Why Does Indoor Air Quality Matter

In accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor pollution is five times worse than that of outdoor air quality. Even worse, this air pollution results in many health conditions many individuals experience. Indoor air pollution contaminates the air we breathe every single day.

The quality of air has a direct impact on the health, comfort, and concentration levels of every individual. Poor indoor air quality might be the reason behind many people falling ill. Therefore, indoor air quality tests are a smart investment in the health of your family and safety of your home.

Who Is Affected By Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Individuals who normally undergo the most from the effects of poor quality of air are those who remain indoors probably the most. This consists of the very young, individuals who are chronically ill, and members of the elderly population. In many cases, removing the person from the area or removing the cause of the air pollution can turnaround for the discomfort that the person is feeling, but in other cases exposure to polluted air can lead to destructive illnesses. Poor quality air could be particularly hazardous to individuals struggling with respiratory illnesses or heart problems.

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Anyone might be affected from the effects of poor indoor air quality. The cumulative effects of the numerous sources of air pollution found in most indoor areas could boost the risk of negative health results by a significant amount. The negative health effects brought on by poor air quality and exposure to indoor pollutants may appear just after exposure or not until many years later. The most frequent effects experienced involve headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.

How Can Quality Be Improved?

There are numerous different ways to improve the quality of indoor air. One of the simplest ways is to use a high quality filter in the heating, venting and cooling system (HVAC) of the building. These high quality filters can remove contaminants and air pollutants from the air as it circulates through the system, capturing the contaminants deep inside filter for later removal.

In addition, ventilation system at home is also probably the most significant things to fix within your homes. Ventilation can highly give rise to decreasing the number of pollutants in your homes. In a poor ventilated home, the concentration levels of pollutants can simply increase. Hence with good ventilation system, bad air is exhausted outside and cleaner and fresh air is being brought inside.

 

Water Heater Maintenance Tips

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One of the best ideas that can be done for the plumbing system in your home is routine maintenance. Right now maintenance doesn’t need to be hard and in this first article I will share with you probably the most common tips that can be done yourself to keep your plumbing system up and running. Water Heaters: These are in fact taking a bit of abuse even though you may well not see it. The ceaseless expansion and contraction of the water tank could be the primary factor why heaters fail. Never allow this alarm you though. By maintaining your water heater you can almost double the life of the heater in many cases.

Flushing is an annual chore relatively easy to do, and does not take too much time while 40 or 50 gals water drains and refills the tank. Flushing removes calcium and other mineral sediment build-up on the bottom of the tank which otherwise decreases capacity and insulates the water from the bottom fired gas burner or in-tank electrical element, reducing heating efficiency.

Close the water supply valve on the water inlet line going into your water heater. Then you’re able to link a garden hose to the drain valve found at the bottom of the heater. Open the drain and allow it to run until all of the water has emptied from the heater. After that close the drain. Open the water supply valve and refill the heater. It’s also advisable to open a hot water faucet somewhere inside and stand there and watch it run for a few minutes till the water flows out easily.

In some instances the sediment hardens straight into big chunks that may block the drain valve. If so, then wait until everything cools down, eliminate the garden hose from the drain valve, take off the valve if required, and make use of a long screw driver to break up the clog. This is a really untidy procedure.

Apart from regularly flushing your water heater, plumbing experts also advise adding a water treatment system to your residence to filter or condition water therefore it is less corrosive to your plumbing system, particularly in areas which have hard water. For further solutions to care for and protect your home plumbing system, speak to a licensed, professional plumbing contractor in your town to talk about choices and products to work for you.

The point is that maintaining a water heater, while necessary, may be tedious and sometimes uncomfortable perform. But if you are a DIY person, it might soon become a badge of honor in your household. If you prefer finding a plumber, it is possible to at least be assured that you have saved a little time and avoided a cluttered activity.

 

Air Purifier 101

Air purifiers help in keeping the air clean and remove it’s impurities. With there being a number of air purifiers available in the market these days, ranging in dimensions, price and quality, have a good read of the popular types below.

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Hepa Filter Air Purifiers

HEPA refers to High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor, which is a type of filter that could filter and capture particles 0.3 microns and at a efficiency of 99.97%. Hepa comes with an extremely high efficiency level in removing risky dirt. They’re able to remove even the smallest of microns. The main tool in the HEPA purifiers which makes it function so efficiently is not only the cloth type filter, however the fan that moves the air through the machine. The fans help the capturing of contaminates to the filter, although the small particles hooks up itself to the charcoal in that filter. Based on the type of HEPA purifier it is, the direction of the fan may differ. Quite a few have unidirectional fan (which happens to be good for purifying your entire home), plus some have a straight design that attracts the air in from the back, and clean air out from the front (which can be best for one room).

