Posts Tagged ‘BPI’

The Things you Find out in the Garage

April 28, 2014

While visiting one of our locations, Young’s Air conditioning in Los Banos, I had the pleasure of joining their auditor on the discovery of a unique furnace venting arrangement. As you might imagine with combustion equipment, unique is not really a good thing.P1060853
To the untrained eye, this arrangement might look fine, everything’s connected after all. But even from a distance, this furnace and water heater set up, to even the slightly trained eye, looked wrong because…well it was.
Two exhausts into one may be ok if it is sized right and pitched correctly, but here is a natural draft water heater and a power vented “sealed combustion” into the same flue.
Power vented appliances are also called direct vent, implying they are directly vented to the outside, and should be, on their own.
IP1060852’m in awe over the connection where the PVC (used for lower temperature exhaust) is TAPED into the metal connector (high temperature exhaust) of the 6” flue.
Making sure combustion equipment is set up properly is only the beginning. Having certified and trained people to install and assess that equipment is important. Our advisors are BPI-certified for this reason.
I’ve got more to share, till next time.
Stay safe!

Jason.

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Did you Resolve to Resolve a Reasonable Resolution?

January 13, 2014

Does the gym membership only last as long as the trial period? Do snacks grow in size and frequency? Ah, if self control was so easy!  Good health is a great thing to strive for, and if self control is not one of your better assets, maybe a little help is in order.

P1060126Consider some small steps.  An energy assessment of your home is a small step which can lead to great things.  It’s about protecting one of your important investments your home, and you.  We spend a lot of time indoors (for better or worse) and the cooking and heating equipment we use can create health issues if we are not careful.  A home ought to be comfortable and safe.

I won’t lie, an assessment of your home is a great step, but its not the only one.  First make sure it’s the right one and find a BPI certified contractor.  The next step is acting on an energy audit’s recommendations. That will bring in the New Year with energy savings, better indoor air quality and greater comfort.  Here’s to a no sweat resolution it might not help you lose weight but it will help you lose some of your excess energy bills!  Maybe next year, i’ll get around to reading the book.

Thanks,

Jason

Helping out the Orphans?

November 12, 2013

I’m not talking about the Oliver Twists of the world, but the orphans I’m referring may be in your home, in closets, basements and garages.

orphans

 

What I’m referring to is something our advisors come across in an energy audit on a regular basis, an orphaned appliance; usually it’s a naturally drafting water heater.   It means that the small flue that comes off of the orphaned appliance runs to a larger chimney that used to share another combustion appliance with.  Without the larger one to help, the orphaned appliance can struggle to draw properly.

P1060275

In fact it may not draw at all, which means the unhealthy combustion gasses will enter your home instead of exit it, that can be dangerous.

This is why it is so important to have a professional test the health and safety of equipment in your home as well as test the home itself and how it can influence the equipment.   Not every heating technician does this on a regular seasonal tune up.  Our energy advisors check for carbon monoxide in the equipment and throughout the home.  We check how fans and doors in the home interact with the area combustion appliances live. We keep an eye out for orphans every day do every day as BPI certified auditors.  There’s much more to a comprehensive energy audit than energy!

Help these orphans and help make your home a safer one!

Thanks,

Jason

 

Orphan flyer picture:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AOrphan_train_flyer.jpg

Deadly mix: Attic fans and Carbon Monoxide

June 25, 2013

There seems to be a rash of CO Poisonings and scares occurring in hotels recently.  It highlights the importance of CO alarms, and also testing combustion equipment. But Last May, this mom rescued her family overwhelmed by carbon monoxide and it was mother’s day no less!  The attic fan was left on with windows closed and the heating system couldn’t draft properly when it came on.  Carbon monoxide filled the home.

attic

It can happen anywhere, not just in St. Louis.   Attic fans are strong fans and it is important to open windows when using them.  It’s also important to make sure all fans in your home won’t affect heating equipment, especially the kind that drafts naturally.

