Air flow and ventilation

I like to spend hot summer days outdoors. When I come in from a hot day outside, I love it that my house is refreshingly cool. A few days ago, I went for a run.  Throughout my long, hot run, I looked forward to cooling down in my home. I was not expecting to open my front door, step into the mudroom, and feel hot, stale air. I went to my kitchen for a bottle of water, and was relieved that my kitchen was perfectly cool. I headed into my bedroom for a change of clothes, not sure what to expect.  Unfortunately, my bedroom ended up being warm. I was confused.  I couldn’t imagine what would cause each room to be a completely different temperature. I rested my hand over the vent where cold air should have been flowing. I didn’t feel any air at all. I went back to the kitchen and checked that vent.  There seemed to be sufficient airflow coming out of those vents. The mudroom vents were not working at all. Knowing that I could not correct the problem without assistance, I decided to call my HVAC contractor. I outlined the problem, and the technician arrive about an hour later. He proceeded to check all of the vents in my house for airflow. He made notes and kept track of which vents were operational, and which vents were not. He suggested a complete service to clean and adjust the entire HVAC system.  Since it had been several years since I scheduled professional maintenance, I knew this would be a good idea.
indoor air quality

Making choices with your heater

I’m not happy to realize that the winter has arrived. I woke two days ago and discovered an inch of snow on my car. I hated seeing that first snow. I really don’t want to face another year of shoveling. Once I got out of bed, I started shivering.  I could see my breath. I checked the thermostat and it was really cold in the house. I figured something probably went wrong with the thermostat or perhaps the heating system. The thermostat seemed to be perfectly operational.  It provided the temperature.  When I attempted to crank up the heat, however, nothing happened.  The furnace didn’t start up.  At this point, I realized this problem was over my head. So I called my HVAC contractor for repair. The HVAC technician arrived at the house within the hour.  His first question was the age of my furnace. I had to think about it.  My gas furnace has definitely been around for seventeen years. Since the gas furnace was way beyond the expected service life, the technician recommended that I consider replacing it instead of repairing it. He explained that my outdated furnace was wasting energy, polluting my air quality, and would continue to break down. With a modern furnace, the efficiency level would be around 98%.  The investment into a high-efficiency  furnace could potentially save about twenty-five percent from my heating bills. That will add up fast.  It could pay for a new furnace.   If you’re HVAC system is extremely old, it might be a good idea to contact your provider. Find a local contractor who offers free estimates. By taking action, I now have a wonderfully warm home for a lot less in monthly costs.

HVAC installation

How heating works

Our daughter went through a phase lots of years ago where she was reluctant of everything. Before bed we had a whole routine where we had to check under the cargo area, in the closet, and even in the shower to show her there was clearly no monsters. Whenever she heard any sort of noise downstairs she would freak out. We even let the puppy sleep in her room so that it would make her feel safer. One day, she was absolutely convinced we had a monster in our cellar. She said she heard a weird noise coming from the boiler room. I tried to describe to her that it was just our furnace! We have had this central heater her whole life so it should be the same sounds she has often heard. This new fear was created around the winter, so when the heat came on, it was her very first time hearing these sounds since not too long ago. I love our furnace because it keeps our house so cozy and warm all winter long, and I didn’t want to lose it. I took her to the room and showed her exactly what the furnace is and described, that we need this to be warm in the winter! She didn’t realize why the “monster” only made noises inside the winter, and not in the summer months. I explained that in the summer months we use our air conditioning. My hubby thought we should just upgrade our HVAC equipment to help her. I thought she had to get over the fear she has, so we kept our furnace. Eventually she learned it was just our heating equipment and not to be scared.

