Are you sweating yet? The Climate Prediction Center projects a warmer than normal summer for Texas, yikes! Luckily, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 places you can go with your family to get cooled off.
Located in New Caney, TX, Big Rivers Waterpark features a lazy river, waterslides, a wave pool and even an inflatable water obstacle park plus much more!
If you are a Millennial or older, Sk8town located in Spring, TX is sure to bring back fun memories! Cool off indoors and skate old school style with the family. They have skating games and activities as well as a full arcade packed with prizes!
This indoor inflatable bounce park located in Spring, TX is fun for all ages. They have everything from the blob, to giant slides, to obstacle courses designed to burn off that extra summer energy.
Let’s get ready to tumble! Cypress Academy located in Magnolia, TX offers camps, classes, open gym, parents’ night out, parties and more all focused around gymnastics fun!
Stroll on down to the heart of downtown Tomball, TX and spend the day with the family at The Craft Chicks. They offer anything custom on wood! Not sure what to make? Ask about their seasonal door hangers and to-go kits!
Get your inner mad scientist ready for fun and exciting hands-on experiments in a science lab designed exclusively for kids. Little Beakers in The Woodlands, TX offers camps, classes, open labs and more.
New to Tomball, TX, Main Event has cool family fun including a state-of-the-art arcade with prizes, bowling, laser tag and even a restaurant. Be sure to check out the laser lights that follow your bowling ball as it rolls down the lane!
3. K1 Speed
If you have the need for speed, consider hitting the track at K1 Speed in Houston, TX. They offer indoor electric kart racing for the whole family!
If you want to test your green thumb, reserve a time to make your own terrarium at Terrarium in downtown Tomball, TX. You can pick your glass container as well as the plants and accessories that go inside of it. During your session you will learn how to put it together and care for it at home.
1. Your Home!
If you’re like us, you’ll be hanging out in your home more often this summer, which means a working AC is imperative to keeping everyone in a good mood! If you need AC help this summer, keep our number handy for fast and reliable AC repair and replacement. 281-356-8564
Have you been to any of these places on our list? What other places did we miss? Let us know in the comments! Stay cool!
We would say summer is right around the corner, but this year in Houston, we are already seeing highs in the upper 90’s. Summer is HERE and we have been busy fixing broken ACs around the area.
One of the most common reasons we get called out in the summer months comes down to a small piece of faulty equipment: the AC capacitor.
What is an AC capacitor and how do you tell if that’s what’s causing Aunt Myrtle to sweat bullets during the baby shower you are hosting on the day your AC goes out?
What is an AC Capacitor?
Before we jump into it, as always, never attempt to work on your HVAC unit unless you have turned it off and shut down the breakers. Don’t be that person that gets electrocuted by their HVAC unit. Not cool, dude.
An AC capacitor can be found on anything that is a motor. It is the equipment that starts and charges the motor. It basically looks like a large, cylindrical battery. Your AC's capacitor is located outside in your condenser unit. It can be accessed by using a screwdriver to remove the side panel.
To power on your AC, the capacitor will send a surge of power to your AC’s motor, which kicks it on and sends cool air rushing to dear Aunt Myrtle who at this point has sweat so much she regrets wearing a white blouse.
The 4 Signs of a Bad AC Capacitor
1. No cold air coming out of the AC. Aunt Myrtle is starting to get uncomfortable at the party and she asks you to turn the AC down, you do, but no cold air comes out. This is a telltale sign that something is wrong. You can try turning your unit off and back on. If the problem persists, it is probably time to call a professional to come help.
2. You hear a humming noise. Turn your AC system on and have a good listen, is it humming or hesitant to start? This could be a sign of your capacitor failing.
3. Problems turning on. Any of the following can be signs of a capacitor issue:
4. Aging HVAC system. Unfortunately, capacitors in general are not made with high quality, so they are often one of the first things to go if your AC unit is several years old. Here in Houston, we see capacitors fail even on relatively new units due to how much we use our AC.