As much as one big fan can be problem for some heating systems, so can a bunch of small ones.  Have a dryer that exhausts to the outside (it should) in the same space as a furnace?  It can influence draft as can a bath fan, a range hood, even closing doors upstairs.

Just because a furnace or water heater has its own flue or chimney, doesn’t mean it will always work correctly.     Have your HVAC systems tested regularly, but have your home tested too.  Consider having a BPI certified professional test your home, even better, a BPI certified HVAC professional. It’s a strong antidote for a deadly mix.

Thanks,

Jason

 

Carbon Monoxide: Be Afraid, Take Action!

April 17, 2013

We’ve posted about CO in the past.  It comes up in the news too often, and it is something we should all be concerned about.   A case in Aspen, Colorado is moving to trial following the death of a family due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Aspen Daily News reported that According to the lawsuit, the boiler’s exhaust piping was disconnected, because it had been “neither properly primed, glued or sealed and was not securely attached, supported or braced in any way.”  They also found that the vent to pull fresh air in was not connected to the outside so it only recirculated CO in the home.

This seems like gross negligence, and the reason why installers need to be certified, as well as why codes are in place.   Even with this, systems fail when they are not maintained.

  • Install a CO monitor and check it annually much like a smoke detector.
  • Have your combustion appliances checked regularly.
  • Regular HVAC service calls are important.
  • Even better have a BPI certified auditor assess your home.  It is part of a very thorough inspection of not only water heaters, furnaces and boilers, but also gas ovens and fireplaces, some things HVAC technicians may not normally inspect.

 

Thanks,

Jason

Building Science Principles: consider going PRO?

January 15, 2013

bpi logoSome of you out there may know builders, home inspectors, Realtors, Bankers and Students, or may be one yourself.  Well, we all have something in common, “homes!” We live in them, own them, rent them, some work on them and we sure know when they are not working right.

Making a home comfortable safe and healthy takes a lot of work, and I think it only helps if we share that knowledge.  That is why we help educate homeowners on how they work and don’t work and how we can make them better.

Maybe you, or someone you know, is in a profession that could benifit from a little insight into building science.  Maybe you are looking to explore new career opportunities.  This could be a first step towards great things.  The certificate is a preview of some of the things one needs to know for the professional level certification our advisors obtain and we live by here at GreenHomes America.

At GreenHomes we pride ourselves in the training and certifications our employees will attain as well as sharing their knowledge with our customers. The study guide for the certificate is over 200 pages.  And more information can be found here:  http://www.bpi.org/professionals_certificate.aspx

Even if you are not interested in a certificate in building science, BPI has some good information for homeowners and explains why we do what we do, check it out!

Thanks,

Jason.

 

Have a Heart

November 26, 2012

Maybe you have a great HVAC company that services your equipment.  It’s not always the easiest thing to do, and kudos if you’ve found a good one.   With a good provider I like service agreements because you know your equipment is taken care of and in a cost effective way.  But a good HVAC contractor should consider the whole house when thinking of heating and cooling systems not just the box in the basement or the attic.

 

From the Building Performance Institute

 

As we go into fall and colder weather, it’s time for tune ups, and service calls, but what about the rest of your home as well.  Who is paying attention to that?  A heart works well when we take care of the rest of our body.  We eat well, exercise and get good sleep, but also protect ourselves from the cold.  Put on a cap, coat and boots before going outside or you’ll get sick right?

Is your HVAC company’s solution to comfort a bigger “heart”, more ducts, more baseboard,  more cooling, or does it consider a better house so that heart “fits” well and works as it should?  Keep in mind that the heart is a very important part, but it is part of the whole.  Taking care of the whole house can really make a difference, as they say, “Home is where the Heart is!”

Thanks,

Jason

Home Energy Audits: Worth the cost?

