Moisture in your home comes from a variety of places and sometimes leads to mold. The age of your home can play a big role in why moisture and resultant mold is present. Depending on the age of your home, you could experience mold in different areas of your home for different reasons. To help you learn more about mold before you call an HVAC tech, Raymond Plumbing provides details on the different mold problems that are prevalent in newer and older homes below.
Mold in Newer Homes
Air carries mold spores and when these spores find water they land and populate the area. An article on The Green Building Advisor notes newer homes may be tighter with fewer leaks to the outside; therefore, more spores can seek out pooling moisture inside the home.
Another issue with newer homes is the materials builders use are much more refined than the materials of older buildings. Mold is attracted to the sugar (or cellulose) found in dead plants and wood particles, which can also be found in processed wood materials like oriented strand board (OSB), wood sheathing and drywall covered with paper.
Mold in Older Homes
An older home may have older wood, but mold problems can still appear due to a water leak in a basement, from deteriorating flashing on a chimney or a leak in the roof. Another factor that can contribute to mold growth is the person living in the home. Long showers in unventilated bathrooms, a lot of cooking in a kitchen with no exhaust fan or using an indoor hot tub can all contribute to mold growth. You can alleviate the problem with exhaust fans and you can also stop mold in its tracks with an ultraviolet (UV) lamp by your furnace and air conditioner coils.
The first step to avoiding and eliminating mold is to schedule a heater performance check with one of our Lorain County HVAC techs. Our HVAC specialists can add a UV lamp to the furnace and air conditioner to keep the mold out of the air and out of your home all year. Visit our website today to set up your appointment and receive $15 off the cost of this valuable service.
Photo Credit: Gabriel Esler
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently commented on a new conservation effort called “energy-water nexus,” supporting the idea that water utilities and power utilities have the same goals–to conserve and reduce expenses associated with energy and water distribution. Energy-water nexus and energy efficiency programs alike present opportunities to save and reap a host of benefits.
Working Together on Energy Efficiency
One challenge for water utilities programs is water conservation, in addition to large expenses for cleaning, filtering and transporting water to residences and businesses. On the other hand, power companies struggle with consumers’ constant need for power, which increases fuel costs and power infrastructure.
If these programs can work together to service the same consumers, there are heaps of potential savings for both utilities. For example, energy and water suppliers can work together to promote conservation by making programs available to their customers. Also, companies could set up dual water and energy audits to educate customers on how water and energy conservation are related.
Utilities providers are not the only groups who can team up. Visit our website and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Lorain County HVAC technicians. We can install a new, more efficient water heater and low-flow faucets and shower heads. These improvements can help you use less water and less energy and help you save on both utility bills.
Photo Credit:Flood G.
A New York Times article from the beginning of this year looked at how different cultures define comfort. They looked at, of all things, the effect of a siesta ban on air conditioning in Mexico. The ban began in 1999 to reflect the hours that other cultures do their work (9 to 5). Before then, government and other workers would go home during the hottest part of the afternoon to eat and nap and then return to work later when it was cooler.
Exposure to working without the siesta saw an 80 percent increase in the use of air conditioners in the country. Apparently people began leaving air conditioners on so their home was cool when they arrived, which was now no longer after sundown when it is cooler and less of a drain on the electric grid. Like other cultures Mexico began dealing with comfort in their own way.
In Norway it is customary to keep your home well heated as a gesture of hospitality. In many homes the thermostat is not even lowered when the family goes to bed. This is completely opposite of life in Japan where families huddle around a small heater in one room and don’t have access to heat in other rooms.
How Do You Experience Temperature?
The Times contacted the ACEEE about this; their research showed that different people experience the same temperature differently. Culturally for sure, but in America even different people in the same house experience temperature differently. If that’s the case in your home, you may want to help get some help keeping things on an even keel this winter with help from our experienced Lorain County HVAC pros.
Drop by our website today and schedule a heater performance check while the weather is still warm and at the same time we can install a programmable thermostat. These two simple procedures will help reduce battles of turning the temperature up or down and help reduce your utility bills as the temperatures outside begin to drop.
The restaurant and grocery industries have spent a lot of time and money in keeping their food safe from spoilage. A recent industry whitepaper on the ACHR website tackles this subject, giving a homeowner some tips on what they can do at home on a smaller scale to avoid the same. It’s hot in the summer and you are probably quick to crank up the AC to help keep you cool but you may have forgotten to adjust your refrigerator for the warmer months to do the same for your food.
Check Your Fridge’s Temp
Research has found that milk kept in a refrigerator at 41 degrees will keep for about seven days; if the refrigerator is set at 45 degrees that same milk may only last three. Balance the cost of turning the refrigerator down a couple of degrees with how much food you end up throwing out and you see that a lower temperature can be cost effective.
Your refrigerator isn’t getting the same amount of openings and closings as a busy restaurant but power can drop at peak times during the summer and that can affect your food’s freshness. With this fact in mind, you should always check your food before using.
Check Your Fridge’s Coils
You should also keep the coils from gathering dust which can hurt the unit’s efficiency and performance. In restaurants workers place a bag over the coils and then blow air into the enclosed area to collect the dust. At home you can put a shop-vac on exhaust and blow the dust off the coils, then vacuum the debris up later – that way you won’t touch the coils and possibly damage them.
