Posts Tagged ‘Lido Key’

Lido Key Indoor Air Quality Question: How Tightly Should You Seal Your Home?

Friday, February 17th, 2012

More and more products and solutions are available to us these days to help seal our Lido Key homes off from the outside world. The idea is that by keeping outside air out, our homes are more energy efficient and healthier, because all pollutants and pathogens are barred from entry.

This is a good idea in theory, but it can have its drawbacks. Most notably, sealing your home up too much can be bad for your family’s health. If your home is sealed too tightly such that there is not enough air flow from within the home to the outside and vice versa, then the indoor air just…stays indoors.

That means that all the sneezes, coughs, dust, dander, smoke and carbon dioxide stay inside with it. All that stuff can make you sick, completely flying in the face of your efforts to stay healthy by sealing your home.

Now, that’s not to say that sealing your home is a bad thing. Using LEED glass in your windows does keep heat in and increase heating efficiency. Air filters do help eliminate pollutants and pathogens from the outside than can make you sick. Good insulation and intact ductwork do help keep your home comfortable and efficient in both the cold and hot months.

So, sealing your home is not a bad idea. The trick is to not go overboard and seal it up so tightly that you are crossing the threshold from having a healthy home to having a giant Petri dish. You want to have a home that is insulated, but not vacuum sealed. You want a home with filtered air, but still plenty of air exchange with the outside world.  Thankfully, mechanical ventilation is a way to both keep your home energy efficient and keep your indoor air from getting stale.

To help you with this endeavor, there are guides available online, such as at the ENERGY STAR website. In addition, it is a good idea to consult with Baker & Sons Air Conditioning and ask plenty of questions when building a new home or making improvements to your current one. A qualified Lido Key technician will know how to insulate and ventilate your home properly to protect your family’s health.

 

How Bad Is the Air in Your Home? A Question from Boyette

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Every day you hear about another awful contaminant that can get into your Boyette home’s air supply. Radon gas. Carbon Monoxide. Nitrogen Dioxide. Smoke. Mold. The list gets longer with each passing year and many homeowners are understandably worried. However, before you run out and by the newest lineup of filters, purifiers, and UV lights, stop and think about just how bad your indoor air actually is.

When Was Your Home Built?

Homes built in the last 10-15 years tend to be well ventilated and may even have air quality systems already in place. It’s those built in the late 1970s and early 1980s that tend to have the worst ventilation (assuming they have not been updated since then).

This kind of poor ventilation can be dangerous, but usually only in that you have less fresh air and more indoor allergens and contaminants. Specifically, you’re most likely to suffer from things like pet dander, dust, pollen, and dirt in the air. On their own, these are not dangerous, but without fresh air to circulate them outside and ensure you get a steady, clean supply of air to breathe, they can make you ill.

How Bad Can It Get?

While it’s rare, some homes suffer from more advanced contaminations. The most common is mold. Mold grows primarily in dark, damp spaces. If your humidity levels get too high in the summer, the ductwork in your house is perfect for mold and it will blow the spores directly into your air, putting everyone at risk.

You should also be wary of exhaust fumes from your appliances that may not get properly removed from the house. Both of these problems can be fixed with regular duct and exhaust cleaning.

Outdoor contaminants can also make it into your indoor air. Things like exhaust and smoke, gas, radon, or other outdoor pollutants should be tested for when you setup a new indoor air quality system. There are filters and purifiers that will remove almost all of these contaminants, but they are not always required, so you should check before making a decision.

Ultimately, the odds are that your home suffers only from some stale, dusty air. But, it is very important to keep everything clean and test it regularly to make sure nothing worse develops. Poor air quality is about more than just comfort – it’s an honest health issue.

What is R410A? A Question From Lido Key

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

If you’ve recently started researching a new air conditioner for your Lido Key home, you may have run across “R410A” – a newer form of refrigerant increasingly being used in high end air conditioning equipment. What is R410A and why is it different from the existing refrigerant most air conditioners have?

Chemical Composition

R-410A is a composite of diflouromethane and pentafluoromethane. This mixture of R-32 and R-125 creates a new compound designed to be used in commercial and residential air conditioning devices. Sometimes referred to as Puron, Genetron and EcoFluor, R-410A is a more environmentally friendly approach to cooling than the existing coolant most air conditioners use – R-22.

