Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration Blog : Archive for the ‘Air Conditioning’ Category

How Long Should a Water Heater Last?

Thursday, October 28th, 2021
how long should a water heater last?

While it would be wonderful if you could predict exactly when to replace your water heater, it’s rarely that simple. There are numerous variables that go into how long a water heater lasts, from its age to the type of water inside. Fortunately, with some maintenance and knowledge of replacement warning signs, you can ensure your water heater lasts as long as possible.

Keep reading to learn more about how to tell when a water heater needs to be replaced.

How Long Should a Water Heater Last?

A residential water heater can last between 6 and 13 years before you need to replace it. This timeframe depends on the type of water running through it and whether you follow a yearly schedule of draining and flushing the tank. Since the range is so extensive, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your water heater to look for signs that you need a new one.

how do you know when your hot water heater needs to be replaced?

How Do You Know When Your Hot Water Heater Needs to Be Replaced?

Understanding the signs of a broken or worn-down water heater will help you find a solution quickly. There are numerous reasons why a hot water heater may need a replacement. These indicators include:

1. The Water Turns Cold Too Quickly

Does the water in your water heater become cold too quickly or fail to become hot at all? There are several reasons why:

  • Thermostat settings: A water heater may not produce hot water if the thermostat isn’t set correctly. Ideally, the thermostat should be at between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a simple fix that just requires you to update the thermostat. 
  • Heating element: Another reason for a sudden lack of hot water is that the heating element in your water tank gave out or is giving out. The heating element in electric water tanks is usually a coil. Sometimes the connections go bad, making it so the appliance can’t heat the water. Alternatively, gas-powered water heaters use a burner to heat the water, which can go bad over time if not properly maintained. If either is the case, you need to call a professional.
  • Tank size: All of the appliances in your home could be using the hot water before you can, which typically happens when numerous people live in the same household. In this situation, you may need a bigger tank. A professional can perform an assessment to recommend a properly sized water tank. 
  • Tank location: If your water tank is located outdoors or in an uninsulated area of your home, cold weather can affect the water temperature. It may be too cold to heat your water fast enough or to a high enough temperature. If this only happens during cold weather, you might need to find ways to keeps your tank or the pipes insulated from the cold. 

2. Loud Noises Are Coming From the Heater

Usually, water heaters make little to no noise. If you start hearing strange or loud noises coming from your water tank, there may be an issue that requires immediate action. For example, tapping, clanging or rumbling noises mean sediment is likely gathering on the bottom of your water heater.

If you use a lot of hot water or live in an area with hard water, you’re more likely to experience this issue. Once the sediment builds up enough, it’s difficult for the machine to heat water correctly and takes longer to do so. This situation will lead to strain on the unit, wear down the metal encasement and eventually cause leaks.

If this is the case, you need to hire a professional to flush your tank. If you continue to hear strange noises coming from your water heater, it may be near the end of its life and require a replacement.

3. Water Is Leaking From the Unit

If you see water pooling around your water tank, there’s an issue that needs immediate attention. If you choose to ignore the leak, you may experience significant damage to your property.

There are a couple of reasons why your water heater may be leaking:

  • Over time, your tank may start to form fractures. These cracks may only leak slightly at first, but they can become a significant issue when the pressure becomes too much to handle.
  • A loose connection to the water tank is another reason water may be leaking. A leaking pressure/overflow pipe could indicate an issue with the unit or that the relief valve is malfunctioning. In this case, the best thing to do is call a professional to inspect the parts and make sure everything is working correctly.

4. Rust Is Forming on or Inside of the Unit

If you see rust on the outside of your unit near the water inlet, that’s often an indicator that rust has begun to form on the inside of the tank, as well. As a result, you’ll need to replace your unit soon or risk water damage.