Ionic Air Purifiers

Ionic air purifiers create charged particles (ions) and give off them into the surrounding air. These ions blend with harmful particles (like dust) in the air, pushing the impurities to cling to a nearby surface. Ion generators are the second most popular type of air purifiers, yet they both emit ozone, an effective lung stimulant which is especially dangerous for those who have asthma and other chronic lung diseases, both children, and the seniors.

Carbon Air Purifiers

Carbon Air Purifiers are powerful with gas, smokes and odors, although not as powerful with allergens, dust, and bacteria. Carbon air filters consist of very tiny really absorbent pores. They chemically react to the particles that pass through them. Larger sized particles are caught up in the lots of pores.

UV Light Purifiier

This is basically a sterilization method using ultra-violet light. The UV light should be at the right wavelength of which the most reliable is 254 nanometers. Only at that wavelength the UV irradiation breaks the molecular bonds within DNA of microorganisms like airborne viruses and bacteria. This destroys them or makes them harmless. What’s more, it demolishes fungal spores and mold spores.

Ozone Air Purifiers

Should the term ozone air purifier is used, it really is generally conveying an air cleaner that can cause ozone to disinfect the air or things within a room. Ozone air purifiers discharge ozone (O3) into the air. This reactive oxidant is most effective against chemical vapours, smells and bacteria but could not get rid of particles along with other allergens. However, excess ozone can result in the formation of new pollutants and therefore these purifiers must be used carefully.

An air purifier filter will allow you to get rid of your home’ s undesirable dirt that happen to be floating in the air. But you better carry out your own research to obtain the best and suited for your family needs.

5 Jaw Dropping Facts About Geothermal Heating

Energy substitutes such as geothermal energy tend to be the need of this moment. Geothermal cooling is one of the countless applications of geothermal energy. In geothermal cooling, the temperature beneath the ground surface is used to move cool temperature throughout the structure. Here are just a number of advantages of using geothermal HVAC at your residence.

1. Cost Effective – One of the most important and most apparent features of geothermal is you can achieve substantial savings on your electricity bills and on your bills for cooling and heating your home. Geothermal is way more energy efficient- some estimates suggest around 400 times more energy efficient- than other heating and air conditioning systems. Though the initial setup cost could be greater, it could pay off to the savings you’ll get from energy bills.

2. Availability – Geothermal heating systems already are in the market. They are no more wish for the masses. Facts from credible sources report that there are a surge of 266% in the geothermal system installation in the US over the previous year. The fact is, roughly 50,000 geothermal systems get set up in America yearly.

3. Long life – Geothermal systems making use of heat pumps operate silently, go on for a long amount of time, need little servicing, and won’t depend upon the warmth of the outside air. The life span of the geothermal systems is amazingly long. It comes with a life expectancy of just about 30 years. No doubt it is a lasting investment for your household.

4. Utilized for cooling – They are multi-purpose systems serving both heating and cooling. This can be a best way to utilize clean, natural and renewable source of energy to insulate and cool your home. It just takes the push of a button to change the temperature of your property from hot to cold.

5. Chemical Free –  This is really a major benefit from geothermal cooling systems in the environment viewpoint. These systems do not use fuels or chemicals which might damage the environment in any manner. They also tend not to emit any kind of carbon emissions.

If you have one of these installed in your residence, it would dramatically improve the value of your home when it comes to selling. Customers are increasingly exhibiting fascination with eco-friendly products, and having a geothermal system installed might be the best selling point for the homeowner.

Advantages of Central Air Conditioners

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Central air conditioning and heating systems are taking over the old fashioned window units. It’s because central air has a vent that is going to each room in the house, office, or building. A central air conditioning system offers several benefits over conventional air conditioning systems. Doubtlessly, central air is one of the most effective and good ways to flow cool air in the home.

Centralized units send cool air straight through air ducts or vents located in each and every area. Each and every room could be cooled rather than cooling only one room. Ambient air is drawn into the air handler unit from every room through return-air ducts. The system filters the air in which goes through it, getting rid of airborne particles, like lint, and allergens, like dust, pollen and pet dander. Cleaned air will then be re-routed back to the rooms via a different ductwork system. These systems could even catch the most microscopic pollutants. Certainly, costlier filters could capture more pollutants and increase the quality of air in your house.

