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Filtered Water for Your Home: An Underrated Necessity

Posted on March 15th, 2017 by ChristainSon_Admin

Water is one of the fundamental building blocks of life. Our bodies are comprised of seventy percent water, and our brains around ninety percent; our cells, our blood—everything about us that makes us human—is built on the basis of water, and we need a regular supply to keep functioning.

In human prehistory, access to drinkable water was the determining factor for migratory movements and the foundation of civilization, while control Filtered Water for Your Home - An Underrated Necessityof water sources has been the catalyst for innumerable wars and conflicts. It’s important, and any doctor will tell you that hydration is crucial to maintaining overall good health and well-being.

Millions of Americans go about their daily lives in a state of chronic dehydration, suffering the physical consequences of not drinking enough water without even realizing that there’s a problem.

Symptoms of chronic dehydration impact everyone differently and can include headaches, sluggishness, poor digestion, and high cholesterol, as well as long-term effects like weight gain, premature aging, and increased risk of autoimmune diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis.

Many of us learn to function through chronic dehydration, often reaching for chemical remedies like painkillers and concentration aids to help us power through when all we really need is to drink more water.

Like everything else, we have choices when it comes to our drinking water, and where there are choices there will inevitably be confusion. Many bottled waters vie for our attention in advertising copy, “healthy” fads like alkaline and distilled water tout themselves as cure-alls for common ailments, and, of course, the taps in our homes provide easy, unlimited access to the municipal water supply.

However, according to numerous studies and medical investigations, the water we reach for by default may often be harmful to our health in ways we don’t think about.

Filtered water has often been demonstrated to be the safest long-term choice, but countertop and faucet-mounted carbon filters are laborious to maintain and, depending on the method and brand, may not actually be as helpful as they claim in keeping your water free of contaminants.

A certified plumbing and AC contractor can install a filter at your home’s source, and, while it may seem unnecessary at first glance due to the ubiquity of available water options, a Reverse Osmosis system filtering your whole house’s water supply can save you thousands in medical concerns later on.

 

Tap Water: A Dangerous Default

There’s nothing easier than turning a tap and, when we need a quick glass of water, that’s often where we reach. We also tend to use regular tap water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing; the water that comes out of your shower is the same water that comes out of the sink, after all. Tap water is the go-to for untold millions of Americans, and some people even have a dismissive attitude about it like: “I don’t need fancy water; tap is fine for me.”

While they’re right in asserting that “fancy water” is mostly just snake oil marketing, the tap water you drink on a daily basis can contain all sorts of contaminants that you’d otherwise never consider putting in your body.

If you heard, for example, that a certain restaurant’s food contained unsafe levels of arsenic or chemical runoff from landfills, you’d probably never eat Tap Water Maybe Dangerous to Your Healththere again. The fact is, these poisons, and more, are often present in the municipal water supply and are piped straight into your home via the taps; any plumbing and AC installer worth their salt can tell you about the various chemicals and additives necessary to keep public water from turning poisonous, but these chemicals themselves often present a risk in their own right.

Chlorine, for example, is often used to disinfect public drinking water. It’s great for it; that’s why we use it to kill all the bacteria that would turn our swimming pools into murky swamps if left unchecked.

However, think about how your skin feels when you get out of a chlorinated swimming pool—dry, itchy, sapped of all moisture. Now think about what high levels of chlorine in the drinking water would do to your insides. Even small amounts, consumed daily over long periods of time, put us at risk: According to the U.S. Council of Environmental Quality, “Cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine.”

Many Americans’ drinking water also contains aluminum, which is useful for ridding water of disease-causing microorganisms. Yet, aluminum itself can cause massive health problems including liver disease, gastrointestinal distress, skin problems, and Parkinson’s disease. Long-term exposure has also been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in adults and learning disabilities in children. It’s not good for our bodies, but it’s right there in our drinking water.

Add in the additional exposure from cooking and showering, and the numbers only get worse. This is why having an affordable plumbing service install a reverse osmosis water filter for your home’s incoming water supply is the best way to keep you and your family safe; it’s better, in the long run, to know that any water sourced from your home is safe and clean, rather than having to worry about long-term risks.

