Thursday, 23 May 2019

Energy and HVAC Optimization

If you want to provide the right ventilating, heating, and air-conditioning, your electricity bill will go up 20-40%. A proper HVACsystem is important for maintaining a healthy and comfortable interior environment. However, several homeowners look for strategies for reducing their energy cost without the need to sacrifice on the house environment. Here is how to reduce energy bills while enhancing your HVAC system performance.

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Load Reduction

Load reduction is one of the primary steps for achieving HVAC and energy system optimization. This step usually comprises of a long-range plan that itemizes actions needed to be taken for best return on investment. Decreasing the load on your building helps the HVAC system function more efficiently. 

Here are a few load reduction techniques:

  1. Add extra insulation and tighten the shell of the building. Extra insulation in a building could be a little difficult in certain cases, so it is best to aim towards the exterior shell, particularly doors and windows.
  2. Installation of windows that are energy-efficient. This can work very well for buildings with single pane windows. Double pane windows that have a thermal break are known to be one of the best ROI.
  3. Lighting system upgrade. For maintaining proper levels of lighting, an average building has 2-3 watts of lighting density per square foot. This is one of the biggest reasons for load on an HVAC system. Accent lighting are extremely energy inefficient and must not be used if one wishes to decrease HVAC and energy costs. Lighting systems that are energy-efficient release less heat inside conditioned space when compared to older incandescent technology.
  4. Choose efficient electronic devices and equipment that have power saver option. This will assist in decreasing sensible heat gain within a space. Things to consider are, kitchen equipment, refrigerators and computers.
HVAC Systems

Another step for achieving HVAC system and energy optimization is understanding your system well. Your system is important for your interior environment. At the same time, it also is a big reason for your bill. In case you have a unit, which is older than 13 years, it is best that you decide for an upgrade. Systems that are well maintained have an expectancy of approximately 15 years but they seem to disappoint at the wrong times. Make sure you keep a replacement plan handy for the day the unit fails.

Few tips: HVAC System:

Look for a certified consultant who you can trust. In case you are a house owner, look for a good mechanic or company for evaluating and maintaining the system.

Calculate the HVAC load. You can make use of ACCA's calculation method.

Choose equipment which is sized for your load. Do not buy something that is oversize. Also, you will have to pay more to buy big equipment and also to operate it. Get the equipment and load selection right from the very beginning.

With all these tips you can rest assured that you can make your HVAC and your home energy efficient. However, make sure you choose the services of a reputed HVAC expert for advice.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Choosing the Right Home Ventilation System

It is very important to ensure that the air you are breathing is healthy and safe. There are numerous elements including, gases and vapor that play a part in contaminating the air, making it very unhealthy to breathe.

Therefore, make sure you have a proper system for home ventilation that brings fresh air inside and expels air which is polluted. If the house has insulation, proper ventilation will guarantee that the air pollutants harmful for your health and the ones that damage your house do not remain trapped within.

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Why is it important to ventilate?

When there is warm air in the house and when it touches the cold surface, the air compresses into liquid. Further, the condensation happens over the walls and ceilings, which leads to the development of mold. There is also a chance of the house getting damaged because of spoilt insulation and wood rot.

During hot, humid weather, the AC inside the house has to work harder, which in turn increases the energy bills. Moreover, the combinations of gases coming from stoves, fireplaces, and cleaning agents are also very harmful to the resident’s health.

Home ventilation: the many types:

Experts use a variety of methods for ventilation. One of the best ways of keeping the house aired is by using natural ventilation. This means there should be free air movement within the house from windows, doors, and cracks. Apart from this, there is also ventilation through vents and fans for bringing in fresh air and getting rid of bad air.

Mechanical ventilation is of two types - whole house and spot ventilation.

  1. Spot Ventilation:
Spot ventilation helps in controlling the air flow by using exhaust fans placed in certain areas within the home. The fans are used for getting rid of contaminants and moisture from the nearby areas. These exhaust fans can be found in kitchens and bathrooms. For houses that make use of natural ventilation should also use spot ventilation to increase the efficiency of air movement within the space.

  1. Whole House Ventilation
This form of ventilation offers freshness to the entire house. There are various kinds of ventilations that cater to the entire house.