But the advantages don’t end there. The following are other advantages that central air conditioners have over window air conditioning systems.

  • Central air units run considerably quieter than window units. Using a window unit there is considerable noise pollution when the machine is turning on and off unlike the central one.
  • Centralized aircons have improved appearance as window models stick out like sore thumbs. Unless you want your home to have a utilitarian look, central air conditioning is the best option for aesthetics.
  • The system doesn’t occupy any inside space and keeps the home looking modern and updated.
  • They are really easy to run. Whether there’s a single zone or multiple zones, the system is conveniently controlled by a simple system that can be programmed to run at certain times and temperatures.
  • The window models available on store shelves typically have less than a one-year warranty, while the warranties of central units usually last several years. Most installers provide consistent servicing designed to keep your system running effectively and efficiently all through the year.

Before you decide whether or not to install this, it is just a good option to check on with a contractor because this is not a cheap investment. They could generate a heating plan based on the details of your house. This will give you the information you need to choose whether it is your very best choice.

5 Benefits of HVAC Duct Cleaning

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It’s easy to disregard the air ducts at your residence. After all, you cannot view them. But these hidden systems are a very crucial section of your house. Just like other parts of your house, they must be cleaned. Duct cleaning have several advantages.

1. Duct cleaning can improve your health. Air duct cleaning is important to healthy and clean indoor air. Allergens (pollen, pet dander, hair, etc.), dust and debris and toxins (mold, mildew, mouse droppings, etc.) are consistently found in home HVAC systems. If somebody residing in your home already is suffering from allergies or asthma, air duct cleaning may help provide a healthy environment for asthma and allergy victims. Typical cleaning has been confirmed to reduce the amount of allergens and pollutants present in your house, in the end reducing the chances for allergies as well as other serious illness.

2. Duct cleaning can assist your HVAC system goes longer. When grime and dirt get trapped in your heating and cooling system, they could at some point cause it to break down. Regular duct cleaning may help extend the life of heat exchangers, fans and cooling coils, assisting you to avoid pricey repairs down the road. Keeping your HVAC system clean does mean that it doesn’t have to function as hard to heat and cool your home, which can also help it last longer.

3. Duct cleaning delivers energy savings. When the system is slow, there’s a chance you will get higher power bills at the end of the month. There’s no question, if the machine is working out from order, it’s going to lose its energy. By on-time servicing of the unit, you will be able to save much more than just the HVAC system. You’ll save money that’s wasted through extra electricity bills.

4. HVAC functions at an optimum performance. When the unit is dirty from the inside, all its components, just like net, filter and exhausts are covered in dust. This decelerates the unit and there is a decrease in the efficiency of the system. If the system gets slow, it shows that the unit is making an effort to deliver less. Provided that the servicing and cleaning of the system is carried out regularly, it’s going to work at its the best possible efficiency.

5. Prevent nasty odors. A musty or “moist” odor at home often means that mold and/or mildew is lurking in your air ducts. Air fresheners, scented candles or incense is only going to mask dirty air for a short while. Professional cleaning can remove the smells almost totally in a very short time.

Boiler Maintenance: Top Tips

Boilers are the most popular way to keep homes and business warm and with a constant supply of hot water. Yet machinery like boilers have a lot of parts which will make the boiler work and to keep it working in tip top condition you need to regularly maintain it. There is a lot to be said for preventative maintenance and it can save you lots of money in the long run.

No-one likes a faulty system which explains why it is important that you take constant care of your heating, regardless of the weather. Lots of people have got the tendency to simply disregard the boiler system after the set up. Whether your boiler is a new or old machine, the best attention and care can help you keep it running in the best condition and ensure that you aren’t left facing any unpleasant surprises!

Regular Maintenance

Be sure the boiler manual is kept in a convenient location. Many individuals will lose or throw the manual for the boiler once it’s been installed. Yet, if you do find that you’re experiencing any difficulties later on, you will find that the manual may be highly good for troubleshooting the more common issues you are likely to experience.

