Winterizing Your Tankless Water Heater

481723049With winter always comes the opportunity for things to freeze up. One of the last things you want to have freeze up on you is your tankless water heater. Fortunately they have been designed to take on even the worst winter weather. That doesn’t mean they can be totally neglected while winter is wreaking havoc on the temps. Here are a few ways to winterize tankless water heaters that can help to ensure you have warm water all winter long –

Check the Gas

Anytime your gas appliances need more gas than the meter size can handle, you could experience an insufficient supply of fuel that can and will hinder performance. If you see that your meter capacity comes to less than what your total household Btuh load is, then you need to contact the gas company.

Insulation on External Pipes

While a tankless unit does contain freeze-prevention heaters there are still hot-and-cold-water lines that lead from both to and from your heater. These plumbing lines need to be protected as well. If you do experience freezing, this is where it happens. You want to protect those pipes with insulation, even if it’s something as easy and simple as using aluminum foil.

Check Your Venting

When the weather reaches extreme cold temps, back draft coming into the vents on your unit can become problematic. To avoid this try running your vent vertically rather than horizontally.

Keep The Power On

The freeze prevention heaters on your tankless water heater needs electricity to operate. You never want to unplug or disconnect the power and stop the flow of electricity to your unit in the winter time. You should actually thing about purchasing a backup generator in case your power ever does go out.

Water Flow

You have much less of a chance for your pipes to freeze when there is water flowing through the them. If you are on a re-circulation plumbing system, let it run frequently during cold winter months. Of course that will cost you more on your energy bill but it’s better than being without warm water. If you’re not on a re-circulation system, then let your faucet drip a little to prevent freezing.

Keep The Unit in an Area That is Warm

If you live where the temps can get really low, then try to place your unit in a place that is fairly warm. It will lower the risk of your unit freezing over.

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How Important Is It To Get The Right Size Of Heating And Cooling Equipment?

Energy consumption for heating and cooling systems accounts for around 5 percent of the electricity produced in U.S—this is almost $15 billion. As a homeowner, therefore, going for energy efficient systems makes a lot of sense. Correctly sizing your heating and cooling system is one way that you can use to cut down your energy costs.

Unlike older homes, modern homes have many other additions including more windows, weather stripping, insulation, and caulking among other features. This implies that even with a smaller system, you can still keep your home comfortable and save money in your monthly utility bills.

Generally, over sized heating and cooling systems are:

  • Expensive to install
  • Operates inefficiently; will break more often; and will cost you more to operate
  • Create uncomfortable and wide temperature swings
  • Will not run long to dehumidify air and may contribute to mold growth
  • Have frequent starts and stops which accelerates their wear and tear and eventual equipment failure
  • Use more fan power and are vulnerable to duct leakage problems due to high duct pressures.

 

Sizing Your Cooling and Heating System Correctly

Most contractors will only check the label listing of your existing system and advice to go for a similar one, or even worse, one’s that’s bigger. Others will also base the size of your HVAC system on what other customers (with similar home size) settled on or purchased. These are not the correct way to size HVAC equipment and are never in your best interest.

The best methods that you should use are the Manual D (Residential Duct Design) and Manual J (Residential Load Calculation) methods. The two methods take into account factors such as size and orientation of your home, insulation levels, air infiltration rates, occupant preference levels, age and number of occupants, window location, roof surface color, local climate, efficiency of major appliances that produce heat, duct air leakage, and window building materials among other factors.

Correct HVAC sizing will impact your home’s comfort level, energy costs, and the lifespan of your equipment. Before you install your HVAC unit, therefore, ensure that you understand the significance of your system correctly.

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What Are The Different Kinds Of Air Conditioning Systems?

There are many times of air conditioning systems designed to serve the same purpose — to cool the air inside of a house or a room. These systems differ not in their functioning but the scale on while they supply conditioned air and the area they serve.

Some Air Conditioner Types:

  • Window air conditioners

These units are installed in the windows and hence the name. The unit consists of a single housing containing all the components required for the working of the system. The inner part of the air conditioner blows cool air while the outer exposed part flushes warm air to the exterior.

  • Portable air conditioners

These units are used in places where window air conditioners and other types of units cannot be used. These units are usually placed on the floor of the room in a corner. A hose is installed with these units which discharges hot air to the outside of the room. These units are also used in conjunction with other air conditioners when there is need of an additional air conditioner to keep the room temperature in favorable range.

  • Split air conditioners

When the component of air conditioning unit is placed both inside and outside of a room, it is called a split air conditioner. In this type of the unit, the evaporator (blows cool air inside of the room) is placed on the inner wall of the room while the compressor and other component are installed on the outside wall or the roof. These two components on the inner and outer side of the room are connected by a duct and a hose to supply cool air.

