Archive for the ‘Air Conditioning’ Category

Are summer allergies keeping you inside?

August 7, 2014

House-Infiltration

August is a rough month for summer allergies, especially those allergic to mold spores.   Peaking during hot and humid weather, mold spores are on the attack.  The best solution is to stay indoors when the count is very high.  The problem we all have though, is outdoor air gets into our homes with all of its allergens and pollutants.  The tricky thing is this isn’t always because a window or a door is open.  We at GreenHomes call it infiltration.  It’s a fancy word that basically means that the outdoor air flows into the house through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, ceilings and around windows and doors.

When your house was built, holes were made for pipes and wires that may have never been sealed.  We know this because of what we do: home energy audits.  It is a comprehensive test that includes a focus on indoor air quality.  Because of this test, we can identify where air is coming into your home and seal it up.  This will keep that outdoor air where it belongs, outside, and possibly give  you some relief from all of that sneezing.

Share this post with family or a friend who are suffering from allergies.

Thanks for stopping by!

-April

Stop Heating your Home this Summer

July 31, 2014

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, out of the total household’s energy usage, 6% is devoted to air conditioning.  Each homeowner is spending around $11 billion to power their air conditioner.  That is quite an investment.  Too easily we cost ourselves more money trying to cool our homes by what appliances we use.  Here are a few tips on how to avoid heating your home in the summer:
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  • Cook outside. Ovens and stoves create extra heat in your house.
  • Get rid of those incandescents. They are producing heat with 75% of the electricity they consume.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • Take short showers, no baths.
  • Turn off computers, curling irons, hair dryers, stereos and televisions. They are all generating heat.

Our homes are where we should be most comfortable.  We can increase our comfort and decrease our utility bills by eliminating some of the heat we produce.  Your AC is already working overtime for you.  Give it a break and leave the heat generation to the sun.

Share this post with a neighbor and help them cool off this summer.

Thanks for stopping by!
-April

Fans Only Cool People… what?

July 17, 2014

My House - New Orleans - Kitchen 2010.jpg
In these hot summer months we love our fans of all kinds, desk fans, ceiling fans, clip on fans, the list goes on.  Naturally, if we are in a warm room we turn on the ceiling fan to help cool the room.  When we leave the room, we leave the fan on so it can continue cooling.  If it cools us, it will cool the room, right?  Wrong.  Fans have fooled us all.  The U.S. Department of Energy reminds us that fans cool people, not rooms.  How?  They create a wind chill effect by moving air over our skin.  As far as the room goes, the fan will actually create more heat in the room because of its motor.  Not only that, but by leaving it on, you are increasing your electric bill.  Sounds pretty counterproductive, doesn’t it?

You aren’t without options though.  Sure, cool off with a fan while you are in the room and turn it off when you leave.  That would be using fans efficiently.  Or, get an energy audit to see why that room is so warm in the first place.  This would help you to use your home more efficiently.

Feel free to share with your fellow homeowners, we can’t let anyone else get fooled by the fan.

Thanks for stopping by!
-April

 

Picture Source:  “My House – New Orleans – Kitchen 2010” by Alex CastroFlickr: My House – New Orleans – 2010. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Desperate for a Cool Down?

July 10, 2014

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As summer continues to heat up, we all end up desperate for a cool down.  Nothing is more frustrating than running the AC constantly and still having hotspots in our homes or hot rooms!  I won’t even mention those high utility bills.  Good news!  There are options to look into that can help even out the temperatures in your home, reduce your utility bill and give you that cool down you are looking for.

  1. Get an energy audit – Here’s a video to help explain.
  2. Do the improvements – We usually start with Air Sealing.  You could save 5 to 30 percent on your energy bill by making efficiency upgrades that a home energy audit can identify.  (U.S. Department of Energy)
  3. Enjoy your comfortable home – Go ahead, picture it.

We all need a break from the heat, sometimes a cool drink or a scoop of ice cream just doesn’t cut it.  Give yourself a more lasting cool down, keep the heat outside.  Relax, save money and be cool in the comfort of your own home.

Feel free to share this post with your fellow homeowners.  Let’s not leave anyone desperate for a cool down.

Thanks for stopping by!
-April

Summer is here. Be safe!

June 17, 2014

Summer SafetySafety is a top priority for us in the work we do in your home. We stress it every day.  In fact an energy audit is only partially about saving you money.  It is also about keeping you and your family safe.  As part of our audit, we check for gas leaks on the combustion equipment in your home like your furnace or gas stove.

While we keep you safe inside, here are a few tips to keep you safe outside as summer closes in:

  • Watch out for Bugs!  Mosquitoes and ticks are the most common.  Repellants are helpful for both.  If ticks are an issue in your area there are some simple landscaping efforts you can do to help deter them.
  • Enjoy the sunshine, but cover up! Hats, sunscreen and shade are encouraged.
  • If it gets too hot inside your home and even hotter oustide, maybe energy efficiency improvements are what you need for safety’s sake!

 

Thanks,

Jason

 

Photo by Steffen Flor  from wikimedia commons

Do you drive with the windows down or blast the AC?

