Posts Tagged ‘Trilby’

Important Indoor Air Quality Tips when Remodeling in Tampa

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Remodeling your Tampa home is a big step. As you plan the layout of your new bathroom or the size of the bedroom being added to the second floor, make sure you take into account the effects your changes will have on the indoor air quality of your home. Here are some specific things to keep in mind:

  • Water and Moisture: When you build on to or remodel your home, one of the most common problems is excess moisture. The grade may not be built to handle the extra space or you may find that moisture is harder to block from your home than expected. However, it’s vital that any additions are as water tight as the original construction. Mold and mildew, as well as dust mites and other humidity and moisture borne pollutants are major health concerns.
  • Ventilate Properly: Most people assume that the best thing they can do is close their home up tightly to block out pollutants. But, indoor air can be as much as 100 times more polluted than outside air if it isn’t properly ventilated. Stagnant, stale air filled with dust, pollen and dander among other things is not healthy, so extend your ventilation system to support your new addition.
  • Proper Flooring: The floor you choose when remodeling has a major impact on indoor air quality. You want to ensure any water that gets on the floor, especially in bathrooms can be removed without it penetrating to the wood underneath. Properly sealed tiles and fixtures are a must.
  • Unsafe Building Materials: Modern materials are generally safe, but if your home was built before 1978, consider the risk of flaking paint or old insulation before you start demolishing a room for remodeling. Lead paint in window frames and doors can be a major risk if it flakes and enters the air and asbestos can be found in insulation in walls, wiring and pipes.

Remodeling is a big step, and likely you have a lot of things on your mind, but don’t forget to include the air quality in your calculations, both during and after the construction. The EPA has a fantastic resource on indoor air quality in home remodels to help you determine what things you should watch for in each room of the house as you make changes.

How Often Should I Replace My AC Filter? A Question from Trilby

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Replacing the filters in your ventilation system regularly is an essential part of your Trilby home’s maintenance. It keeps the expensive HVAC machinery running smoothly, saves you money and helps safeguard the health of your loved ones.

How often is often enough to replace your air conditioner filter, though? The short answer is that it depends on your air conditioner, the type of filter and your family’s needs. Below are some guidelines to help you keep it all straight and stay on top of a filter changing schedule.

Rule of Thumb

As a general rule, you should be prepared to change your AC filter every three months when it’s in use. Your filter may require more frequent replacement, which will be discussed in a little more detail below. Although three months is the general rule, you should still inspect your AC filter every month and replace it whenever it’s visibly dirty. That dirt you see not only bogs down the air conditioner, but you may also wind up breathing it in.

More Specifically

There are different kinds of air conditioner filters. Where they vary is in efficiency, which is indicated on a scale called the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating. MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, with higher numbers being more efficient at filtering small particles from the air. The standard for homes has been MERV 10 for a while, but that will soon be changing to a more efficient standard.

Essentially, the higher air quality you want in your home, the higher MERV rating you want on your filter. However, a higher MERV rating also means more frequent replacement and higher cost, so choose a rating that is appropriate for your family’s needs. If there is a history of allergies, or you live in an area with poor air quality, you may want a MERV 14 filter. If not, you may be fine with a MERV 11 or 12.

High efficiency filters may need to be changed as often as every month, whereas less efficient ones will be closer to that three month range. No matter what kind of filter you are using, you will have to change it more often if you live in a particularly dusty area, as well as in the summer months when the AC unit is being used more.

What is Ductwork and How Do You Maintain It? A Question From Trilby

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Most first time homeowners in Trilby are aware of the importance of their heating and cooling systems. They keep you comfortable throughout the year, pumping heated and cooled air into every nook and cranny of your home. However, there is another system in your home that actually makes it possible for those other two systems to work. And while they are incredibly simple, your ducts must be carefully maintained year after year to avoid heat and cooling loss.

How Ducting Works

Ducts are installed throughout your home to deliver conditioned air from your air handler. The air is pumped into the ducts and directed by your thermostat system to where it is currently needed. Vents are opened or closed to release that heat or cooling and the house is properly tempered. Ductwork is usually made of sheet metal, though some flexible ducting is made with a combination of plastic, thinner metals and fiberglass.

