Monday, 23 January 2017

Heat Pump Systems: A Guide for Home Owners

There are so many different ways to heat a house. From fireplaces to furnaces, homeowners have a range of different choices. But, which is the best one for your house? You have probably heard of a heating pump, but could you tell it apart from a boiler or a furnace?

In this blog, you will learn about heat pump systems, how they work, the kind of systems available, and the best system that will work in your house.

Air-source heating systems

This heat pump system absorbs warmth from the outside air, transferring it in the house. When the heat is moved indoors, the system causes the inside areas to feel a little warmer.

To cool the house, the heating pump draws the heat from the house, sending it to the outdoors. By getting rid of the heat, your house feels colder.

Geothermal heat pumps

Geothermal heat pumps utilize underground heating as an energy source. These systems make use of a ground loop for tapping into the natural ground heat and moving it up to the heat pump of the house, where it is moved indoors for warming up the area.

Such pumps can also pull heat from a close by water source having consistent temperatures, such as a pond or a lake. The heat is transferred into the house.

Are heat pumps right for your house?

Not every house is right for a heat pump system. In some conditions, the system may not provide the required efficiency, and some other kind of heating system may be more realistic.


Air-source heating systems only run effectively when the outside weather conditions are above freezing. It is not a good idea to choose a heat pump when temperatures drop below thirty two degrees.

In areas where the temperatures start to reach freezing points, air-source makes excellent primary heating systems. However, you must install a backup system like a gas furnace, which can be used at times when temperatures reach freezing. A HVAC expert can install controls that shut down the heating pump automatically if temperatures drop or reach below freezing point.


If you plan on switching to geothermal pump from a conservative forced air cooling and heating system, you can reuse the existing ductwork of your house. In case you do not have any ductwork installed inside the house, the additional expense of getting ductwork installed may make conventional heat pump systems an expensive choice.

A mini-split ductless heat pump system pumps heat inside the house without any ductwork. Separate indoor units fixed on ceilings or walls connect to the outdoor condenser. House owners benefit hugely from the savings geothermal pumps offer and their characteristic zoned comfort control.

With the right knowledge about heat pump system, you are better equipped for making the right buying decision for a new cooling and heating system for your house. Also, make sure you hire a trustworthy contractor to perform the installation for you, for best results.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Performing a Home Energy Audit this Winter Season

Home energy audits can help you assess the efficiency of your house. By reviewing the exterior and interior of your home you can measure the energy efficiency of the building and find out where you can save energy.

Do it yourself home energy audit:

If you do not have the budget to spend $500 to $800 on an audit, you can easily perform a test to figure out some of the house’s inefficiencies.
  1. Analyze your energy bill. Match your energy bill to houses similar to yours. If you feel that your bills are comparatively higher than other houses or they are increasing steadily, you could have a problem.
  2. Analyze your house and find out if the windows and doors have drafts. Improper gaps and insulation in the doors and windows may let the air inside escape while letting the outdoor air in, making it expensive.
  3. Seal any Caulk drafty doors or windows. One of the easiest ways to save energy is to seal and insulate!
Employing an expert to perform the energy audit for you:

For a detailed recommendation about saving energy in the house, you can call up a professional auditor. Before browsing the internet, call up the utility company. Some utility companies offer free energy audits.

Things to expect from a professional audit:

After you have found a professional, there are a lot of things you can expect during the energy audit. As a part of internal inspection, the professional will perform two tests: thermo graphic or infrared test or the blower door test.

  1. The blower door is utilized for measuring any airflow leakages inside the house. The expert will attach the blower door to the door front and blow out air till the time it has reached a specific pressure. Then, the professional will gauge the air that is flowing back from fissures and the blower door to establish the possible problem areas.
  2. Infrared scans are tools energy auditors utilize for assessing how much air the house is leaking. The professional will make use of an infrared scanner to figure out if the insulation in the house is effective or not, and places where extra insulation is required.

Once the audit is completed, the professional will hand over a report with the findings. This document will include measures you can take to enhance the energy efficiency of the house. This is how you can make sure you save on power bills during winters.

To benefit from the energy audit, make sure you use the recommendations of an audit professional. Also, try to implement these tips as much as you can for best results.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Sealing your HVAC ducts - Why it’s important and how to do it?

We all want an HVAC system that’s energy efficient. If you’ve tried everything from changing the air filters, to using a programmable thermostat, for lowering energy bills but nothing is working, then your ducts may be the issue. Leakage in ducts can affect a family’s comfort, and in a lot of cases you can easily fix the issue on your own.

What is duct leakage?

Leakage in ducts occurs when the conditioned air inside the house escapes the duct system via loosely connected ducts, holes, or incorrectly sealed duct connections. Leaky ducts lead to loss of 20 to 30 percent of the conditioned air running through the HVAC system. Duct leakage does not only decrease a house’s efficiency, but it may also release debris and dust from areas that surround the ducts into the air and increase energy bills.

