Detecting a Deadly Killer: January is National Radon Action Month

Today VanKleef HVAC takes a break from talking about furnace issues, and reminds you that January is Nation Radon Action Month. Radon can kill you with its deadly poison, but you may never see it. It can destroy your health rapidly, but you may never detect it. In fact, it has recently been ranked by Harvard University as the number one in-home hazard.

Louisville heating and coolingRadon is by definition radiation. It is an odorless, radioactive, invisible gas that occurs due to a breakdown and decay of uranium in our soil. Countless Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. Sadly, it is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. It also has caused more deaths than carbon monoxide and fires combined.

Because it is considered a national health problem, awareness of this issue is being spotlighted in January and homeowners are being encouraged to take action.

It is estimated that 1 in 15 homes will contain high levels of radon in their home. While one home may contain extra high levels of this dangerous gas, the home right next door may be completely radon free. Radon has been detected in homes all over the United States in every kind of climate and community. Its presence is unpredictable. That’s why evaluation, detection and removal are critical.

If you have a basement in your home, especially if your HVAC is located in the basement, you are at greater risk for spreading this deadly gas. Hire a radon specialist who will use an electronic monitor to detect radon particles in detail. After you have been tested initially, contact EPA online to find out what free, low-cost tests are available in your area. These tests are simple to use and offer an easy remedy to the problem. These radon reducers can lower the amount of radon up to 99% in 90 days.

After you’ve zoned in your radar on radon detection, be sure and have your home tested every two years to prevent the dangers of this deadly gas.

Why Air Flow is Critical to HVAC Life

One of the many things we check on our service calls is system air flow. Air flow is critical to a long lasting air conditioner and furnace.

Inside your gas furnace is a heat exchanger. The flame shoots inside the heat exchanger and the fan blows air across the outside. If the air flow is insufficient, the heat exchanger becomes too hot. This excess heat stresses the metal. Over time, this stress leads to cracks in the heat exchanger. That is a fire and carbon monoxide hazard. By law, we are required to disable and tag a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger until the furnace is repaired or replaced.

What about the cooling side? Above your furnace is an air conditioning coil. Refrigerant (you may call it freon) flows inside the coil. The furnace fan blows air across the coil to cool the air and your home. When the air is cooled, heat is being transferred to the refrigerant. We need enough heat added to the refrigerant to boil all of it because the compressor in the air conditioner is designed to only pump gas (completely boiled refrigerant). If there is any liquid, compressor damage will occur.

In summary, proper air flow is important to both the heating and cooling sides of your HVAC system. There’s nothing more important during the design and installation of your system. Proper air flow ensures a long lasting system.

VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning 812-280-0510

Continuous Fan or Auto Fan

Southern Indiana, Clark, Floyd, and Harrsion Counties as well as Louisville HVAC clients often ask how they should operate their furnace fan – auto or continuous? So, what should you do? Well, it depends…

If you have a high efficiency filtration system and a variable speed ECM blower, you will want your fan running continuously to circulate the air at a low velocity. The lower speed of continuous fan allows for better filtration. The continuous fan will provide more air exchanges each day. Thus providing cleaner air to the home.

What about the rest of us with standard filters and blower motors? If you live in a humid area where the air conditioning system must remove a lot of moisture, you’re better to leave the fan in Auto. You can see as much as a 10% reduction in indoor humidity during the summer. Continuous fan will evaporate the water from the coil that the air conditioner just removed. So, there’s a trade off between circulating the air and humidity control.

Another consideration is register location. If they are placed low on the wall, then the air likely blows on you. You wouldn’t want room temperature air blowing on your skin during the winter. Probably wouldn’t feel to bad in the summer. So, maybe you’d be better only running continuous fan in the summer.

For questions on your unit, give us a call at VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning 812-280-0510

Dry Air

Do you get dry itchy skin in the Jeffersonville or Louisville fluctuating weather? Are you concerned about your wood floors and furniture being too dry? We can help with a whole house humidifier.

Whole house humidifiers are mounted on your furnace duct system and controlled automatically by a humidistat in conjunction with your thermostat. Three primary types of humidifiers are steam, fan powered and bypass. The steam humidifier uses significantly less water than the other two. It also works well with all types of heating systems.

