Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Air Filter FAQs to Maximize HVAC Efficiency

Air Filter FAQs to Maximize HVAC Efficiency

Did you know that the air filter is an integral component of your home's heating and cooling system? It's the one part of the HVAC system that requires your attention on a regular basis. Here's what every homeowner needs to know for healthy indoor air and an efficient HVAC system.
What is an air filter?
Generally pleated and made from filter media like polyester or fiberglass, air filters snag dust, allergens and other particles from the air before it moves through the conditioning process. A dirty air filter lowers an HVAC unit's efficiency by making it work harder to pull air in.
How often should I change the air filter?
An air filter will get dirty at different rates throughout the year, so it's best to get in the habit of changing it regularly. Most HVAC professionals recommend changing the air filter monthly. To make it easy, tie the task to your mortgage payment or electric bill. When you make the payment each month, follow it up with a filter change.
What kind of air filter do I buy?
Check the dimensions of the air filter currently in the system and look for that size at the home improvement store. You'll see options at different price points; more expensive filters usually have higher MERV ratings, meaning they have a denser structure and can catch smaller particles. Many systems can't handle the higher ratings, so select the type of filter recommended in your system's owner's manual.
How do I change it?
Turn the HVAC system off at the thermostat or breaker. Locate the air filter, which is usually inside the air return panel or alongside the system's air handler. (Keep in mind that some homes may have multiple filters in different locations.) Remove the old filter and install the new one with the arrows pointing in the same direction as the airflow. Don't forget to turn your HVAC system back on

Monday, February 15, 2016

Your homes comfort

Are you uncomfortable in your home? Have you replaced or added insulation? Are your utilities too high? 

Maybe you have spent time and money trying to make improvements and still you have issues within your home. 

Finding the problems can be and should be done by a qualified Home Energy Auditor. It is best done by a trained Building Performance Institute, Inc., certified and qualified technician. Here are two reasons why.
  • To properly diagnose your homes performance issues and to prescribe solutions requires a background in building science and most do-it-yourselfers just don't have the background.
  • To do the job correctly requires specialized equipment and diagnostic tools-such as a blower door and possibly an infrared camera-that are not typically in the normal tool box of the homeowner.  
By setting the house up and using specialized tools the home energy assessment can point to the root cause(s) of the problems that are responsible for the symptoms. The work can be prioritized with an emphasis on air sealing. To blow insulation in the attic without first sealing the penetrations responsible for the energy loss is just plain malpractice. 

You wouldn't go see your doctor without them having the proper degree, certifications or tools to diagnose you. Nor would you have them provide you a cast for a broken leg if you only had a hang nail. Well your home is the same. You can be exposed to undue risk, which can cause adverse reactions and consequences for not only the homeowner but the contractors doing the work and anyone connected to the work, no matter how distant. 

By upgrading the performance to your home you can increase value, comfort and at the same time reduce the cost in energy. 

Many of the utility companies have many programs that are free. You can also go to a Database of State Incentives for Renewable and Efficiency (DSIRE) at www.dsireusa.org to learn about rebates and financial incentives. 

Most programs require contractors to hold a BPI certification. You can find a BPI Accredited Contractor near you by going to www.bpi.org

Understanding that your house is a system can help you live more comfortably, healthy, and with lower utility bills.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

OSHA's Confined Spaces Rule Impacts Home Performance Workers

2015 NEW RULES for confined spaces.
OSHA's Confined Spaces Rule Impacts Home Performance Workers

BPI sent out a notice regarding the new rules for Confined Spaces (crawl spces and attics). These new rules go into effect August 3, 2015. Please be sure to adhere to them.