When to worry: HVAC system odors and what they mean

After spending some years in your home, you’ll begin to recognize and get used to some odors in your home. This problem occurs when an unrecognized smell pushes through your drains or vents, and pollutes the air in your home. In some cases, this bad smell doesn’t mean it’s something serious, but who wants to overlook such odor in the home? Most of these smells requires the attentio of an expert to take some professional look. Some common causes are:

Animals

Living or dead animals somewhere in your ductwork can cause odor. This suspicious smell may be from the animal itself or its wastes. If the animal isn’t dead, you may notice other signs of the new pest. You may see have evidence that it’s eating your feed and you may hear it scurrying around. Handle this unwanted guest as soon as you can, because small rodents and bugs reproduce quickly and the problem may worsen.

Take immediate action as soon as you know there is an animal in your system. The waste and odors from the animals can get you sick. It is better to call a professional to remove the animal from the system.

Gas Odors

If you smell gas, you have to find the source imstantly. Ensure your burners and all other appliances that emit gas are turned off. If they are off already, there may be a leak somewhere. We advise you leave the premises and contact the fire department. The gas smell could also be from your furnace.

You won’t be able to perceive some gases such as carbon monoxide or radon. Carbon monoxide detectors are very important. Whenever you are dealing with gas leakage, it is best to contact an expert immediately.

Mold

It has a pungent smell and quite easy to spot. In most cases, you will smell molds but you won’t see them – especially if they are being formed behind areas like walls. It isn’t rare to have molds in the bathroom or damp areas like your basement. Address mold issues with alacrity because it can spread and pose health risks to you and your family.

Drain Odor

If you perceive unusual smells coming through your drains, it is most likely a situation of blockage in the plumbing system. In some cases, using a cheap clog remover is all you’ll need to get rid of the blockage and get your plumbing pipes up and running again. In other cases, you will need the help of a plumber to remove this obstruction in the pipes. If it smells like sewage, it is an indicator of a bigger problem that you need to address now rather than later.

Foul smells in homes can lead to big headaches for homeowners sometimes. So, don’t waste time before you call in an expert to find and solve the problem for you.

HOME IMPROVEMENT TECHNIQUES

Improving our home involve a variety of activities from which we can subdivide into two categories viz; activities that make our home livable such as repairs and maintenance and activities that make our home more attractive, such as installing new appliances, utilizing empty spaces in the houses, re-arranging the settings in the house and much more. These activities are done with the goals of making our home healthy, energy efficient, safe, increased accessibility to essential parts and objects in the home, conservation of water flow in the home among others. Irrespective of what the home improvements project is targeted to achieve there are practical ideas that would help you make your home more energy efficient, use less water and add more appeal to the property.

 

Below are top ideas on how to improve your home on different levels:

 

Keep the Home Healthy

  • Fix water leaks early: To maintain a healthy environment, water leakages should be fixed early. Small leaks can become big problems if not addressed early. Water damage leads quickly to mold growth. Water damage weakens floor ceiling and wall structure. When small leaks are fixed early enough, bigger problems would not arise which make the home livable.
  • Vacuum Carpets Often: Carpet often hides dust, grime, and pet droppings, pesticides and food particles. When carpet are kept clean, it reduces odors, pests, air pollutants and asthma triggers. Vacuum carpets weekly with a HEPA vacuum. Deep clean carpets regularly. Also consider replacing carpets with solid flooring.
  • Keep Kitchen Clean: Kitchens are very important part of the house. The state of the kitchen is a statement about the general cleanliness of the home. Food particles on counters and floors attract pests like cockroaches and mice. Clean counters and dishes often. Sweep and mop floors as needed and thoroughly once a week. Use a trash can with a lid and take out often.

