As the weather turns chilly, improve your home’s comfort, and save energy and money all while doing a good thing for the environment. By using energy efficiently at home, you not only lower your energy bills, but prevent air pollution too. Here are ways to save, offered by the ENERGY STAR program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
1. Know the Facts – The average family spends $1,500 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of that spent on heating and cooling. Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, installed alongside a well-sealed duct system, can save as much as 20 percent on annual energy costs.
2. Keep it Clean – A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure. Clean or change the air filter in your heating and cooling system regularly. Also, have your equipment checked seasonally to make sure it’s operating efficiently and safely – check-ups can identify problems early. Dirt and neglect are the #1 causes of system failure.
3. Bundle Up – Hidden gaps and cracks in a home can add up to as much airflow as an open window. When heat escapes, your system must work harder and you use more energy. Home Sealing can improve your home “envelope” – the outer walls, ceiling, windows and floors — and
can save up to 10 percent in energy costs. Start by sealing air leaks and adding insulation, while paying special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. If replacing windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified ones.
4. Tighten Your Ducts – If you have a forced air furnace or heat pump, then a duct system is responsible for circulating warm air throughout your home. Leaky ducts can reduce your system’s overall efficiency by 20 percent, causing your equipment to work harder than necessary to keep you comfortable. Ask your HVAC contractor about improving your ducts.
5. Don’t Oversize – When replacing old equipment, make sure your new equipment is properly sized for your home. An oversized system will cost more to buy and operate and will cycle on and off too frequently, reducing your comfort and leading to early system failures and repair costs. Correct sizing will ensure that your equipment works efficiently. Make sure your HVAC contractor uses Manual J or an equivalent sizing tool to determine what’s right for your home.
6. Consult a Professional – Find an experienced, licensed contractor before embarking on any heating and cooling overhaul. Visit http://www.natex.orq to find a contractor whose technicians are certified by NATE (North American Technician Excellence), the leading industry-supported testing and certification program.
7. Shop Smart – If your heating equipment has not been regularly maintained and is 15 years or older, it’s probably time for a more efficient replacement. Ask for an ENERGY STAR when buying the following equipment:
- Furnaces – Old furnaces cost more to operate per year than new, ENERGY STAR qualified models that are 15 percent more efficient than standard models.
- Boilers – An ENERGY STAR qualified boiler uses features like electric ignition and new combustion technologies that extract more heat from the same amount of fuel, to be seven percent more energy-efficient.
- Heat Pumps – When installed in a home with a well-sealed envelope, heat pumps provide great value and comfort for your energy dollar. An ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pump is 30 percent more efficient than comparable new equipment and can save you as much as $400 annually. A qualified electric heat pump is 20 percent more efficient.
- Programmable Thermostats – Regulate your home’s temperature with four programmable settings and you can save about $100 annually on your energy bills.
Source: ENERGY STAR
Our bodies need moisture in the air to feel comfortable, help prevent illness and avoid those annoying static-electricity shocks. If dry household air is a discomfort you would like to live without, it may be time for a humidifier in your home.
Dry indoor air makes it super difficult to feel comfortable, and too easy to feel irritable, especially when you are suffering physical symptoms caused by dry air – like sore throat, cracked skin and a dry nose. Ways a whole house humidifier can help you:
- They maintain 30-55% humidity throughout your entire home, which is optimal
- May find relief from the above symptoms
- Protects objects in your home from drying out, cracking, peeling, shrinking and splitting
- Increases humidity in your home by providing a layer of moisture which protects against static electricity
- The flu and other viruses thrive in low humidity.
Operating a whole house humidifier is much like operating the central cooling and heating systems. Humidifiers and central cooling/heating use the same air ducts. Where a thermostat is used to control the temperature, a humidistat is adjusted to control humidity levels. Some thermostats are capable of controlling both. Humidifiers are attached to the ductwork, and may use airflow from the heating/AC system to add moisture.
For questions or more information – visit us online or call us at 770-253-2665. We are happy to help!
One major problem we face in the South – is dry air during the winter time. An easy way to see if this affects you is static electricity. Adding moisture to your home helps to raise your indoor humidity level, which can fall dramatically in the wintertime as a result of constant heating. By restoring an idea humidity to 45-50% [the level recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency], your indoor environment may feel warmer, lessening the need to crank up the heat, and any moisture-senstive furnishings in your home will be better protected from damage.
Think about how much HOTTER it feels in the summer when humidity is high. Sounds logical, right?
Some of the physical effects of dry air includes dry skin, sore throat, bloody nose, cracked lips, respiratory irritation – even colds, flus and sinus infections. According to the National Institute of Health, increasing the humidity in your home will help moisturize your nasal and throat passages so you can breathe better and clearer.
Give us a call at 770-253-2665 or visit us online for more answers to the above, and many other questions!