  • Central air conditioners

These types of units are installed where there are multiple rooms. Various ducts are planted all through the building or the home — supplying fresh and cool air. With this single unit, you can control the temperature of air across your entire house without the need of an individual unit for every room.

If you are looking for help with choosing the best air conditioner for your home or office, you may call us for professional support and recommendation.

What Is I.A.Q (Indoor Air Quality)?

What Is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality is defined as the air quality within or around the buildings. The indoor air quality can be affected by a variety of things, including wood, coal, tobacco products, kerosene, gas and oil.The central air conditioning and heating system can also have a negative impact on indoor air quality.

Additionally, outdoor sources can have a negative impact on indoor air quality. Outdoor air pollution, pesticides and radon are examples of outside sources that may affect indoor air quality.

How Does Indoor Air Quality Harm Health?

Immediate Effects

One of the reasons indoor air pollution is a concern is because it has been linked to many health problems. In fact, many people notice the effects after being exposed to indoor air pollution for a short amount of time. Dizziness, headaches, sore throat and irritation around the eyes, nose and mouth are some of the immediate effects of indoor air pollution.

Many factors determine the effects indoor air pollution has on the person who is being exposed to it. Preexisting medical conditions and age are two of those factors. People who are exposed to indoor air pollution may experience symptoms similar to those of colds and other respiratory problems. It is often difficult to determine whether a person’s symptoms were caused by the exposure to indoor air pollution or a respiratory illness.

Long-Term Effects

Many people do not notice the effects of indoor air pollution until years after they have been exposed to it. In many cases, long-term exposure to indoor pollution can cause serious health problems. Cancer and heart disease are two of the health conditions linked to long-term exposure to indoor air pollution.

It is important to note people react differently to exposure to indoor air pollution. More research needs to be conducted in order to fully understand the health effects of indoor air pollution. Researchers are also trying to determine how much pollution one needs to be exposed to in order to experience adverse health effects.

You may want to have the air quality in your home tested. Call us to schedule your indoor air quality testing today.

Efficiency Standards For HVAC Equipment: Are They Going Up Soon?

The national energy strategy is a hot topic of conversation these days, and home HVAC occupies a reasonable spot in the limelight. Half of the energy used by residential buildings goes to heating and cooling; therefore, the Department of Energy pays careful attention to heating, ventilation and air conditioning efficiency standards. Unfortunately, raising the standards is not as simple as it sounds.

Back in 2011, the DOE made the decision to improve the HVAC efficiency standards by May 2013. The new standards would have raised the current minimum AFUE standard of 78 to 90% efficiency. AFUE means annual fuel utilization efficiency. An AFUE rating of 78 means that the unit wastes 22% of the fuel it uses while a unit with AFUE rating of 90 wastes only 10% of the fuel it uses.

Before the effective date of implementation, various stakeholders challenged the rule, stating that the new efficiency standards for boilers and furnaces would be too costly for many homeowners. Replacing a standard furnace with a condensing furnace with a rating of 90 AFUE is not as straightforward as switching out the dishwasher or refrigerator. A high–efficiency condensing furnace requires a different venting system, which could force the homeowner to abandon or reconstruct the existing venting system to accommodate the new furnace.

Due to a court order, the Department of Energy had to postpone the implementation of the new HVAC efficiency standards, and it could take years until a new ruling goes into effect. As it stands, there have been very few changes to the heating and cooling efficiency requirements since 1992, which is when the Department of Energy set the minimum AFUE rating at 78. In 2007, the Department of Energy proposed raising the minimum AFUE to 80; however, this proposal had little meaning since nearly all modern furnaces already meet that standard.

From the perspective of an energy conservationist, the delay in the implementation of the proposed efficiency standards is regrettable, since keeping the standards low is causing more pollution and waste. On the other hand, one can always make an individual decision to invest in high–efficiency HVAC systems to enjoy greater comfort, energy savings, and lower carbon footprint.

Homeowners should call their local HVAC contractors for questions about HVAC efficiency standards and services.

Ensure That You Have Adequate Protection From Power Surges

Even though a power surge is a very serious threat, most of us don’t spend much time protecting our homes from them. A home breaker box has a surge protective device installed in it. If you rely solely upon this device, you may find out the hard way that your Home Power Surge Protection is not adequate enough to protect your utilities from power surges.

Though there is no way to fully guarantee that your home appliances are completely safe, there are a couple of things you can do to better Protect Your Home Utilities. To protect your home from a power surge you should understand what causes a power surge to begin with. Most surges are caused from storms, accidents involving electric poles and lines, as well as when an electrician is working on power lines.