To date, R-22 has been the refrigerant of choice for millions of devices. However, because R-22 will no longer be permitted in new devices starting in 2020, R-410A is growing in popularity rapidly and will soon become the standard refrigerant option in new devices.

Environmental Impact

Despite being very similar in chemical composition to other refrigerants like Freon and R-22, R-410A does not contribute to ozone depletion, a major step forward for air conditioning. However, it has as very similar global warming impact – producing nearly 1725% more damage than carbon dioxide. One of the factors that negates this high global warming risk is the fact that R-410A is being used in a more efficient manner than past refrigerants.

Choosing R-410A

You cannot simply replace the R-22 in your cooling system with R-410A. Because it requires higher pressure, the devices that run with R-410A must be built specifically for this refrigerant. As a result, many manufacturers are starting the transition to the new refrigerant now, in anticipation of the 2020 phase out date for R-22. If you are preparing to buy a new unit, keep this in mind. You can still buy R-22 devices, but they are not as environmentally friendly as this newer form of refrigerant.

Why Won’t My Room Stay Warm or Cool? A Question From Lido Key

Friday, September 16th, 2011

When you have a home heating or cooling system installed, you expect it to keep all areas of your Lido Key home at the same temperature unless you tell it otherwise. But sometimes you’ll find that one of the rooms in your home just won’t stay warm no matter how high you turn up the heat. This can be a very frustrating situation, particularly if that room is one you use a lot.

Insulation and Ductwork Checkups

There are actually several possible reasons that a problem like this can develop. The first thing you should check is if there is adequate, proper insulation in the walls and the floor of the room. Even if you know that insulation is in place, it’s worth it to have a professional come take a look to see if the insulation there is still adequate. Even the best insulation doesn’t last forever, and once it breaks down, you could be losing a lot of heat to the outdoors in the winter.

If insulation isn’t the problem, it’s time to have someone examine your ductwork to see if it’s properly pressurized throughout or if there could be a break in the system somewhere leading to that room. If your home comfort system pumps heated and cooled air towards that room and that air is allowed to leak out along the way, you’ll never be able to maintain the comfort level you want.

Digging Deeper for Causes

Even if there is no break on the way to that particular room, a leak or blockage somewhere else can throw off the balance of the entire system, reducing how much temperature controlled air can reach that part of your home. These are all things that a professional duct tester can find and fix for you relatively easily and inexpensively.

Of course, it’s always possible that uneven heating and cooling is a symptom of a larger problem in your home heating and cooling system. But if that’s the case, you’re better off finding out sooner rather than later because the problem will only get worse when not addressed. No matter what the ultimate underlying cause for your uneven heating and cooling is, you’ll need a professional to come out and investigate before you can have it fixed for good.

Alternatives to Air Conditioning in Your South Bradenton Home

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Let’s face it – we rely pretty heavily on air conditioning to keep us comfortable during the warmest months of the summer in South Bradenton. So, what do you do when the mercury dings 90+ and your air conditioner is either broken or you are in a place without AC? Luckily, there are alternatives. Here are some of the better options:

  • Move Air through the House – As simple as it sounds, air circulation can have a huge impact on the temperature inside, especially in the late afternoon. Mid-afternoon sun will hit your roof no matter how many trees you have planted. The result is a decent amount of heat pouring into your home. But, if you open the windows and let a cross breeze through, amplifying it with fans, especially ceiling fans, moving air will carry that heat out of the house later in the day when the temperature drops.
  • Block Direct Sunlight – Unless it’s 90+ degrees outside, most of the discomfort in heat comes from direct sunlight. Block that direct sunlight and you severely reduce how warm it might get in your home. Trees planted along western, eastern and southern walls do this very effectively, especially if they are deciduous and will allow in the warming sun in the winter.
  • The Power of Water – Feel warm? Get some cool water and place it on your forehead, arms or legs. A bowl of cool water in front of a fan can be soothing as well, assuming humidity isn’t a problem. If it is, consider getting a dehumidifier to run in lieu of an air conditioner for those days that aren’t too hot. They are less expensive and can reduce discomfort significantly.
  • Evaporative Coolers – Evaporative coolers are extremely popular in Europe and Japan where energy costs are relatively high. They use up to 80% less electricity than air conditioners, don’t require refrigerants linked to global warming, and they work extremely well in dry heat. There are evaporative coolers available that can cool your entire home, though the most common devices are those designed for a single room. They are sometimes called “swamp coolers” as well.