You may have noticed that some rooms will occasionally be hotter or cooler than others. Your upstairs bedroom may take longer to cool in the summer, or the kitchen may be chillier in the winter.
Don’t worry! There may not be anything wrong with your system. If your home is multi-level, you will naturally experience the effect of warm air rising to the upper level and cooler air falling to the lower. In addition, solar gain can cause temperatures to rise in certain rooms. This is definitely the case in rooms with west-facing windows during the late afternoon. Forces of nature are not the only factors that will raise your home’s indoor temperature. Cooking and showering will cause the humidity of your home to increase. Even without a raise in temperature, higher levels of humidity can cause you to feel warmer and uncomfortable.
While the laws of nature (and the law of teenagers taking long showers) may be out of your control, you can use your home’s ventilation system to improve the situation. By adjusting or closing registers that are too cool in summer or too warm in the winter, you can divert conditioned air to rooms where you need it the most. By making the laws of nature work for you, you should be able to achieve even, comfortable temperatures in every room of your home. If that does not do the trick, there may be some ventilation issues at play that deserve a closer look.
To schedule an appointment for our NATE certified service technician to come out, click here and get 10% off!
The EPA estimates indoor air quality in most homes is five to ten times worse than outdoor air quality – and in some cases is over 100 times worse! Recent advancements in home efficiency have inadvertently made the problem worse. As a result, incidents of asthma have increased by 61% since 1982!
Whole House Filtration
The whole house filtration part of the Field Controls IAQ system traps particles as small as one micron in diameter, including pollen, dust and pet dander. Its five-inch-deep MERV 11 filter traps up to 100 times more contaminants than traditional filters before losing its effectiveness, and a single unit can replace multiple one-inch register filters.
Whole House UV Purification
UV radiation technology can improve air quality by effectively neutralizing bacteria and viruses, reducing allergy and asthma symptoms triggered by biofilm that can accumulate on your AC coil. The radiation is kept walled off within your AC unit, rendering it 100% harmless to your family while being extremely effective against mold, viruses and bacteria. Remember, a clean AC coil will help keep your air conditioner working as efficiently as possible!
Whole House Fresh Air Ventilation
The bread and butter of the whole Field Controls system is the house fresh air ventilation which allows your HVAC system to automatically deliver fresh air through your whole house, even during the off season. The whole house fresh air ventilation system provides fresh air exchange designed to meet residential standards and support your family’s health while creating uniform temperatures and humidity levels throughout your home. Best of all, year round operation enhances the effectiveness of the whole house filtration and air purification while providing fresh air as needed.
The easiest way to improve your home’s air quality in the winter is by: eliminate, isolate and ventilate.
By eliminating the pollutants, you get rid of as many unnecessary chemicals and other pollutants in your home as possible. Almost everything in your home some kind of chemical [nail polish, perfumes, etc.]. While the levels are generally not high enough to cause you to worry, they can irritate certain allergy and asthma symptoms.
The best way to get rid of harmful chemicals is to figure out what you have and what can be swapped a healthier version of the same product. Many household cleaners come in low chemical varieties that can be used to improve your indoor air quality. If you smoke, do so outside. Smoke is the leading cause of poor indoor air quality in many homes.
Isolating pollutants you can’t get rid of and store out of reach of children. I can be downright impossible to eliminate all of the harmful chemicals in your home. The ones you can’t eliminate, isolate. Keep kitchen chemicals locked up under the sink until you need them, store things like paint and fertilizer in the garage by an open window, and keep anything else as out of the way as possible.
Another important step is to have your gas appliances checked out during the winter so you can make sure they’ll run safely at all times.
Ventilate your home as much as possible to improve air flow and reduce moisture and pollutants. The best way to improve your home’s indoor air quality is to make sure your home is well ventilated. Make sure you have a good ventilation system in place. A well-balanced whole house ventilation system can substantially improve your indoor air quality without compromising your heating efficiency.
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The most common indoor air pollutants include:
Biological pollutants [pet dander, mites, mold, etc.] are harmful because people can be allergic to just one or several of them – and being inside with them makes everything worse.
Dust can be easily prevented by a strong air filter.
Combustion gases [like those that come from a gas furnace or stove] are normally vented harmlessly outside but can be deadly if they leak into your home.
Tobacco smoke can get inside even if you smoke outside, mainly carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.
Pesticides and chemicals can come from all over the place. Fumes from spray for bugs over the summer, air fresheners and cleaning products can contribute to your indoor air quality issues.
Some things you can do to improve your indoor air quality in the winter:
- Make sure your filters are fresh and clean. Air filters are designed to trap indoor air pollutants before they can escape into your air. They fill up much faster in the winter. Make sure to replace them monthly.
- If your air is pretty dry inside, check into a humidifier.
Call us at 770-253-2665 for more information, or visit out website at http://www.progressiveac.com.