Signs you have leaky ducts:

Duct leaks can slowly decrease an HVAC system’s efficiency. Here are a few telltale signs that your ductwork is leaking:

1. Your system is running, but you find some rooms cooler/ warmer than the others
2. Your energy bills have increased
3. Your rooms become dusty as you turn the unit on
4. You see peeling metal tape, sealant, or duct tape where some gaps or holes may have been taped up at an earlier time
5. The ductwork in your house is visibly tangled, crushed, or kinked

All the signs mentioned above signal towards an expensive duct leakage issue that may decrease an HVAC’s efficiency.

How to find out where the ducts are leaking?

The best place to begin your search is by analyzing the exposed ductwork. In case you have tile ceilings that are removable, remove them and look for ductwork. Are there any poorly connected joints? Do you see holes as a result of wear and tear, or tangled ductwork?

In case you don’t see any obvious leakage signs, use smoke test for locating problem areas. Turn the system to its fan setting and use incense. Pass the incense smoke over the exposed ducts. In case the smoke is pulled into or blown away from the joint, then you are experiencing leakage.

How to fix leaking ducts?

There are a few simple solutions that can help you fix the problem.

1. Seal the joints

If you see any loose connections, holes, or leaky joints, seal them with a duct mastic sealant or tape. Unlike conventional, rubber duct tape, sealants are more durable and offer better strength.

2. Inspect your vents and registers

Are the vents properly connected? If not, make sure you tighten the wall vents and seal gaps between the register connections and duct system to make sure you are not losing any valuable air. Creating tight connections can help you avoid leakage and keep the system running proficiently.

If you follow the tips mentioned above and still find your energy bills on the higher side then it is best to get in touch with a reputed HVAC expert.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

How to pest-proof HVAC components?

Troublesome pests are a problem businesses and homeowner’s battle all the time. Termites can destroy the very structure of your building or house, ants persistently invade your interiors, raccoons tear into your attic, and wasps can create nests!

While the right pest control strategy can help protect areas of the house or building and keep pests at bay, one of the paths that pests can take is usually overlooked: your HVAC system. By pest proofing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system components, you can make sure the pests remain out of your house, preventing any damage to equipment, and protecting everyone from health hazards.

Prevent any kind of pest infestations by taking steps that ensure your HVAC system and its many components are well protected.

Seal the ducts

Cracks, gaps, and larger disconnections within the duct system can create access points for pests to enter the unit and your home or office building. Mice, insects, and larger vermin could enter the system, depending on how big the air leaks are.

Not only do pests inside your ducts cause destruction to the ductwork, they can also lead to serious issues with indoor air quality. Dander and excrement left behind can spread into the interiors as conditioned air flows through the duct system, causing several health hazards to residents.

Treating the problem by using pest poison is not an ideal strategy for infestation. While it can destroy the pest, they are likely die and decay in the duct system. A decaying rodent within the ductwork can cause bad odors, and locating the carcass can be a challenge. 

The best option is to lay a trap if you feel your ductwork has been infested. Live traps can easily be set within the ducts to capture larger pests such as, rats and mice, so that you can get rid of them easily. Glue traps can be utilized for catching insects. It is important to seal the ductwork professionally. Duct cleaning can help remove dead pests and the debris that has been left behind to enhance the quality of indoor air.

Installing vent or flue covers 

It is important to install vent covers on all exterior intakes, flues, and exhaust vents. The covers will help block entry points, preventing any form of infestation. These covers also have added benefits, such as keeping rain water away from the vents. However, make sure the vent covers are securely installed.

Protect the AC condenser

One of the best ways of protecting a condenser is by preventing rodents from getting near it. Make sure you keep the surrounding areas clean. Use a mild soap and warm water to scrub the unit’s exterior and the surrounding areas.

A reliable HVAC professional can assist and advise you as you work towards pest-proofing your system, and provide the required repairs, in case pests have led to damage within the HVAC unit.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Running an Air Conditioner during Thunder Storms

The humid and hot summer conditions can make you want to turn on the air conditioning. However, this season also creates conditions for thunderstorms. Keeping your air conditioner functional during a thunderstorm may cause damage, so it is always a good idea to turn it off when the weather gets bad.

Why should you turn off your A/C during a thunderstorm?


Even though lightning strikes on a house are rare, they are certainly possible during a storm. The area where the utility lines connect to your house is an extremely vulnerable area for strikes and if lightning hits here, it may cause a power surge throughout the electrical system of the house. This surge can lead to serious damage to the air conditioner.

This damage can practically render the unit unusable. It can affect the control panel, leading to extensive repair or replacement of the whole unit. The unit’s controls to the cooling and heating system can be corrupted if a lightning strikes when the unit is on.

How can you protect your air conditioner?

Although experts recommend surge protectors, these appliances do not offer the amount of protection required against a surge that is caused due to lightning strike. Therefore, plugging your air conditioner into one will not have the advantages you expect. If you reside in an area known for high occurrence of strikes, you can secure your unit by fitting in a protection system. Use conductors, lightning rods, and ground rods to create an alternate path for lightning so that it does not travel through the electrical system of the house. These units are not 100% effective in preventing surges. Therefore, it is best to keep your A/C off when a thunderstorm pops up.

