Lower Your Monthly Bills By 50%!
With energy prices skyrocketing, what can you do to significantly cut the cost of heating your home?
Here are some options for helping reduce your monthly heating bills:
Humidity: The Key to Health and Aging Well?
- If your furnace is over 15-20 years old, a new, high-efficiency furnace can dramatically reduce the cost of heating your home by 20% - 40%.
- If your family can't agree on a comfortable temperature, or if you'd just as soon close off rooms you're not using to save on heating, a zoned system can help you save both energy and money.
- Did you know you can extract heat from chilly outside air to heat your house? This is the magical power of a heat pump that uses refrigeration technology rather than fuel combustion. Some homeowners have lowered their heating and cooling costs by as much as 50% by installing a heat pump
Humidity is one of your skin's best friends. It's an essential for healthy, beautiful skin. In fact, the beauty benefits of humidity could be one reason why Cleopatra spent so much time floating down the Nile. However, if you don't live near the Nile, you can use a humidifier to add moisture to your skin. This is especially important during winter when household air is warm and dry due to heating.
According to the EPA and other indoor environmental experts, the relative humidity inside your home should fall somewhere between 30 and 50 percent, depending on the temperature outside. More specifically, when the outside temperature is 20°F or above, the recommended relative humidity for inside is 35 to 40 percent.
Why are proper levels of humidity so important to your skin (the body's largest organ) and general good health?
Low humidity causes dry skin, dry hair, itching and chapping. When skin becomes dry and irritated, eczema can flare. Mucous membranes in your nose and throat dry out, increasing discomfort and susceptibility to colds and respiratory illness. With low humidity levels, body moisture evaporates so quickly that you feel chilled even at higher thermostat settings. Dry skin can look tight, dull and flaky.
Adding a humidifier to your home can remedy these problems and help skin look younger and healthier.
"Cure" BLACK MOLD danger
Black mold, a slimy greenish-black substance, is a type of mold that has been linked with serious health risks including infant death caused by respiratory bleeding and illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis
Virtually every home has mold of some type, somewhere. Invisible mold spores are floating in the air both inside and out looking for a wet place to land and reproduce.
Although all types of mold are not toxic, it's difficult to distinguish between the toxic and non-toxic without lab testing. That's why it's important to treat all molds as if they were potentially harmful.
Your furnace is a perfect environment for the growth and broadcast of mold. As the collection point for re-circulating air in your home, it's also the ideal place to install an indoor air purification system to control harmful levels of indoor air pollutants including mold, bacteria and viruses.
How can you virtually "cure" the potential for mold-related problems?
Outside, mold spores are controlled by ultraviolet (UV) light energy from the sun. However, since UV light isn't naturally present inside, mold can flourish...unless you introduce UV light. We recommend installing an ultraviolet germicidal light as part of your existing heating system to kill and control the live mold spores. Used in combination with a highly effective filter, you can remove as much as 97% of all particulates .3 microns and larger including mold spores. This particular filter uses an active electromagnetic field to magnetize both airborne particulates and fibers in the disposable filter pad. This creates a virtual "force field" within your heating ductwork, allowing the filter to capture many of the smallest, most dangerous to breathe submicron airborne particles. This isn't a room filter or ion box. It's a "whole house" air purification system installed inside the ductwork of your home's heating system...the "lungs" of your home.
As you consider what's right for your situation, it's important to remember that some people are more sensitive to black mold than others. If you or anyone in your family suffers from allergies, respiratory disease or any type of immune suppressing disease, you are at greater risk.
Allergy Relief: an HVAC Remedy?
Studies show that one of the most common causes of allergies and asthma is related to indoor air quality...the quality of the air inside your home.
In fact, one of the most strongly allergenic materials found in the air you breathe when you're inside is common house dust.
You may not realize it but house dust can be heavily contaminated with dust mite fecal pellets and cast skins. About 40,000 dust mites can thrive in just one ounce of dust. That means even the cleanest house probably has plenty of these allergy-causing microscopic critters. Yuck.
Plus, it's estimated that dust mites factor into 50 to 80 percent of asthmatics, as well as countless cases of eczema, hay fever and other allergy-related ailments.
