Spring Clean the Air in Your Home

If you want a truly clean, healthy home this spring, you need to do spring cleaning on more than just the surfaces in your home. The air your breathe day in and day out may be dirtier than any forgotten corner in your home. Did you know that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that most homes have five times the pollutants in the air than outdoor air? It is time to spring clean the air in your home with a new air filtration system.

Improve the Air Quality in Your Home

Most homes have a plethora of contaminants that can be hiding in the air, from dust and mold to pet dander and chemicals. For many people with allergies or respiratory problems, these elements can cause serious health problems. The best way to reduce these contaminants and produce clean, healthy air in your home is to install a whole home air filtration system.

Although most HVAC systems have some filtering included to clean the air, these filters are not the same as an air filtration and purification system. With a professional system, even the tiniest particles can be removed from the air, including bacteria, viruses and mold. Not only is the air healthier to breathe, it will also be fresher and odor-free, improving the overall air quality in your home.

This spring, do a real spring cleaning on your home with the installation of a new air filtration and purification system. Many systems can be used in conjunction with your HVAC system or as separate units. Talk to your local HVAC service provider about the best options available for your home.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
Marietta, GA
(770) 475-9564

 

HVAC Tips for New Home Buyers

If you are looking to buy a new home this year, there are many factors that will affect your buying decision. While you may be more concerned with the size, location and curb appeal of the home, you also need to consider future maintenance. One of the largest expenditures for homeowners is the heating and cooling of the home. Before buying a new home, follow these tips to uncover any possible HVAC issues before you sign on the dotted line.

Ask About the HVAC System

You need to know what kind of HVAC system the home contains, how old it is and what maintenance has been done. Most HVAC equipment is very expensive, with furnaces and air conditioning unit costing up to $10,000 each. If the equipment is 10-15 years old or older, it may need to be replaced in the near future. Ask for all records of purchase and maintenance of the HVAC system.

Get an Inspection

Most likely you are not an HVAC expert and will not know if there is an issue with the HVAC system until you are living in the home. The best way to know the condition of the equipment such as the furnace, air conditioning unit, heat pump or duct work is to have a professional inspection performed. This is a worthwhile investment considering it could add $10,000-$20,000 on to the home’s purchase price if the system needs to be replaced soon.

The cost of a home ownership does not end after closing. Expenditures on monthly heating and cooling, plus HVAC repairs and replacement should all be considered when buying a new home. Talk to your local HVAC service provider to learn more about scheduling an inspection and what HVAC systems would be the most efficient for your new home.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
Marietta, GA
(770) 475-9564

Are You Ready for Another Hot Summer?

Winter is finally over and what a winter it was! Most of the country experienced record-breaking winter storms that chilled even the warmest regions. Now summer is on the way and it can only be assumed that hot temperatures will plague many areas. If your home still does not have a reliable air conditioning system, now is the time to invest in the comfort of a cool whole.

Home Cooling Options

Beyond the small, inefficient window air conditioners, you have a few choices for whole home air conditioning. Units vary in cost from only a few thousand dollars up to $12,000 or more. These systems usually last for at least 10 years, longer when properly maintained.

If you are ready to either add an air conditioner to your home or replace an old model, here are some of the options available:

–          Central air conditioning. Centralized air conditioning is the most common option used in hot regions for cooling an entire home. These systems require ductwork, usually linked in with the heating system.

–          Heat pumps. Although heat pumps also dual as a heat source, they are efficient and effective for cooling homes. Heat pumps can be connected to duct work or work from a stationary area, with the unit installed on the exterior of the home.

In both centralized air conditioning and heat pumps, you want a unit that is sized correctly for your home and has a high SEER (energy efficiency score). To determine what is the best option for your cooling needs and budget, talk to your local HVAC service provided. They can evaluate your home and offer you choices on the right cooling system for your needs.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
Alpharetta, GA
(770) 475-9555

Looking For Efficient Ways To Control Individual Room Temperature?

While central HVAC systems offer wonderful climate control for the whole home, they can be expensive to operate. For some homeowners, it may seem wasteful to cool or heat the entire home when only a few rooms are frequently used. An option for those looking for energy efficient climate or temperature control is the ductless mini split. These individual units can offer excellent temperature control for small spaces, using less energy and reducing your utility bills. 