I’m sure we’d all rather have a comfortably air conditioned room to lounge in during the hottest months of summer, but in lieu of electric powered comfort, keep in mind the simple, effective ways people have been staying cool for centuries. If you have more questions about how to stay cool this summer, contact your local HVAC professional.

Energy Recovery Ventilator – What Is It and When Do You Need It?

Monday, July 4th, 2011

It isn’t cheap to heat and cool the air you circulate through your home every day. In fact, heating and cooling can be the most expensive energy related systems you operate. So, the last thing you want is to open a window and pour all of that conditioned air into the great outdoors.

That’s why most modern homes are sealed up so tightly. The heated and cooled air you enjoy so much needs to be retained, both to save money and to reduce your energy use. It’s why the government offers credits for things like insulation upgrades and the purchase of more energy efficient comfort systems.

But, while sealing everything saves you money and reduces your energy use, it can negatively impact your indoor air quality. Without proper circulation and ventilation, the air in your home grows thick with indoor contaminants like pet dander, pollen, dust, and possibly even bacteria or gasses. Normally, these things would be circulated outside through traditional ventilation. But, because of your heating and cooling system, the age old method of cracking a window to let a little fresh air in just doesn’t work anymore.

An energy recovery ventilator solves this problem. Instead of just pouring heated or cooled air outside and replacing it with fresh air, an energy recovery ventilator passes the air through a series of chambers. Within those chambers the heat is transferred from the warmer air to the cooler air.

In the winter, this means the indoor air passes its energy to the incoming air, retaining the heat your furnace or boiler generated. In the summer, the air coming in from outside passes its heat energy to the cooled indoor air as it leaves and only cool air enters your home.

In effect, an energy recovery ventilator works to reduce the cost of both heating and cooling. It is true that most indoor air quality systems are designed to remove many of the contaminants you flush outside, but relying solely on your air purifier or filter puts undue stress on the equipment. Not only will you need to replace filters and cartridges more often, you may need to replace the entire system earlier than you would otherwise. If you’re tired of losing all that conditioned air just to get a fresh breath, look into these amazing machines for your indoor air system.

Is a Heat Pump Right for Your Home?

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Deciding which type of home comfort system to go with can be a difficult process to navigate. There are a ton of factors to take into account including how much you will be using the system, what type of fuel you mainly rely on and what the specific climate is like where you live.

Heat pumps are a great home comfort solution for many people but they aren’t always the appropriate choice. However, there are many benefits to going with a heat pump system, so this is certainly an option you should keep in mind as you evaluate your options.

Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air in one place and then transferring that heat to another space. For instance, in the winter, heat pumps take heat from the outside air and pump it into your house. In the summer, on the other hand, your heat pump will be able to take heat from your indoor air and pump it back outside, thereby keeping your home cool and comfortable.

Heat pumps are also extremely energy efficient because they don’t actually have to generate the heat they pump. Unlike furnaces, which take in fuel and convert it into heat, heat pumps simply harness the heat that’s already there, making them by far the more energy efficient option.

Another benefit to heat pumps is that they maintain a more constant temperature than many other types of heating systems do. Rather than pumping in a big blast of hot air and then waiting until the temperature indoors falls below a preset level before doing it again, heat pumps provide a relatively constant stream of warm air.

The initial amount of heat is smaller than what you might be used to from a furnace, but the cumulative effect means that you’ll be able to enjoy a much more consistently comfortable indoor environment.

It is important to evaluate the climate in your area before you decide to purchase a heat pump, though. These systems are extremely effective at heating and cooling your home as long as temperatures stay above the mid-thirties.

Below that, you may need to install some type of supplemental heating in order to keep your home warm enough on those really cold days. So if you live in an area where temperatures routinely dip below freezing for large portions of the winter, a heat pump might not be the most sensible solution for you.