Should you notice rusty water, there may be a problem with either your water heater or pipes. One way to see if it’s your water heater is by running three buckets full of hot water from a spout. If the third bucket has rust, your water heater is probably rusty. If the rust dwindles as you run the water, your pipes may be getting rusty.

Note that rust is a precursor to leaking, so replacing your water heater as soon as possible is essential.

Should You Replace Your Water Heater Before It Fails?

If your water heater is getting old but still works, it’s a good idea to look for a replacement. A few reasons why it’s smart to replace your water heater before it fails are:

  • A broken water heater makes budgeting difficult. as you have to replace it at a moment’s notice
  • A broken water heater leaves you without hot water
  • A corroded water heater could cause significant damage
  • A new water heater could make your utility bills less expensive

Ultimately, replacing your hot water heater before it becomes an issue will save you time and money.

How Often Should You Drain Your Hot Water Heater?

Regular maintenance of your water heater is crucial to its longevity. It’s recommended that homeowners call a professional to have their tanks flushed once a year. This trick discharges the sediment, helping the water heater last as long as possible.

contact oasis cooling for water heater installation, repair and maintenance services

Contact Oasis Cooling for Water Heater Installation, Repair and Maintenance Services

Oasis Cooling is ready to handle your water heater needs. No matter your needs, you can contact us for professional water heater installation, repair or replacement in northern Virginia. At Oasis Cooling, we have 15 years of experience working on heating and cooling systems in Northern Virginia, and we’re on call 24 hours a day ready to assist you!

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What to Prioritize for Your Walk-In Cooler Maintenance Checklist

Friday, October 8th, 2021

Proper refrigeration is essential in the foodservice industry. You need to keep a substantial amount of food items at a consistent, safe temperature for human consumption. To remain compliant with health and food safety guidelines, you need to rely on your walk-in coolers for dependable and spacious cold food storage. Oasis is a family-owned and -operated heating and cooling company you can trust with regular commercial refrigerator maintenance or repairs.

Preventative Maintenance for Walk-In Coolers

When your walk-in coolers and freezers are working correctly, you can decrease food waste, improve food safety and increase your restaurant’s energy efficiency. Regular, proactive maintenance and inspection are essential to prolonging the life of your appliance and increasing its value to you and your business. Using a preventative maintenance checklist can also prevent clogging, breakdowns, food waste and future strife.

Additionally, cleaning and avoiding common mistakes can help you make sure your walk-in cooler performs up-to-speed and meets your business’s needs!

How Do You Clean a Walk-In Cooler?

From everyday spill cleanup to full appliance wipedowns, it is essential to disinfect your walk-in cooler thoroughly. Proper sanitation is critical in the foodservice industry. To execute appropriate maintenance practices, you’ll need to clean your entire unit at least every six months.

So, what are the best ways to go about cleaning your walk-in cooler? Follow this schedule:

  • Daily maintenance: Scrub all of your walk-in cooler’s surfaces with a cloth towel and a solution of water and soap or mild detergent. Harsh chemicals may harm your cooler’s metal surfaces. If necessary, you can mix a small amount of bleach with water to clean the inside of your unit. Wipe down the door seals with soap and water or use compressed air to remove dirt and dust. Sweep and mop the floors of any spilled food debris.
  • Once a month: You should turn off all power to your unit and vacuum all of the debris that might have built up inside. 
  • Twice a year: Use water, soap and a stiff bristle brush to clean your evaporator fan and condensing coils. Remember to remove any ice from the evaporator coils.
  • Once a year: With the help of a certified technician, make sure your drain lines are free of debris and any runoff buildup.

In addition to checking for debris, Oasis will make sure your electrical connections are tight and in working order.

Common Mistakes Made With Walk-In Coolers 

Proper walk-in cooler maintenance takes time, effort and careful observation. It is essential to keep your walk-in cooler performing at its optimal level to ensure your food stays cool and fresh. Our advice can help you avoid these common maintenance mistakes and make a difference to your customers.