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Temperature control

Have you ever walked from one room to a different room and thought “Why is it much warmer in here than it was in there? ” There are several reasons this happens. First of all, as we know, heat rises. Because of this, rooms that are on your second or third floor are generally warmer. And places such as your attic usually are sweltering hot in the summer season. On the flip side, your basement will likely be colder because it’s lower and in some cases underground most times. If you do have a sun porch or any room in your house that receives a lot of sunlight, you may notice the rooms tend to stay warm all day long and are hard to cool down. These rooms tend to let the heat in rather than letting it escape at all. One way to regulate heat evenly throughout your house is to apply system zoning. system zoning uses multiple thermostats in order to direct and dampen heat from certain areas in your house. The thermostats are connected to a central control panel that then uses dampers to prevent heat from entering that specific duct. This can save you a ton on energy bills, because you’re only heating specific rooms in your own home. For example, a guest room that may be hardly used can be left cold and unheated. The initial cost of installation is very expensive. This can be a cause for concern by many homeowners taking a look at switching. However, in the long run, you will break even with how much money you save on the system.

zone control system

The fall season

It’s that month and time of year again. The leaves are beginning to change in color. The air gets colder. Even the nearby restaurants are beginning to serve their seasonal foods along with drinks. I get a pumpkin spiced latte every single morning. My favorite part of this holiday is Halloween. It’s the best holiday. I love buying decorations and hanging them all over my house. I recently purchased some fake cobwebs to have in the corners of my own ceiling. Every year I host a Halloween party with my closest friends. We all dress up and make drinks with apple cider. There have been instances where we even passed out sweets to trick or treaters. This time of year also means I need to keep my heating system working at its full potential. Usually I ensure that the fallen leaves aren’t blocking my air filters or the unit outside. I keep in mind that it’s good to have at least two feet of space around my machine. The air filters are changed around this time of year too. I also replace my personal humidifier filter. I want to make sure my air quality isn’t sacrificed due to a dirty filter. Since it’s not winter, this is the perfect time to get my HVAC equipment serviced. I want to be sure it’s running well for the colder months. Usually I will call my local HVAC business. They know exactly what to do when they come for an inspection. It doesn’t take very long, and I know when they leave I’m able to feel good about the operation of my equipment.

HVAC system

HVAC settings

My roommate is my best friend, but she is constantly doing weird things inside our apartment. This week, she has decided that she wants a fort in the living room. Now I am all for interesting ideas, but she actually wants to build a teepee that is permanently in our living room. I told the woman it’s insane, but she thinks it will keep us warm. She even claimed that if we were comfy in there, we could set our thermostat even lower. Money is pretty tight for us so we never turn our heat on quite as high. Her idea is to build a blanket fort, but I stated, we could just upgrade to this new technology called radiant flooring. With radiant surfaces, we would hardly even need the blankets. The heat would rise away from the floor and make us feel cozy all the time. She didn’t like the thought. So I told her I might clean our air filters. With that taken care of, our heat would come out very efficiently, which would make out heating a lot cheaper. She liked this idea a lot more, but it wasn’t enough to convince her. I was willing to invest in completely new HVAC equipment now. I would change our filtration, upgrade our thermostat, even pay extra to keep the heat higher. I couldn’t stand the thought of a teepee in our family area. We finally came to a new compromise. She said that if we called our HVAC provider and had our heating equipment serviced and cleaned, she would keep the teepee in her room. That was a good enough deal for me.

HVAC technician

HVAC implications in the fall

Fall is the absolute best time of the year. It seems as if there is pumpkin everything these days! My favorite, of course, is the pumpkin spice latte. The fall season just has a comforting feeling about it as you enjoy winter and Christmas. It is usually important to get your HVAC products ready for winter. If you then have a furnace, you definitely need to get it inspected. You can call an HVAC expert and set up an appointment to have them come to your house and inspect the furnace. They can also clean out the air ducts while they are there. You will need to fill up on furnace filters so you always have one on hand should you get stuck in a bad storm and there is a travel ban. It sounds like a lot, but you just never know which kind of storms the winter season might be bringing! Use these backups to change out your furnace’s filter monthly. If you are good about keeping your filters clean, or perhaps changing them, your furnace works well all winter long. Should you be like me, your basement might get a little messy. My furnace is down in the basement, and in the much nicer weather, I end up storing some things around the furnace. This is a big no no when considering when to use it. Be sure that you remove all flammable items from the area surrounding your furnace. Finally, it is important to use a few smoke detectors and carbon monoxide sensors. Since you probably won’t have your windows open in the winter, these are really of importance to your safety.