BMI Mechanical Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
BMI Mechanical Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
humidity levels bmi mechanical
▸ August 10, 2021

Whether you live in Florida or California, we should all shoot to maintain normal indoor humidity levels.

But what exactly is considered “normal” indoor humidity levels and why is it important?

Let’s break it down.

What is a normal indoor humidity level?

A normal (or ideal) indoor humidity level would be somewhere between 30% and 50%.

A 30% humidity level means that the air is holding 30% of the total amount of moisture it can contain.

There are certain factors that can increase or decrease your humidity, including the outdoor environment and your air conditioning equipment. It’s also important to remember that humidity is crucial, and with too little of it, you can experience just as many issues as you would with too much of it. In other words, the goal is not to shoot for 0% humidity.

Let’s go ahead and dissect this a little further by discussing symptoms of low or high indoor humidity levels.

Symptoms of high humidity in home or office environments

  1. You’ll feel warmer! (And maybe even a little sticky!)
  2. You may create a comfortable environment for fungus, dust mites, mildew, mold, and bugs — which could make you sick and negatively affect people with asthma, allergies, or sinusitis 
  3. Too much humidity can also negatively affect wood, which can cause wood to rot and furniture to warp.

Symptoms of low humidity in home or office environments

  1. Similar to symptoms of too much humidity, too low humidity can negatively affect people with asthma and other breathing-related issues (since the air is too dry).
  2. Air that is too dry can lead to chapped lips, sore throats, and dry, itchy skin.
  3. Humidity that’s too low can also cause wood to warp or crack. This is because there is no moisture in the air and the wood literally shrinks.

What to do if the humidity is too high or too low

If you start to notice any of the above symptoms, make sure you take the proper steps to test your humidity levels. You don’t want your family or employees struggling to breath or suffering from sinus-related issues due to a problem that is relatively easy to address.

While there are tools you can use to test the humidity levels of your home or office, it’s best to contact a professional. This way, they can give you accurate guidance on your humidity levels, and you can avoid wasting money on solutions that don’t address the actual issue.

This being said, if the humidity is too high, you may need to replace your air conditioner. This is usually only necessary if the unit or parts are too old and can not effectively remove the humidity from the air.

If this is not an option for you right now, a dehumidifier may temporarily help resolve the issue. There are many different options and sizes available (all of which address different needs), so it’s best to speak to a professional to find out what works best for you.

On the other hand, if the humidity is too low, you can seek out a humidifier. If the issue is just with one area of the house or one office in a commercial space, a portable humidifier may solve the issue quickly. However, these do require some regular upkeep to continue working, and they will be severely limited in reach. 

If you do require a larger, more professional humidifier, it’s important to speak with a professional who can give you guidance on selection, installation, and maintenance.

Ready to keep learning? Check out these resources:

dripping air conditioner
▸ May 26, 2021

“My air conditioner is dripping” — so, what now??? 

If your air conditioner is dripping fluids, don’t panic. There are a handful of common issues that can lead to a drippy AC. As long as you take the right steps to correct the cause of the leak, all should be fine. However, if you wait too long to fix your dripping air conditioner, other, more serious issues can start to develop. In a worst case scenario, a leaky air conditioner can damage and destroy floors, walls, and ceilings and not to mention, your AC system as a whole.

This being said, if your AC is dripping, turn it off and contact a licensed HVAC professional as soon as you can. In the meantime, let’s discuss a few different reasons you might be experiencing a leaking AC.

The evaporator coils are frozen.

Frozen evaporator coils can be caused by different issues, such as a broken motor or dirty coils. However, the main issue at play here is restricted air flow, which can lead to the formation of ice and dripping water. 

If this is the case with your AC, you should get to work immediately. You may be able to correct this issue on your own by replacing the air filter and removing and cleaning any dirt or debris. But, if you aren’t familiar with ACs (and especially if you’re dealing with a commercial building or office AC), then we recommend contacting an HVAC company. This is especially true if one of your issues also happens to be low refrigerant or a broken motor. 

Failing to correct frozen coils can result in compressor issues and no cool air coming from your AC.

Related Content: Your Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

The drain pan is cracked.

If your drain pan is cracked, this could be a relatively simple issue to fix (at least temporarily). You’ll want to check both the pan and pipe connected to the pan for any leaks. If you notice any, you can use a sealant to patch it up. However, upon doing so, you’ll still want to contact an HVAC company to have the pan fully replaced. This is necessary if this is the drain pan that is located underneath your coils (there are two pans). This pan is permanently affixed to your system and will need to be professionally removed.

Your drain is clogged.

As we mentioned earlier, your evaporator coils can become frozen because of dirt and debris — causing your AC to drip in the process. But keep in mind, a dirty, clogged drain line can cause leaks in general. Cleaning your AC should hopefully be part of routine HVAC maintenance, but it can be difficult to handle on your own if you don’t have the right tools and experience. 