How to Test Your AC Capacitor
You know how grumpy Aunt Myrtle gets when she is hot and sweaty, so you need to diagnose your AC problem quickly. Here is what you can look for to tell if your capacitor is to blame:
Thankfully, there is a way to test the power charge coming from your capacitor, but it does require a tool called a multimeter that can be purchased at your local hardware store. We highly recommend having an HVAC professional come run the test unless you know how to properly remove the capacitor from the circuit and discharge the capacitor before testing. Not doing this properly could result in electrocution. Once you run your test and determine that the capacitor is not producing any charge, you’ll need to replace it with a new one which can be purchased at your local hardware store or an HVAC accessory retailer.
Call Country Air for Air Conditioning Repair
If you aren't sure the AC failure is due to a bad capacitor or maybe you tested it but aren’t sure how to replace it on your own, give Country Air a call for 24/7 HVAC help. We’ll have Aunt Myrtle smiling and happy again before the baby shower games break out. Call us to schedule your appointment today at 281-356-8564.
Did you know that the average household has 1.6 dogs, 1.8 cats, and/or 2.1 birds? Pets provide us with many benefits, take petting your dog for instance. Studies show that cortisol (the stress hormone) levels lower when you pet your dog or cat.
While having lower stress levels is great – endless sneezing fits from pet dander flying around is not. One out of every 10 people are actually allergic to their pets! And even if you don’t have a specific allergy towards your pet, breathing in high amounts of pet dander every day is not good for your overall health.
In this article we will share tips on how homeowners can improve their indoor air quality and fight allergies, bacteria particles, and smelly pet odors while living with their pets.
What is pet dander and how can it affect me?
Ever wonder what all is in those thousands of specks flying around in the air that become visible when the light shines through the window just the right way? We typically refer to these particles as dust. Indoor dust is comprised of tiny particles of animal hair, pet dander, textile fibers, paper fibers, human skin cells, human hair, and food particles, to name a few. Pet dander is the microscopic protein that your pet sheds from its skin. This dander floats around and makes its home in your carpet, clothing, furniture, and even your body’s airways when you breathe in.
Pet dander can cause a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and shortness of breath. Coming into physical contact with pet dander can cause contact dermatitis, hives or triggers a person’s asthma.
How can I reduce the amount of dust and dander in my home?
Air Filters: The largest circulator of dust and dander in your home is your HVAC system. Which is why it is important to make sure you are using the right filters for your HVAC system and that you are changing them out often enough.
Air filters come with a MERV rating system which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This rates the filter’s ability to collect and remove larger particles before they get circulated back into your home. 1 is the lowest MERV rating an 14-16 is the highest. Look for a filter that has a MERV rating of 13-16 for the best allergen particle removal.
The thickness of a filter is also something to pay attention to. A media filter is 4 inches thick and will perform better than a standard one-inch filter. If you aren’t sure what air filter is best for your HVAC system, call us at 281-356-8564 for help.
Around every 90 days you should replace your air filter to help maintain good air flow and keep particles and allergens out of the air you breathe. If you have multiple pets in the home or your air conditioning unit is working harder, like in the summer, you may want to replace your filter sooner than 90 days.
Media Filters: These filters take the reduction of dust and dander to the next level. They are installed directly into your return-air ductwork. Different brands have different benefits. We’ve outlined two of our favorite below:
Air Scrubbers: These are the ultimate defense in improving your overall air quality. Check out the benefits below and dive into a detailed article here.
What's the next step?
Our goal at Country Air is to keep you comfortable and healthy in your home. Call us today and we can help go over the best indoor air quality solutions for your home or office that also fits within your budget. Estimates are always free. 281-356-8564.
It’s been a long day. Meetings, running from place to place, a quick workout squeezed in just before arriving in the nick of time to your child’s baseball practice. You did it! You completed the day.
You’re all cleaned up and in your favorite soft jammies just about to hop into freshly washed sheets that are calling your name. You jump into bed, sigh as your body melts into a restful bliss and you drift off…
Just to wake up a few hours later in a puddle of sweat… great! Maybe it’s your hormones causing the rage of sweat or maybe you just don’t have the right temperature set on your thermostat to promote peaceful sleep?
