Clean Air in the Home for Asthmatics

Suffering From Cold Spots And Cold Toes In Your House Each Winter? Consider Kickspace Heaters

Posted by on August 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Suffering From Cold Spots And Cold Toes In Your House Each Winter? Consider Kickspace Heaters

Do you have a couple spots in your house that you struggle to heat? If you’re constantly fighting cold spaces (and cold toes), you may want to consider adding some kickspace heaters (also called toe-kick heaters) to your home. These tiny heaters can make a big difference in the way your rooms heat. This is what you should know. What are they? Kickspace heaters are designed to be virtually invisible. They’re usually installed just above the floor, underneath cabinets and along the base of walls. If you look at the space between your bottom kitchen cabinets and the floor, that strip is an ideal spot for something like a kickspace heater. There are two different types available on the market—hydronic units draw in the cold air and heat it using the water from your boiler or water heater and electric units run the cool air over hot coils to heat it. Either way, they’re an effective supplement to your main heating unit when you have a spot that just doesn’t seem to warm up, no matter how high you have the temperature set. Where can you put them? The ideal spot for a kickspace heater, of course, is wherever you think you need one—but they make great replacements for their less-invisible (and more dangerous) cousin: the space heater. There are also some locations you probably wouldn’t ordinarily consider; although, they have the potential to make your home environment much more cozy this coming winter: underneath the bathroom vanity behind or beside the toilet beside the shower door in the laundry room near the folding table under stair risers, especially if the stairs face an outer door under the garage or basement workbench under a sewing table or crafting table in attics that have been converted to living space One of the advantages of kickspace heaters over both space heaters and baseboard heaters is that they preserve your available floor space, which makes them useful anywhere it would be inconvenient to have the others. They also have the advantage of being able to operate independently off your main heating system, which means that on mildly cool days you could use them instead of turning on the whole heater. How hard is installation? Electric kickspace heaters are cheaper and easier to install because they come in prepackaged kits and only require access to an outlet in order to work. They’re not quite as efficient as hydronic kickspace heaters, but hydroponics have to be hooked into your existing plumbing system, which means that they’re also more expensive to install. Either way, you may want to consult with your HVAC contractor before you start, especially if you aren’t sure about your basic carpentry...

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Air Conditioners: Common Air Supply Duct Obstructions

Posted by on July 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Air Conditioners: Common Air Supply Duct Obstructions

Air conditioning systems usually work by sucking air from a building, cooling the air, and then dumping the cooled air back into the building. This process is usually made possible by a system of ducts. Obstructions in any part of an air conditioner’s duct system are bound to cause restricted airflow, something that will then have a negative impact on the air conditioner’s performance. The following are common air supply obstructions that may be to blame for the drop in your air conditioner’s performance. A sucked-in air filter Air filters usually help to not protect air conditioning systems from the negative effects of dust accumulation, but also improve air quality in air conditioned spaces. Unfortunately, the force with which the air is being sucked into the system can sometimes be too much for an air filter to handle. It may also be that the fasteners of a filter get loose. This may then cause the filter to be sucked into the air duct system. And since the filter is likely to be sucked into the duct system at an angle, it will make it almost impossible for air to pass through. This will restrict the rate at which air flows through the system. To prevent this from happening, making sure that you tighten your air filter fasteners is important. Cleaning the filter will allow for smoother airflow through the filters and will thus create less resistance. Doing so will, therefore, help to reduce the risks of the filter getting sucked into the air duct system. The collapsed sections of flex ducts Sharp bends, an inadequate support structure, and restricted installation space usually increase the chances of flex duct blockage. When the material used to hold the flex duct in place is tied tight or forces the flex duct to hang on its own weight, it creates crimped sections that may not allow smooth flow of air through the system. This may then lead to restricted airflow problems such as coil icing that may then reduce the ability of your air conditioner to cool incoming air. This is a problem that can be avoided by providing the appropriate support structure to the flex ducts. Avoiding sharp bends during installation will also help. Stuck zone dampers Zone dampers are usually used to control the flow of air in a building with multiple spaces that need air conditioning. The dampers can be used to encourage cooled air to flow into a given space by restricting air flow to another. This is usually necessary especially in cases where a building has different lengths of ducts running into different rooms. When a zone damper gets stuck while closed, it can completely block airflow to a certain section of the building. The resulting obstruction will then starve the section of cool air, making it uncomfortable. Zone dampers that get stuck when in an open position can also restrict airflow to spaces that can only get air if the damper is closed. In such cases, changing the defective zone damper is usually enough to get the air duct system working as efficiently as it should.  For more information on air conditioning maintenance and repair, check out websites...