If you’re at all concerned about cleaning your AC, contact a professional and rely on them to thoroughly clean up your system and remove all dirt, algae, and other debris.

Related Content: How to prepare your HVAC for summer

Your filter is dirty.

Replacing your air filter on a regular basis can easily slip your mind — but this slip of the mind can definitely cause issues for your AC later down the line (including leaking water). While this can go back to the frozen coils mentioned earlier, it can also impact and damage other equipment within your system. 

Make sure you’re replacing your filter on a monthly basis or you’re working with an HVAC company that provides this service as part of their proactive maintenance program.

Other common HVAC issues:

Small AC blowing out warm air on table
▸ May 5, 2021

Is your AC blowing out warm air? If this is the case, you might be able to self-diagnose the issue on your own. 

However, even if you are able to diagnose the issue, you may still need professional help. Whether it’s a residential or commercial AC unit, you need to make sure you correctly identify the issue and safely fix it. Otherwise, you could end up causing more harm to the unit or… causing harm to yourself.

Let’s take a few moments to answer the question, “Why is my AC blowing out warm air?”

Is your thermostat on the wrong setting?

Before you do anything, check your thermostat. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people notice that their ac is blowing warm air and then automatically assume they need to contact an HVAC technician.

Double-check that your AC is not set to heat, that the batteries are working, and that it is set to the correct temperature.

It’s also important to remember that there is a difference between “auto” and “on”, and you should review your thermostat’s guide to make sure you’re using your settings correctly.

Is the airflow restricted?

There are a few reasons you may not be getting the airflow you need in order to get cool air, but typically, it’s a direct result of your vents. Keep in mind, this particular issue can lead to other, more complicated issues. So, if it is restricted vents, make sure you fix it quickly.

Keep Reading: How to prepare your HVAC for summer

Are you having electrical issues?

If your outdoor unit does not have electricity, then this could be the reason why your AC is blowing warm air. Your indoor unit won’t be able to work correctly if your outdoor unit isn’t working correctly. This could be as simple as a blown fuse, but it could be a little more complicated than that. Either way, this usually indicates a larger problem, and it’s recommended that you contact a licensed HVAC company. 

Keep Reading: How to find a commercial HVAC company

Is your unit low on refrigerant?

If your AC is blowing warm air, it could mean that you have a leak somewhere. If this is the case, you’re likely running low on refrigerant — which will ultimately cause that warm air to blow out. In this situation, make sure you contact an HVAC contractor so they can fill up your refrigerant and fix your leak. Failing to fix the leak will simply lead to more warm air later down the line. 

Is your unit dirty?

Without proper HVAC maintenance, your unit could suffer. Dirty filters or coils can lead to buildup, which can mess with the flow of air. Make sure you’re partaking in regular HVAC maintenance — whether in a home or office building — to avoid buildup complications.

Need help with your HVAC unit?

At BMI Mechanical, we provide proactive HVAC maintenance for companies throughout California. We have decades of experience creating greener buildings, preventing HVAC breakdowns, and lowering HVAC repair costs. If you’re interested in learning more about our HVAC services and solutions, give us a call or fill out our online form today.

Related Content:

▸ March 29, 2021

Should I turn my AC off when I’m not home? What about when I’m on vacation? Should I turn off my air conditioner when I’m gone for a few days? Does turning my AC off even save me money? Or does it actually end up costing me more money in the long run?

Questions like these are extremely common. People from all walks of life are interested in knowing best-practices when it comes to their air conditioners. They want to understand how turning off their AC can impact things like energy conservation, cost-efficiency, and ideal living situations. 

While everyone has their own motivation for turning off their ACs when they leave the house, let’s quickly discuss what can save you money, keep your AC functional, and maintain a healthy living situation.

Turning AC off vs. leaving it on: What’s better?

If you want the quick and dirty version of this post, it’s usually better to keep your AC on when you leave the home or office. Yes, even if you go on a vacation for the weekend. We recommend turning the AC up a few degrees from your normal temperature (anywhere between 7 and 10 degrees).

However, this is only if you plan on being away for a few days. If you plan on being away for longer than a few days and your primary interest is to save money, then you may want to consider turning your AC off completely (just don’t forget about your furry friends).

Cons of turning off your air conditioner when you leave

There are a few things you will want to keep in mind if you do decide to turn your AC off when you leave your home or office. This primarily includes mold and bugs — two things that love humidity. 

When you turn your AC off, your space becomes more susceptible to humidity. This added humidity can lead to mold and bugs. This being said, if this is something you’re not interested in, then go back to our original advice: turn your AC up to a higher temperature when you leave. 

Other than bugs and mold, however, turning your AC off completely when you leave your house can certainly make your living situation uncomfortable when you return and could end up costing you more money in the long run. But this will definitely depend on your outdoor living environment (outdoor temperature vs. desired indoor temperature), as well as the type and size of your unit.