Ideally, ductwork is crafted in such a way that it is air tight and able to deliver large volumes of air to any room of your home for decades to come. However, whether because of improper installation or extreme conditions, sometimes those ducts can come loose or gaps will form. When this happens, maintenance and repair are needed.

How to Maintain Your Ducts

To maintain ductwork, you must first have it cleaned once a year. Sometimes, this may be necessary more frequently depending on how often you use your home comfort system and how big your home is. Effective duct cleaning will remove any excess debris and dust and kill mold that has started to grow. High humidity can be controlled with a dehumidifier in your air handler and is highly recommended for all ductwork systems.

Additionally, you should have your ducts checked for leaks and gaps periodically. This will reduce the chance that your ductwork starts to leak anything out of the house or between rooms. Such leaks cost you money and put undue stress on your HVAC system. Overall, a good ductwork system is one that you never have to think about. Regular maintenance makes that possible.

Installing Automatic Thermostats: Quick Fix to Energy Savings

Friday, September 16th, 2011

While you probably spent a lot of time researching your Trilby home’s heating and cooling system to make sure you got one with great energy efficiency ratings and all of the other features you were looking for, one thing you may not have thought a lot about is your thermostat. The thermostat in your home is your direct link to your home comfort system, and the type and quality of the product you have in place can have a much bigger impact on the performance of that system than you may initially realize.

Of course, any thermostat will get the basic job done. You set it for the desired temperature and it will communicate that information down the line to the heating and cooling system. But the better the thermostat you’re using, the better the communication and coordination between the two devices will be. And many advanced thermostats come with all types of special features that can both enhance the quality of your indoor environment and save you some considerable money in the long run.

Saving Money with a New Thermostat

So how can a thermostat save you money? There are actually a couple of ways. For instance, an programmable thermostat can be programmed to switch your heating and cooling system on and off at different pre-set times of day. That means you can have the heat or air conditioning turned off during the day and still come home to a comfortable house. Simply set the thermostat to come on right before you get home and you’ll be able to walk into a perfectly temperature controlled environment without having to keep the heat on all day.

Automatic thermostats can come with other great features as well. For instance, you can set them up to maintain different temperatures in different parts of your home. That way, your home comfort system doesn’t have to work harder to keep your whole house warm or cool when only part of it is in use. And when your home comfort system is working less and using less energy, it will last longer so you won’t have to pay for repairs or a new system nearly as frequently as you might otherwise.

You’ll also pay less on your monthly energy bills the whole time, adding up to a great deal of savings. It might never have occurred to you that a new thermostat could save you so much money, but with all of these benefits, it’s definitely worth looking into.

Basic HVAC Terminology: Some Tips From Palm Harbor

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Ever try to look up basic information about your heating and air conditioning systems in Palm Harbor? There are dozens of terms that might as well be Greek for all you know – a mishmash of words and phrases talking about energy efficiency and air flow ratios. To make your next upgrade a little easier and give you a baseline with which to work, here are a few of the most common HVAC terms you’ll hear in the industry:

  • AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency): This is a simple measurement of how much fuel a furnace converts into actual heat in your home. So, if a furnace converts 92% of the fuel it consumes into heat, it has an AFUE rating of 92.
  • Watts: A single watt is a measurement of electricity. Commonly, your electricity use is assured in kilowatts or kilowatt hours (kWh).
  • BTU (British Thermal Unit): A BTU is a common measurement of how much energy is produced or consumed by an appliance. When referring to an air conditioner, one ‘ton’ refers to 12,000 BTUs.
  • SEER/EER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio refers to how many BTUs can be produced with a single Watt of electricity per hour. So, an air conditioner with an SEER of 14 can produce 14 BTUs of cooling per watt consumed each hour.
  • HSPF ( Heating Seasonal Performance Factor): Refers to the efficiency of the heating elements in your heat pump.
  • COP (Coefficient of Performance): A measurement of how effective your heat pump is at heating a space compared to standard electrical resistance heat. The lower the temperature gets outside, the lower the COP will be. Equipment is usually measured for COP at 47 and 17 degrees to give an idea of seasonal performance of a new heat pump.
  • Refrigerant: Refrigerant is any gas that is used to draw heat from the air in a particular environment through an air conditioner or heat pump. It has a much lower boiling point than water, allowing it to cool despite the temperature outside. Currently, most equipment uses R-22 refrigerant while the new standard will be R-410A (Puron), legally required in all cooling units by 2020.
  • CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute): Used to measure the volume of air passed through an air handler by an air conditioner or furnace.