Put in place a regular maintenance schedule. In case you actually want to make certain that boiler system is maintained in a full operational condition, you might like to look having a regular 12 monthly service. A professional service has the capacity to check every aspect of the boiler to make sure it is able to run successfully. Ideally, you need to have a boiler serviced every year before the cold weather arriving. Prevent the boiler from freezing. It is possible to prevent a boiler from freezing in the very low temperatures by leaving the heating on at a low range constantly. You will probably find this isn’t the most economical solution and thus you may want to look at other methods for preventing a boiler from freezing.

Resetting your Boiler

As mentioned above, many boilers come with several emergency shut-off safeguards. When one of these shut-offs is triggered, restarting your boiler is an easy matter, however, you must take into account that the shut-off was triggered for a reason.

Modern boilers have emergency shut off systems which will shut the boiler down if you experience something wrong. They also shut the boiler down if they’re tied to clocks and outdoor temperature therefore it doesn’t invariably mean there is a problem. A few of the explanations why a boiler makes use of the emergency shut-off might be something as simple as low water pressure.

It is essential that you won’t ever by hand override an emergency shut-off device without first finding and fixing the problem that triggered it. At times doing so doesn’t involve the help of a professional, but it is essential to recognize when assistance is needed. Issues that the average user should seek professional help for include leaking-whether from a pressure relief valve, the condensate tank, or the stack-repeatedly triggered shut-off devices, abnormally high stack temperatures, and insufficient heat despite an otherwise normally functioning boiler.

Gas Furnace Buying Guide

Gas furnaces are definitely a wonderful addition to your home. In fact, they are already becoming widely popular nowadays because of the great convenience they bring

 

Replacing the old furnace in your central heating system with a new, more efficient model can offset volatile energy prices. Money aside, today’s furnaces pollute less and boost comfort by producing heat more steadily than older furnaces. Gas is the most common heating fuel and this report focuses on gas furnaces.

To find out which brands of furnaces are the most and least reliable, check our brand reliability report from the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

What We Found

How do most people go about buying a furnace? First, they call contractors and ask for estimates. To prepare this report, we did too. More than 500 specialists in residential heating and air conditioning told us about their experiences in installing and maintaining heating equipment.

Size Matters
The furnace’s specifications should fit your needs. A furnace that’s too small won’t keep your house comfortable during extremely-cold weather.

Partly to avoid that possibility, the furnaces in most homes are larger than necessary. Initial cost is only one of the drawbacks of that strategy. A furnace that’s too large will cycle on and off more frequently. That puts more wear on its components, wastes energy, and might cause the temperature to vary uncomfortably. Also, a larger replacement furnace might require larger ducts. Without the right size ducts, airflow can be noisy.

To be sure of correct sizing and a proper installation, choose a reputable contractor who will take the time to calculate your heating needs according to an industry standard such as in “Manual J HVAC Residential Load Calculation” of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. Such calculations take into account the climate and the size, design, and construction of your house. Once the furnace is installed, maintain it regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Our survey helped to confirm this advice. When we asked about the most common reasons for service calls for furnaces, contractors cited human error, inadequate maintenance, for example, or improper installation, twice as often as defective equipment. Read our frequency of repair report for which brands or the most and least reliable.

Efficiency Also Matters
Gas is currently the most common heating fuel and most new central-heating systems use gas. How efficiently a furnace converts gas into heating energy is reflected in its annual fuel-utilization-efficiency (AFUE) rating, which is measured as a percentage. The higher the number, the more heat the furnace can wring from each therm of gas. Since efficient furnaces generate fewer emissions, environmental considerations might also influence your decision.

Furnaces have become more energy-efficient over the years. A gas furnace made in the early 1970s typically has an AFUE of about 65 percent. The lowest efficiency allowed by law for new gas furnaces is 78 percent, and some new models achieve 97 percent, near-total efficiency.

The price of a furnace generally rises in step with its fuel efficiency. A furnace with a 90 percent AFUE might cost $1,000 more than a similar size unit with an 80 percent AFUE. But you can often recoup that additional cost through lower fuel bills over the life of the furnace, especially in regions such as the Northeast and Midwest, where winters can be harsh. How quickly you recover the investment depends on more than just AFUE. The electricity to run furnaces with different AFUEs can vary significantly. The climate where you live, how well your home is insulated, and your local gas and electricity rates also affect payback times.

As you decide, insist that the contractor select models in a range of efficiencies and calculate the annual estimated operating cost of each model you’re considering, rather than simply estimating it. The contractor can complete those calculations by plugging information on each unit’s AFUE and electrical consumption, local utility rates, and characteristics of your home into one of several computer programs designed to easily calculate estimates. Make sure that the quotes also include the cost of any changes to venting required by any appliances in the home.