Power surges come in two categories, an external surge and an internal surge. One type of internal power surge that many of us are unaware of is a surge that tends to target expensive HVAC appliances. This internal surge does not immediately damage your air conditioner; it does it over a period of time.

When an a/c unit cycles on it has to pull a lot of power to turn on, and it causes a large current to course through electrodes to push the power back into the electrical lines. Over time the electrodes inside an air conditioner can become worn out because of the strong electric currents that are pushed out when the unit cycles off.

Other appliances can also be damaged when a strong or sudden electrical current is directed into them from a power surge. There is no true way to know when a surge will occur. This means that your best defense is to implement additional surge protection equipment into your homes electrical system.

To do this you can install surge protection electrical outlets and use power strips. A power surge can be a costly mishap, but you can better protect your home by using surge protection devices. Another way you can protect valuable HVAC appliances is to schedule a power surge inspection along with regular HVAC Maintenance.

Get Energy Saving Tips From The Certified Pros

When researching tips to save energy this summer many homeowners are exposed to word terms they may not understand. One such term is found on the websites of HVAC companies, and that term is NATE certified. What does NATE certified mean? NATE is a nonprofit group that offers HVAC technicians an opportunity to prove their capabilities.

The way NATE does this by offering tests that cover every topic an HVAC technician needs to know. By obtaining NATE certification, technicians can increase their wages and employment opportunities. The NATE organization represents the entire heating and cooling industry as a whole.

NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence, and this organization represents companies and technicians that offer excellence in every sale, installation, and repair of HVAC equipment. After obtaining a high score on NATE tests, technicians can proudly boast that they have extensive knowledge in specific areas of the heating and cooling industry. Having this extensive knowledge enables HVAC employees to help homeowners learn how to conserve energy and save money on summer cooling bills.

Sharing tips such as changing a/c filters every few months, turning up thermostat temperatures and relying more on fans to stay cool, keeping blinds and heat blocking curtain panels shut, as well as installing programmable thermostats, has helped millions of home and business owners save money on annual energy bills. Teaching clients that keeping windows and doors sealed tightly, planting shade trees near windows and exterior HVAC equipment, and installing white shades or blinds to reflect heat, are other tips that that can save money.

NATE certified technicians can also help clients save money by teaching them about the benefits of residential zoning and by sharing the latest developments in energy efficient equipment with clients. Teaching clients about the importance of knowing what is nate certification, and why it is important to only hire certified technicians is another helpful tip. To learn more about saving energy this summer and make certain your air conditioner is performing at peak level, contact a local NATE certified HVAC company today. After all, it’s always best to trust a company that has already won over NATE, the HVAC industry’s harshest critic.

Tips For Creating A Summer Energy Savings Plan To Implement In Your Home

When summer temperatures climb higher we tend to want to set our air conditioner temperatures lower so we will stay cool and comfortable. Unfortunately, if we do that our utility bills rise with our energy consumption. There are very effective ways to use your air conditioning system to stay cool while being fiscally and environmentally responsible as well. Now is the time to learn about all the many tips and ideas that are available to help homeowners build a successful and manageable Summer Energy Savings Plan that works for their particular home and lifestyle.

For homeowners with a house whose appliances and HVAC system are approaching replacement age, there are tips for saving energy that will not cost anything but can save some money on power bills. If replacement of any appliance is possible, though, it is important to remember to look for the ENERGY STAR® tag, label or license on new appliances. These units have an energy efficiency far superior to other appliances. Simple ways to conserve energy include only running the dishwasher, dryer and washing machine with full loads; washing clothes in cold water; line drying clothes instead; running the dishwasher’s wash cycle but turning it off before the dry cycle and letting the dishes air dry; and keeping the oven door closed when cooking so a great deal of the accumulated heat does not get wasted.

Simple household changes can make a big difference. Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones. Open all the interior doors so air flow is not inhibited but at the same time close air vents in rooms you do not use. Keep the return air vent unblocked. Use ceiling fans when it is not hot enough for your A/C unit. One the hottest days, use the fans with your A/C to supplement it. Keep blinds and drapes closed on windows that allow direct sunlight inside. Keep doors and windows closed when air conditioning is running.

Older homes can benefit from some newer accessories. Install low-flow aerating shower heads and faucets. Insulate the water pipes coming from your water heater. Add additional R-30 rated insulation in your attic. Repair leaky faucets, because one drip per second adds up to around 2,300 gallons each year. Install a programmable thermostat on your HVAC system. Replace the five light fixtures you turn on the most with new ENERGY STAR® fixtures. Hook all electronics (television, computers, stereo) to power strips and turn power strips off when the electronics are not in use.