1. Cooler Isn’t the Right Temperature

If your walk-in cooler is above the required temperature to store food safely, you risk mold growth and food spoilage. Additionally, if your temperature is too low, it can cause your unit to overwork. It is best to keep food storage appliances at the proper FDA-recommended temperature and regularly check that your walk-in cooler maintains an appropriate temperature. You’ll know that your cooler is retaining its temperature if it is within several degrees of the original thermostat setting. Keeping a written or digital log of your unit’s temperatures can also help you keep track of any unexpected changes.

2. Doors Don’t Seal Properly

Another way to maintain the proper temperature for your walk-in cooler is to make sure your doors seal tightly. Damaged gaskets, the rubber material surrounding your cooler’s doors, can let in warm air, cause ice buildup and ultimately reduce your energy efficiency. Even a tiny leak from tearing or weathering can throw off your unit’s temperature balance. Note that leaving the lights on in your walk-in cooler will also increase the level of heat and cause your evaporator fan assembly to work harder to hold the appliance’s optimal temperature.

3. Dirty Parts and Poor Airflow

You will want to examine your unit thoroughly and take note of any potential areas of concern, as well. Check your evaporator, condensing coil and fan blades regularly, as cleaning your unit’s fan blades will reduce drag and improve your unit’s performance. Also, keep food products stacked away from the central working parts of your walk-in cooler where they could reduce overall air circulation.

4. Not Keeping a Maintenance Schedule

Most importantly, you want to adopt a proper schedule for freezer maintenance. You want to stay ahead of and prevent future complications, so set up a regular maintenance schedule with qualified technicians. Oasis can dramatically improve your walk-in cooler’s performance and provide much-needed reassurance for any areas of uncertainty.

How to Keep Mold Out of a Walk-In Cooler

While warm, moist environments are a haven for mold growth, colder environments with higher moisture levels can also put your freezer’s items at risk. Walk-in coolers are most likely to grow mold due to the frequency of use and a lack of temperature regulation during shutdowns. 

Constantly opening and closing a freezer causes air to become trapped. The high level of moisture combined with the abundance of food supply creates an ideal ecosystem for fungal growth. Repeated entries and exits can also throw off your unit’s internal temperature balance. For long-term shutdowns, you want to clean your unit thoroughly and leave its doors open so it can dry completely.

Here are five easy ways you can keep your walk-in cooler and its contents fresh and free of mold:

  1. Keep your walk-in freezer doors closed: Tightly sealed doors will keep mold spores and humidity from seeping into your cooler.
  2. Remove paper products: Limit the paper towels or cardboard you keep in your cooler as they can foster mold. 
  3. Wipe down and dry the unit’s interior: Remove excess moisture from standing water or condensation.
  4. Maintain proper airflow: Ensure that your condensation coil, evaporator and fans are all working to help regulate airflow. 
  5. Clean up messes immediately and quickly: Wipe up any spills from shelves, walls and the floor as soon as possible to prevent the spread of mold.

If you can keep mold from growing in your walk-in cooler, you will provide a far more healthy and hygienic environment for your employees as well as your guests.

Schedule Walk-In Cooler Maintenance or Repairs With Oasis

When you need to repair your walk-in cooler, Oasis Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration will find the right equipment for you and your restaurant. We offer competitive prices for the best quality walk-in cooler repairs, servicing and installations in all of Northern Virginia. We ensure each installation and repair is up to code so you can focus on what matters: preparing delicious and safe meals for your customers. Oasis will guarantee you solutions and quality assistance for any walk-in cooler queries with our industry expertise. 

Contact Oasis today to get an estimate and schedule your appointment for walk-in cooler maintenance!

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Why Does My Furnace Smell?

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

If you notice a weird smell coming from your furnace, don’t panic! This problem doesn’t always lead to a major concern. You can often explain it by some common occurrences. That said, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Whenever you notice an odd scent from your furnace, it’s essential to figure out the potential cause.