Exhaust ventilation is the system that decreases air pressure by getting the stale air out. Fresh and clean air then gets inside the house through vents and cracks. There is a single fan within the system which is connected with ducts from various rooms and this helps in getting rid of all the stagnant air from an exhaust.

Supply ventilation system utilizes a fan which creates pressure in the house. This makes the air outside to get inside the building from holes and vents.

Ventilation of any kind is important for houses to keep the air quality healthy and to get rid of unwanted smells. However, make sure the system you choose is according to the structure and size of the house. You must consult with an HVAC expert before making a decision.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Ventilation Strategies for the Whole House

Most good builders follow a simple but effective construction strategy. They construct homes that are extremely tight, with a well-designed ventilation system. The truth is, you can save more cooling and heating energy by living in a tight house than with a ventilated one. There are three ways of achieving mechanical ventilation: exhaust-only supply-only, and balanced.

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  1. Exhaust-Only
Exhaust fans (bathroom, whole-house fans or kitchen fans) “depressurize” the area, leading to infiltration from the air outside through different openings and cracks. Places where winters are intense, exhaust-only ventilation is enough as they do not cause damage that may happen because of moisture. As summers are shorter and relatively moderate in places with cold climates, the building is very unlikely to get marred by drawing hot and humid air. On the contrary, exhaust-only strategies are not the best option for places with hot weather conditions.

  1. Supply-Only
Supply-only systems pull clean outer air inside the interior space, normally from a supply vent. Benefits of supply-only system include the option of controlling the incoming air, treating the incoming air, and reducing humid air pulled within the living area. Controlled supply can also reduce the possibility of back drafting of combustion appliance, a risky uncontrolled infiltration which is common in poorly vented basements.

  1. Balanced
In a balanced ventilation exhaust, the interior space pressure remains relatively persistent. Basically, balanced ventilation is a combination of the supply and exhaust strategies. Normally, a balanced system comes with a powered energy recovery or heat recovery ventilator that enhances pressure and efficiency balance by exchanging energy between the incoming and outgoing airstreams. Heat recovery ventilators only transfer sensible heat while energy recovery ventilators also transfer moisture. The comparatively large electric power use of HRVs and ERVs normally make them an expensive option.

OTHER FORMS OF VENTILATION:

Local Exhaust

In case you reside in a climate that is hot and humid, ventilation which is exhaust-only can end up depressurizing the area. This may pull in outdoor, humid air within the cavities of the wall, condensing and creating several issues. It is best to deliberately introduce the outer air within the building than having it penetrate through the walls. You are less likely to face trouble by making use of exhaust fans, or by keeping the windows open occasionally when you feel a little stuffy or in case the exhaust fans have stayed on for too long.
           
            Natural Ventilation

This is normally employed as one of the strategies of cooling, but principally, the design is of replacing stuffy inside air with cool air from the outside. For natural ventilation to be effective, incoming air has to be dryer and cooler from the air inside. Therefore, this strategy works best in places with milder climates, or on drier, cooler days. Make sure the house remains closed when the days are hot and try to reduce unwanted gains in the heat and then try to ventilate the space during nights. In locations that are breezy, natural ventilation is offered by simply opening up windows.

With these strategies, any house can stay ventilated with healthy air to breathe for all family members. It is best to call HVAC experts to know the right system for your house.  

Friday, 22 February 2019

Is There An Air Quality Problem in Your House?

There will be times when the air system within your house may not work properly. The primary issue to diagnose is surplus infiltration (through ducts or walls), improper air exchange, and surplus moisture. A lot of times, too much moisture is an indication of a bad air flow. If you also notice mold, condensation, or ice buildup, you will realize that the quality of your air is off.

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Excess Infiltration

Surplus air infiltration normally leaves typical “fingerprints”. One of the most noticeable is when you feel a certain draft, especially during winter time and particularly when you stand close to the exterior walls. A sign which is a little less obvious is recurrent discharges of static electricity during winters because of low indoor humidity levels. Also be observant of “ghost” trails of dust close to the poorly sealed boundaries. Such tracks are extremely common on carpets close to the exterior walls.

In case you have HVAC equipment within the attic, the ductwork may be the reason for the infiltration, and you must insulate and seal the ducts properly. Another way to deal with excess infiltration is by sealing obvious leaks inside the walls, windows, and connections between the attic and the house. In case you are not sure of the right way to find such leaks, make sure you hire an HVAC expert.

