Are You Ready For Ragweed Season?

Posted by Ben Hubbert - August 6, 2014 - ChampionAC, San Antonio
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allergiesCalling all Hay Fever (seasonal allergy) sufferers! Ragweed is on the way and it’s predicted to be one of the worst season in history. Thanks to recent rain and humidity, ragweed will soon be thriving. Right on queue, Dr. Paul Ratner reported ragweed showing up today on the latest allergy count. That means it’s time to arm yourself with knowledge (and Benadryl!) before the pollen really starts flying.

What is Ragweed?

This pesky weed lives in only one season, but that doesn’t stop it from sending tissue and antihistamine sales sky high. A single ragweed plant can release up to one billion grains of pollen. Its pollen is spread by the wind, and plants will continue to produce pollen until they are killed by colder weather or the first big frost of winter.

Why am I allergic to Ragweed?

Seasonal allergy sufferers are suffering not because of a weak immune system. Instead, it’s due to a sensitive one. If you find yourself sneezing, coughing and wiping your eyes during allergy season, it’s due to your immune system’s attempt to rid your body of allergens. Allergens, while harmless, are often confused for malicious intruders and the symptoms that follow are a result.

Did You Know?

Oral allergies, the itching or hives associated with eating foods you are allergic to, are often due to cross-reactivity with normal pollen allergies. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, those who suffer from ragweed allergies are likely to also react to honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, zucchini and tomatoes. This is due to these fruits and vegetables containing proteins that are similar to those found in ragweed pollen.

Stay Inside

If allergies make you miserable, your home can be your safe haven. In addition to keeping doors and windows closed as much as possible, you can use your air conditioner to your advantage. Start by making sure your air filter is not only clean, but also designed to trap allergens. This regular HVAC maintenance is an easy and inexpensive method of allergen filtration. It’s also good for your air conditioning system! Make sure to remove any pollens you may bring in from outside by showering off after a day outside, vacuuming regularly and dusting ceiling fans and furniture.

Guest Post: A Look at Heating and AC North of the Border

Posted by Champion AC - July 16, 2014 - ChampionAC, Q&A
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Hogg(Here in Texas, we pretend like we have all four seasons. But in reality, we have two – hot and not so warm. So we thought it would be interesting to see what folks who live way north of here put up with on a yearly basis. We asked our friends at Hogg Heating and AC in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada to describe the summers and winters up north of the border. Here’s what Peter Wagner had to say.)

In the middle of last weekend’s gorgeous weather, I remember stepping into our (coolish) house thinking, “Will I ever be glad when we don’t need air conditioning anymore this season?” How bad is that? After the winter we had – where the furnace was going constantly, the natural gas bills were 20% higher than the year before, and the air in the house was bone dry – I was complaining about how cool our house was compared to being outside. That got me thinking summer (and air conditioning) in Ontario is way more comfortable than winter (and heating). Let me elaborate.

The most obvious distinction between summer and winter here is how long and severe the winter season is. You don’t have to think about it for long to realize that while we need air conditioning at various times for four months max, but we need heating (usually a furnace) CONSTANTLY FOR AT LEAST FIVE! While we need the A/C – what do we need it to do? Cool the building down 10⁰-15⁰ F (5⁰-8⁰ C). Contrast that with making the building 75⁰ F (24⁰ C) when it’s 0⁰ F (-18⁰ C) outside. Obviously the extra 60 degrees make it a lot easier for a properly sized air conditioner to keep up. While the temperature fluctuates a bit, over 98% of the hours between December and April here in Ontario need heat of some sort. We only need to cool the building 24 hours a day once or twice a summer. We all know how nice it is to be able to open the window at night after running the A/C throughout the day!

canadaSecondly – the clothing! We don’t need any extra layers if we want to go outside in the summer. Yet no one would think about leaving the house without a coat, boots and something over our hands (no hat, sorry Mom…). Although most houses have spots where the air conditioning is more effective than others, you don’t need to wear something different depending where you are in the house during the summer. I have friends who love to point out how interesting it is that I’m in the heating business, yet when they come to our house for dinner in the winter, they’ll likely need a sweater at one end of the dining room. (We have old, single-pane windows – but the heating system works fine, thanks).