 

 

Make the Home Energy Efficient

  • Insulate your Home: You would not want instances of shock when moving around the home. To control the flow of energy in the home, one of the best ways is to insulate the home. Increase insulation, especially in the attic, adding a minimum of R-19 to achieve a total insulation R-value of at least R-38. Insulate the water heater with an approved water heater blanket.
  • Seal, Caulk, and Weather-strip: Seal around pipes, wires, and vents passing through the walls, floors, or ceilings. Put weather-stripping around doors and windows to eliminate drafts. Adjust vents and close fireplace dampers when not in use.
  • Heat and Cool Efficiently: You should consider installing a high efficiency natural gas furnace. This would help save energy and achieve heating and cooling of the home maximally. Set thermostat to 72 degrees in summer and 68 degrees in winter. Also when you use a programmable thermostat, you save more energy. It also helps when you are away or sleeping. Ceiling and floor fans are best during summer.

 

Increase Safety and Accessibility in the Home

  • Adequate Doorways: You can increase accessibility from the main entrance to different parts of the home by having a doorway large enough to at least accommodate wheelchairs. Narrow doorways (less than 32” clear opening) can prevent a wheelchair user from freely moving around the home. Bathroom doors are often too narrow. Easily add 2” to a doorway’s clear opening with Swing-Clear Hinges.
  • Railings: Having railings installed on both sides of all steps or stairs help improve safety in a highly dramatic way. Make sure your railings are installed by a professional so as to ensure the railings secure and reliable.

Furnace vs Heat Pumps – which system should you choose for your home?

The debate surrounding heat pumps and furnaces is a long-standing and common one. Is one really better off the other? A heat and a furnace will both raise your indoor temperature and they will do so in a different manner. Choosing an HVAC system that uses one these two heating systems must be based on features, cost, efficiency and your needs.

However, the principal factor that will determine the type of heating and/or cooling system you choose is your geographical location.

It is necessary that you acquaint yourself with the mode of operation of both systems, their benefits and drawbacks.

Furnace heating system

Furnaces in HVAC systems generate heat by combustion (burning oil or natural gas). The heat generated is transferred into coils through a heat exchanger (HeatX). Air sucked from a given space blows over the HeatX coils and its temperature is raised. The hot air is then redistributed to that space through the duct system.

Benefits of a Furnace Heating System

  1. It is reliable, designed to be extra efficient and it provides just the right amount of heating comfort.
  2. In regions experiencing harsh winters, the performance of a furnace outshines that of a heat pump because a heat pump does not function efficiently at extremely cold temperatures.
  3. In comparison with older models, modern HVAC furnaces are much more durable. They require less maintenance and their service life is longer than that of heat pumps.

Drawbacks of a Furnace heating system

  1. The release of pollutant gases such as Carbon (II) oxide makes the furnace system risky to use.
  2. Energy savings is lower than in heat pumps.
  3. Due to the combustion of fuels, the quality of air distributed in an HVAC furnace system can have a serious negative impact on the air comfort in your home.

Heat Pumps

Unlike a furnace that only heats your home, a heat pump doubles as both air conditioning and heating equipment. Instead of generating air, a heat pump moves hot air from inside your home in the summer and does the reverse in the winter. Heat pumps are highly efficient because the do not use fuel or energy to generate heat.

 

Benefits of heat pumps

  1. Highly efficient

Since a heat pump doubles as a heating and cooling system, it saves you the cost of purchasing another cooling or heating system. Heat pumps don’t generate air, they just move it, this will save a reasonable amount on energy bills.

  1. The installation cost of a heat pump system is relatively low compared to a furnace system because it does not require the ventilation needed by the latter.
  2. The operation of a heat pump is safe because there are no risks of toxic gas releases

Drawbacks of heat pumps

  1. Since a heat pump does not generate air but only moves it, it will not be as effective as a furnace in regions with extremely cold temperatures.
  2. In situations where a heat pump cannot provide adequate warmth, a supplementary heating system may be required
  3. Heat pumps need more maintenance than a furnace

 

Conclusion

Both systems are capable of providing your home with the desired warmth during winters. Whatever choice you make will depend on the prevailing climatic conditions in your region. Also, remember to contact your HVAC technician for further help on the best system that suits your home.

 

What Exactly is an HVAC System?