There are a number of complicated details to keep track of when choosing a new air conditioner or furnace. To ensure you get the very best out of your system, read up on these details in advance – you’ll feel a heck of a lot smarter when you call.

To Zone or Not to Zone My Home Comfort System: A Question From Tampa

Friday, August 5th, 2011

There are a lot of decisions to make related to your Tampa home comfort system. You must decide what type of heating you want, how you’ll implement air conditioning, and then how to keep all of that heated and cooled air clean and healthy in your home.

On top of everything else, you have the option to implement zone control in your house to provide multiple comfort levels for each member of your family. Zone control systems are growing rapidly in popularity because they allow home owners to enjoy an enhanced level of comfort throughout the day, while not negatively impacting any one person.

For example, if it’s chilly outside and you need to turn your heater on, that doesn’t mean everyone in the house wants the thermostat set to 72°F. There are a few reasons for this. You may be in the kitchen, working over the stove or doing dishes where there is plenty of heat to keep you warm. More warm air coming through vents or radiators isn’t going to make you comfortable.

The second floor of a home traditionally needs less heat because warm air on the first floor rises and fills that space. The same is true in the summer when cool air settles in lower floors. Having a zone control system allows you to set specific temperatures in each room which are then controlled by your home heating system. You can even turn off the heating and cooling in a specific room like your office or the attic if it will be empty for long periods of time.

Other Considerations

A zone control system is good for comfort, but also for the overall air quality of your home. Too much conditioned air moving through your ducts carries more allergens and contaminants into your home and causes your air quality system to work harder. Your ventilation system will be asked to work harder as well.

Ideally, a good home air quality system is designed to use as little conditioned air as possible to keep everyone comfortable. A zone control system does this very effectively. When talking to a professional about a new installation, check to find out about programmable thermostats as well. These can make it easier to set and forget the temperature in rooms that are only used for a few hours each day.

Home Repairs You Don’t Want to Ignore

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

There are a lot of things you need to take care of around your home. But, everything costs money so many homeowners will put off certain home repairs for weeks, months or even years until they can afford them. However, there are certain things around the house you simply should not put off. Not only can they cost you more money in the long run, they can put your home and your family at risk if you wait too long.

Dirty Filters

Dirty filters in your air conditioning, heating, or air quality system are a problem. Not only do they force your HVAC system to work harder to maintain a good temperature, they are frequently a major cause of airborne contaminants and pathogens. Imagine it this way; those filters are meant to remove something from your air. If they get dirty and are not replaced or cleaned, they probably aren’t working any longer and you can get sick. Dirty filters are inexpensive and easy to fix. Both you and your HVAC repairperson should see to them regularly.

Dryer Vents

Clogged dryer vents are more than just an inconvenience – they are dangerous. If your home has dirty dryer vents, the exhaust from your dryer isn’t able to escape. When this happens, heat will build up in the ducts. Not only can exhaust backup into your home, the risk of a fire goes up significantly. Have your dryer vents cleaned at least once a year and if you live in a two or three family house, make sure it is more often – closer to every 6 months.

Flexible Gas Connectors

Gas connectors are used to transfer gas from the supply entering your home to various appliances like your stove, water heater and furnace. So, there is a lot of natural gas passing through them each day. If they are not properly cared for, that natural gas can start to leak from the connectors and eventually build up in your home to an unsafe level. You should have a carbon monoxide detector installed on every floor of your home and you should have someone come out and check your system regularly for problems.

Water Leaks

Water leaks are more than just messy: they can cause damage to fixtures and floorboards and over time can lead to the growth of mold and the weakening of your entire home. Especially in concrete or foundational walls, water leaks need to be seen to immediately. Even just a small leak can cost you money and put your home at an increased risk of damage.