Does Insulation Really Help Keep Your Home Cool?

During the hottest season of the year, energy bills rise when the HVAC system must work harder to keep the home comfortable. This is particularly the case in homes that feature an ineffective system. Homeowners have numerous opportunities to achieve energy efficiency and comfort in summer months, but insulation is one strategy that is often overlooked. Many homeowners can benefit from understanding the role insulation might play in obtaining affordable comfort.

 

Barrier to Heat Exchange

Understanding the role of home insulation begins with the principle of heat exchange, in which heat moves from warm spaces to cool spaces. On cold days, the heat tries to move to cool areas outside. On hot days, the heat tries to reach cool places inside the home. To keep a structure cool on summer days, one task is to create a barrier to the transfer of heat. Insulation serves as the critical barrier that prevents this exchange from taking place.

 

Sufficient Insulation

Something many homeowners discover is that even if a home has insulation, it might not be in sufficient quantities to be effective as a barrier to heat exchanges. If the insulation does prove to be inadequate, adding more is a good way to boost the effectiveness of the HVAC system. If insulation is sufficient but the energy bills are unusually high, an energy audit of the home will help to troubleshoot the performance of the system as a whole.

 

Energy Audit

An audit of the home can help to pinpoint the causes of HVAC inefficiencies and other factors that cause energy bills to soar. The results may uncover any number of reasons for energy waste and poor performance. Leaky ducts, poor maintenance and insufficient equipment are frequent culprits. Unsealed drafts and faulty thermostats are other possible sources of unsatisfactory performance.

Poor performance is not, however, always the result of a single problem. Sometimes, an audit reveals several issues that contribute to an efficient system and high energy costs. If any of the issues involve home insulation, though, an HVAC professional can provide guidance on correcting that concern. Follow us for more great articles on heating, air conditioning and home needs.

Tips For Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Your Home

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is poisonous in excessive amounts and can be fatal. A person can suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning when enough is inhaled to actually replace vital amounts of oxygen in the bloodstream. While this is extremely dangerous, it can be prevented.

It is important to first understand the potential sources of carbon monoxide in and around your home. Any appliance or piece of equipment that burns fuel can release the gas. Therefore, space heaters, furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, gas central heating/cooling units, and wood burning stoves can emit carbon monoxide. If the units have cracks or are poorly vented, the gas can escape into the air that your family breathes. A more well known source is the exhaust produced by a running vehicle in a garage or other closed off space.

Our company strives to provide the best service to each and every one of our customers. We also want to help educate you in order to protect your family from such a tragedy. There are several ways you can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.

It is essential to install a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home. The                
        best location is near the bedrooms.
• If you have a chimney, have it professionally cleaned each year.
• Appliances and their corresponding ventilation systems should be checked annually.
• Ensure that generators are never operated in crawl spaces or indoors.
• If you use a wood burning stove, make sure it meets all EPA emission standards as well as any local
        regulations.
• Never use a kitchen stove that runs on gas as a heat source for your home.
• Hire a certified technician to clean, inspect and tune up your HVAC system.
• Never use a grill indoors.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, you should seek immediate medical attention. The symptoms mimic those of the flu; headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and trouble breathing. You may also notice that the symptoms decrease when you step outside and reappear when you go back indoors where the gas is present.

Follow our blog for more information and helpful tips on heating, cooling and maintaining energy efficiency for your home.

How Do I Know If My A/C Unit Is Big Enough?

 

Only the correct size of an air conditioning unit will effectively keep you and your family comfortable. An A/C that is too big will not only consume a lot of your power but will also leave your house with excess humidity. On the other hand, an A/C that is too small will not cool your room or house to the desired temperatures. Accordingly, choosing the right sized air conditioner require a little bit research and some basic mathematics. Here is an overview of a few tips that you can use to end up with the right A/C for your home:

1. Measure the Square Footage of Your Room: Using a tape measure, measure the length and width of the room that you plan to air condition. If the room is not rectangular or square, you can divide it into smaller sections (composed of triangles and squares) so that you take the measurements.

2. Calculate the square footage of your room. You can do this by multiplying the length of your room by its width if your room is square or rectangular. For a room with other shapes, you can divide it into triangular sections, which you can then find their square footage by multiplying 0.5 by length by width then summing them up. The sum will be the square footage of the room.

3. If you are planning to purchase a central A/C system, calculate the square footage of every room in your home. Don’t include areas such as basements or garage because they won’t be cooled.

4. Determine the cooling capacity of your room or your home. The cooling capacity of a central or room air conditioner is usually measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour. Depending on the size of your room or home (in square feet), you will easily gauge its cooling capacity from the United States Department of Energy Star website—they offer guidelines for BTUs per square feet.

For better performance, buying the right size of an AC should be a priority. Follow our blog for more information on heating, cooling, and keeping your home energy efficient.

Summer Cooling Tips For Your Home

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If you are like most people, you probably look forward to warm weather and summer activities, but still want to maintain a cool, comfortable home. Because air conditioners are not designed to overpower excessive heat, it is essential to avoid allowing the interior of your dwelling to become dangerously hot. The following summer cooling tips will help to ensure that your air conditioning system runs at optimum efficiency.

One of the best ways to prevent your air conditioner from laboring excessively is to keep outdoor areas cool by planting shrubs or trees wherever possible to offer shade. However, it is important to avoid blocking the airflow around the air conditioner unit or allowing shrubbery to create an inconvenient situation when the system must be serviced. Among some of the most simple but effective cooling tips for your home is changing your air conditioner filter at least every three months. This will ensure that your HVAC system is not straining, which will save you money on maintenance and energy costs.

Ceiling Fans and Window Blinds

Running your ceiling fans is also one of the top tips to stay cool in summer, as such fans provide an enjoyable downward breeze to combat heat and humidity. Always make sure your fans are moving counterclockwise, as this is the best setting for summer. Additional house cooling tips include closing drapes and curtains against the sun as it rotates around your home. White shades or blinds are the best choice for most dwellings
, as they reflect sunlight.

The Value of a Service Agreement

Like most homeowners, you probably have had at least one experience with your air conditioning unit icing up. This is a very common issue, and regardless of whether or not you follow cooling tips, icing may still occur. If this should happen, turn your compressor off immediately and contact a professional.

Ultimately, the most effective way to prevent air conditioner problems is to invest in a service agreement covering year-round maintenance and regular system assessments. Having your system evaluated by a professional at regular intervals reduces your risk of experiencing various malfunctions. For this reason you should not delay, but rather schedule an appointment with a reliable air conditioning and heating company immediately to evaluate your system and make the appropriate recommendations.