Make sure to shut down your furnace before you take a look. Here are a few reasons why there could be a burning smell in your house.

Dust Burn-Off

A furnace overheating smell can come from dust burn-off. If you haven’t turned on your furnace for a while, it’s likely that dust has accumulated on the inside. This odor should disappear after your furnace runs for a few minutes.

If the scent doesn’t go away, it’s time to try another solution. Take a brush to the parts that you can reach. This approach will clear away any dust.

Clogged Filter

Sometimes, an old filter can cause a burning smell from your furnace blower. When you don’t replace your furnace’s filter, it can become clogged over time. This buildup forces your blower to work extra hard so that it can push air out. As a result, it can overheat. It’s also possible for the buildup to emit a burning odor throughout this process.

That’s when it’s time to replace your furnace’s filter. Make sure to compare the filter’s efficiency capabilities beforehand. If you still notice a specific scent, it’s time to contact a professional for service.

Gas Leak

If you smell a sulfuric egg scent, it’s best to shut off your furnace immediately. This odor often indicates a gas leak, which could happen due to a failed ignitor. There may also be broken parts within your furnace.

In any case, it’s crucial to switch off your furnace and call in an HVAC expert. It’s always important to call when you suspect an issue — and you should never ignore a gas leak.

Foreign Objects

Do you notice a burning plastic scent? A foreign object may have entered your furnace. This could be any small plastic item. Either way, it’s imperative to turn off your furnace when you smell this scent. A foreign object can cause problems for your furnace’s functionality. It’s also smart to avoid plastic fume inhalation, as many plastic objects contain harsh chemicals.

Overheated Circuits

You may notice a metallic scent. This odor often means there’s an electrical problem, like an overheated circuit board. Your furnace should shut down by itself when it overheats. If it doesn’t, there’s an issue with its safety features. It’s smart to contact an expert when you think there’s a central mechanical issue. It’s unsafe to have a furnace that doesn’t turn off when it overheats.

Don’t turn on your furnace again until a specialist can diagnose the issue for you.

Get Rid of Burning Furnace Smells With Oasis Heating, A/C and Refrigeration

Our specialists can identify and repair your furnace problems. If you live in Northern Virginia, contact us at Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration for quality, reliable services. We can narrow down the issue so that you and your family can enjoy a safe and healthy home environment.

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Why an Oversized Air Conditioner Is a Serious Problem

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

Oversized Air Conditioner Problems

Are you in the market for a new air conditioning system, either as a replacement for an older, ailing AC unit or as part of your new home? It’s important to have HVAC professionals involved in the process from the very beginning, not just for the actual few hours of work required to put the system in place and hook it up. You’ll want them to take the proper measurements, so you can be sure you have the correct size of unit for your home. If the air conditioner is too small, it will not provide the cooling your home needs. If it is too large, it causes its own set of problems.

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Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

The 4th of July will forever hold a very special place in the history of the United States of America. On this day in 1776, the second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence.

Not only is Independence Day an important day in our nation’s history, but for many people it is a day that is filled with memories from celebrations of years past. Fireworks, barbeques, baseball games, fairs, carnivals, patriotic music and ceremonies are all scattered through our memories as we’ve participated in annual parties, get-togethers, picnics and family gatherings throughout the years. John Adams, our 2nd president, was right when he said that our Independence Day “…ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

The 4th of July is truly a day to enjoy but also to remember and respect the sacrifice that many brave men and women made over 200 years ago to give us the freedom that we cherish today. However you celebrate Independence Day, make sure that you take a moment to remember what this day is really about.

We wish you a safe and happy 4th of July!

If you are off and have time for preventive maintenance, feel free to call Oasis Cooling services or fill out a contact form to schedule a service!


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What Clicking Noises From Your AC May Mean

Friday, May 22nd, 2020


Is your AC making noise? Generally speaking, any unusual sound coming from your air conditioning system is cause for concern.