The last reason is not so obvious – humidity. While the problem is there’s too much humidity in the summer, our homes have uncomfortably low humidity in the winter. The dry air leads to dry skin, chapped lips, etc. In summer, air conditioning reduces humidity (making it more comfortable in your home). But the furnace actually makes the air inside the house drier. When the furnace is fired, the heat of the flame (and the heat exchanger) burns off the relative humidity. We are all familiar with getting a static electricity shock in the middle of winter when we accidentally shuffle our feet on the carpet!

So while we may not like the “chill” coming in from outside, it sure beats no coats, dry air, chapped lips, and big gas bills! Believe me, we’re all incredibly jealous of those Texas winters!

Keeping Your Pets Safe in the Heat

Posted by Ben Hubbert - July 9, 2014 - ChampionAC, Community, San Antonio
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dog with fanAir conditioning isn’t just a luxury in San Antonio, it’s a necessity. Without proper hydration, shade and air conditioning, body temperatures can quickly rise to the hundreds – that’s heat stroke territory. Fortunately, humans have ways of cooling themselves off. We can sweat, sit by a fan, go inside and enjoy a cool drink, etc. Your pets are another story. Pets, like infants, rely purely on their owners/moms/dads to keep them safe. You provide the water, the shade and the air conditioning.

Now that summer is here, it’s more important than ever to protect your pets from the intense heat outside. So here’s some important pet safety information from Champion AC.

Important Pet Heat Safety Facts

  • A healthy dog’s temperature runs around 102.5 degrees.
  • A healthy cat’s temperature can run from 99.5 to 102.5 degrees.
  • Even in cooler weather, leaving your pets in the car is very dangerous.
  • On a 70 degree day a car can reach 104 degrees inside in as little as 30 minutes. (This puts both dogs and cats in the heat stroke range.)
  • On a 95 degree summer day, a car’s interior can reach 129 degrees in 30 minutes.

Treating an Animal with Heat Stroke

If a cat’s temperature reaches 103 degrees, or a dog’s reaches 105, they need immediate veterinary attention. If you suspect your pet has heat exhaustion or heat stroke, fast action must be taken to save them.

  • Get the animal into the shade or an air conditioned room.
  • Have someone start and cool your car down.
  • Pour cool (not cold) water on your pet. Call ahead to your vet to let them know you’re coming.
  • Place ice packs or cold towels on their head, neck and chest for the car ride to the vet.
  • Let them drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes.

Preventing Heat Stroke In Pets

Responsible pet owners can take several steps to keep their dogs and cats safe during the hot summer days and nights.

  • Make sure your pet always has access to clean, cool water and a shady place to rest.
  • Keep your pet’s coat well-groomed. Long coats can serve as insulation from the heat if it has been groomed to remove the undercoat.
  • Make sure any outdoor or large kennels have adequate air conditioning.
  • Bring your pets inside. Would you leave a toddler outside in the 95 degree heat? Pets are family. If it’s too hot for you outside, it’s definitely too hot for them.

If you have concerns about your home’s air conditioning, call us today at Champion AC! We have years of experience keeping San Antonio families and their beloved pets safe and cool during the summer.

5 COOL Ways to Celebrate the Spurs Victory

Posted by Ben Hubbert - June 16, 2014 - ChampionAC, San Antonio
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cinco

Last night, the San Antonio Spurs clenched their 5th championship title with a huge 104-87 win over the Miami Heat (in an air conditioned arena, we might add). There’s absolutely no doubt that the Spurs were the better team throughout the series, and San Antonio has been celebrating accordingly. If honking down Commerce Street and enjoying a free cup of coffee this morning aren’t enough celebration for you, we’ve thought of five cool ways to celebrate your National Champions!