Inadequate Exchange of air:

Any kind of smell is an obvious pointer of less ventilation and could also indicate towards how the flow is passing through the house. Are the odors persistent? Are they getting trapped somewhere? What is the place of generation?

In case the odors continue for hours, it may be due to the fact that the source keeps discharging the chemicals, or the smelly air does not have the right and easy outlet from the house.

In case the smell does not spread in the entire house, this could mean that the ventilation in the kitchen may be working well. In such a case, there will be comparatively less fragrance inside the kitchen as well. However, what if there are onions being cooked in the kitchen but there is absolutely no smell in the far bedrooms? That may also suggest that the air is not moving effectively across the house.

Excessive air exchange

In case there is dry climate (or an area with dry, cold winters), and the conditions are also awkwardly dry within the house, inspect the speed of the fan of the equipment before going to the market to purchase a humidifier. Similarly, if you reside in an area which is humid and hot, high rates of ventilation may enhance indoor humidity beyond what can be controlled by an air conditioner, needing supplemental dehumidification.

Even before you consider new equipment for ventilation, you can regulate the quality of air to a great degree with extremely simple actions. Reducing or eliminating the cause of the pollutant is normally the easiest than catching the pollutants once they are already in the house air. Smoking inside the house is one of the best examples.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Ventilation and Air Distribution

When it comes to energy efficiency, it is not only related to saving money on the bills, it is also about making use of less energy for protecting health, ensuring comfort, and securing the house from any kind of damage. When air travels around the house, it gets rid of pollutants such as, gases, odors, particles, and even moisture. However, it may also cause uncomfortable indoor temperature, drafty walls and humidity levels. Right kind of air distribution and ventilation plays a very important role in offering a comfortable, safe, and durable home.

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In basement and ground floors, cool low-pressure air gushes for replacing the rising air for maintaining balance of pressure. This upward natural current is known as the stack effect. Similar principle makes the hot gases and smoke to rise up towards the chimney. In almost all houses, the air that has entered the house increases when it is cold and windy. Times when it is hot outside, the stack effect may reverse.

The fan of the furnace or the “air handler,” will move more cool and warm air than what you would like it to move. One of the primarily reasons for this is because traditional duct installations have leakage. Also, most houses keep the main equipment and leaky return and supply ducts in attics that are uninsulated where they are free to exchange the conditioned air from the air outdoors.

How does the air move in the house?

Basics of ventilation:

In almost all houses indoor air is exchanged with the outdoor air. This is due to two main reasons. Firstly, every house has some leaks (or passages), no matter how small, that tend to join the outside and the inside. Such gaps may include larger ones around pipes, chimneys, vents and small cracks at the window joints. Another reason that causes the air to exchange is that there are numerous pressure and temperature differences between outside and inside — air moves from high pressure regions to areas with low air pressure.

Think of a two-story house with a basement at the time of winters. It is believed that warm air rises towards the top, and the ceiling can be many degrees warmer in comparison to the basement. Buoyant, warm air has greater pressure in comparison to the chilly air outside, and tries to move out from the windows, leaks and ventilation openings, etc.

Distribution of air:

About two-thirds of the houses in the United States, including townhouses and condos that are low-rise, make use of forced-air systems for moving cooling and heating energy from an air conditioner, central furnace, or heat pump around the house through a duct. Forced-air is different from ventilation — this system is supposed to regulate the distribution of air inside a house, not the way the air exits or enters. However, it is also true that the air distribution system may act as the biggest reason for infiltration.

Ideally, a house which is healthy and energy efficient is able to control carefully the air that is coming inside and traveling outside, at the correct rate. The best way to ensure this is to keep the systems working well by getting them checked by HVAC experts.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Hardy Houseplants That Will Survive the Indoor Heating


During winter, a lot of houses become inhospitable for houseplants. Several spaces are drafty, others are over-heated, and some have less natural sunlight coming from the windows. Here are some houseplants that are easy to care even during the winters.

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  1. ZZ plant:
This is one of the hardiest plants you will find, which makes it the perfect option. The thing that makes this plant especially notable is its extraordinary ability to survive in areas with less natural light. Though this plant can also survive in brighter areas, its capability of thriving in the dark is what makes it a great option for the winters.