Common Air Conditioner Noises

Here in Fairfax, VA, our air conditioning repair techs can handle your air conditioning problem. However, it does help if you, as the homeowner, have some idea of what specific sounds could indicate. When you can guess where the noises are coming from, you can point the repair professional in the right direction. Here are some of the most common air conditioning noises and what they may mean:

1. AC Making Clicking Noise

AC clicking noises can stem from fan blades that have been bent or are misaligned which causes the AC to sound like it’s clicking on and off. A stick or piece of detritus could have also gotten caught in the vent, causing the fan to click against the object. In these cases, the cause is apparent, and the repair technician can either properly align the fan or replace it with a new model.

More subtle clicking noises can be a part of the air conditioner’s normal operation. For example, these sounds could come from a relay or a contact performing as expected. In those cases, the clicking should stop shortly. If they repeat, however, it could mean a problem with your thermostat or compressor turning the relays on and off repeatedly and increasing wear and tear in the bargain. If you hear repeated clicking from your AC, you should call for a repair. Possible electric problems should never be ignored when an AC clicks on and off.

Buzzing sounds from ac system, ticking noise in ductwork with air conditioner clicking

2. Buzzing

If your air conditioner is making a buzzing sound, it is likely an electrical malfunction caused by loose or broken parts, leaks or compressor issues. If you suspect an electrical problem, turn off your system and contact a professional.

Buzzing could also be an indicator that your air conditioner’s “isolation feet” — the rubber legs at the base of your machine that support it — are wearing out. Buzzing might also mean a condenser coil, air filter or blower inside your system needs to be changed or replaced.

Hearing a clanking or rattling in ac system, air conditioner making clicking noises

3. Clanking or Rattling

If your air conditioner is making a lot of loud clanking or rattling noises, it could mean a part has come loose and fallen into a different component of the machine. Before you call a maintenance specialist, make sure you check that all visible screws and bolts are tightly secured, so you can eliminate that as a possibility.

If your air conditioner gets too cold, ice and excess moisture can also build up inside and cause a loud grinding noise, accompanied by rattling movements. If you think your air conditioner has frozen, turn it off and allow it time to thaw.

Dealing With a Noisy Air Conditioner? Oasis Can Help

If you live near Burke or Alexandria, VA, and are experiencing air conditioner problems, Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration is here to help.

If you hear any noises that you aren’t accustomed to — even if they don’t seem to be affecting the performance of the air conditioner — turn the unit off and contact a qualified repair technician immediately instead of trying to fix the issue yourself. In addition to knowing what the noises from your air conditioner may mean, a good repair technician can also correct your machine safely and correctly.

Call Oasis today at 703-339-3877 to make an air conditioning repair appointment!

Contact our team in Northern Virginia to schedule your maintenance service.

“Great timely service. Knowledgable and neat techs. Good value.”

“Would absolutely use their services again. Arrived on schedule.”

-Springfield, VA

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How Your Thermostat Affects Your Heating

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

You interact with your heating system through your thermostat, which lets you set a comfortable temperature for your home.  There are thermostats available these days with many advanced features, which let you pull off nifty little tricks like turning the heat down when you leave for work, and then back up again soon before you come home. When they malfunction, they can seriously disrupt your ability to heat your home adequately. You need to know precisely how your thermostat affects your heating in order to know when to call your local Fairfax VA heating repair technician.

Most thermostats use a strip composed of two different types of metal laminated together. These metals will expand and contract at different rates depending upon what the temperature is. They’re usually placed in a coil with the metal that tends to expand more on the inside of the coil.  When the temperature goes up, the metal on the inside of the coil expands at a different rate than the metal on the outside of the coil. This causes the coil to unwind, which tips the mercury switch and starts the heating process. When the temperature is hot enough, the metal on the coil contracts, which turns the mercury switch off and shuts of the heater. The precise setting depends on the controls at the center, allowing you determine the exact temperature when this process takes place.