We typically say that a programmable thermostat (or manually decreasing/increasing the temperature) is the most beneficial option for promoting energy- and cost-efficiency, but it’s always best to consult with a licensed HVAC contractor to get advice that’s truly unique to your environment, your air conditioner, and your needs and wants.

Keep Reading: 2021 HVAC Technology Trends 

What’s the best temperature to keep your AC at?

The advice people usually give out is to remain within 15 degrees of the outside temperature, so you don’t work your AC too hard or consume too much energy. However, this is easier said than done. In most settings, 78 degrees is ideal. But what happens if you live in an extremely cold or extremely hot city? 15 degrees of 105 degrees would be 90 degrees, which isn’t exactly a relaxing indoor temperature. This would also mean that if you turned your AC up when you leave the house, you’d have a home sitting at 100 degrees (which seems a little high). Even if you turned your AC off completely when you leave for the day or for the weekend, your house would mostly likely be sitting around the same temperature.

In these more extreme circumstances, we once again recommend speaking with a licensed HVAC contractor. An HVAC company can give you more customized advice to keep your home comfortable when you’re gone (while also maintaining energy- and cost-efficiency). 

Need more advice on your home or office AC?

At BMI Mechanical, we have decades of combined experience working with businesses all over California and helping them remain comfortable in their own spaces. If you’d like to learn more about AC best practices, take a look at some of our additional resources. 

portrait of a disgusted girl pinching her nose you hvac smells
▸ February 26, 2021

If your AC smells bad, you’re likely wondering, “How do I get rid of the smell in my air conditioner?” However, before you can answer this question, you first need to understand what’s causing the smell in the first place. 

In many cases, you can figure out what’s causing the smell by determining what type of smell you’re experiencing. The type of smell could indicate a quick fix or a serious problem.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common AC smells, what they could mean, and what your next steps should be.

My AC smells moldy

If you’re experiencing a moldy air conditioner smell, don’t panic. This is an extremely common issue to experience, and you likely aren’t in any danger. A moldy AC smell might smell similar to something that is left wet for an extended period of time (like a wet bathing suit or towel). 

Typically, this means that you have some type of water leakage that’s resulting in a build-up of fungus or mildew. This could happen in a variety of areas, including your drip pan, filter, and ducting. In this situation, you should contact an HVAC contractor to identify the problem area and correct the issue. Unwanted moisture or water in your HVAC unit can lead to more serious (and more expensive) complications. And not to mention, you don’t want to be breathing in all that mildewy air.

Related Material: Your guide to preventative HVAC maintenance and optimization

My AC smells like rotten egg

If your AC smells like rotten eggs, you may actually have a dead rodent stuck in there. It’s important to remove any dead rodents as soon as possible for a handful of reasons. First and foremost, it’s a horrible smell. Secondly, it can have a negative and damaging effect on the internal components of your AC unit. If you don’t feel comfortable removing the animal and cleaning the impacted areas, then an HVAC contractor is definitely an option.

However, if the smell is more skunk-like, this may indicate a gas leak. This is a serious issue that should be handled immediately. You’ll want to get in contact with an HVAC contractor and have them correct this issue on your behalf. While you wait for assistance, you should not remain in the building. You may also want to open windows and doors, and steer clear of matches, appliances, candles, and other similar items.

Some people have difficulty differentiating the smell of rotten eggs from a skunk-like odor. If this is you, don’t hesitate to contact a professional. Better be safe, than sorry.

My AC smells like fire

There are a few reasons your AC might smell like smoke or fire. In any case, your first step should be to turn off your AC and contact an HVAC contractor immediately. When your air conditioner smells like fire, this could mean that the electrical components are literally burning inside your HVAC unit. It could also indicate that built-up dust or debris is also burning within your unit. 

My AC smells like car exhaust

If you’re smelling something similar to exhaust fumes from a car, then this could mean that you have a refrigerant leak. This can cause a number of problems for your HVAC unit and for your living or working space. Not only can it overwork your unit, but it can also be a sign that those chemicals are finding their way into your breathing air. This is another situation where you’ll want to have your unit inspected by a professional as soon as possible.

Related Material: Tips on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19 indoors

Need help figuring out why your air conditioner smells bad?

At BMI, we help businesses all over California keep their HVAC units working (and smelling) as they should. If your AC smells bad, we can help you inspect, diagnose, and correct the issue at hand. It’s important to remember, however, that the majority of common AC smells can indicate a serious issue that should be corrected as soon as possible. Don’t attempt to fix the issue if you are not familiar with HVAC units, and no matter what, do not postpone handling the issue.

Fill out our online contact form if you have questions or if you need help with proactive HVAC maintenance.


Energy is the largest controllable operating cost of a facility. Linc

Since 2004, BMI has provided our company with an outstanding HVAC Preventive Maintenance Program. I must say that the ‘details’ are in place at BMI. Their technicians are courteous, on time, knowledgeable and are able to take care of any problems on their first visit. Dave Cavanaugh Operations Manager UNISOURCE