Why does temperature matter when we are sleeping?
Our bodies work hard during the night to repair damaged tissues and regenerate cells. You would think that all of this work would cause a raise in our body temperature, similar to how hot you feel when you work out. But our bodies actually experience a slight dip in core temperature as it gets later in the evening. Ever been watching your favorite show on the couch and reach for the throw, suddenly feeling a little chilled? That is your body preparing you for bed.
When you finally hit the hay your body temperature can be 1 to 2 degrees lower than in the daytime. Losing heat actually helps you stay asleep. As the dreaded alarm clock approaches, your body temperature naturally starts to rise to prepare for waking up.
How does temperature affect sleep?
If your air conditioner has ever gone out on a summer night, you know firsthand that sleeping in a hot, stuffy room is not a fun situation to be in. The warmer the room, the harder it is for your body to regulate temperature which can cause fatigue; aka when you feel tired and want to sleep but just toss and turn instead.
Being overheated will also cause less time spent in REM sleep, which is the deepest and most restorative sleep. Less time in REM sleep will cause grogginess the next day and can negatively impact bodily recovery and the immune system, as well as learning, memory, and other processes. (1)
What is the ideal temperature for sleeping?
The ideal sleeping temperature for your home is a lot cooler than you might think. According to most doctors, 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) is an ideal sleeping temperature, with a range of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius) being considered acceptable for the most productive sleep.
Tips to keep your room cool.
If you need help keeping your home comfortable at night, that is what we are here for. Call us at 281-356-8564 and you’ll be on your way to more peaceful sleep in no time… and we ALL need that!
Did you know that 40% of your home’s energy loss escapes through the attic?
Many homes, especially those 10-15 years or older, have attics that are under-insulated, or have never been insulated at all, compromising the comfort, safety, and energy-efficiency that a properly insulated attic can provide.
What is blown-in insulation?
Blown-in or loose-fill insulation, comes in tiny pieces compressed together into one large rectangular block. A special machine is used to break up the large block of insulation and the little pieces are then vacuumed through a long tube that is fed into the attic where the insulation blows out to fill in the necessary spaces in the attic.
Fiberglass, cotton, and mineral wool can all work as loose-fill material, but the far and away top choice for blown-in insulation is fiberglass. Blown-in fiberglass insulation is perfect for filling in tight voids around wiring, pipes, or any area with awkward framing.
The benefits of blown-in attic insulation include:
What does R-value mean and why is it important?
R-value measures how well building insulation can prevent the flow of heat into and out of the home. Higher R-value means better climate control and better energy efficiency for your home, and thus more savings on your next heating and cooling bill.
Here in the Houston area, it is recommended that your attic have a total R-value between R30 to R60. These R-values are a sum, meaning this should be the total R-value once you add up the entire depth of insulation. For example, if you have a type of insulation that has an R-value of R-5 per inch of thickness, you will need a depth of 6-inches of this insulation installed in your attic to reach R-30, or a depth of 12 inches to reach R-60.
How do I know if my attic has enough insulation?
Using R-3 value per inch as an example, if the insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, you probably need to add more insulation. If you look across your attic and see the insulation rising well above the floor joists, this means you probably have enough and adding more insulation may not be cost-effective.
How much does it cost?
Insulating your attic properly could save you up to 15% on your home’s heating and cooling energy costs. Country Air professionally installs blown-in insulation and is happy to provide a free estimate customized to your attic space and your home’s needs.
Call us at 281-356-8564 for a free estimate today!
Being a homeowner comes with a lot of responsibility. Following through with routine home maintenance will help extend your home’s life and keep its value high. Keep this list handy and refer to it throughout the year to keep your home in tip top shape.
Country Air is here to help with any HVAC needs you may have throughout the year! We can help with any services on this list in bold. Joining our affordable Comfort Club Maintenance Plan will cover your yearly HVAC maintenance needs. Call us at 281-356-8564 or click here to sign-up today .