 

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1. Braid your hair like Kawhi Leonard.

The NBA Finals MVP shows off the perfect way to stay cool. Who can properly celebrate with a bunch of hair in their face?

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duncanthepool

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2. Take a DUNC-in the pool!

Did you plan ahead and take today off from work? You genius! Grab some Spurs-endorsed HEB products and head to the pool for some good food and fun in the sun. Will it be a great time for all? Indubitably.

 

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3. Indulge in a Banana Split-ter.

Make Tiago proud with a little ice cream treat in his name!

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4. Sip on Champagne.

Who are cooler than the French? Celebrate like Tony and Boris would with a glass of bubbly.

5. Don’t cramp up!

Celebrating can get tiring. Re-watch Game 5 in the comfort of your air conditioned home! If there are any technical difficulties, call Champion AC for any and all air conditioning repairs!

Champion AC Official Response To AC Outage

Posted by Ben Hubbert - June 6, 2014 - San Antonio
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champion-ac-spurs

Let me preface this by saying that we really, really love the Spurs. And love can make you do crazy things.

At Champion AC, we hold the unique position of being a Spurs partner, but not their AC provider. (Friend-Zone Level: Ultimate) So when the AT&T Center’s air conditioner decided to take the night off for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, it’s understandable that sweat-soaked fans, national media (like ESPN’s Darren Rovell) and players would want to point their fingers, tweet at or shake their fists in the general direction of the company with their air conditioning ads plastered across the building.

That’s why we wanted to take this opportunity to clear up any and all rumors about the AC outage that caused the cramps heard ‘round the world. Starting with – WE TOTALLY DID IT.

A power outage? Really? Do you think something as devious and beautifully executed as turning the AT&T Center into a sauna (You’re welcome, dieters.) could be accomplished with something as crude as a power outage? Think again.

This thing goes far deeper than our love for Heat/heat puns, guys. Why would we confess? Call it pride. Pride in our city and pride in the great work that we do (5-star reviews on Google).

We’re also pretty good at faux confessions. :)

We hope that you’re all cool, comfortable and hydrated on this lovely Friday. Before we go, we’ll just leave these extremely interesting definitions for you. In case there was any confusion.

spon·sor
noun \ˈspän(t)-sər\
: a person or organization that pays the cost of an activity or event (such as a radio or television program, sports event, concert, etc.) in return for the right to advertise during the activity or event

pro·vid·er
noun \prə-ˈvī-dər\
: a group or company that provides a specified service (like air conditioning, for example.)

Getting You Ready for the Weekend

Posted by Ben Hubbert - June 6, 2014 - ChampionAC, Community
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thermometerChampion AC here with your San Antonio weekend weather forecast. The temperatures are set to reach the mid-90s just in time for an NBA Finals rematch for the ages. As the San Antonio Spurs set out to conquer the heat, the official AC company of the Spurs (that’s us!) has a few great tips to help you beat the heat at home!

Have you called for your spring tune-up yet? This pain-free and low-cost maintenance is essential to keeping your air conditioner in top shape for the sizzling months ahead. When you schedule an AC tune-up, a technician will thoroughly inspect your HVAC unit. If needed, they will suggest the necessary repairs to keep your air conditioner operating efficiently through the summer. If you’re already in need of air conditioning repair, call the team at Champion AC today.

Hosting a Finals watching party at your home? Emotions and temperatures can run high when sports fans gather together in one place. Make sure to arrange furniture in a way where not only everyone can see the game, but where there is also optimum airflow in your home. Furniture can sometimes block vents or cut off cooling cross breezes created by ceiling fans. This will make rooms feel warmer and your air conditioner have to work harder and longer to reach the desired temperature in your home.

Our final advice is to think to yourself, “What would Tim Duncan do?” If the Big Fundamental isn’t the image of calm, COOL and collected, we don’t know who is! The weather may be heating up, but we’re ready to put the Heat on ice! For all of your HVAC needs, give us a call at Champion AC. We love keeping San Antonio cool. Happy finals, stay cool and GO SPURS GO!