Implementing these changes will bring great benefits in lower utility bills and reduced energy consumption. Another tremendous way to save money is to learn all the ways installing a new and energy efficient HVAC system will promote HVAC Energy Savings Home Energy Savings this summer.

Spring Time Air Conditioning Maintenance

There are few incidents that are more frustrating than having a home’s central air conditioning system stop running on a hot, humid August day. What makes the situation even more frustrating is that it can be avoided by having the system checked every spring.

There are several causes for poor or no cooling from a central air conditioner. One of the first places to check is the filter. A clogged filter will reduce air flow and make the unit work harder. Filters should bee replaced every 30 days.

The unit’s thermostat is sometimes the culprit. A dirty thermostat will not properly sense temperature changes. Checking thermostat should involve a carefully cleaning. The thermostat should then be set to around 85 degrees for 30 minutes and then reset to around 60 degrees. This action resets the system. Another way to reset the unit is to turn the circuit breaker off and back on (http://show.com).

A common problem in older central air conditioners is low Freon. As a rule, Freon coolant should last for the life of the unit (http://show.com). However, the Freon may be leaking or the coil may be malfunctioning. In that case, the central air conditioner needs charged. Cleaning the outside unit should include gently removing dirt from the fins and straightening the fins with a “fin comb.” Any repairs beyond cleaning the exterior of the outside unit and inspecting the insulation on the lines running into the house should be done by a qualified central air conditioning maintenance professional. It is especially important to have the Freon charged by a professional.

The best insurance against central air conditioner breakdowns during the summer is to have a complete inspection of the system performed at least every spring (www.home.howstuffworks.com). The work should be done by a trained and certified air conditioning professional and should include:

Complete cleaning of the exterior and interior of the unit(s)
Lubrication of all moving parts.
Inspection and adjustment of the thermostat.
Checking freon to ensure the proper amount and adding coolant if needed.
Inspection of coolant lines and replacement of worn insulation where required.
Check to ensure that the unit is level.
Replacing air filter(s).

Many air conditioning service firms have programs set up for customers that schedule servicing air conditioning systems in the spring and heating systems in the fall for a fee that can be paid when the service is performed or by the month. These programs often include discounts for parts and/or repairs.

There are other steps that homeowners can take to prolong the life of central air conditioning systems. As noted, changing the air filters every month is a simple and effective must do task that improves the efficiency of the unit. Another way to preserve the outside part of a central air conditioner is to purchase a protective cover to fit over the unit during the winter.

By taking early season steps to service the central air conditioner, the unit will provide plenty of cool air during the hot summer months. It also means that homeowners can rest easy knowing that the system will continue to quietly hum on efficiently through September without any unexpected surprises.

Ways In Which Excess Dust And Dirt Affects Your AC System

Everybody enjoys spending time in a favorable environment that does not pose any hazards or discomfort. To achieve this, people go far to make the environment more favorable and habitable, notwithstanding the brunt of its extremities. The home and office are the major two typical areas that most people operate in. As such, the environment around these areas is highly regarded and in most cases, air conditioning systems are installed to keep the rooms fresh and lively.

AC systems play a very significant role in any home or office. However, regular air conditioning maintenance is necessary for the appliances to remain in good working order. If left to run without any care or inspection, the AC system is likely to malfunction mostly as a result of clogged air filters, dirty coils, among other abnormalities. These come as a result of AC getting clogged with dust and dirt. To avoid this, one needs to understand the areas that require regular or scheduled inspection and maintenance for a more focused approach. 

Dust and dirt in the environment is a major aspect in air conditioning since it gets to the AC systems naturally. If this dust and dirt is allowed to accumulate to higher levels, it will lead to clogging of the air filter. A clogged air filter is one of the major causes of air conditioning system repairs. Such unnecessary repairs can be eliminated by practicing proper care and maintenance for the equipment. 

Air filters are fitted to the AC system to keep away big particles of dirt or dust as well as insects and other light matter suspended in the air from entering the AC system through suction. A clogged air filter will prevent the flow of air through the air conditioner leading to less efficiency in air circulation. This could also lead to more frequent repairs, which can be minimized by changing the air filters regularly. 

Too much dust on your AC system is also harmful to the motor of your AC system. When dust accumulates on the fan motors, it may cause faults in the electrical cables, cause bearings to seize, or lead to motor problems. Apart from this, buildup of dust on the appliance can lead to inefficiency due to dust-coated coils. AC systems cool air by passing it through a set of cold coils, which in turn cool the air being sucked. Dirty coils will therefore create a barrier between the coil surface and the air, implying that some energy that could have been used otherwise is being lost. To control this, the best thing to do is to contract a specialist who can be regularly inspecting the AC system and changing the air filters regularly.