Indoor Air Quality Creates A Better Environment For Employees And Customers

No matter what you may think, cutting your HVAC budget is not conducive to your business environment. The age of your system can directly affect your indoor air quality, which in essence, can affect the comfort of your employees, your customers and ultimately your bottom line.

Poor commercial indoor air quality can stem from a variety of factors. These include, excessively dry or overly humid air, temperatures that are too hot or too cold, odd odors, allergens and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that emanate from chemicals such as cleaning solvents, resins, paints and more. VOCs can also emanate from substances such as formaldehyde, phthalates, and other substances that are hidden within in many buildings, such as lead and asbestos.

Negative effects of some substances like lead or asbestos is well known, but adverse consequences of other undesirable substances is less understood, even though many chemicals emitting VOCs are carcinogenic and can negatively impact the endocrine and nervous systems of the human body. Frequently, VOCs and substances such as molds, fungi and other undesirable particles that inhabit commercial building ventilation systems exacerbate allergies and can worsen breathing problems.

 

The danger comes when pollutants and irritants build to a level where they become noticeable, as most people spend up to 90% of their lives inside buildings. With the push toward making all buildings more air tight to conserve energy, air exchange between the interior and the exterior is reduced, thus leading to a faster build up of contaminants. Proper ventilation to allow build-up to escape to the outside is more important than ever, along with the installation of air purifiers and similar measures that will keep air cleaner inside commercial establishments.

Fortunately, as a business owner, you can do a lot of small things that will make commercial indoor air quality better. First off, if your system is more than 10 years old, think about replacing it. Today’s systems are much more energy efficient and when combined with commercial air cleaners, remove particulates much quicker. Schedule maintenance and duct cleaning on a regular basis to reduce particle build-up. Bring in extra ventilation when work is performed that may involved VOC’s.

Follow our blog for more information about commercial and residential air quality and similar topics.

How Do Air Conditioners Work?

Most people benefit from air conditioning either at home, at work, or both, virtually every day in the summer if they live in a warm climate. But probably most of us, however, have no idea about the process behind this technology that keeps us comfortable.

How do Air Conditioners Work?
The process is actually simple. Hot air flows over cold, low-pressure evaporator coils, allowing refrigerant inside to absorb heat as it changes from a liquid to a gas. The air conditioner, via a compressor, converts the refrigerant gas back to liquid again, which causes unwanted heat. That heat is then dispersed to the outdoors via the condenser coils and a second fan. The gas in the closed system converts back to a liquid, with the process starting all over again. In a central air system, refrigerant chills indoor air, with the resulting gas continually compressed and cooled back to liquid.

The major parts of a central air conditioning system are he evaporator that receives liquid refrigerant, the condenser that facilitates heat transfer, the expansion value to regulate refrigerant flow into the evaporator and the compressor that pressurizes refrigerant.

The cold side of the unit has the evaporator and fan that blows air over chilled coils and through the building. The hot side has the compressor, condenser and a second fan that vents hot air from the compressed refrigerant to the outside. The expansion valve sits between the two sets of coils and regulates the amount of liquid refrigerant that moves into the evaporator. When refrigerant enters the evaporator, it experiences a pressure drop that expands and turns back into a gas.

Variations of this application include window system air conditions that have the coil system on the outside of the unit and, chilled water, sometimes known as chillers and cooling tower air conditioning units used for larger commercial applications. Some of the these larger systems use chilled water that is piped through the building and connected to air handlers to achieve comfortable air, while others used cooling tower technology that creates a stream of cold water running through a heat exchanger to cool hot condenser coils.

Carbon Monoxide, The Facts

Protecting yourself from dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can only be done successfully with a detector and alarm. It is not a gas a human can detect with normal senses, because it is odorless, tasteless and colorless. It is a gas we humans need in small amounts, but in excess it can make you fall ill and in poisonous amounts, it can kill.

Knowing the facts about this potentially dangerous gas will help protect you from its dangers. It is a gas normally associated with gas appliances, fireplaces and furnaces. Most people assume without the before mentioned devices it would not exist in a home. The fact is this gas is present in nature and will exist to some degree in every home.

The alarms for carbon monoxide are slightly different than smoke alarms because fire is a faster moving destructive force than carbon monoxide. A smoke alarm is designed to emit one sound when smoke is detected. There is only one meaning when that sound is heard, you and your family should exit the structure quickly. A carbon monoxide detector/alarm has two alarms, the alert which signals the problem should be investigated and fresh air should be allowed in the structure and the warning indicates the occupants should leave right away and call the authorities.

Carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms have similar maintenance. They need to be vacuumed and tested monthly and batteries need to be changed twice yearly. Lastly, change the alarm with a newer model every 10 years.

If you own an older model of carbon monoxide alarm it may be extremely sensitive and make frequent false alarms. These frequent alarms may also be due to spikes in carbon monoxide levels. If you don’t own an older model, older than 10 or more years, you may have a problem in your home that should be investigated before it becomes a real problem.

The most important thing to realize about carbon monoxide poisoning is that it is not detectable by human senses. You may become ill, but symptoms resemble the flu and may not be identified as carbon monoxide poisoning until it’s too late. Your best option is to call us with all questions related to your heating and air conditioning as well as carbon monoxide alarms.

Understanding The Importance Of Changing Your Air Filter

You need your homes HVAC system operating at peak efficiency. In order to keep your system running smoothly and maintain a clean, healthy environment, you need to charge your filters every 3 — 4 months. Filters that are 1-3″ inches should be changed every 3 months, and filters that are 4-5″ inches should be changed every 5 months. Changing your filter can help you avoid having to spend money on expensive service calls.

If you have health issues or a sensitive HVAC system, you may need to change your filter monthly. It’s important for you to check your equipment guide to see what your best option is. Not changing your filter can cause your system to get dirty, work too hard, and eventually stop working. Make sure your air filter fits the air return when you’re changing it out. If you can’t get it to fit, you can always tape down the loose edges to make it work. Remember, you need the air to move through the filter, not all around it.

Breathe Cleaner Air

When your filter isn’t changed routinely, particles and contaminants will begin to collect in your home. In order to keep your heating and cooling system running efficiently and maintain premium air quality, you need to make sure you check your air filter regularly. If you have a family member in the home that suffers from asthma or allergies, changing the air filter can greatly improve the quality of air for him or her.

Clogged filters can create a reduction flow that causes your equipment to stop working. Excess dirt in the filter can damage your systems motors, fans, and/or coils. Your air filters job is to clean the air before it ever makes it into your equipment to ensure your system isn’t damaged. The cleaner your system is, the better it runs. When your system is running at peak efficiency, it is saving you a significant amount of money on your energy bill. Don’t throw money out of the window by ignoring your air filter maintenance needs. Give your HVAC system the attention it needs.

How To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality?

If you would like to improve air quality, maybe this will help you. This advice may not completely get rid of air pollutants but it may help some.

The first thing that you can do to help improve indoor quality is to reduce individual sources of emissions and pollution. One thing that you can do for example is if you have a gas stove you can decrease the amount of emissions by adjusting it. Source control can be very cost effective. It is also more cost effective than ventilation.

Even though ventilation may cost you more money, another thing that you can do is ventilation. Doing this will improve air quality in your home. You will save money though when you don’t mechanically bring the fresh air into your home. You can open your doors and windows, use attic fans, or run a window air conditioner.

It is important that you bring in fresh air especially when you are doing indoor activities that bring in high levels of pollutants. Things can include painting, cooking, heating with kerosene lamps, sanding, and welding. If you can, it may be a good idea to do some of these activities outdoors.

One more thing that you can do is look into air cleaners. Some of the air cleaners that you will find remove particles. They are usually designed to remove gaseous pollutants.

Air cleaners work more effectively if the pollutant is not very strong. If the pollutant is powerful, the cleaner may not work very well. Check to find out which air cleaners work the best to get rid of pollutants.

There has been some suggestions that houseplants reduce some levels of chemicals. It hasn’t been shown though that they remove a significant amount of pollutants in offices and homes. Getting plants though for your house a good thing to do though.

So for those who want to improve air quality, call to check your indoor quality and then work on the things that can improve it. You will find that there are a lot of things that you can do to improve the quality of air around you.

Decision On Whether To Repair Or Replace Your Air Conditioner

You may find yourself in a dilemma where you do not know whether to replace or repair your air conditioner. You may feel that you really need a new conditioner and yet you may not have the money to. Repairing on the other hand may be cheaper but there is no guarantee that the machine will last long afterwards. So what do you so? Well, this decision can be made based on several factors.

Energy bills
If there is an upward trend in your recent energy bills paid, then you may need to reconsider your decisions. Rising energy bills shows you that the equipment is not running as efficiently as it used to before. Therefore, it is time you took it up and prevent a further upsurge in the utility bills.