How to Keep Ants Out of Your AC Unit

Posted by Ben Hubbert - May 30, 2014 - air conditioner, ChampionAC, Q&A, San Antonio
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antsAir conditioners are a major investment for any homeowner. If you choose an efficient model and keep up with the recommended maintenance, your HVAC unit could last you well over 15 years. The last thing you want to happen, after doing everything you’re supposed to do, is for your AC to short circuit due to insect invaders. San Antonio residents are used to summer fire ant invasions and know to avoid their mounds. However, it’s another type of ant, tawny crazy ants, that may do the most damage.

Crazy ants, known for their erratic movements, tiny bodies and swarming tendencies, make their homes in existing structures because they don’t build the tunnel-filled mounds we’ve come to associate with ants in general. In fact, they don’t do any digging at all! (I know what you’re thinking – Crazy ants? More like lazy ants!) They make their homes in protected spaces like the inside of your air conditioner, walls, sheds and pretty much anywhere else available to them. So besides the fact that nobody likes an ant infestation to begin with, why do you want to keep crazy ants out of your air conditioner? The fact is, these tiny insects can cause some big problems.

As humans, we know to proceed with caution near electrical components. Ants, on the other hand, are blissfully unaware that walking through a machine running with electrical current could be the last thing they ever do. When crazy ants choose to set up residence in your HVAC unit, they often form a contact bridge between two electrical points. This results in their electrocution and the subsequent release of distress pheromones. The pheromones sound an alarm to the other crazy ants to swarm to the rescue and fight off the “attacker.” As you can imagine, the more ants there are to create contact bridges, the more unintentional electrocutions take place. This chain of zaps and infestations can quickly lead to a costly short circuit in your air conditioner.

So how do you take back your air conditioner from crazy ants? We talked to the experts at Apple Pest Control for more information.

“We can treat with many different methods depending on the type of unit,” said owner Stan Goodson. “One option is to set up enclosed bait stations near the HVAC unit so the ants move in there instead.”

One thing’s for sure, ant pheromones are powerful communicators.

“After they have been exterminated the area will need to be cleaned up of any left behind pheromones or more ants will take their place.”

With summer around the corner, a working air conditioner turns from a luxury into a must-have item. If crazy ants have wreaked havoc on your HVAC system, call Apple Pest Control for a fast extermination and Champion AC if you need an AC repair in San Antonio.

Window Units vs. Ductless AC Systems

Posted by Ben Hubbert - May 14, 2014 - ChampionAC, Q&A
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ductless air conditionerOlder homes, additions and apartments aren’t always fit for central air conditioning. When it comes to keeping your place cool or warm, you have a handful of options. You can rely on your ceiling fans and hope for cool breezes in the summer, bundle up and keep the fireplace alight in the winter, or you can opt for one of the two forms of ductless air conditioning. Window units and ductless mini split systems both bring different forms of cooling to the table. Which is right for you? You decide! Here’s an easy breakdown based on facts and features.

Looks
The ductless mini-split system is the clear winner in this AC beauty pageant. Where window units are loud, bulky and obtrusive, the quiet, ductless mini-split systems are available in several slim and stylish options. Window units block natural light from your window and take away from your home’s beauty both indoors and out. Ductless mini-split systems don’t require any window space and can be mounted high on your wall and out of direct eyesight.

Security
This category is another big win for ductless mini-split systems. Only a small hole is used to connect the indoor air handler to the compressor outside. And since it is mounted inside, there is no way risk of forced entry or theft. Conversely, window units are easily removed, making them an unsafe option for the ground floors of your home. The unit itself could be stolen or simply removed to gain entry to your home. Also, on higher floors, improper installation could send a window unit toppling down on whatever walks unsuspectingly below.

