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.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Allergens and Air filters

If you suffer from allergies, there is a big chance that you have searched for every method to filter those allergen particles from your home. It is advised that those suffering from asthma and allergies, upgrade to an efficient air filter to keep the air particle free. However, what is the right air filter for allergies? Here is a closer look,

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Air Filters make a very Important tool for decreasing allergens:

The dirt hidden under the rugs can hurt you or irritate your sensitive body. Your filters are a very important part for safeguarding the air quality of the house, especially when the right kind of air filter is utilized. Cheap air filters that are readily available from the hardware store do absolutely nothing for enhancing the quality of air within the house. They just serve for preventing big dirt, dust particles and hair from harming HVAC equipment (if altered regularly). However, the ordinary filters do very little towards removing dust mites, microscopic dust, pollen, mold, dander, mildew, and other irritants, which are so tiny they slip from the fibers to get blown back into the living space. To trap the particles, it is important to use specialized air filters.

  1. Mechanical Filters
Specialized mechanical filters have the ability to physically trap allergens. They were developed during world war two for preventing the leakage of radioactive elements from labs. They can capture approximately 90% of the particles, removing irritants, allergens, and toxins for keeping the air within the house cleaner. The best quality filters can capture 99% of the dust, pollen, and smoke particles. However, not all filters work the best. Pay close attention to MERV ratings. From MERV 1 to MERV 12, the greater the number, the minute the elements the air filter can get rid of. For blocking allergen-inducing elements, selecting a MERV rating of ten or greater is best.

  1. Electrostatic Filters
These filters make use of an electrical charge for attracting irritants and allergens for deposit on the collecting plates.

  1. Hybrid Filters
These filters blend the elements of both electrostatic and mechanical filtration, which is combined with other features of air quality preservation such as, humidifiers/dehumidifiers and UV light (for pathogens). Incorporating such features into the ‘whole house system’ which is connected to and works in combination with HVAC equipment can enhance filtration, decrease noise in the house and save space.

Air filters play a very important role in making sure your air quality remains intact. If you are tired of suffering from dust and other allergies, get your HVAC checked from a professional.

HVAC experts can guide you on the right filters to use and if you require a complete HVAC change to improve the air quality in your house. However, make sure the service or professional you choose has the expertise and skill to handle your problems. The best way to find out about genuine HVAC services is to search online or ask family and friends for valuable suggestions.

Monday, 24 September 2018

How Much Does Ductless Air Conditioning Cost?

Do you wish to add an air conditioning unit to your house without the pricy ductwork? Ductless air conditioners are a great option when compared to window AC units. They are less obtrusive, a lot more efficient, and permit you to open the windows during pleasant weather conditions. Ductless AC also offers heating during winters!

The money you may have to pay for buying and installing ductless air conditioning ranges from USD 3,000 to approximately USD 5,000 or even more. This price is greater than a normal window air conditioning unit, but a lot less than the central air conditioner, particularly if you have no ductwork. How much the entire system will cost you will depend on several factors such as,

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Cooling needed:

Do you wish to air condition and heat the whole house, or just a room? What kind of house do you reside in? Is it a ranch-style home or a comfortable condo? The greater the square footage, the greater and costlier the ductless system can get.

A ductless, one-room air conditioning unit comes with a singular air handler connected with a condensing unit outside through a tiny hole within the wall. You can connect multiple air handlers with a single outdoor unit, which permits you to cool the entire house while saving heavily on the cost of installation in comparison to central air conditioning.

System Efficiency

Different systems have different efficiency rating. This helps in estimating operating costs. High-efficiency equipment can cost a lot upfront, but can decrease your electricity bills for several years. This ensures that the investment is actually worth it.

Hourly Rate and Installation Time

One of the costs of installation is labor. Installation entails a professional to put the indoor unit over the wall and place the outdoor system on a slab within the yard. It is also important to cut a hole within the wall for running refrigerant lines, electrical connections, control wiring between the outdoor and indoor units.

While the process of installation is extremely straightforward, it may take time, and the professional has to be paid for it. Remember, the labor and time costs needed for performing the job go up if there is also a need to remove the existing equipment. The good thing is, the installer can get rid of the older system.

Power Requirements

Outdated home wiring should be up to date if you wish to install a new HVAC system. This will necessitate you to employ the services of an electrician for adding a new circuit or an outlet. However, this will add to the installation cost in general.

For the best home cooling solution with no ductwork, ductless air conditioner is the most efficient.  However, it is best to hire a good HVAC expert for advice and installation.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

August Home Checklist

August is a good time to get the house ready for the changing season by ticking off some of these things on your checklist.

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Check all of your safety devices. 

Make sure you test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and get all your batteries replaced as needed. Watch for the expiration date on the extinguisher and replace what is needed.
Remove all your window air conditioning units. 

If you make use of window AC units, it is now time to either cover them with insulation or remove them. It is best to remove the units as this will help you to shut the windows, reducing loss of heat during the chilly weather. In case you choose to leave them during the coming months, make sure to buy insulating covers made for this purpose and attach them outside securely.

Use weather stripping. 

The contemporary double-pane windows do not require weatherstripping, However, if you have old windows, then weatherstripping can assist in retaining heat and stopping drafts. Inspect areas that have weatherstripping from last season and replace or remove as needed.

Check the gutters and roofs. 

It is normally fine to wait till all the autumn leaves have fallen for cleaning out the downspouts and gutters, but giving a quick visual check to these areas is always a good idea. Pull out the debris obstructing the gutters, and keep a note of any seals that are worn-out around chimneys and vent pipes. In case you feel uncomfortable using a ladder, hire a specialist to do the job for you. Plan any required repairs now to make sure your house is secure during the winter months.

Schedule furnace and chimney maintenance. 

Make sure the heating system and fireplace are safe, clean, and ready by having a professional inspect it. If your chimney is clean, make sure you don’t start a fire with an animal family inside. And in case there is no chimney cap, get one installed. 

Consider increasing the insulation. 

If you want to save on your electricity bills this season you should think about adding more insulation to the attic space or within the walls. This will help and make a huge difference in how well the house retains heat during winter time and how the house stays cool during the summers.

Order firewood. 

In case you utilize a wood stove to get the coziness and warmth, it is a good time now to stock upon firewood. However, to avoid pests, do not store the wood right against the house, but make sure you keep it secured from snow and rain by keeping it beneath a shelter.

It is time to get everything in place so that your house is cozy and comfortable during the entire season. You can also call a professional HVAC expert to get your space in good shape.