 

Bottled Water: Expensive in More Ways Than One

Everyone knows, to some extent, that bottled water is a bit of a scam. After all, we’re essentially paying for serving-sized portions of a free commodity, when, with a little preparation, we could easily use refillable containers from home.

Tap water is dangerous, though, and many bottled water companies play up the “fact” that their products are clean, pure, and bottled at the “source.” Why even bother consulting with a plumbing filtration and AC installation specialist when you can just grab a 24-pack of bottled water and keep it in the trunk?

Many people, in a misguided attempt at health consciousness, try to exclusively drink bottled water. It makes a kind of sense when you think about it, especially if bottling companies’ claims of purity and filtration were true.

The fact of the matter is that up to forty percent of bottled water is literally the same as stuff as tap water, acquired from the same sources and bottled for convenience and profit. Independent testing has shown that bottled water contains hidden contaminants and pollutants just like tap water because it’s the same exact thing.

Bottled water also comes with the added detriment of being packaged in plastic, which might be inexpensive for bottled water producers but, ultimately, presents huge health concerns. Most plastic bottles contain a chemical compound called BPA, which functions as a synthetic hormone disruptor.

When plastic bottles are exposed to heat or direct sunlight, BPA can leach into the water within and even further contaminate your drinking supply; anyone who’s ever worked in shipping or warehouse management can tell you how hot it gets in the back of semi-trucks, and how long pallets can sometimes sit in direct sunlight on loading bays before being received and sorted.

Most of the chemicals and carcinogens in tap and bottled water are trace amounts, which don’t cause harm any immediate harm with minimal exposure. Yet think about how much water you need every day to stay healthy—common practice says eight glasses, as a rule, while some specialists suggest halving your body weight and drinking at least that many ounces throughout the course of your day.

All that water adds up, and exclusively drinking tap or bottled water will create a buildup of toxins and impurities in your body over time that increases your risk for cancer, coronary disease, and many other ailments.

Reverse Osmosis Filtration: Peace of Mind Pays for Itself

Most people would give anything for a guarantee of long-term health and wellbeing. After all, we spend so much time and money on fitness programs, diet plans, cleanses, and various skin and hair treatments in an attempt to stave off the advance of time and keep ourselves at peak performance.

The reality and irony of the situation are that having access to legitimately clean water and drinking enough of it on a daily basis is the best way to achieve these ends.

We simply don’t drink enough water, and, as illustrated above, the water we do drink, more often than not, contains impurities that threaten our longevity and well-being in the long term. The process of reverse osmosis filtration works to remove impurities from the freely provided water that’s tapped into our homes and represents an affordable plumbing solution that will work to keep you healthy, happy, and worry-free when it comes to staying hydrated.


Your Indoor Air May Be More Polluted Than Outside: Here’s What to Do About It

Posted on March 1st, 2017 by ChristainSon_Admin

When we hear the word “pollution,” most of us tend to picture smoggy metropolitan cities like Los Angeles and Delhi, India. For the most part, we Your Indoor Air May Be More Polluted Than Outsidetend to expect that the air in our homes is safer for us to breathe than the exhaust and pollen-filled air outdoors. In recent years, however, scientific data reported by the Environmental Protection Agency has begun to show that the air inside homes, offices, and other buildings can actually be more heavily polluted than the air outside.

While this is a hot topic among A/C companies, homeowners often rarely think about the quality of their indoor air. Though some are meticulous about HVAC upkeep, many are not, potentially leading to poor air quality, higher energy bills, and increased system stress.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the ways in which indoor air quality can affect health and HVAC functioning, as well as methods recommended by air conditioner companies to improve indoor air quality and properly maintain an efficient air conditioning system.

 

Why Does Indoor Air Need to Be Clean?

The most obvious reason indoor air quality matters is because the human body needs to be able to breathe properly. When the air in an area is full of pollutants like smoke, dust, mold, or bacteria, it creates discomfort and puts those breathing the polluted air at risk of various health concerns.