Before you or someone in your family starts taking allergy shots, read Don Wood's story and try a shot-free "whole house" approach to controlling the source of the problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
HVAC (pronounced h-vack or spelled out) stands for Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning. The three functions of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning are closely interrelated. All seek to provide thermal comfort, acceptable indoor air quality and reasonable installation, operation and maintenance costs. HVAC systems can provide ventilation, reduce air infiltration and maintain pressure relationships between spaces. Your heating and air technician goes by the name of HVAC contractor and can provide heating repair expertise.
How often should I replace the filter?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The frequency of filter changes is driven by how much your heating and air conditioning system operates, which is also driven by your individual climate.
Start by checking the system’s filters at least once a month. Hold the used filter up to the light and compare it to a clean "spare." When light is obscured by captured dust and dirt particles, the old filter should be changed. Keep a record for one year and then replace the filter on that basis. At a minimum, it is always a good idea to change filters at the start of the heating and cooling seasons and then in between according to your need. Also, it is a good idea to have your heating and air system checked at the beginning of heating and cooling season to insure proper operation.
Why should I replace my working furnace or air conditioner?
Although your present furnace or air conditioner may be working, if it is more than 12 years old you should consider replacing it with a new high efficiency system. A new heating and air conditioning system could save up to 50 percent on energy costs and save you money in the long run on heating repairs. While these products save you money on your utility bills, they also offer a better degree of comfort within your home.
What the heck is a SEER and EER?
Since January 2006, all residential air conditioners sold in the United States must have at least a 13 SEER. SEER is the abbreviation for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it is a U.S. government standard energy rating and reflects the overall system efficiency of your cooling system. An EER is short for Energy Efficiency Ratio and doesn’t take into consideration the time of year, but rather the system’s energy efficiency at the peak operating use. Both ratings should be considered in choosing cooling products. The rating is a ratio of the cooling output divided by the power consumption and measures the cooling performance of the system. The Federal government developed an ENERGY STAR program for high efficiency central air conditioning systems that in order to qualify must have a SEER of at least 14.
We are replacing our AC unit this season, what advice can you give me?
Replacing your system is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make. The reason for this is that the life expectancy of a system is around 12 years. When choosing a contractor, pick a company to install the unit based on quality and customer service, not solely on price. The name brand of the equipment is not as important as the installing contractor. Another thing to keep in mind when replacing a system is that the duct system you are connecting to is sealed tight with the proper amount of return air. With the new higher efficiency units, you also have to be careful that you replace your system with the proper sized unit so you don’t end up with a house that is cool but has high humidity. Do some homework, pick quality contractors and find someone you trust and you will have a successful installation that will bring you years of comfort and the least amount of overall cost.
What is meant by a 'ton' of refrigeration?
Confusingly, the unit has little to do with weight, as used in everyday language. One ton of refrigeration is the term used to refer to 12,000 B.T.U.s/hour (British Thermal Units/Hour) of cooling effect. Thus, a condensing unit with a cooling capacity of 60,000 B.T.U.s/hour is said to have a capacity of 5 tons
Why can't you ad coolant to my system without checking for a leak or repairing an existing leak?
Since July 1, 1992 it is illegal to release refrigerants into the atmosphere, either intentional or accidental, because they can cause severe damage to the ozone layer. When refrigerants such as Chlorofluorocarbon’s (CFCs) are removed, they should be recycled to clean out any contaminants and returned to a usable condition.
How does the Clean Air Act impact heating and cooling systems?
The portion of the Clean Air Act that applies to the Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry encourages the development of ozone-friendly substitutes for chemicals that contain ozone destroying chlorine, which are called hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). The chemical refrigerant of choice for more than four decades, referred to as R-22, is in the HCFC category. R-22 is widely used in heat pumps and AC condensing units to heat and cool homes. Today, a refrigerant called R-410A is used because of its ozone-friendly properties.
What is radon?
Radon is an invisible, radioactive atomic gas that results from the radioactive decay of radium, which may be found in rock formations beneath buildings or in certain building materials themselves. Radon is probably the most pervasive serious hazard for indoor air quality in the United States and probably responsible for thousands of deaths from lung cancer each year. Proper testing can be done for the presence of radon and measures taken to minimize it affects.