In addition to making the air moist, it will also make the ‘cooler’ air more comfortable. This allows you to keep the thermostat a couple degrees lower for the same comfort level. In turn, you save on your heating bill.

Honeywell TruSTEAM humidifiers are the preferred choice of VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ve installed them in our own homes as well as customers’ homes. Call 812-280-0510 today to schedule an appointment to see which humidifier is right for you.

HVAC Tax Credits and Rebates

Have you been on the fence about purchasing a new heating and cooling system hoping the air conditioner makes it through the summer? Did your furnace fail at the end of the previous heating season? There are incentives to purchase a new HVAC system this year from Duke, Vectren and REMC.

You can contact us and discuss with Werner VanKleef at 812-280-0510

VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

Does a Programmable Thermostat Make a Difference?

Digital Thermostat vs Manual ThermostatA manual thermostat is what most of us grew up with. If you are hot you turn the dial down. If you are cold you turn the dial up. When you leave the house for several hours you try and remember to set the temperature to a point where you will save a little energy.

Why maintain the ideal temperature 24 hours a day if you are not there to enjoy it, right? You may be happy or satisfied with your manual thermostat. You may be intimidated by the thought of having to program a “smart” thermostat, but here are the facts.

  1. You will save money by using any type of programmable thermostat
  2. You do not always remember to adjust the manual thermostat
  3. It is very easy to replace a thermostat
  4. Learning how to use a programmable thermostat is easy
  5. You can change the thermostat from your cell phone or tablet.

When you look at the life-time stats provided by, it is clear that “smart”  thermostats are the better choice. Using their data, they present a case study that shows consumers can save as much as $1,800+ over 11-12 years.

According to Energy Star (2017) “What is a smart thermostat? A smart thermostat is a Wi-Fi enabled device that automatically adjusts heating and cooling temperature settings for optimal performance. Smart thermostats that earn the ENERGY STAR label have been independently certified, based on actual field data, to deliver energy savings. (

Call us with your questions and we would be happy to help you find the perfect solution when it comes to your heating and cooling.

VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning 812-280-0510

Shocking Benefits of an Inline Humidifier

Louisville HVAC MaintenanceYou may not think of the humidity in your home as an important thing, but you will be surprised at all the wonderful benefits of an inline humidifier for you and your home. If you have chronic colds or creaking furniture this could be a big help in relieving symptoms for you and your house. The air in your home has a humidity level and there are good levels and bad levels. You do not want too much or too little. You want it, as Goldilocks would say, “just right”.  You should try and keep the humidity level in your home between 30-50%.

How an inline humidifier works:

An inline humidifier attaches to your HVAC system and injects vapor into the air. As it passes through the vents, it regulates the humidity levels in your home. There are sensors that detect the humidity just like a thermostat measures temperature. When the levels get too low, the humidifier kicks in and adds much-needed moisture to the air and helps raise the overall levels of the whole home. Why is this so important? There are not only benefits for the possessions in your home, but there are benefits to your overall health.

Here is a list of benefits of proper humidity levels:

  • Helps minimize nose bleeds
  • Helps with chronic dry skin issues
  • Helps with seasonal dry skin issues
  • Helps protect wood furniture and musical instruments
  • Helps prevent painted surfaces from becoming brittle
  • Helps soothe throat and nasal cavity during flu and cold spells
  • Helps asthma symptoms if kept at the right level (consult your physician)
  • Helps reduce static electricity

Some of the benefits may be shocking, except for the reduction of static electricity, which literally reduces shocking. Static electricity can be a small inconvenience for the person who regularly gets shocked when touching metal objects or other people, but it can be very harmful to your electronics. An article from PCWORLD said, it’s entirely possible that you’ll open up your PC, plug in an add-in card or some RAM, never have any sensation of static, and still have zapped the electronics. That’s because the integrated circuits can be damaged or destroyed by static voltages as low as 400 volts. Long story short, wear rubber gloves when you are working on your electronic equipment. Better yet, have an inline humidifier installed by VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning and start enjoying the benefits of proper humidified air. Call us with your questions, that’s what were here for. 812-280-0510

Where should I set the humidity in the winter?

During the winter in our area, you should already be using your whole house humidifier. Many humidifiers have automatic controls that vary the humidity setting with your indoor temperature setting and the outdoor temperature. What if you don’t have an automatic control? Where should you set the humidistat? Why does it matter?