Home Ductless Mini Split Ideas

Many homeowners have utilized ductless mini split units to increase the comfort in their homes while reducing their energy costs. One of the great benefits of these units is that they are self-contained; they do not require any ductwork to be added and can be installed in almost any room of your home. Some of the most popular areas to use these small unit include: 

–        Bedrooms. If you spend most of your time outside of the home, then come home to get a good nights rest, why cool your entire home? A ductless mini split can efficiently cool your bedroom, with most units being soothingly quiet.

–        Garages or shops. For rooms or buildings which are not connected to your central air system, a mini split is an excellent option to control the temperature. Garages, shops and other out-buildings are perfect places to install a ductless mini split.

–        Main living areas. Have one or two rooms where you spend most of your time? Cut energy costs by using a mini split in these main rooms. 

Your local HVAC contractor can give you more information, plus provide price estimates on installing ductless mini split units in your home. Over the months and years, it can be a wise investment to reduce your energy bills.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
Alpharetta, GA
(770) 475-9555

Different Types Of HVAC Systems

There are a few different types of HVAC systems that are available, each using a slightly different method to heat and cool as well as using different energy sources. Although they all offer the basic elements of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, depending on the energy sources available and how the unit is used, one may suit a home or business better than another.

–        HVAC system using furnace and condensing. This system uses a transfer of air from outdoors to replace indoor air, which is pushed out of the building. The air is pushed through by the motor and blower, then either warmed by heat exchangers from the furnace, or cooled through the evaporation coils. These are usually split systems, with heat and air conditioning separated.

–        HVAC zoning. Very common in large commercial buildings, HVAC zoning allows the premise to be divided into different zones, so each area can be controlled differently in regards to temperature. These systems use dampers that control the air flow, and will have different thermostats to gauge temperature levels in each zone. Although they’re more popular on the commercial level, these systems can also be in residential homes as well.

–        HVAC system heat-hybrid. Similar to split systems that use furnace and condensing, these use a heat pump instead of an air conditioning unit. This can be a more energy efficient system, using electricity for the heat pump which helps in both heating and cooling.

–        Ductless Mini-Split systems. Theese packaged systems are smaller and use less space than a traditional split system, and are often an excellent alternative for applications where installing ductwork is impractical or undesireable. The systems will generally contain a heat pump, thermostat, fan coil and an evaporator coil, all in one package.

Posted on behalf of James Smith, ClimateSmith LLC

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Oh, How Marvelous Is Air Conditioning!

Air conditioning is a fact of life these days. Most of us expect it’s comforting availability when the long days of summer test our personal physical heat tolerance. Invented in 1902 as a way to reduce air moisture in a lithographing company, few people could afford the luxury in their homes, so most visited theaters and department stores to enjoy a brief respite from the heat. 

Today, the ease and automated comfort of central air conditioning has taken the sting of extremely hot days out of most homes. Cooling the inside air is the main function of an air conditioner, but it is not all that it does. Air conditioners use a thermostat to regulate the air temperature. They also perform as a filter to remove airborne particles from the air. Since reducing the temperature of a volume of air causes it to release moisture, air conditioners also serve as a dehumidifier. 

Air conditioners work much like refrigerators and use refrigerants to move air in two directions. Air conditioners actually have two sides; the cold side moves air inside while the hot side moves air outside. A fan blows air into the room over coils that are chilled while another fan vents the hot air coming off the compressor to the outdoors. Liquid refrigerant is compressed and moved into the evaporator by the expansion value; the refrigerant’s pressure drops, expands and returns to a gas while in the evaporator; following which, the refrigerant is then pressurized by the compressor which results in its liquefying once again; and, so the cycle repeats. 

While there are some differences between window units, split-system units and central air units, your local HVAC professional will know which system is best suited to meet the individual needs of your home.

Converting Appliances From LP to Natural Gas

In the past, appliances could be converted from propane to natural gas. However, today’s appliances are manufactured specifically to be used with only one type of fuel. They are purposely engineered to not be convertible. This has resulted primarily because of individual home consumers who believed that simply changing out the orifice of the appliance was enough to convert, at great personal risk to their safety and the structure of their home.

In addition to the orifices, other factors need to be addressed in a gas conversion. Appliances are “converted” by changing the internal parts to coincide with the different pressures of different gases. The appliance regulators (which control the amount of pressure under which gas is released) and burners may possibly need replacement. There may also be a need for new venting. For some appliances, gas conversion kits are available; however, the conversion should still be handled by gas appliance professionals, who will ensure that all the necessary adjustments have been made prior to actually operating converted appliance.