Upon immediate exposure to such pollutants, a person can experience symptoms like eye, nose and throat irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and/or Why Does Indoor Air Need to Be Cleanheadaches. If exposed to them for years, a person can develop debilitating conditions like respiratory disease, heart disease, or even cancer.

As anyone living in central Texas knows, allergens are another example of why the quality of indoor air is such a major concern. If you, a family member, or other regular guest suffers from allergies, the purity of your home’s air is of the utmost importance. Not only can allergies cause frustrating and uncomfortable symptoms, but in some seriously affected individuals, an allergic reaction can become an emergency.

While most pollutants are small enough to go relatively unnoticed, some pollutants are less difficult to ignore. Smoke and tar from years of indoor smoking, for example, can create a pervasive, unpleasant odor throughout every room where the air is circulated regardless of whether a smoker was present in that room. Similarly, the tar can actually deposit itself on various surfaces which eventually turn light-colored walls and objects into unsightly yellow.

Whatever the pollutants and their effects, these mostly invisible particles can wreak havoc on our homes and physical systems. Just as we tend to be concerned about the effects of outdoor pollution on the environment and wildlife, it’s important that we also consider the effects of indoor pollution on ourselves, our families, and our coworkers.

 

How Air Filters Help You Maintain Clean Indoor Air

One of the most important elements of a building’s HVAC system is the air filter. All of the air that flows through your home goes through this filter at a rate of approximately two times per hour. As this air passes through, the filter catches any particulate or microscopic pollutants that might otherwise be circulated throughout the rooms (though the percentage of pollutants a filter is able to capture can vary, as we’ll discuss shortly).

A clean air filter also keeps the entire HVAC system from becoming dirty, clogged, and ultimately overworked. In fact, a dirty filter is a main cause of How Air Filters Help You Maintain Clean Indoor AirHVAC failure, and providing a clean air filter is the best way to maintain your system’s overall efficiency. Because you spend a large portion of your monthly energy expenses on your home’s HVAC, keeping the system running at optimal efficiency means more money in your bank account and can save you from a more costly home air conditioning replacement.

Different types of HVAC systems will require different sizes and types of air filters, depending on their hardware, home size, and other details. The easiest way to determine the size of filter required is to check the air return for an existing filter and read the dimensions from the edge of the filter itself. If there is no filter present, simply measure the width, length, and depth of the space so that the filter you purchase has an ideal, snug fit.

In general, homeowners use air filters containing synthetic fibers that physically capture the pollutants in the air that passes through. These filters are generally ranked for effectiveness in terms of their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value—or MERV—rating. The higher the MERV rating, the less often the filter will need to be replaced.

Air filters come in a variety of types:

  • Flat-panel fiberglass filters: the least expensive, but more geared toward HVAC system protection than to actual air quality. Generally removes less than 10% of pollutants.
  • Pleated air filters: a step up, removing approximately 45% of pollutants at a cost of approximately $10 per filter.
  • High-efficiency air filters: a highly practical option, capable of removing as much as 85% of pollutants from indoor air.
  • High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters: the highest quality, able to remove up to 98% of air pollutants. Can only be used with stand-alone air purifiers or whole-house filtration systems.

Once you’ve determined the appropriate kind of filter for your home size and system, it’s important to regularly change out the filter with a new one per manufacturer recommendations. The frequency at which you should replace your air filter depends upon a variety of factors. First, take note of the type of filter you have. Is it flat? Pleated? What kind of material is it made from? These little details will affect how your filter works and how often it will need to be replaced.

There is, of course, a ballpark range you can follow for certain kinds of filters: for most one-inch thick filters, a change every month or two may be required. For larger, three- to five-inch filters with pleated cartridges, you may only need to replace it once or twice a year. The best way to know when your filter needs to be changed is to look at it on occasion. If it looks dirty, change it!

As with most things in life, the less money you spend on your air filter, the more often you’ll probably have to change it (in other words, “you get what you pay for”). It might not be true across the board, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind.