June 12, 2014

This summer you might be spending some time on the road.  It’s a great time to vacation.  Seeking fuel efficiency in your vehicle means going easy on the pedal, but how do we keep cool on the hot summer road trips?  Do we drive with the windows down or blast the AC? Road Trip Efficiently Apparently keeping your windows down is more efficient  than blasting the AC.  We can safely argue that it is not as efficient as keeping the windows up and not using the AC.   I wouldn’t recommend this for a summer trip unless you want to know what that bug feels like under the magnifying glass! Cranking up the AC at home means comfort of course, and for some it’s a matter of health and safety especially when it gets hot.   We wouldn’t think of not using the AC when the temperature is soaring outside, but like your car, you can run your home more efficiently. How?  Keep your AC tuned up!  Regular maintenance helps avoid unexpected repairs.  While you are at it, tune up your house too.  Recommendations from an energy audit help you keep the cool where you want it, inside and the hot where you like it, outside.  In fact air sealing and insulation improvements can reduce the amount of cooling you need. Thanks, Jason Photo from Nicholas A. Tonelli under  creative commons license

The Things You Find Out In The Garage: Part 2

May 7, 2014

Last week I showed you a venting system that wasn’t quite right, P1060856and mentioned the importance of having a certified technician review your HVAC and water heating systems. I wanted to cover a few more issues we discovered.

An important part of heating and cooling air is getting it to and from the home. This is what duct work is all about. In this system’s case, the plenum, or box where the return air from the home comes back to the furnace, also acts as a platform for this furnace and water heater to sit on.
Because it is where the furnace draws the air from the home, it is as you might imagine, connected to the inside of the house. And, as you can see in the second picture where the technician is looking into this plenum, there is a nice structural chunk of pressure treated wood, concrete floor and some moisture damage.
Pressure treated wood probably isn’t the best thing to have in your duct system, nor is dry rotted plywood, and this plenum is very much a part of the duct system.P1060858
It’s also not sealed. That means the garage is connected to the duct system and, therefore, to the home. Indoor air quality is important, and it should start with the air handling system. Stay tuned till next time!

Thanks,

Jason

Bills on the Rise? Freezing, Overheating? Take a Clue from Survival on the High Seas

February 28, 2014

Nobody wants to hear about rising energy costs. For utility customers in New York, prices have going up this winter. Some of it was an accounting error, but increased demand for Natural Gas due to the swerving polar vortex helped.
Propane costs have gone up too, article from Kansas Cityreferences pricing as high as $5 a gallon. ship at seaAll of this reminds me of the days when crude oil prices were all over the proverbial road, never mind a little swerving polar vortex.
It’s not just about heating and cold winters. California is experiencing a lack of winter which sounds kind of nice coming from the Northeast. They are also seeing a drought and I’d expect a long hot summer which means an expensive cooling season ahead.
We can’t control fuel prices, but we can take control of our homes. There’s a great thing in being able to “weather the storm”. In our homes, that means comfort, but also peace of mind that we are protected from the elements. Integrating resilience, in our homes is as simple as insulating a home well and air sealing it properly. It is like preparing for a long voyage across the sea, and helps when weather or high fuel costs hit us broadside. Batten down the hatches!

Thanks,
Jason

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ivan_Aivazovsky_-_Ship_in_the_Stormy_Sea.jpg

A Healthy Heart is like a Healthy Home!

February 7, 2014

Heart disease is a significant issue for many Americans and encompasses a number of conditions.   The American Heart Association is a great resource to start with if you have concerns.  February is American Heart Month and you may ask what that could possibly have to do with a home.  heart

Where do you start when it comes to a healthy heart? Your doctor is a good place.  Being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease means a change, but it is change you won’t be working at alone, that’s why we visit one doctor for physicals and see a specialist if need be.

We take the same type of scientific approach to diagnosing homes and making recommendations.  We start out as a general practitioner would in your home looking at everything.   When we find something that needs special attention we can bring in the specialists.   It might be the ductwork or the cooling system.  Maybe it’s the insulation in the attic.  But you won’t know until you get that physical and you won’t get better until you take action!

We know Home is Where the Heart is and this month help yourself and your family to a check up for your heart’s sake and also for your home!

Thanks,

Jason

Good Equipment Needs Good Air Distribution

October 4, 2013

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Duct work, before and after. 

According to the America Lung Association, the indoor air in an average home is 10 times more polluted than outside air. Instead of treating the root cause of the issue – their home – homeowners purchase high-efficiency filters, allergy medicine and other medications to treat symptoms rather than doing something to eliminate the cause.

Many of the upgrades ASI completed on the showcase home demonstrate how homeowners can address the problem instead of just the symptoms.  It is important to seal or replace older ductwork to keep pollutants and irritants from entering our home’s from the attic, or anywhere else considered outside such as a crawlspace or basement. Doing this potentially frees us from medications and air filters later on.  This is the same great work that Allbritten has done for there home energy makeover.

If the furnace is the heart of the system, ducts are the arteries. No matter how healthy the heart may be its efficiency and effectiveness are limited by the ductwork in the home.

Insulation is important as well of course.   Just like our homes, we need to reduce un-controlled airflow in duct work and add the appropriate levels of insulation to keep the heat out in the summer.

Another part of HVAC we don’t always talk about is the V for ventilation.  We want to control the airflow so we know we are getting enough fresh air and that it is indeed fresh!

Thanks,

Jason


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