Does anyone sit around and think about their home’s heating system in Houston? No, not really. Only on the days Texas decides to turn into an artic tundra just to heat back up in the uppers 80’s the next. If you’re a Houstonian, you know what we are talking about!
The days that we do need our heating systems sure do come in handy though and because we are not used to extreme colds it isn’t fun if the heater randomly decides to quit.
At Country Air, our top priority is keeping our customers comfortable year-round, so here is a list we put together of furnace warning signs that may indicate you need service or replacement before the next winter storm.
5 Warning Signs Your Furnace Might Need Replacing
1. Your furnace is old. Some things that are old are good, like wine or grandparents. Old furnaces, however, are not. Electric furnaces typically last about 20 to 30 years while gas furnaces last about 15 to 20 years. Once their expiration date comes and goes, their parts become unreliable due to corrosion and ventilation can become restricted from dirt build up.
Cracks can also develop in the heat exchanger or flue pipes, which could cause carbon monoxide to leak into your home’s air. Pro tip: If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home. Make sure you get one right away. Carbon Monoxide is a deadly gas that you cannot see or smell!
2. Your heating bill is much higher than normal. This could be an indication that your furnace is having to work overtime to keep up with your temperature desires. An aging furnace will not run as efficiently as newer system which will always result in higher energy bills, and that is no fun around Christmas time!
3. Odd noises. No kids, that’s not Santa on the roof, just the furnace on the fritz! Many times, odd noises coming from your furnace can be fixed with a repair from the experts but sometimes it could mean something more. If you hear anything strange call an HVAC pro right away.
4. Furnace flames should be blue. Gas furnaces are most common so if you have one give your flame a peek and if you see it yellow or orange in color that is a sign that something is up.
5. The air in your home isn’t right. It either feels too dry or too humid. Both are problems and could mean that you have the wrong sized furnace for your home. Moisture build-up in your system can lead to other problems like mold and mildew growth which affects the air quality in your home and your family’s health. An HVAC expert can tell you if your furnace is the right size for your home.
Pro Tip: Get your furnace inspected and maintained yearly, this will catch problems before they get worse and allow your system to run efficiently which saves you money on energy bills and extends the time in which you must replace your unit.
If you need help with your furnace, give the experts at Country Air a call at 281-356-8564. We wish you all a happy, warm, and safe Christmas!
Your home is a safe space. A place to relax, be yourself and enjoy precious time with your friends and family. You take extra measures to make sure your home stays safe like adding a security system, keeping up with routine maintenance and spraying for pests, for example. But have you ever thought about how the air you breathe in your home could be negatively affecting your family’s health over time?
What is indoor air quality?
Indoor air quality refers to the quality of the air in a home, school, office, or other building environment.
According to the EPA, Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations (1).
These pollutants can include:
How does poor indoor air quality affect your health over time?
Individuals with pre-existing conditions may have a harder time with poor indoor air quality conditions but even a healthy individual may experience symptoms like increased allergies after being continually exposed to poor indoor air conditions.
Symptoms could include (1):
How to improve the air quality in your home or office.
Luckily, there are several ways to combat poor air quality conditions in your home or office.
Consult a professional.
A licensed HVAC company will be able to go over all the indoor air quality improvement options available and see which one will best suite your family’s budget and needs.
We offer a wide range of options here at Country Air and are always happy to answer your questions and give free estimates. Give us a call at 281-356-8564.
Sources: 1: Indoor Air Quality | US EPA
The cooler months are right around the corner which for most Texans is a sigh of relief. Although our heaters aren’t running all the time in the winter here, we do get some days where it is needed (cough, cough Snowmageddon 2021?) That brings us to the topic of the hour: what is a fall heater check for and why is it beneficial to you?
A fall heater check keeps the warranty on your system valid.
Imagine this: a part unexpectedly breaks on your HVAC system, but you’re still covered by warranty, ahh a sigh of relief. But - when you call the warranty department you realize that your warranty is no longer valid – oops. You’ve been DIYing the maintenance on your system instead of leaving it to the professionals and now you have to fork the bill.