The level of temperatures in summer
If your air conditioner is working at full capacity and yet the temperature in the house still allows profuse sweating, it is time to reconsider repair for replacement. This shows that it has outlived its useful life in your home and thus you may need to replace it. If you are not sure about this, consult your technician for some advice.

Frequency of repairs
Is your air conditioner breaking down every few weeks? Do you have to call your technician every other month for some repair? Are you wondering “should I replace or repair my equipment again?” well reality check seems to incline on the replace. The amount of money you will spend repairing the conditioner is substantial and if you do not replace it, you will continue spending a lot on its repair. So it is better to just replace it.

Age of conditioner
How old the conditioner is determines whether to repair it or to replace it altogether. There is a rule called the $5000 rule. This is derived by multiplying the average cost of the repair by the number of years you have used the equipment. If it is less than $5000, then it is falls in the category of those that require to be repaired but if it is way higher then you need to replace it.

There are times when we let our systems become so outdated that they cannot get spare parts. Such equipment is up for replacement. Other times, your machinery is relatively new and thus you will just need to repair it since it has not exhausted its useful life.

Why Is It Important To Have N.A.T.E Certified Technician Servicing Your Home?

To live in a safe and secure house, you need to ensure that your HVAC is in a good working condition at all times. N.A.TE is a national body whose main mandate is to help homeowners and real estate investors maintain their heating and air conditioning systems. Certified NATE technicians have vast hands on experience and have capacity to carry out virtually any repair and maintenance practices. Here are some of the benefits of hiring these technicians.

It Saves Time and Money

Faulty air conditioning systems have low efficiency that results in high power bills. One of the best ways of avoiding such scenarios is by hiring certified technicians to work on your system. They not only have academic qualifications but also vast hands-on experience. Hence, you can rest assured that the job will be done right for the first time and the problem will never recur in future.

Professional Advice and Guidance

NATE certified technicians will not only expertly analyze the current status of your equipments but also furnish you with professional advice and guidance on how to maintain your systems to derive maximum utility from them. This will go a long way in saving you money on electricity bills and repair services.

Timely Service Delivery

Delayed repairs can lead to secondary complications which might force you to purchase a whole new system. You can avoid this by hiring an expert who can deliver high quality services in a timely manner. The best technician companies have an emergency response team that is always ready to respond to clients queries. This will give you a peace of mind as you will just have to contact them even during wee hours of the night to get expert services.

Value for Money

NATE certified technicians are professionals who don’t solely focus on making money but rather providing high quality services to their customers. By choosing them, you can rest assured that the end results will surpass your expectations. To consistently deliver high quality services, they have invested in modern equipments which are more accurate and reliable.

Hiring NATE technicians is indeed one of the most effective ways of extending lifespan of your HVAC system. Call us for all your HVAC needs, performed by NATE certified technicians.

Energy Efficiency Tips (ie. What Temperature To Set My Furnace)

Overview

We are a trusted and licensed HVAC company. In addition to providing our esteemed clients heating and air conditioning services (inspections, repairs, maintenance, installations and replacements), we regularly give our clients HVAC-relevant information through face to face interactions, as well as blogs. We give our clients home energy efficiency tips to help them reduce their furnaces’ energy consumption while receiving sufficient heat, as well as save a percentage of their utility bills. The temperature to set a furnace depends on several factors including efficiency of the furnace, loss of heat through surfaces and loss of heat through gaps on surfaces

Furnace-related energy efficiency ideas

Lower furnace’s temperature degree or switch it off

Furnace users can save a significant amount of energy by lowering their furnace temperature degree or switching the furnace off when premise/ rooms are not in use. To enjoy warm air, people should wear warm clothes or cover themselves with heavy/ warm clothing to complement the heat emitted by the furnace. Running the furnace at high degree increases energy consumption, and does not necessarily ensure indoor air warmth. Furnaces should be switched off when premises are not in use since no warm air is required.

Clean, repair or service furnace parts

Dirty filters, clogged/ blocked vents, and damaged furnace parts reduce the efficiency of a furnace; resulting in high consumption of energy to keep the air warmed sufficiently. Furnace parts’ repairs, cleaning or replacement should be scheduled to prevent furnace inefficiency. Premise owners may be able to do some of the furnace parts’ servicing, such as filter replacement, but advanced servicing requires professional HVAC intervention.