Knowing how your thermostat affects your heating means understanding what happens when things go wrong. If it can’t accurately determine the temperature or trigger the switch, it won’t turn the heat on when you need it (or turn it off once your home is comfortable). If you need repairs on your thermostat, call OASIS Heating, A/C & Refrigeration, Inc. to help. We handle all types of heating repair, Fairfax VA homeowners can depend on us, and our trained staff will work overtime to find a solution that meets your budget. Give us a call today!

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Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

Every year on the final Monday of May, citizens of America come together to honor those who have served our country. Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day came to prominence after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen soldiers on either side. Although its origins are somewhat ambiguous, it has always been about bringing people together to recognize our country’s military personnel and history. We want to take this opportunity to thank all the men and women who have served our county.

Memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer. We hope that you have a wonderful day off, and that it is a great start to your summer! Stay safe and healthy!

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Here’s What Can Happen if You Aren’t Changing Your AC’s Air Filter Regularly

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

A part of air conditioning and heating maintenance that we stress often is changing an HVAC system’s air filter regularly. As we come to the last month of summer, any air conditioner that has a clogged filter because it hasn’t been swapped out for a fresh one can start to cause multiple problems. Below are a few of the issues your AC might face if it still has an old filter.

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Signs Your Home Has Poor Air Quality

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

In the 1970s, people noticed that their office buildings were making them sick. To control heating and air conditioning costs, many builders had constructed buildings that were virtually airtight with almost no airflow. Pollutants and contaminants hung in the air, and the result became known as Sick Building Syndrome. If you’ve ever been in a sick building, you know the signs: headaches, hoarseness, nausea, nosebleeds, chronic fatigue, mental fogginess, dry, itchy skin and watering eyes — to name a few.

Sick Building Syndrome, however, doesn’t just happen in office towers. It can also happen in your home. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health prefers the term “indoor air quality,” which is a term more familiar to homeowners. The air in your home can produce many of the same results seen in a sick office building if it’s low-quality and left untreated.

You can often determine the quality of air in your home by the health of the people who live there. You should watch for any of the following signs that appear in you or members of your family:

  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Nosebleeds
  • Coughing
  • Headache
  • Mental fogginess

While it may be tempting to think the symptoms are the result of weather conditions, such as a change in the air pressure or the advent of snow or a thunderstorm, they’re often the signs of a problem with indoor air quality.

One way to determine the cause of these problems is to pay attention to when they start. For instance, if you display any of the symptoms above in the morning before you head to work, then they stop once you leave your home and start again once you return, it’s almost a sure sign that the problem exists inside your home.

These problems can be caused by anything from dust mites and toxic mold spores to cleaners and the off-gassing of newer pieces of furniture. In more extreme cases, the signs above can escalate to more severe symptoms, such as muscle pain, fever, chills, shortness of breath, rashes and chronic sickness.

Here are six additional signs that indicate possible problems with the indoor air quality of your home.

1. Dust Buildup on Surfaces and Around Vents

If your home seems extraordinarily dusty, or if you inspect the HVAC air vents in your home’s system and they’re covered in dust, in all likelihood, you have a problem. At the very least, this is a sign of a buildup of dust mites, pet dander and pollen that aggravates symptoms for anyone who has an allergy and makes breathing more difficult for anyone who has asthma.

2. Humidity Issues

You always want to keep the humidity level in your home between 35% and 50%. This range is an ideal level that will ensure a comfortable feeling in your home and also inhibit the growth of microorganisms.

If your home lacks humidity, the resulting dry air can lead to sore eyes, plugged sinuses, dry, itchy skin and upper respiratory illnesses. Too much humidity, and your home becomes a playground for mold, mildew and other forms of microbes. A humidifier for a too-dry home or a dehumidifier for a too-humid home is likely your best solution.