Other questions to ask the contractor: Is the model you’re considering fairly new, introduced, say, two years ago or less, and thus relatively untested? If it’s an older model, has the contractor noticed any reliability problems with it?

You can make your home more energy-efficient in several ways. Turn down the thermostat in winter; just two degrees cooler will save you money and reduce emissions by about 6 percent. You might not even feel the difference, especially at night or when you’re out of the house—a programmable thermostat can help here. Draw the curtains at night to block the chill from a cold window. Keep the windows covered on sunny days during the summer, and uncover them on sunny days during the winter to benefit from some free solar heating. Reduce heat loss from ducts by sealing leaks and, where feasible, insulating ducts.

Repair or Replace?
If your gas furnace falters or fails, a few simple procedures may save you the cost and trouble of seeking professional help:

• If you’re getting low airflow, check the air filter on the furnace; a clogged filter could cut airflow to a trickle.

• See if there are loose wires or a malfunction in the thermostat. For an electronic thermostat that runs on batteries, try changing them.

Read more: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/gas-furnaces/buying-guide.htm

How Much Does a New Furnace Cost

One of the major expenses homeowners have to be deal with is when it comes to the heating system. A new furnace, most especially, is more expensive than a washing machine with dryer or a new bathtub. But then again, installing this in your home will let you enjoy big savings going forward.

 

furnace installation

If you have an aging furnace in your house and you’re considering replacing it, you’re probably wondering how much does a new furnace cost. While it may be tempting to just call up a local contractor and replace your existing furnace with a new one that is nearly identical, if you do your homework you could end up saving a fortune in the long run.

 

Only Considering How Much Does a New Furnace Cost

If you went online and reviewed the prices for furnaces, you may be tempted to go with the cheapest furnace you can find. The problem is that there are many types of furnace systems, and the retail price of the furnace doesn’t always tell you the whole picture.

Types of Furnaces

There are many different methods that you can use to heat your home and the water you use every day.

  • Natural Gas – Natural gas heat sources, such as propane heaters, use natural gas as a fuel to heat the water or air that is used to heat your home. While the price of natural gas isn’t always the lowest of all fuels, it is the most efficient. Since you can obtain more BTU (heat energy) from less fuel, the higher price is offset by the amount of heat you can obtain per volume of natural gas.
  • Oil – Oil furnaces are the most common in the Northeastern U.S. because of the lack of easy access to natural gas. An oil heating system includes

Common Types of Home Insulation

It is a common misconception that insulation is just to help keep warm air in and cold air from a house. This may not be true, it is also just as important in opposite. Insulation can help keep your home’s temperature down during the warm months which can help on your utility expenses. Your air conditioner does not need to function as hard in a well-insulated home.

In picking home insulation, the most crucial aspect to consider is its R-value. This value is represented by a number – the higher the number, the far better the material is at maintaining heat. For homes in cold environments, an increased R-value helps keep your utility bills low by maximizing your energy efficiency. There are 4 varieties of insulation you should know about if wondering about your property;

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1) Spray Foam Installation: The spray foam insulation is comprised of a type of foaming agent plus a polymer one. In most cases sprayed into tiny cracks or spaces. This sort of insulation is ideal for the areas that don’t have a regular shape. If it is applied it comes in liquid form, yet in a small amount of time it turns into a solid mass.

2) Rigid Insulation: Rigid insulation is made up of boards made out of polystyrene. It’s good for insulating roofs, ceilings, foundation basement walls and where you are planning to get a thin layer of insulation with a high R-value. As opposed to one other kinds of insulation, rigid boards are incredibly flammable therefore it is important to use where you can cover with a fire protection layer like drywall.

3) Fiberglass Insulation: Fiberglass is among the most common insulation in the United States and is made use of in both residential and commercial buildings. Fiberglass is available in two various forms; batt and blanket. Batt insulation is comprised of rock wool or the fluffy fiberglass you imagine. It often comes in 4 to 8 foot lengths with a variety of different widths. Blanket insulation can be quite a lot like batt except it comes in continuous rolls. This makes for less waste yet is harder to deal with.

4) Loose-Fill Insulation: It is generally made of fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose and also comes in small particles. It is installed by being blown in to the space utilizing a specific pneumatic blower. It is always good for putting insulation to existing areas, oddly shaped areas and around obstacles.