News

Sources of Asbestos in the Home

Many homeowners worry about hazardous asbestos being present in some of the materials used to construct their home. If the home was built before the 1970s, it is possible that asbestos was used in the construction and can be dangerous. Of all the sources of indoor air pollution, asbestos is one of the few that can be fatal. This article looks at the potential sources of asbestos in the home. Asbestos is often found in insulation materials throughout the home. Paper tapes made of asbestos and asbestos blankets were often used for furnace ducts, boilers, and steam pipes. These materials...

Indoor Air Pollution: The Dangers of Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral fiber of impure magnesium silicate minerals. Prior to the 1970s it was used in a number of construction materials. It made a great fire retardant and insulator, especially around hot items like furnaces and wood-burning stoves. But once it was identified that asbestos exposure permanently and fatally damages the lungs, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of most asbestos products. In older homes, asbestos is most often found in shingles, millboard, pipe insulation, furnace insulation, floor tiles, textured paints, soundproofing materials, and coating materials. Whenever these materials are...

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick building syndrome is a phenomenon that occurs when individuals struggle with health concerns related to the time they spend within a building, such as at home or at work. Sometimes it occurs in a particular room or area, but the symptoms seem to clear when sufficient time is spent outside of that environment. Symptoms of sick building syndrome include dry or itchy skin, trouble concentrating, irritated or itchy eyes, headaches, throat irritation, coughing, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and breathing problems. There are no identifiable illnesses to explain the symptoms which recede when the person is away from the building. There...

Allergies and your HVAC System

Indoor air pollution is a serious problem especially for people with allergies. In fact, most of the time, the air indoors is more polluted than the air outside, due to dust, dust mites, bacteria, mold, and viruses. Studies indicate that the pollution is 2 to 5 times higher than with outdoor air. While some people may not believe this because the pollens outside can trigger their allergies, the truth is in the evidence. There are much higher quantities of various air pollutants in samples of indoor air than outdoor. With these indoor air pollution concerns, it is no wonder why...

All about HVAC Humidifiers

HVAC systems come in many varieties with potential upgrades and added benefits. One of these upgrades is a humidifier. When the cold dry winters come, a humidifier in the HVAC system could prevent nosebleeds, dry skin, dry cough, and other irritating symptoms. It also helps prevent the effects of suddenly dry air on wallpaper and paint. Instead of room-based humidifiers which have no self-control and quickly run out of water, HVAC humidifiers are able to maintain a steady balance of moisture in the air and are self-sustaining when installed properly. A water supply pipe keeps the humidifier’s pad moist and...

All about Air Filters

Not all air filters are created equal. From the least expensive varieties that are literally translucent to the top-of-the-line high quality varieties, air filters come in a range of densities, fibers, and shapes to provide different levels of filtration for your HVAC system. When replacing an air filter in your home, it is imperative that you first determine the correct size you need. Simply looking at the old filter should tell you the correct size. Or, you can pull out the owner’s manual or find the manufacturer’s specifications for your system. Once you know the size you need, the next...

Thermostat Recommendations

Not all thermostats will work compatibly with all HVAC systems nor are they all created equal. It is important to understand a few basic things about selecting the appropriate replacement thermostat before you make your purchase. With the right recommendations, you can avoid that annoying trip to the return counter at your local home improvement store. First of all, you need to figure out what type of control your system requires. Most utilize a low-voltage thermostat control (about 24v), but verify what yours needs before you buy. It could be a line voltage (110 or 220v) or a millivolt (75mv)....

How Air Conditioning Works

Air conditioning is a fascinating concept that people of earlier times would be astounded with. Imagine being able to produce cold air in the heat of the summer, from a box. Many people wonder how this works. First, the AC is connected to the thermostat which monitors the household temperature. When the temperature begins to get too hot for the setting, the thermostat signals the air conditioner to begin cooling the air. This starts with the air-handling unit drawing air in from the house. Thankfully, the air is pulled through a filter, preventing dust, pollen, and lint from being swirled...

How a Furnace Works

The furnace is not a new invention. While in earlier times it was simply a wood stove used for both cooking and heating the home, early versions of the furnace used coal, wood, or oil to spread heat throughout the house using ducts to distribute hot air from room to room. Today’s furnaces are primarily gas, although there are electric, wood, and propane furnaces available depending both on how rural the geographical area of the home is and on what type of energy is easiest and cheapest to access. Gas furnaces burn cleanly and are affordable. When the thermostat recognizes...

Choosing the Right Size HVAC System

Purchasing a system that is too large for a home is wasteful both in the initial investment and in the cost of utilities. But making the mistake of purchasing a system that is too small for a house means that you will struggle to heat it in the winter and cool it in the summer. It just won’t keep up with the demand, because it cannot process air fast enough to cool the whole house. Choosing the correct size HVAC system is as simple as following about 5 steps. That being said, it is usually best for a trained professional...