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AC On The Fritz? 2 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Postpone Repairs

Posted by on June 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on AC On The Fritz? 2 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Postpone Repairs

A broken air conditioner can really take a big chunk out of your budget. Unfortunately, leaving it in disrepair during the summer can end up costing you more problems in the long run. If you’re thinking about waiting to have repairs done until you can find room in the budget, you might want to rethink that decision. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t wait to fix your air conditioner. Problems for Your Home You might be surprised to find out that a broken air conditioner does more than just make you uncomfortable. It can also wreak havoc on your home. Take a look at two problems your home could develop if you leave your air conditioner in disrepair. Roof Damage As the inside of your home gets hotter, the hot air rises towards the attic. Over time, the excessive heat inside the attic will begin to radiate out towards your roof. If you have asphalt shingles on your roof, that excess heat could spell disaster for your shingles. The heat will cause your shingles to curl around the edges, exposing the underside of the roof. To help reduce curling until you can get your air conditioner repaired, you can place a fan in the attic. This will allow the air to circulate and keep the temperatures down. Mold Growth If your air conditioner has developed a leak that’s causing it to malfunction, you should stop using it until you can get it repaired. The leak could cause excess moisture to build up in your home, which could lead to mold growth. Because mold needs moisture to grow, a leaky air conditioner provides the perfect environment for it to flourish. If you notice liquid draining from your air conditioner, or you see a build-up of condensation on your windows, you may have a leak in your air conditioner. Health Problems If your broken air conditioner has you feeling under the weather, you may be developing heat-related complications. Elevated temperatures inside your home can leave you susceptible to a variety of heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Heat Cramps If the temperatures inside your home goes too high, you could start feeling your muscles tensing up. You could also begin experiencing cramping. Those feelings are caused by your body trying to compensate for an increase in core temperature. Heat Exhaustion If you continue to overheat after developing heat cramps, you may develop heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion occurs when the air is too hot for your body to sweat properly. As a result, your core body temperature continues to elevate to dangerous levels. Unfortunately, heat exhaustion can quickly turn into a medical emergency.  If you experience the following symptoms while inside your home, be sure to seek immediate medical attention. Some of the symptoms you should watch for include: Headaches Nausea Weakness Vomiting If your air conditioner stops working in the middle of summer, you need to get it repaired as quickly as possible. Delaying AC repairs could cause damage to your home or serious health problems for you and your...

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Temperature/Pressure Relief Valve Discharge Tube: Mistakes To Avoid

Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Temperature/Pressure Relief Valve Discharge Tube: Mistakes To Avoid

A Temperature/Pressure Relief (TPR) valve is a water heater safety feature that is designed to help reduce the risks of heater explosions. It does this by providing a pressure outlet in cases where things go wrong. In such cases, it is normal to have hot water, and steam, dripping out of the TPR valve. While the TPR valve plays an important role in helping to prevent boiler disasters, the fact that it usually leaks water can be a nuisance. These water drips can cause mold growth in a home. They can also damage wood floors and any other valuables that are not-so-friendly with water. And the fact that it usually emits hot water and steam means that scalding is one more thing that a homeowner needs to worry about. This is where a TPR valve discharge tube usually comes in handy. A TPR valve discharge tube is simple a tube that is attached to the TPR valve with the sole purpose of guiding the hot water, and steam, to a safe discharge location. By doing so, it reduces the risks of scalding accidents while also protecting property from water damage. However, these are benefits that one can enjoy only when the TPR valve discharge tube is functioning properly. Here are some of the mistakes that you should look out for. “Piped-up” TPR valve discharge tube For the TPR valve discharge tube to work properly, it has to be installed in such a way that it encourages the water to flow smoothly through it. When the tube is piped upwards, the water has to flow against gravity. This is usually hard especially in cases where the output of the TPR valve is small. A piped up discharge tube will therefore reduce the efficiency with which the TPR valve relieves boiler pressure, something that may increase the risks of a boiler explosion.  Blocked TPR valve discharge tube A working TPR valve discharge tube usually drips with water every time a TPR valve has to release boiler pressure. It is therefore tempting for a homeowner to mistake these drips for boiler leaks. He or she may then attempt to prevent the “leaks” by sealing off the end of the tube by using a valve, a cap or a plug. Doing so is a mistake that essentially eliminates the safety powers of the TPR valve, increasing the risks of a boiler explosion. However, not all blocking mistakes are intentional. One may end up blocking the pipe accidentally when he or she is installing water heater insulation – the insulation may clog the pipe. If you have questions about TPR valves, click here for more...