 

The Importance of an Up-to-Date Air Conditioner

Making sure that your home’s air filtration and air conditioning system is up to date can help to prevent polluted air. According to a 2013 study from medical researchers in Taiwan, the use of air conditioning to reduce indoor air pollution has been directly linked to improved cardiovascular health in the general population. Clearly, properly functioning air conditioners can be much more than just a source of cool air in the summertime.

As technology has marched forward, A/C systems have marched along with it, leading to lower energy usage, new compressor technology, better fan-blade shapes, new refrigerants, and more. By upgrading your A/C on occasion through a reliable air conditioner company, you can ensure great system efficiency and improve your home’s ability to filter air (plus, a well-maintained and updated system could be a great asset if you ever need to sell).

 

Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing.: Over 65 Years of Expert Service

If you’re uncertain as to how to change your air filter, in need of a central air conditioning replacement, or properly maintain your A/C system, Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing is standing by! We’ve been serving Texans’ air conditioning and plumbing needs since 1950, and even offer a convenient emergency service line for each of our four locations.

To learn more about our A/C and plumbing services or to book an appointment with one of our experienced professionals, contact your local Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in Austin, San Antonio, Temple, or New Braunfels today!

 

Sources

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/inside-story-guide-indoor-air-quality

https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-often-should-you-replace-your-home-air-filter.htm

https://household-tips.thefuntimesguide.com/best_air_filters/

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/air-conditioners-really-are-getting-better

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969713006463


Maintenance Tips to Help Keep Your Air Conditioning System Running Efficiently

Posted on February 16th, 2017 by ChristainSon_Admin

On average in central Texas, an air conditioning system will last from 10 to 12 years. The service life can be shortened or extended, depending on how regularly preventive maintenance is performed. Maintenance will also help the system run more efficiently so that your home or office stays more comfortable and it costs you less money. Regular maintenance ensures your system is more energy-efficient and requires fewer repairs, both of which save you money.

There is some maintenance you can do yourself, while other maintenance requires the service of an HVAC system expert. Professional maintenance should be performed on an HVAC system twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

The following is a list of the tune-up, inspection, and services offered at Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing:Air Conditioning Maintenance Tips

  • Thermostat calibration & setting – ensures comfort when at home and saves energy when you’re away
  • Check & tighten all electrical connections – system operates more safely and increases life of components
  • Lubricate all moving parts – reduces energy by minimizing friction and overheating
  • Check & inspect condensate drain – plugged drain can affect indoor humidity levels and more seriously cause water damage
  • Check all system controls – ensures the systems starts, operates and shuts off properly
  • Clean condenser coils – dirty coils increase energy costs and reduce the life of equipment
  • Check refrigerant levels & adjust if necessary – too much or too little refrigerant increases energy costs
  • Clean & adjust blower components – airflow problems can reduce efficiency up to 15%
  • (If applicable) Check all gas connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger – Improperly sealed gas connections are a fire hazard. Dirty burners or failed heat exchangers can allow carbon monoxide to escape which can be extremely unsafe or possibly fatal.

 

Do-It-Yourself Air Conditioning Maintenance

Changing air conditioning filters is probably the part of air conditioning maintenance that most people are most familiar with. Still, many fail to keep records or follow up with routine filter changes. Not only is this one of the most important parts of do-it-yourself air conditioning maintenance, it is also one of the simplest.

When dirt builds up on filters, air flow is obstructed, preventing the system from working efficiently. Either cleaning a reusable filter or replacing it with a new one can improve energy efficiency by as much as 15%. To aid in system efficiency and help extend the life of your system, Christianson Leave Air Conditioning Maintenance to the Prosrecommends cleaning or replacing filters once a month.

The air conditioner coils absorb heat, making them an important part of the cooling system. They are also prone to collecting dirt, even when the filter is kept clean. When dirt covers the coils, they are unable to absorb heat efficiently. Indoor units should be examined visually each year, prior to air conditioning season, and cleaned if necessary.

On the outdoor condensing units, the coils are even more vulnerable due to exposure to foliage, dust and grass clippings. It is important to keep grass, weeds, bushes and plant cleared and trimmed away from the condensing unit. It is also a good idea to treat around the unit’s concrete slab with pesticide to prevent ants and spiders.