3. Growths or Odors in Your Home

One of the best indicators of your home’s indoor air quality is your nose. Have you ever walked into someone else’s home and immediately detected that the air was too stale or stuffy? You would never comment on it to your host, of course, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t notice it.

The truth is that sometimes “air pollution” can be worse inside your home than it is outside. Mold and mildew growths can produce that stale, earthy odor that lingers throughout a space. Meanwhile, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) release harmful chemicals into the air. VOCs can be produced by elements such as carpets, children’s craft supplies, paint, new furniture, cleaning products and even that freshly pressed jacket you picked up from the local dry cleaners.

One of the biggest contributors to VOCs inside your home is something that’s supposed to make the air smell better — air fresheners. Air fresheners contain many VOCs that are listed on the side of the can as “fragrance.” Air freshener manufacturers are not required to list the exact breakdown of the chemicals in a can of their product, and people with asthma or other breathing problems often find that air fresheners make their conditions worse.

Tests by the National Resources Defense Council found that some air fresheners contain phthalates, which have been linked to childhood development issues and hormonal problems.

Here are some smells and orders that indicate poor air quality:

  • A musty smell: That musty smell is almost always a sign of mold and mildew in the home, normally caused by high humidity levels and poor air circulation. Look for black or green mold spots on surfaces in your home — they’re normally around sinks, tubs and laundry areas, where exposure to moisture is high.
  • Other unpleasant odors: As we mentioned above, sometimes your home just doesn’t “smell right,” and it can be a sign of chemicals like VOCs in the air, pest infestation or the decomposition of dust or dirt in your home. We all become used to the smell of our homes, so if you want to find out whether you have a problem, step outside in the fresh air for 30 to 60 minutes, then walked back inside. If there’s a problem, your nose will notice it. Try more natural solutions to remove the odors first, such as sprigs of mint or rosemary. You can also open the windows in your home and let fresh air blow in. If that doesn’t help, it’s probably time to seek the assistance of a professional.

4. Condensation

Nobody likes “sweaty” windows in their home. They’re what you get, however, when you have a condensation problem. Condensation occurs when water vapor in the air condenses on cool surfaces, such as windows (one of the first places where condensation will appear), granite countertops, faucets and other surfaces. Any kind of metal frame can develop these issues. While condensation on the outside of that first glass of cold lemonade on a summer afternoon is something you probably look forward to, condensation on items inside your home shouldn’t be as welcome.

Condensation is an even more serious problem for anyone with allergies. Warm, humid environments — ones that contain lots of moisture — encourage the growth of the mold and mildew mentioned above.

Here are some ways that you can combat excessive moisture and condensation in your home:

  • Use a dehumidifier: A good dehumidifier can take as much as a gallon of water out of the air in your home every day. These tools are particularly useful in areas like damp basements, laundry rooms and bathrooms with a shower.
  • Limit plants and aquariums: Aquariums can often add a lovely touch to your home, but they also add a lot of moisture. Don’t group two or three of them together. If you have a lot of plants, try to group them together in a sunny room, and don’t overwater them.
  • Pay attention to indoor heaters: Indoor heaters can help a room feel cozy, but they can also add a lot of moisture to your home. Sometimes they also emit toxic gases. Don’t ever use an unventilated heater indoors if it relies on fossil fuels, like a kerosene heater.
  • Dry your clothes outdoors: Drying your clothes outdoors, of course, is not possible the entire year, especially if you live in a cold climate. Spring and summer, however, are great times for this change, which can reduce the level of moisture in your home and lower your electricity bill too.

5. Dust in the Air

Amid all the other things that you can find in your home if it has poor air quality — such as mold and mildew, VOCs and moisture — is dust. Dust can be composed of dead human cells, dirt from outside, pet dander, pollen, hair, paper fibers and even cosmic particles. A single dust particle can remain suspended in the air for up to five days.

