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.