You can avoid this headache by simply calling a professional like Country Air to come do the maintenance for you. Most companies offer a maintenance plan that saves you money and offers other perks - like same day service.
Most HVAC manufacturers require proof of annual maintenance so they know the equipment was properly cared for as some of the parts that make an HVAC system work can be costly to replace.
A fall heater check increases the life expectancy of your system.
Your HVAC system is a machine. Just like your car is a machine. You wouldn’t drive your car for 60,000 miles without changing its oil or doing any kind of maintenance on it and expect it to last a long time. The same is true of your HVAC system. It needs routine maintenance to ensure all the parts are working harmoniously together for a long life.
A fall heater check ensures your HVAC system is running at optimal efficiency and lowers the cost of your energy bills.
A well-oiled HVAC system means your spending less month per month on energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you could see a savings up to 30% on your energy bill.
A fall heater check helps discover problems before they get worse.
It’s the worst when the crazy Texas weather goes from 80 degrees one day to 30 degrees the next. You turn the heater on, but nothing happens – there goes the heat!
Routine maintenance checks allow the professionals to find problems in your system before they bust. This means your system is less likely to go down when you need it most and you’ll save money on costly repairs.
My mom always used to say, “Prior proper planning prevents poor performance.” And well, she is right again with this one. Give us a call at 281-356-8564 to schedule your fall maintenance inspection. We look forward to serving you!
Your AC works hard to keep you comfortable during hot summer days. These tips will make your AC more efficient and keep your home feeling good all summer long (and here in Texas, you know we are talking through December).
1. Have a professional come out to do a spring maintenance check before it gets hot. This will ensure your AC system is tuned up and ready to perform wonders all summer long. Regular maintenance also helps to:
2. Program your thermostat. The less your air conditioner is in use, the less wear and tear it endures and the longer it can last! If you have a programmable thermostat, setting the temperature by day and time is a great way to reduce the unit’s overall usage. Some people think turning their unit off completely while away will result in more energy savings, but this is not true.
We recommend setting the temperature higher during the time you are away and lower during the time you are home. A few degrees higher than your desired indoor temperature is a good general temperature to set for most homes when you are away.
Don’t have a programmable thermostat? We highly recommend getting one! You’ll save money in the long run.
4. Change your air filters. Changing out your HVAC unit’s air filter is a simple process that many of us don’t do as often as we should. Around every 90 days you should replace your filter to help maintain good air flow and help keep particles and allergens out of the air you breathe.
If you have multiple pets in the home or your air conditioning unit is working harder, like in the summer, you may want to replace your filter sooner than 90 days.
5. Turn off exhaust fans. After cooking or bathing, turn off your exhaust fans once they have been running about 20 minutes. If you ever need to replace your exhaust fans consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise options. Never leave exhaust fans running for long periods of time as it can become a fire hazard.
5. Draw the curtains. During the hottest part of the day or times when the sun is shining in your home’s windows, keep your blinds closed and shades drawn. This will help keep your home’s interior temperature from rising and keep your AC from running harder than it needs to. Additionally, planting large shade trees or installing awnings on your home with also help to diffuse the sun’s intense heat.
6. Turn on a fan. If you feel the afternoon heat creeping in, don’t turn down the thermostat just yet. Try turning a ceiling fan on first. This will help to circulate the air and instantly cool you down without making your AC unit run harder.
7. Check your attic insulation. If you have an older home that is not energy efficient you may want to get your attic inspected to see if you need additional blown in attic insulation. The smaller particles of blown insulation fit tightly in all the nooks and crannies of your attic which provides a superior seal, preventing hot or cold air from entering your home.
8. Upgrade your AC unit. If you are looking to replace your AC unit, consider energy-efficient equipment for the best cost savings long term. Ask your HVAC professional about 2-stage or variable speed options.
If your AC unit still can’t keep up it might be time to get it professionally inspected. A Certified HVAC Technician can easily identify and often fix cooling problems on the spot.
Country Air provides 24/7 AC service. Give us a call at 281-356-8564 and let us earn your trust.