Posts Tagged ‘furnace’

The things you find out in the garage, part 3: it’s not the makings of good indoor air

May 23, 2014

We’ve talked about the bad venting set up for this furnace and water heater and also about what it sits on in past posts. I’m not quite done with indoor air quality, and I’d like to draw your attention to another area of the duct work that is right out in the open.air leak insulation
While we look at this system in the garage, you can see that there was an attempt to insulate and to seal the duct work. The un-faced fiberglass wrapped around most of the duct work is stained in a number of places. This would be from the garage air being drawn into the system every time it runs. The mystery regarding duct tape is why we call it that, since it doesn’t seal ducts and It was on parts of this system.
Keep in mind that all of the observations were just from the garage, the area of the home you mayduct tape leaks walk through every day. Never mind what we found in the attic.
The happy ending to this story is that this homeowner was given a list of solutions to the problems we found. With a new system, measures were taken in the home as well that will mean lower energy bills, better comfort, and most important of all a healthier and safer home.

Thanks,
Jason

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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

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.

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

Better late than later! It’s time again to think about a furnace tune-up!

October 22, 2013

You should get your furnace (or boiler) checked at least once a year (more if you burn oil) to make sure that it is operating safely and efficiently.

snowflakes

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say.  Preventive maintenance can help ensure that your furnace runs when it needs to.  You would be surprised how many service calls we get in the northeast on the first cold days of the year.  There is a spike in calls when we experience a deep cold snap too. This of course is not the time you want your furnace to go down!

By the end of September in the northern US, many contractors start getting backed up with service calls as you may have discovered if you tried to schedule one in the last few months.  As you head south, that shifts from October to even December (OK, Palm Springs doesn’t get backed up in heating season, which is why I for one, hope to visit!).

Get that furnace tuned-up BEFORE heating season kicks in and if it has in your neck of the woods, before it really gets cold!

Thanks,

Jason

 

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASnowflakesWilsonBentley.jpg

Do you need a Dehumidifier?

February 18, 2013

humidityAs we look to improve our homes and the air in it, taking control of the airways are very important.  Come wintertime, we often struggle with comfort in more ways that just staying warm.   Sometimes it gets dry too.   People tend to be comfortable with humidity levels a little higher than what is ideal to prevent condensation issues and mold growth.

Winter brings dryer air and a home that is more porous than it should be brings that air inside.  Keep in mind that our homes are like chimneys.   They are smoke stacks drawing from low and exhausting out high.  When exceptionally dry air is brought into our homes it tends to make us uncomfortable.  The quick fix solution is to slap a humidifier on the duct work.  Voila!  Comfort!

This can come with a price, maintenance for one.  If you don’t keep that unit clean it can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.  Just the sort of thing you don’t want attached to the air distribution system in your home, sort of like building over a stinky damp crawlspace.

Sealing up air leaks in your home will help control moisture by reducing much of the dry air entering in the first place.  If you still need humidification then keep the unit clean and monitor humidity levels.  Excessive condensation on windows, and mold growth in wintertime are signs that you might have too much moisture in the air.   Take control of your airways and manage moisture too!

 

Thanks,

Jason

 

Energy Tax Credits for 2013: Available again!

January 9, 2013

greenhomes evergy infographic

One good result from the end of the year fiscal cliff hanger is an extension of the residential energy tax credit.

If you haven’t used it in the past, all the way back to 2006, there is a $500 tax credit for material costs of certain energy efficiency measures done to your home.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act extended the tax credit through 2013, making it retroactive from January 1, 2012. This means last year counts as well.

10% of the cost of materials, such as insulation, exterior windows, and doors that meet Energy Star requirements, can be used. Credits for window expenses are limited, as are AC units and furnaces, so a combination of improvements will help maximize what you can get, just perfect for home performance work on your home.

Check out http://www.irs.gov/ for more information. Or see the entire American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 here. Ask us we can help!

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

Fall Clean Up!

November 16, 2012

In New England it is easy to see the seasons change. It’s a time of harvest and preparation for our comfort through the coldest part of the year.   There’s plenty to do outside the home never mind on the inside. 

 For one thing it is time to tune up the furnace or boiler before the heating season begins.    Preventative maintenance is a good thing and worth the minor expense to ward of a major one in the middle of the heating season.  With a contractor you trust, that clean and tune may be part of a service agreement and can save you even more.

Your heating system is not the only thing that should get a tune up though.  For many of us, it’s the home too!   Even with the cleanest running furnace or boiler in your home, it is important to consider how well the building is insulated, resists air leakage, deals with moisture and provides indoor air quality.   

Since heating systems and buildings interact with each other, it’s a great idea to consider treating them together.  Seek out certified and experienced heating and cooling technicians, and the same for your home.  Consider a BPI accredited contractor that will look at your home as a system and help you prepare for the coming season making it healthier, safer and more energy efficient.

Thanks,

Jason

Energy Efficient Tax Credits For 2011 and 2012

March 20, 2012

It’s that time of year again, and although we have written about Energy Efficiency tax credits for 2011 before, if you had work done this past year, it might be time to review.  You can also go to our learning center for solutions to common problems we fix in homes just like yours, as well as links to our franchise locations; they can provide details about incentives available in their area.

Many of the federal tax credits ended in 2011, but not all of them.  What will continue for 2012, are credits for some renewable energy systems.  Solar water heating and photovoltaic systems, small wind systems, and geothermal heat pumps, are all eligible measures through 2016.  If you are thinking of alternatives, consider our interactive online home to get a better sense of whether or not these types of improvements are really what you need this year.

Alternative energy systems can be expensive, and it often makes the most sense to install them in homes that are very efficient from the start.  You might be surprised by what some simple measures can save you money.  Tax credit or not, insulation, air sealing and efficient heating and hot water systems can pay for themselves in short order.  Simple measures that cost less and save you more!

Thanks,

Jason


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