If the humidity is set too high, you’ll cause sweating on the windows. This is especially true in older homes with windows that aren’t thermally efficient. Sweating windows will cause the wood sills to rot. The same will happen around doors. Plus, a setting too high is an energy and water waste.

Low humidity levels can lead to a long list of issues. Your nasal passages and throat will become irritated. And you may notice members of the household snoring increases. Low humidity levels also have negative consequences for your home. Low humidity levels causes the structure to contract. Doors don’t shut quite right. Windows will leak more. Low humidity levels also promote the spread of germs. Recent studies have found that low humidity levels increase the longevity of flu virus in the air (ABC News).

So, where do you set it? Humans are most comfortable with humidity levels between 35% and 50% in the winter. This amount of moisture in the air will keep your nasal passages moist as well as our skin. It also keeps static discharge from occurring when you walk across the carpet and enough moisture in your furniture and structure to protect them.

Don’t have a humidifier? Give us a call at (812) 280-0510. We’ll be more than happy to provide a proposal for a new humidifier.

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You; Dealing With Carbon Dioxide

air conditioning repair Louisville While you might be thinking about finding a Southern Indiana or Louisville area Air Conditioning Repair Shop to get ready for the spring and summer season, new seasons also get us thinking about other home maintenance issues.

Did you know that carbon dioxide in normal amounts is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, gas that is naturally emitted by plants, animals, and humans? It’s common in the functioning of every day life. Unfortunately, at higher levels, this gas can be toxic.

When carbon dioxide seeps through doors and windows from the outside and becomes trapped inside, the gas cannot dissipate. Instead, the gas rises to higher levels of toxicity and affects every day functioning, which can produce a poisonous, deadly outcome.

The problem we face is that most people are not aware of the side effects of carbon dioxide poisoning and mistake them for common health problems like fatigue, the flu, and high blood pressure. Muscle twitching and headaches may be brushed off as a common occurrence, but as carbon dioxide reaches higher, more deadly levels, nausea and dizziness become overwhelming and eventually muscle twitching and asphyxiation can occur, resulting in death. As carbon dioxide increases, oxygen decreases, hampering proper flow to your brain, which eventually becomes fatal.

Although carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas, it can be unnaturally present due to excessive levels emitted from stoves, space heaters, clothes dryers, or improperly vented fireplace flues.

To guard against this deadly gas:

  • Make sure all gas-burning appliances are properly ventilated
  • Keep gas levels regulated and checked
  • Use a mechanically ventilated system for exhaust
  • Regularly test CO2 levels and have anything excessive flushed out

Home testing can be done in a couple of different ways. You can buy a kit at your local home improvement store that assesses carbon dioxide levels and allows you to instantly know the results so that they can be promptly rectified. Certified home inspectors are properly trained to detect this type of danger and are worth the investment for peace of mind.

Although carbon dioxide makes up only 1% of our atmosphere, it can account for 100% of family disaster if not properly and promptly addressed and treated. VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning repair professionals, in Southern Indiana and the Louisville Kentucky area can help you keep your home safe from disaster. (812) 280-0510

Should you turn the HVAC system OFF when gone?

I was recently asked on a Google+ discussion if you should turn your air conditioner OFF when gone. Plenty of room for disagreement even among the professionals. When taking a purely energy conservation viewpoint, you’ll definitely save when using setback periods. However, we buy these HVAC systems for comfort. How comfortable is an 80*F home after climbing from your 65*F car and the 50*F vents blowing on you during your commute? Not really comfortable.

Programmable Thermostat

There’s a simple solution to help – a programmable thermostat with dehumidification capabilities. Research shows use that humans are most comfortable when the humidity is 40-60% and the indoor temperature is 68-78*F. A home at 78*F and 50% humidity has the same comfort feel to most people as a home at 70*F and 60% humidity.

What about dehumidification? Let’s consider the function of an HVAC system in cooling mode. It’s purpose is to cool and remove moisture. If you’re in a deep setup, then the AC won’t be running. If it’s not running, then it’s not removing moisture. So, the programmable thermostats can also dehumidify. They do this by cycling the system for 10 minute periods when there is no active call for cooling.

With that, I recommend a setback similar to the EPA (Energy Star): and

Keys to the savings: setback period should be at least ten hours and 7*F (heating) and 4*F (cooling). Read the footnote on the second link.