Insulate surfaces and seal drafts

Furnace’s energy consumption may also be saved by insulating walls, floors, roofs, doors and windows with materials that do not allow conduction of heat to the exterior of those surfaces. Insulating such surfaces ensures that the already accumulated indoor heat does not escape, and that the furnace can be operated at a lower degree to provide the needed warmth. Drafts cause warm air to escape, therefore, requiring the furnace to be run at a high degree and for long to keep indoor air warm. Sealing those drafts ensures maintenance of the heated air indoors; eliminating the need to run the furnace at a high degree or longer than necessary.

Conclusion

People can enjoy ample heating of their indoor air while saving energy and utility bills. While some home energy efficiency tips can be implemented by premise users at no cost, some tips need professional HVAC servicing. Call us for all your HVAC needs.

You Should Never Ignore These Furnace Warning Signs

When it comes to a residential heating system it is important to be able to recognize the signs that signal underlying problems. Many of the usual causes and signs of an improperly working furnace are easy to figure out and fix. Even though a lot of the common Furnace Warning Signs are related to minor problems, some of them can signify more serious issues.

When first noticing anything abnormal homeowners need to contact a professional HVAC company to discuss the symptoms their furnace is displaying. Some of the problems could easily lead to further damages as well as put a home and its occupants into danger. Ignoring the signs that a furnace gives off can lead to leaks and other serious issues.

Among the most common signs a homeowner will notice are strange sounds when the furnace is turned on, and gas odors. When a running furnace is making noises such as a rattling or creaking noise, or if the smell of gas is present, a homeowner should shut their heating system off immediately. These signs are often indicators of a serious problem, so contacting an HVAC expert is important.

Another serious sign is one that can be seen but not heard. The furnace’s burner should have a steady blue flame, if that flame is yellow to orange in color it could be a sign of a dirty or clogged burner. Though the burner may be dirty, a yellow flame can also indicate an improper mixture of gas and oxygen. Additionally, when a yellow flame is ignored, it can quickly turn into a gas leak or other serious problem.

A homeowner should always seek professional help when seeing any of the above mentioned signs. Though a sign may point to a less serious issue such as Obstructed airflow, or a faulty thermostat, no sign should be ignored. Using guesswork is simply not good enough, nor is it safe when it comes to the warning signals a furnace sends out. Many issues can be avoided by having an annual Furnace Inspection. However, some issues can still arise and when they are noticed, homeowners should contact a reputable HVAC Contractor as soon as possible.

Efficiency Standards For HVAC Equipment: Are They Going Up Soon?

Recently, the federal HVAC efficiency standards, particularly when applied to propane and natural gas furnaces, have gone from static to unresolved. Propane and natural gas furnaces account for more than 40% of average residential energy consumption; consequently, a modest rise in efficiency requirements can have a big impact on the total national energy consumption. On the other hand, even with the minimum AFUE rating stuck at 78 for more than two decades, raising the HVAC efficiency standards has proven difficult to enact.

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, AFUE, shows the percentage of energy that contributes to heating versus the amount wasted. For example, for a furnace with AFUE rating of 78, 78% of the energy generated from natural gas contributes to heating while 22% is lost. The Department of Energy proposed raising the rating to 90% by 2013; however, a court order delayed the implementation of the new efficiency standards for boilers and furnaces.

Modern condensing furnaces recover a large amount of that lost energy, thereby improving AFUE ratings and reducing the annual utility costs, particularly in the northern states with longer heating seasons. Whereas standard furnaces have a single heat exchanger, condensing furnaces have two. The second one extracts heat from hot water vapor and uses it to heat the home, instead of sending it up the chimney. As the hot vapor condenses, it drains into the home’s plumbing system.

Even as would-be furnace buyers got familiar with the new condensing furnace technology, enactment of the new standards hit a snag. Opponents argued that the extra expenses forced on homeowners by the directive to upgrade were too much. These expenses include retrofitting and installing new venting, and in some cases, modernizing to a new water heater that is compatible with the new venting.

Until a federal court makes a verdict on the matter, the postponement of enactment will continue, and the HVAC efficiency standards will remain at the 1990s levels. However, homeowners who need to upgrade their heating and cooling systems to lower their fuel consumption can buy high–efficiency HVAC equipment, including higher AFUE furnaces.

Homeowners with questions about HVAC efficiency or any other heating and cooling service should contact their local HVAC contractors.