  1. Maidenhair fern:
Several varieties of fern do not require a lot of sun light as they are used to thriving in forests, completely shaded by trees. However, ferns do demand high humidity and have to be misted and watered frequently. Therefore, this plant is only for those who are hands on. While most houseplants like to dry out after being watered, ferns prefer staying moist. Maidenhair fern makes for a pretty choice with lacy, delicate leaves.

  1. Chinese evergreen:
Aglaonema are known to have beautiful green, patterned leaves. They can easily survive low light and keep their growth and color intact. However, if you keep your plant inside a low-lit room, pay close attention to the amount of water you put into the plant as there is a big chance of overwatering. Apart from this, in case the room does not have enough natural light, substitute sunlight with the light of a lamp.

  1. Clivia:
In case you have a chilly room that receives very less sunlight, then clivia is the best plant to have. This tough plant actually does well in cooler weather. Low temperature permits the beautiful blooms to arise, typically in yellow or orange. This plant does not only blossom in drafty houses, but the vivacious colors also add brightness to the space. Moreover, clivia does not require a lot of watering.

  1. Moss terrarium:
For securing your plants from a strong breeze close to the front door or window, think of glass terrarium. It can hold humidity inside the glass and secure the plants from cold and hot drafts. Not only will the terrarium secure the plants within, but will add to the decor of the room.

  1. Jade plant:
Most plants do not like the combination of hot radiator air and cold air. However, there are certain plants that tolerate it. Jade plant is one of those floras that can survive any kind of temperature variation. It is a kind of succulent, which will work best close to an open window during winters. It does not require a lot of water and is able to flourish with watering in every 21 days.

With the winters on their way, there is no need to worry about what you can do to make the insides of your home more hospitable and greener. These plants will add life and beauty to any house and will even survive the HVAC heating.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Working of a Ductless Heat Pump


If you wish to enhance the comfort in your house, a ductless heat pump is one of the best solutions you will find. However, how do ductless pumps really work, and how are they the most efficient option for air conditioning and heating?

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Working of mini splits:

Mini splits are also popularly known as ductless mini splits or wall-mounted units.Ductless heat pumps come with two parts: an outdoor condenser as well as an indoor evaporator coil.

Heat pumps –ductless and traditional – have the capability of providing heat during winter times and cool air during summers. They are very similar to air conditioners. The only difference is they have a reversing valve, enabling them to work backward by sucking out heat from outside and transferring it inside your house during chilly winter months.

One of the greatest differences between normal heat pumps and ductless ones is that the air is ushered inside through a built-in air handler, which helps to eliminate the requirement for ductwork. Small openings within the wall permits wires and pipes to pass among the outdoor and indoor units, and several interior air handlers can fix to a singular outdoor condenser, helping towards whole-house cooling and heating with no requirements for ducts!

The many advantages of ductless heat pumps:

Energy efficient:

The regular ducted system leads to about 40% decrease in efficiency because of poor insulation and air leaks. On the other hand, the losses in energy connected to ductless cooling and heating is about 1 to 5%.

Ductless pumps are also better at keeping the house heated when temperatures drop outside in comparison to conventional heat pumps. You can enjoy constant indoor comfort.

Less intrusion

Ductless heat pumps offer heating and air conditioning, making them a lot more useful in comparison to window ACs. This is particularly true if you reside in an old house with no ductwork, and you are not ready to bear the expenses and hassle of getting ducts installed.

Cleaner air

Ductwork is one of the greatest sources for air pollution indoors, within homes with regular HVAC systems. Mold spores, dust, insulation particles, and the like,get inside the ductwork and flow from one room to the next. Alternatively, ductless heat pumps offer state of the art filtration for purifying the air before dispensing it in the living area, getting rid of almost 99.9% of contaminants in the air.

Built-in Zoning

Segregating a house into different sectors helps in controlling sections on an individual level for enhanced energy savings and comfort. When it comes to ductless heat pumps, there is a built-in zoning system. All you require is a single outdoor condenser which is joined to indoor air handlers. Handheld controls help to change airflow settings and temperature for individual units all through the house.

If you want affordable, comfortable, whole-house cooling and heating without ductwork, it is best to get in touch with a skilled HVAC expert who has the right knowledge and expertise in dealing with ductless units.