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3 Different Ways Heat Pumps Can Be Used For The Mechanical Systems In Your Home

Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Different Ways Heat Pumps Can Be Used For The Mechanical Systems In Your Home

When you hear the term heat pump, you probably think about your AC and the outdoor unit with the noisy fan. This is just one way heat pumps can be used for the mechanical systems in your home. Today, modern technology also allows for heat pumps to be used to efficiently heat water or to make a refrigerator more efficient. Here are some of the ways heat pumps can be used to make the mechanical systems in your home more efficient: 1. Using Heat Pumps To Make Modern AC More Efficient  Many modern heating systems use heat pumps to cool air. These systems have become more efficient and can even have more compact heat pumps to cool your home, which are also quitter than the older systems. These systems work by removing the heat from your home to help keep it cool. If you want to have a ductless AC system installed in your home, these systems use this type of technology to cool your home. 2. Modern Heat Pump Water Heater For Efficient Hot Water Solutions Today, the heat pumps available are also small enough to be used to heat the water in your home. A heat pump water heater can be much more efficient than conventional gas or electric water heater. These systems take the heat from the surrounding environment to provide hot water for your home. If you have the water heater installed in an area like a garage, it will also give you the benefit of keeping this area cool during the summer months. 3. AC And Heating With A Heat Pump In A Ductless HVAC System Ductless HVAC may be an improvement that you are considering for your home. This can be a good system to provide your home with cooling, but it can also be used for heating. There are now combination systems available, which work in reverse when you need heating for your home. If you are planning on adding ductless AC to your home, you may want to consider one of these systems that help provide heating through the use of a heat pump as well. These are some of the ways heat pumps can be used to make the mechanical systems in your home more efficient. If you want to have one of these systems added to your home, contact an HVAC contractor and talk with them about systems, such as a heat pump water heater to make your home more...

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3 Types Of Air Duct Problems That Affect Heating And Cooling Efficiency

Posted by on January 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Types Of Air Duct Problems That Affect Heating And Cooling Efficiency

The air ducts in your home control the air flow of your central heating and air conditioning system. If there’s a problem with the ducts, your system will not work efficiently. Such problems can also be costly as you turn up your system to compensate for the lack of air flow. Air duct problems can be caused by a number of reasons, including those listed below. Poorly maintained ducts: One reason why ducts fail is failure to do proper maintenance or failure to do it at the recommended intervals. Dust and other debris can accumulate and not only restrict air flow, but contribute to poor indoor air quality as dust, mold and pollen are circulated around the home. Having a professional clean and inspect your air and heating system regularly may also be a good way to check on other problems or damage within the system. Collapsed or obstructed air ducts: Broken or collapsed air ducts have a direct effect on how efficiently your system works. Soft or flexible ducts, such as those usually found in the attic, can easily collapse for a variety of reasons including depressurization, movement (such as an earthquake), excessive debris, roof damage or invasion by animals. Ducts can be obstructed by poor alignment or balance. Poorly designed or improperly installed air ducts may be prone to kinking or problems that physically restrict air flow. Leaking air ducts: Not only can leaks cause you to lose money simply by letting out your air-conditioned or heated air, but they can cause the system to become less efficient by affecting the pressure in the air duct system. Leaks can happen because of age, poor maintenance, weather issues or poor construction materials. Rusting connections may cause duct work to become loose and cause gaps and openings. Animals can also chew through soft air ducts. Flexible air ducts are easily damaged and torn. Ducts that are poorly insulated are also a common source of air leaks. Leaks can also happen at the registers inside your home. Most people will find that regular maintenance, such as cleaning, may solve many of the inefficiency issues with their heating and air conditioning system. Mechanical issues, such as broken or obstructed air ducts or leaks, may need more work. It’s important to fix problems while they are small rather than risk having to tear down walls to replace any of the ducts. Call a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician, like those at Crystal Coast Heating & Air LLC, as soon as you think your system is working poorly to prevent more serious...

