bad air.

If your home’s air is full of dust and allergens and you’re sensitive to allergies, you’re going to be a coughing, sneezing, water-running mess in the one place where you should expect some relief. If your home’s air ducts are spewing out bacteria and viruses, your chances of getting sick go up significantly.

This isn’t superstition. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a number of other organizations agree that poor indoor air quality is, at best, a nuisance to your comfort, aggravating allergies and causing more sneezing. At worst, as in the case of radon infiltration (more on that later), it can pose a significant risk to you and your family’s health. Indoor air quality testing is the only way to be sure the air you’re breathing is healthy and free of harmful material.

Ok, what’s in my home’s air?

While each home may have different particulate matter, here are some of the things our indoor air quality test specifically looks for:

  • Allergens: These include pollen, pet dander, and far more. If your eyes are watering and your nose is running with no other signs of sickness, allergens may be to blame. You can probably expect your symptoms to spike when you walk outside, but if you’re miserable indoors, too, it might be a sign that your air filter is insufficiently filtering out particulates. Don’t just treat this with allergy-suppressant medication. Instead, consider indoor air quality testing to tackle the problem at its source.
  • Pollutants: Like allergens, you’d expect to find these outside. Produced by automobile exhaust and industrial smog, this form of pollution can get into your home and linger there. The impact of pollutants may be greater if you haven’t taken any mitigation steps.
  • Bacteria and Viruses: Floating on the wind, airborne illnesses can be carried into your home through your HVAC system and your ductwork, where they can infect you and your family. Instead of taking sick days, consider having Reimer test for airborne contaminants and installing a solution, such as a device that exposes incoming air to cleansing UV rays.

It’s also possible that your air conditioner is to blame for some of the poor-quality air coming into your home, especially is entrances to the ducts are dusty or there’s been a build-up of dirt and grime. Learn more about air conditioning maintenance from Reimer.

What is radon?

Deep within the earth, uranium is very, very slowly decaying—some variations of this element have a half-life of 4.5 billion years. As the uranium decays, some of it turns into a radioactive gas. This gas, the element radon, moves up through the earth into the atmosphere. However, it can often become trapped in sources of groundwater and in homes, where it presents a potential danger to humans and other living things.

The surface of the earth is home to radon, and chances are that you’re breathing a very small amount of it in right now. In this way, radon is present in every home or building and is considered a form of background radiation. However, when the amount of radon jumps from that baseline to an elevated level, it becomes a threat. Highly radioactive, radon attaches itself to dust particles and is readily breathed in by living things, where it can cause cancers to form in the human body. In fact, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, behind smoking.

Increased radon exposure varies by geographical area and can impact any type of home, ranging from a new home to an older one. However, homes with tight crawlspaces or basements may be especially vulnerable, as they present areas where radon can become trapped and concentrate without much capacity to be released.

Reimer offers radon testing as a part of our indoor air quality tests, and our technicians are qualified to advise you on mitigation methods for removing radon buildup. Give us a call to learn more about this, or check out the EPA’s guide to radon exposure. It’s not a bad idea to get your home checked, just for the peace of mind factor alone.

How can I schedule indoor air quality testing?

Give Reimer a call. Our team can help you determine what’s in your home’s air, and provide you with advice and solutions for removing pollutants, allergens, and other, more serious hazards. Contact us today to learn more!