Can air conditioning be used in rain storms?

Using an air conditioner during rain storm is perfectly safe. Rain will never interrupt with the unit’s capability to function properly. In fact, utilizing your unit on rainy, warm days can keep the house more comfortable — the indoor evaporator coils remove moisture and reduce humidity levels, which helps in improving comfort levels inside the house. However, if the rain storms lead to flooding and you have water logging around your house and unit, you should turn off the system immediately and turn off power at the electrical panel of the house to prevent damage. Make sure you get your unit inspected by a HVAC expert before you start using it again after flooding.

If you are having issues with your air-conditioning after a thunderstorm, make sure you seek advice from a professional on how to get the problem fixed! 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Tips for your HVAC when going on a vacation

Vacations evoke feelings of excitement and adventure. But it’s always important to be ready before you embark on your little journey. There are a lot of things that will require your attention before you leave, such as packing for the trip, intimating everyone about your unavailability, etc. With a huge to-do list in front of you, you may forget taking care of your HVAC system. Below are a few tips you must follow before you leave on vacation.

1. Raising the Thermostat level

When you’re not in town, you won’t need your HVAC system to keep the inside space at a cooler or warmer temperature. If you raise the temperature when out of town you can save a lot on repairs and energy bill in the future. It is best to set the thermostat between 80-85 F.

2. Surge Protection

You may face power outage at your house when you are out of town. In case there is a power surge when you are away, your HVAC could get damaged. By fitting in a surge protector you will ensure that your system does not get damaged because of an outage.

3. Maintenance of air filters

Remember, your HVAC system will still be functioning while you are out of town. Therefore, it is extremely important to make sure the air filter is as clean as possible before leaving. Clean filter can help in preventing malfunctions within your system when you are away.

4. Security

Most of us schedule timers to turn the lights off and on while away. We normally forget to take security measures for our HVAC system. Putting a sensor light or alarm on your HVAC system can offer a lot of protection. Moreover, you can also put a fence around your HVAC for more security.

5. Routine Care

Before leaving for the trip, it is always a good idea to call up an HVAC technician to perform a thorough examination of your system. The tech must check to make sure levels of refrigerant are precise, coils are clean, air filters are clean, all connections are secure, and the like.

These are just a few ways you can keep your HVAC system running efficiently while you are away on a vacation. Your vacation should be a time to relax and de-stress. By making sure you follow the tips mentioned above, you can rest assured your HVAC will remain in a good shape when you come back.  However, when choosing a contractor for HVAC maintenance, make sure you choose a professional who knows his work and can offer you the best possible service at the best possible rate.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

5 Houseplants for Improving the Air Quality in Your Home

We do everything we can to keep our homes clean- regular cleaning, repairs and upgrades to the HVAC system. However, apart from this, you can also consider seeking help from Mother Nature for helping you improve the quality of air inside your home. Here are five plants that can improve the air-quality of the house.

Garden mum

This is a comparatively inexpensive plant, and is known to be an air-purifying champion. The garden mum helps in getting rid of benzene, a diluent used commonly in oils, inks, paints, rubber and plastics. Benzene is also utilized for creating pharmaceuticals, detergents, and dyes.


This is an air purifying plant that is used for removing xylene, an ingredient found in several common household products like lacquers, paints, adhesives, thinners and rust preventers. Xylene is even present in permanent markers. But, in case you have pets, you can choose an alternative plant, as Dracaena can be toxic for dogs and cats.

Bamboo palm

Bamboo palm is a pet-friendly plant that can grow up to twelve feet and is great for filtering formaldehyde, a contaminant found in almost all indoor environments. If you live in a house that was built before 1970s, you will find foam insulation that comprises of formaldehyde in your crawl spaces, basement, or unfinished attic areas. Apart from this, Formaldehyde can also be found in pressed-wood products, particle board and household basics like waxed papers, grocery bags, paper towels and facial tissues.

Spider plant

Another plant that is very effective in getting rid of formaldehyde is the spider plant. They are also very easy to care for and are a great choice for those who do not own a green thumb. Spider plants are also useful in removing formaldehyde resins present in household cleaning supplies, floor covering, permanent-press clothes and carpet backing.

Peace Lily

These are extremely easy to grow and are the best house plants to get rid of trichloroethylene. This makes peace lily’s extremely beneficial for the house. Trichloroethylene is used commercially with a range of industrial uses, particularly in the dry-cleaning and metal degreasing industries. In addition, Trichloroethylene is utilized for paints, printing inks, lacquers, adhesives and varnishes.

Although most of these plants are very easy to take care of,  you have to ensure that you take into account the specific needs of the plant when placing it inside your house. When choosing the house plant, make sure you keep the plant's individual light, humidity, temperature, and water requirements in mind. This information can normally be found on the label of the plant. Buy a well-rounded fertilizer to keep your beautiful "air-purifiers" healthy, happy, and looking fresh.

The levels of pollution in the air make it impossible to eliminate exposure to pollutants completely. However, just a quick trip to the local nursery or garden center, combined with proper maintenance can ensure that the air quality within your house is fresh.