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How To Clean Furnace Evaporator Coils

Posted by on November 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Clean Furnace Evaporator Coils

If you have a central HVAC system, the evaporator coils in your furnace are vital to the operation of your air conditioner and heating. Most homeowners don’t even know what evaporator coils are or how to fix them. In reality, the evaporator coils are easy to clean if you can reach them. The furnace is often in a confined space and the coils can be hard to reach. This article explains how to find and clean your furnace evaporator coils. This is an essential maintenance task that should be repeated every year or two. Where are the Evaporator Coils? Not to be confused with the condenser coils, the evaporator coils are typically inside the house and are part of the furnace. The condenser coils are on the outside of the house, they are part of the air conditioner. Both elements need to be functioning in order to heat and cool your home. The condenser coils are easier to clean because they can be sprayed off with a hose. The evaporator coils are copper and they are encased in aluminum. They will often be shaped like the letter A (this is why you may have heard the term A-Coil). The A-Coil is usually mounted at the top of the furnace and has its own compartment. To access to compartment, you will need to remove a small access panel. However, the panel should have vents, so you should be able to see inside and identify the A shape to confirm you are opening the right door. Turn Off the Power and Gas Before you do any work on your HVAC system make sure your thermostat is off. Then, cut the power to the air conditioning unit and the furnace. If you have a gas furnace, you should also shut off the gas to the furnace. Cleaning the Evaporator Coils To clean your coils you will probably need some wet rags, a vacuum and a small flashlight. Don’t use any cleaning solutions or chemicals. Just use water. Wipe down the coils that you can reach and then use the hose attachment of your vacuum to reach deeper inside the coils. Finally, you can put everything back together and do a test run. If you notice that your furnace operation seems improved, you may have fixed the problem. At the very least, you will have cleaned your coils and made sure that they are not the source of your HVAC problems. Talk to professionals, such as Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC, if you need further...

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Furnace Or Ground-Source Heat Pump?

Posted by on November 11, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Furnace Or Ground-Source Heat Pump?

Choosing a heating system installation for your home is not as simple as running out and buying the cheapest furnace you can find. Even though furnaces are ubiquitous in many homes across the country, they are not necessarily the best choice for your home. A ground-source heat pump may be an unconventional choice, but taking a chance on a heat pump can help you to save money in the long run.  An Analysis of Furnace Efficiency For the most efficient furnace, you will need to look for a modulating-condensing furnace. A condensing furnace will have two heat exchangers. This will allow the furnace to extract so much heat from the exhaust gases created by burning gas that the water vapor in the gas will convert back to a liquid and the remaining gases will dissolve into the water thus created. This waste water will then drain out of the furnace through a drain tube.  A modulating furnace will have a variable speed motor which can adjust the output of the fan to the heating needs of your home. Running your furnace at lower speeds will lead to better fuel economy and greater savings. A modulating-condensing furnace can achieve efficiency levels of up to 98%. This is impressive, but better efficiency is possible.  An Analysis of a Ground-Source Heat Pump A heat pump absorbs heat from one location and transports it to another. Heat pumps are at their most efficient when the outside temperature is moderate. While air temperatures fluctuate, the temperature of the earth ten feet below the surface will remain at 50 degrees year round. A ground-source heat pump will tap into these moderate temperatures by burying a specially designed set of coils in the ground. This allows the heat pump to achieve efficiency ratings of up to 600%. This means the heat pump can create six units of heat for every unit of electricity it uses. Moreover, if you want to completely take your heat pump off the grid, you can install a solar panel or a wind turbine to generate the electricity needed to run your heat pump.  A furnace has to create heat by burning a fuel; thus, it will never be more than 100% efficient. On the other hand, a heat pump only has to be able to move heat, so it can achieve much higher levels of efficiency. While ground-source heat pumps are more costly to install than furnaces, they can offer you greater savings in the long...