Regardless of the gas preferred, both propane and natural gas vapors can be dangerous and tremendously explosive. Your home should periodically be inspected for gas leaks. Gas fired appliances can also have problems with carbon monoxide or improper combustion. An inspector will look for clues, such as size of pilot flame, to make sure that there is a correct ratio of air to gas. Given the potential volatility of making such a conversion, it should be performed only by a licensed technician. If you are considering a conversion, please contact your local HVAC contractor to help clarify all of your questions and concerns.

Versatile Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump Systems

Almost all heat pump systems (and most central air conditioning systems) used for residential heating and cooling are “split systems” that have an outdoor compressor/condenser unit and an indoor air handler/evaporator connected to the ductwork.  Refrigerant lines run between these two major components which warm or cool the air as needed.  The conditioned air is distributed throughout the home by the ductwork.

In a home that was built without ductwork, installing a standard heat pump can be a problem.  Running the ductwork in a home built without ducts can be very difficult and expensive.  However, these homes were often built with some type of electric radiant heating system such as a floor heater that can be expensive to operate.

Ductless mini-split heat pumps offer a solution for converting to an energy efficient heat pump without the hassle and expense of installing ductwork.  Ductless mini split systems are also great for heating and cooling room additions where extending the duct system is impractical or undesirable.

A ductless mini-split system consists of an outdoor compressor/condenser unit connected to one or more indoor air handlers located in each room.  No ductwork is needed for a mini-split system and by eliminating the air losses associated with ductwork, a mini-split system can operate more efficiently than a traditional heat pump system.  It also offers the versatility of being able to adjust the climate controls separately in each room.

The primary drawbacks to mini-split systems are the relatively high cost and the space required for the air handler in each room.  However, they can be an excellent energy efficient heating and cooling system for homes without ductwork already in place.

Choosing an HVAC System for Your Home

When it comes to HVAC system replacements, today’s homeowner has many different types of heating and cooling systems to choose from.  Those choices are almost unlimited for new home construction, but for most existing homes a homeowner will be choosing between a heat pump and a traditional furnace combined with a central air conditioning system.

The location of the home plays a very important role in the choice of HVAC system.  One of the best things a homeowner can do is to talk to an experienced local HVAC contractor.  They will have a good handle on the types of systems that make the most sense for your area.

For example, in the Pacific Northwest and in other mountainous regions, many homes are not equipped with an air conditioning system because temperatures rarely exceed comfortable levels.  In these areas, a high efficiency furnace may be a good choice.  A heat pump might be a more efficient user of energy, but unless you have a need for at least occasional cooling, you would be wasting money on a system that heats and cools, no matter how efficient.

On the other hand, in warmer climates a heat pump is an excellent alternative.  Heat pumps offer energy efficient heating and cooling in a single system and are a great choice where air conditioning is needed and winter temperatures do not routinely stay below freezing for extended periods of time.

In northern climates that get cold in the winter and hot in the summer, a heat pump can be an excellent energy efficient heating and cooling system for most of the year, but they lose some efficiency in extremely cold temperatures.  One alternative is to use a heat pump with a traditional fossil fuel burning furnace installed as a secondary heat source for the coldest winter temperatures.

Understanding Variable Speed Fans

If you have been shopping for a new HVAC system for your home, you probably know that there are many confusing options and features on most new HVAC systems.  The good news is that most of these features help increase the efficiency of your HVAC system and reduce operating costs.  One feature commonly found on many of today’s energy efficient heat pumps, furnaces and air conditioning systems is a variable speed fan.

A variable speed fan is sometimes referred to as a variable speed blower.  Not matter what nomenclature the manufacturer gives it, the purpose of the fan or blower is to circulate the heated or cooled air through your home.

Variable speed fans are primarily designed to increase the energy efficiency of the system.  Unlike a traditional fan that operates at the same speed under all conditions, a variable speed fan runs faster or slower depending the demand for warm or cool air.  When the demand is low, the fan will run at a slower speed and reduce energy consumption.

A variable speed fan has other advantages as well.  Some homeowners prefer to set the fun to run all the time, continuously circulating the air in the home.  The home is more evenly heated and cooled and the furnace filter can do a better job of removing airborne contaminants.

If you are one of these homeowners, an HVAC system equipped with a variable speed fan is an excellent choice.  When running in continuous mode, the fan will run quietly and use far less energy than a traditional fan.