You may have heard the fancy name HVAC; You vaguely know it has something to do with heating up and cooling down. But you’ve never really understood the basics or why someone decided to just lump up equipment for increasing temperature and that for decreasing temperature, putting everything under one single nomenclature. Well, you’ve stumbled on the right page. We are here to rescue you from your semi illiteracy about HVAC systems.
You may ask “why do I need to know about HVAC systems”. The answer is that there are a couple of legit reasons why you shouldn’t be in the dark, they’re:
1. Knowledge is cool: Ignorance isn’t trust me.
2. You’re most likely using an HVAC system: Either it’s at home (on a small scale) or at work (on a larger scale) or in between home and work (in your vehicle); There’s definitely an HVAC system that’s been used to ensure the quality of air in your building or car and to maintain pressure between spaces. Yeah, what were we talking about? You need to know about HVAC systems since they’re all around you. The knowledge will help you to use them safely and at least know when to call the attention of maintenance staff.
3. No one knows the future: Yep, you could wind up having to switch industries and work as an HVAC professional. The knowledge you’ll get here could save your life and career. Just joking, you definitely can’t learn nearly enough here to start a career in HVAC, but this is at least a step in the right direction.
We’ll cut to the chase now. What is HVAC? HVAC is an acronym for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. As the name implies, HVAC systems are used to achieve temperature control basically making used of ambient air. HVAC systems help to regulate thermal conditions to suit human comfort and also ensure the quality of air present within a closed environment. We shall take a brief look at the various components in isolation:
Heating: Getting rooms warmed up during winter is a perfect example of this. Heating is basically bringing about an increase in temperature. Various equipment can be used to generate heat, the major one is a furnace (which may be powered by various solid fuels, liquid fuels or gaseous fuels). Many modern heaters are more likely to be powered by electricity. The heat is circulated around the target space either through hot water or steam. Radiators and other types of heat exchangers are also used in circulation
Ventilation: The real definition of this may be a little difficult to keep up with. In simple terms, we can just define ventilation as “air cleansing” removing odour and contaminant from airspace by letting in fresh air from an external source. This is basically what you try to do when you open your windows after a pollution.
Air Conditioning: This aspect involves the process of cooling an environment by the use of refrigerants.

Now that’s basically what HVAC systems involved. Be sure to do some further reading to learn more.  More Info

Five Reasons to change your furnace filter

Is your heater performing less efficiently or starting to break down during winter? The probable problem could be the clogged air filter. Changing your furnace filter is an important thing to do so as to keep your heating system in proper working order. This is a simple and affordable maintenance task that is often neglected by many homeowners. Air filters are relatively easy to access and replace. It is recommended to change your furnace filter at least every three months, especially during summer and winter seasons because it is when your HVAC unit gets much use. Why is replacing furnace filters important? Below are top reasons why you need to swap your furnace filters frequently.

Keeping the energy costs down

When your filter is dirty, your system will strain and work harder to pump the same amount of air. If your system uses more energy to work properly, the energy costs will start to rise. Swapping your filter at least after every three months will ensure your system works efficiently with minimal energy. This will save you as much as 10% of your energy bills.

Maintain good indoor air quality

A dirty air filter affects the quality of air in your home. The pollutants that are trapped by the filter will be redistributed into your home. The dirty filter will make things hard especially for people with allergies or asthma in your home. The contaminants and allergens in the redistributed air will affect your household. Ensure your furnace filters are clean so as to stay safe.

Extend the life of the system

Dirty air filters are the most common cause of the breakdown of HVAC systems. After a long period of use, dirt accumulates, blocking air from passing and even cause the system to overheat. This will strain the system because it fails to get enough air it needs to function properly. When you keep your filter clean, your system will run efficiently, which implies that its lifespan won’t be cut short by the breakdown of components.  More information on AC repair orlando.

Keep your HVAC system working properly

If you forget to change your air filter, your system will fail to function properly leading to expensive maintenance calls. A clogged filter affects the flow of air through the system and it can result in overheating. You can save yourself the stress and have peace of mind by swapping your filters regularly.

Keeps your system clean

It is obvious that a dirty air filter can equal a dirty furnace. If dirt clogs up in the filter, it can easily pollute the entire system. You may then have to incur repair and service expenses you had not planned for yet.