Where there is dust, there are dust mites. Microscopic dust mites are insect-like pests that create some of the most common allergens that trigger allergic reactions or asthma. Hundreds of thousands of them can live in your home. They don’t sting or bite or do anything nasty, but they create allergens from their fecal matter and body fragments.

Dust mites are a big problem for people with allergies or asthma. Ongoing exposure to dust mites in the home can create an immune system response known as allergic rhinitis. These responses can range from mild to severe. Occasional sneezing, watery eyes or a runny nose are mild conditions. In more severe situations, persistent sneezing and coughing and severe asthma attacks are common.

These dust mites are found in almost every home in America. Since dust mites don’t actually drink water but absorb it through their bodies via moisture in the air, a home with high humidity and moisture is more than likely to have a lot of dust mites. That’s why areas of low humidity, such as desert communities in states like Arizona and New Mexico, have far fewer problems with dust mites than states like Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.

If you want to know how to improve your indoor air quality, here are a few ways you can reduce the number of dust mites in your home and help anyone who has allergies or asthma:

  • Vacuum often: Use a vacuum with strong suction and a HEPA filter. In areas of high traffic, vacuum more than once. If you do have carpets, make sure you get around the edges — that’s a great place for dust and dust mites to gather. Vacuum at least twice a week for the best results, and make sure you clean your filter regularly.
  • Reduce humidity: If you keep your home at the 35% to 50% humidity level, you’ll have fewer problems with dust mites.
  • Wash bedding at least once a week: You’re more frequently exposed to the allergens created by dust mites when you’re sleeping or when the dust is disturbed while you’re making your bed or even moving around at night. Washing your bed linens at least once a week is important particularly if you suffer from allergies or asthma.
  • Remove all carpeting, drapes and curtains: If you or someone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, remove all materials where dust and dust mites are known to congregate. Carpets are very bad for people with allergies or asthma. Drapes and curtains are not quite as bad as carpets, but if possible, they should be removed and replaced with blinds.
  • Mop it up: After you vacuum your home, remember that mopping removes the dust that vacuuming leaves behind. You don’t need to use soaps and cleaners — you use those when you want to clean your floors. If you want to remove leftover allergens and dust, plain water works just fine. Try a new microfiber mop or dust cloth, which can pick up more dust and dirt than traditional fibers.

6. Air Without the Enough Moisture

As you’ve seen above, too much moisture in the air is one of the main causes of inferior indoor air quality. If you’re worried about too much moisture in the air, some of the suggestions above — such as not over watering your plants, not having too many aquariums in the same room, drying your clothes outdoors when you can and buying a good dehumidifier — will help.

If you’re worried that your home doesn’t have enough moisture in the air, a humidifier can solve the problem. If you’re concerned about finding the right kind of dehumidifier or humidifier for your home, you should contact the experts at OASIS Heating, A/C & Refrigeration, Inc. in Northern Virginia — we can help you find the right whole home humidifier and dehumidifier solutions.

What to Do If You Suspect You Have an Air Quality Issue

It can often be difficult to determine the real cause of air quality issues. Is the issue mold or mildew? Do you have too much moisture in the air? Do you have a problem with dust and dust mites? Do you need a humidifier or a dehumidifier? Could your current HVAC system be contributing to your air quality problems in your home?

If you’re not sure about the answers, it’s likely time to consult an expert like OASIS Heating, A/C & Refrigeration, Inc. We’re a family owned and operated business located in Lorton, Virginia, and we’ve been servicing the Fairfax, Springfield and Northern Virginia areas since 1998. Our main goal at Oasis is quality — quality service, quality repairs and quality installations. Our dedicated staff will work with you to make sure your experience with Oasis is exactly what you need and more.

If you have any concerns about the air quality in your home and want a professional evaluation to help you determine the best solutions, call us at 703-339-3877 or contact us online so that you can tell us about your indoor air quality concerns. A member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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