Installation and Cost
This is where the window unit comes to play. Window units can cost 5-10 times less than a ductless mini-split system and are the least expensive air conditioning options available. On top of their lower cost, the buyer would save on a professional installation, as it is easily accomplished with the help of one or two friends. Another perk of window units is that your home will not be altered in any way during the installation. Ductless mini-split systems must be installed professionally. A hole must be drilled through your home to the outside for the air handler to connect with the compressor. For proper operation, the compressor must be professionally installed and mounted outdoors, making it more costly than a window unit.

Efficiency
This is a knockout for the ductless mini-split system. Window units can be tricky to seal, letting hot, humid air in during the summer and your warm air out during the winter. Even central air units are generally more efficient than window units (and they can lose up to 30% of their conditioned air to their ductwork). The mini-split systems won’t lose conditioned air to windows or ducts, and they can be programmed for heightened efficiency. One of our favorite mini-split features is Mitsubishi Electric’s I-See Sensor. The air handler actively scans your room, high and low, for hot and cold spots and then corrects them for even comfort throughout the room.

Once you tally it up, it’s clear that, if you own your home and can afford it, the ductless mini-split systems are the way to go. If you’re renting, window units might be your only option due to the alterations needed to install a mini-split system.  When selecting either, aim for the highest SEER rating on a programmable unit. Proper air conditioning management can keep you comfortable and save you big money on your electric bills.

How to Fight Off Spring Allergies

Posted by Ben Hubbert - April 30, 2014 - Air Quality, ChampionAC, San Antonio
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Don’t be fooled. Those sniffles and sneezes aren’t a side effect of Playoff Fever (Go Spurs Go!). Live Oak catkins are falling left and right, bringing with them pounds and pounds of tree pollen.If you aren’t one of the many suffering from sneezing, watery eyes, congestion, coughing, itching eyes and more, don’t just take our word for it. Check out the PollenCast for the next couple of days.

pollencast

While we can’t halt the seasons changing or control pollen production, Champion AC can offer great tips for fighting off allergies this spring. Here are a few of our favorite, cost-friendly solutions for allergy relief.

Seal Your Home

Yes, the weather is beautiful. Yes, winter ran far too long this year. But if you’re allergic to the pollen falling freely from the trees outside, now is not the time to throw open your windows. Until the pollen count drops significantly, you’re better off making your home a safe haven from the sniffles by keeping windows, doors, chimney flues and any other openings tightly sealed.

Filter Your Air

We know that you can’t become a complete shut-in during pollen season. That means you, your family and pets are most likely going to bring pollen indoors with you when returning home. To fight off immediate symptoms, take a nice hot shower. Any lingering pollen will be taken care of by your air conditioner! That’s right! If you change your high-efficiency air filter once a month, airborne pollen will be filtered out of the air you breathe. Supplement your air filters by vacuuming regularly to remove any pollens or irritants that may be trapped in carpeting. For premium indoor air quality, look into advanced air filtration.

Local Honey

Sipping a nice cup of tea to help soothe your sore throat? Stir in some local honey for allergy relief! According to experts, adding local honey to your diet a month or two before allergy season can help reduce the negative symptoms. Check out the farmer’s markets in your area for a delicious twist on allergy relief.

How do you fight allergies? Share your experiences in the comments below! Don’t forget to call Champion AC for all of you air conditioning repairs and installations.

Champion AC is Hiring!

Posted by Ben Hubbert - April 7, 2014 - ChampionAC, San Antonio
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Champion ACAre you looking for a new job? Champion AC is hiring! We’d love for you or one of your friends to join the Champion AC family.

We’re looking for a customer service representative to help in our growing call center here in San Antonio. This is a full-time position with a Monday-Thursday, 10am-8pm shift.

Benefits include:

  • $10-$15 an hour, based on experience
  • Health insurance
  • Overtime possibilities

If you speak Spanish, it is a major plus. All applicants must pass a background check, as well.

Send your resume to info@championac.com. And if this isn’t the job for you, help us spread the word!