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Three Home Air Conditioning Myths Busted Wide Open

Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Home Air Conditioning Myths Busted Wide Open

Air conditioning is intended to keep your home comfortable during the hot summer months, but if you fall prey to some common air conditioning myths, you may not be getting the maximum benefits from your system. Here’s a look at three air conditioning myths – and the real truth they are hiding! Myth: The bigger the air conditioner, the better it will cool your home. When homeowners are not sure which size air conditioner to purchase, they often just assume that bigger is better. This is unfortunately not the case. Air conditioners work not only by cooling air, but also removing humidity from the home. An air conditioner that’s too large for your space will cool the space too quickly and then cycle off before it has a chance to remove enough humidity from the air. Thus, your home will continue to feel warmer than if you were to cool it with a smaller unit that ran for a longer time and removed more humidity. (Higher humidity makes a space feel warmer.) Not to mention, an oversized unit takes more power to run and will lead to higher energy bills. If you are having a central air conditioning system installed, check to make sure the unit your HVAC technician is recommending is designed to suit the square footage of your home. When buying a window unit, measure your room, and then buy a unit that’s advertised to cool a room that size. If you aren’t sure which size to get, talk with a professional, like Tropic Air Conditioning INC, for more information. Myth: Turning the air conditioner off at night and opening the windows will save energy. It might be tempting to turn off the unit and open the windows on a cool night, but when you do this, you are re-introducing humidity to the air. This means your air conditioner will have to work harder to remove it when you turn it back on the next day. It’s best to just leave your windows shut the entire time you’re using your air conditioning system so that the humidity is kept outdoors. Myth: If you turn the thermostat way down, the room will cool off faster. Turning the thermostat way down won’t make your home cool any faster. It will just cause the air conditioner to run for a longer period of time before shutting off. Just turn the thermostat to your desired temperature, and let the air conditioner do its work. If you are concerned that your home takes too long to cool, talk to your HVAC tech. Your air conditioner may need to have its coolant recharged or the filter...

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Eliminating Mold In Your HVAC System

Posted by on November 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Eliminating Mold In Your HVAC System

Mold and mildew are two things you definitely don’t want in your HVAC system. Mold growth does more than just affect your HVAC system’s overall performance. It can also compromise your home’s indoor air quality, leading to allergy and asthma problems. Where Mold Grows Most forms of mold and mildew growth prefer dark, damp places. Unfortunately, there are plenty of those in your HVAC system. It’s not uncommon to find mold growing on the condensate drip pan, condensate drain and the evaporator coil. These areas of your HVAC system can be accessed through the access plate located on or near the plenum. But mold isn’t just limited to the above spots in your HVAC system. Mold spores can also travel through your HVAC ductwork. Although the relatively dry environs of your home leaves most mold spores dormant, it only takes a bit of excess moisture for mold to quickly become a problem throughout your home. How to Get Rid of the Mold Start off by replacing your current air filter with a fresh new filter. Chances are the old filter has plenty of trapped mold spores embedded in it. Besides, a new filter also improves your HVAC system’s performance. To remove mold from the evaporator coil, you’ll want to use a foaming no-rinse spray formulated for use on HVAC equipment. Simply spray the product on the coil and wait for it to work through the mold and mildew. To neutralize mold and mildew on other surfaces, you can use a mixture of water and white distilled vinegar. Vinegar’s natural acidity makes it ideal for getting rid of mold, mildew and other bacteria. You can also use a 50/50 mix of ammonia and water to deal with indoor mold. To neutralize mold and mildew in the condensate drain, you’ll want to remove the standing water and mold from the condensate drip pan with a shop vacuum. Afterwards, you can pour a cup of undiluted vinegar into the drain. Preventing Mold Growth Keeping your home’s humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent is one of the best ways of preventing mold growth. In humid areas, you can accomplish this with the help of a dehumidifier and your own air conditioner, since it offers a slight dehumidifying effect on its own. You can also have your HVAC technician install a set of ultraviolet (UV) lights within your HVAC system. These lights use the electromagnetic spectrum to break up mold and mildew DNA. For more information, talk to a professional like River City Heating &...

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