You may recognize the area on the evaporator and condenser coils known as “coil fins” by sight more than by their name. These flat metal pieces are extremely fragile and easy to bend. Be very careful when mowing or trimming to not damage the coils.  Bent coils reduce air flow dramatically and impact the efficiency and life of your system. If the fins become badly bent or damaged, contact a service provider or a Christianson expert to restore them to good operating condition.

 

Leave It to the Pros

Although some minor maintenance can be performed by the homeowner or business owner, a maintenance plan with Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing includes all the annual and bi-annual maintenance that will keep your HVAC system running more efficiently. These services include two precision system tune-ups annually: one in the spring and one in the fall.

Your air conditioning is a vital component of your comfort and utility bill. Don’t leave its efficiency to chance. Call Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing in Austin at (512) 246-5400 or our San Antonio location at (210) 651-1212 to schedule your maintenance services before hot weather rolls around.


Repair or Replace: Which Choice Is Right for Your Air Conditioning System?

Posted on February 8th, 2017 by ChristainSon_Admin

Air conditioning is not just a matter of comfort; it’s also about energy efficiency and the size of your utility bill. The age and efficiency of your temperature in the workplace also has a direct impact on job performance.

When your air conditioning starts to perform differently or stops working altogether, it needs to be repaired or replaced quickly. The challenge for homeowners and business owners in Texas is in knowing which path to take. You want to get as many years of services out of your air conditioning system as possible, but you also want to enjoy the best possible air quality.

If your system has needed repairs or you fear it’s nearing the end of its useful life, how should you decide whether to repair or replace?  We’ve put together some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when making this decision.

  1. All Repairs are Not Created Equal. Like any mechanical system, as your AC system ages, it will require costlier and more frequent repairs. But the decision to repair or replace can be affected more by the type of repairs.
  2. Equipment Age. Unfortunately, our hot central Texas summers mean AC systems last only 8 to 12 years on average. Your system may suffer a major breakdown earlier or it may run well for much longer.  But it’s clear that the older the system, the more costly the repairs are likely to be and the less efficient it’s likely to run.

Keep in mind that an 8 year old system running efficiently today is still much less efficient than a current model. Just another consideration in the repair or replace decision.

  1. Availability of Parts. As equipment ages it gets more difficult to find replacement parts and the prices usually go up. A common example of this Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioningis the coolant that your unit uses the cool the air in your home.  Freon used to be the industry standard refrigerant until January 2010, when the federal government banned its manufacture.  Since then, new units have used Puron.  Although Freon is no longer manufactured, it is still available.  But its cost rises as supplies dwindle. An older unit that uses Freon is a prime candidate for replacement.
  2. Cost of Repair. Replacement should be considered on an 8-10 year system if the cost of repair is more than $500. For each additional year of age, the maximum repair amount should be $50 less. So, for an 11-year-old AC, the maximum you should pay for a repair is $450. This isn’t an exact formula, but it will give you a guideline to follow.
  3. Today’s best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooled air as air conditioners made just a few years ago. If your AC unit is more than 10 years old, not only do you have a less efficient unit, but your unit is no longer running at its own peak efficiency. Because today’s higher efficiency units can save homeowners up to 60% on their annual utility bills, they are a popular choice.  The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system, the less it costs to operate and the longer the equipment is likely to last.
  4. Allergies or Asthma. If you or a member of your family has recently been diagnosed with seasonal allergies or asthma, your indoor air quality may suddenly be an important factor in deciding whether to repair or replace.  With today’s modern systems, you may be able to improve your whole house indoor air quality by 99%.  A Christianson trained technician can help you determine if system replacement is right for you.

 

The care you provide your air conditioning system will help to determine how well and for how long it performs. Below are the air conditioning services offered by Christianson & Co:

If you decide to replace your A/C, start with a free no obligation estimate so you can accurately compare your cost. Call us at 512-246-5200 and ask how we can install a new energy-efficient A/C system that will save you even more.



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