May 21, 2012

Recently Fox News had an interesting piece on energy audits.  It asks an excellent question; are they worth the cost?  As homeowners we can identify some issues in our homes, but it often takes and expert to pull it all together, and catch some of the bigger issues affecting our utility bills.

The article points out that not all auditors are created equal.  It mentions that blower door tests, Infrared imaging, as well as duct testing, are important for and auditor to perform.  And we agree.  In fact, we spend numerous hours training individuals to use the equipment, as well as getting them certified with the Building Performance Institute (BPI).  BPI’s focus is not on just energy efficiency, but also health and safety, and that in my mind is more important that just saving money.

It is important that our advisors have ongoing training and support, because homes—and the building science behind them—are complicated.   If I relate this to the medical profession, would you want an intern performing surgery while figuring it out on their own? Or, would you rather have an experienced doctor teaching the intern?

One thing not pointed out in the article is that saving energy is only part of it.  Don’t forget comfort, the reason we heat and cool our homes in the first place.  Acting on the recommendations in an energy audit can make our homes a more comfortable place.

Is it worth the cost?  If you take action, absolutely!  An audit isn’t worth anything if you don’t fix the problems, which is why it is so important to identify them—and provide cost-conscious improvements—making your home more energy efficient, healthy and comfortable.  You can learn more in our learning center.

Thanks,

Jason

Undercover Heating Investigation: Some companies make it hard for those trying to do the right thing

March 12, 2012

Recently a news station in Atlanta did an undercover investigation of a few local heating service companies.  Their investigation revealed that unfortunately some contractors tried to sell unnecessary parts and services to customers.  In fact, three out of four companies were guilty of this!

When asked to inspect a properly operating heater, many of the technicians found “problems” and recommended expensive, unnecessary repairs.  One actually said that the heater was leaking gas and it will “keep coming, and if the gas builds up, you know what’s going to happen.”  No, I don’t want my house to blow up, but I also want to trust that a technician will not try to scam me with fear tactics.  What is a customer to do?

Furnace Install

One way to find a reputable company is to look for things that differentiate them from the competition such as certifications and affiliations.  There are plenty of organizations which recognize a contractor’s good work.  As a customer, you want a company that goes above and beyond to exceed your expectations.  At GreenHomes America, we go beyond heating and cooling and look at a home’s overall performance.

Our franchises are Building Performance Institute certified which requires extensive training and successful testing.  Ask your neighbors.  A great company works to gain the trust of a customer for the long haul, not for just today.  You can’t do that if you don’t want to do the right thing.

Thanks,
Jason

Spring Ahead and Think Ahead Too: Save Yourself From More than a Headache from Carbon Monoxide!

March 8, 2012

Here is an excellent reminder from the CDC for those who need to adjust to daylight savings this Sunday March 11, 2012: change the batteries in your CO detector.   CO Poisoning can be stopped

I’ve mentioned the dangers of CO in our homes in past posts such as in Testing: more than efficiency for safety’s sake  or A Bad Idea: unvented gas fire place.  I suspect CO may even have an unintended influence on us after Thanksgiving dinner.

It’s a simple thing to check the batteries or maybe just test the unit as some are hardwired.  It is also important to make sure your CO detector alarms at low levels of carbon monoxide.  The UL standards for CO detectors start at a level of 70 PPM for a 1-2 hour exposure.  Higher levels are obviously worse, but I think the lower range is just as dangerous. CO in the air robs us of oxygen and to be safe, I’d like the levels in my home to be zero.

The U.S. consumer product safety commission suggests that most folks are not affected in the low exposure ranges of 1-70 PPM.  Funny because others, such as The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has established a recommended exposure limit of 35 PPM.  We spend as much time if not more in our homes than on the job.  This is important!

35 PPM is the same maximum level Building Performance Institute certified advisors watch out for when performing assessments on homes, but really we don’t want CO in our homes at all.  As we change our clocks and the days get longer, let’s consider longer and healthier lives as well!  

Thanks, Jason


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