Another coil structure you want to keep clean is attached to your central air conditioner. Visit our website today and schedule an air conditioner performance check and our Lorain County HVAC pros can take care of this as part of the service. Our experienced techs can also install a UV lamp near the coil to kill germs and bacteria as an added health benefit to you and your family.
The time for spring cleaning may have ended with Memorial Day, but—with apologies to Neil Young—dust never sleeps. The Memorial Day weekend reminded us that we will be having many visitors over the summer, and Raymond Plumbing wants those visitors to enjoy themselves as if they were in their own home.
Things like pet dander and other particles summer brings, like pollen and dust, can be a problem for those with asthma and allergies. Check out our 10 Clean Air Tips for ideas on how combat these annoyances to healthy breathing.
Certainly the better the filter in your air conditioning system, the better your family members and visitors will feel. Our experienced Lorain County HVAC tech can place high performing filters, much better than those you can get at a big box store, in your A/C unit as part of our total system performance check.
Improve the Air Quality in Your Home
We can also help improve the overall air quality with a mechanical or electronic air cleaner. While either choice would increase the comfort level of your home, the electronic filtering systems are the better performers, as they will do more than fight airborne particles. They will cut down on the amount of dust you will be removing from furniture and hardwood floors.
You can even opt for the best solution and install a ventilation system, which is a highly efficient way to increase fresh air in your home. These units have excellent filtering systems and keep the air in your home fresh 365 days a year. The air they bring in is heated or cooled by the air being sent out, making for an efficient exchange that also freshens your indoor environment.
Visit our website for more information on all of these choices and to schedule a visit with one of our HVAC technicians. Having better, fresher air in your home and less dust to clean is a great way to enjoy the summer.
In 2011, Congress and the DOE passed a law that non-weatherized gas furnaces installed in 30 northern states must have an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating of 90 or more starting May 1, 2013. These units are highly efficient but do carry a higher cost.
Discussing Replacement Furnaces
HVAC contractors made customers aware of this date when discussing the replacement of their furnaces. Some encouraged customers to get a unit that will probably not make the grade after May 1. This may have been problematic financially or inconvenient to the homeowner though, and this has caused some friction between customers and installers. In April, the DOE said that since there has been a settlement to a legal challenge brought by the ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America), the APGA (American Gas Association,) and the HARDI (Heating Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors of America) to this law, they were not going to enforce the standard until the settlement is finalized.
The AHRI (Air-Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute) joined the fray by asking for, and getting, an official stay to enforcement until then. This ruling is about non-weatherized natural gas and propane burning units only. Non-weatherized units are those placed indoors - weatherized units, which are less efficient due in part because they are kept outside, are not a part of these court actions.
Since Ohio is one of the Northern States affected Lorain County HVAC contractors will have to continue to monitor this situation closely. Raymond Plumbing has a number of units that will comply with the standard as originally written and even have some rated as high as 96%AFUE.
Visit our website and schedule an appointment with one of our experts today to review all the money saving fuel efficient options we have available.
photo credit: Messiah Lutheran (Mechanicsville, VA)
The home improvement industry is expecting to boom this year as both new home building and older home retrofits and additions are being ordered by customers all over the country. You can tell this by the price of framing lumber and OSB (particle or wafer board), which is going up about 26% for the former and 80% for the latter this past year alone.
If you are building an addition, that construction material cost could be blunted by some things that can be installed to make the addition more energy efficient. One way to increase the efficiency is by choosing where the larger windows may be placed. South facing will get you more heat gain in the winter and the use of shades will keep that passive heat at bay during the summer.
More Options to Increase Energy Efficiency
A favorite item for many additions, the skylight, has been improved to make it more than just a show piece. Tubular skylights gather sunlight from the roof and transport it through a system of tubes that reflect light into a diffuser on the ceiling. This makes the light available but cuts down on heat gain in the summer. If you prefer the regular skylight, it should be no more than 10% in size compared to the room it is in as that too will reduce heat gain.
The ductless mini-split systems available today are so energy efficient that using one for an addition will save money and reduce cost, as there will be no ductwork to install. The new room(s) should also be insulated with the best R values available to again keep energy expenses to a minimum.
Contact our experienced Lorain County HAVC techs for more information on the ductless mini-splits and other items like ventilators. These highly efficient pieces of equipment can make your new additions the most comfortable rooms in the whole house.
photo credit: robertjosiah
The ventilation of the average home was simple enough before the oil crisis of the seventies. You need some fresh air to breathe but letting in that fresh air has started to get expensive. The seventies saw the beginning of the battle that still goes on today - improving the building envelope as best you can and keeping windows and doors closed tight. Insulation, caulk and weather stripping are the weapons of choice in this battle, but when it comes to ventilation these tools have some drawbacks.
The Green Building Advisor looked at super insulated homes recently and examined the need for better ventilation. The experts there revealed a few practical findings we’d like to share.
First, if you want the most effective way to both ventilate your home and lose as little heat as possible you will want an HRV (heat recovery ventilator). These systems take air in that it is heated by the warmer air the ventilator is sending out. An ERV (energy recovery ventilator) can do this plus exchange cooler air in the summer.
The coldest areas of the country tend to see the most savings for such systems and Lorain County would certainly be on that list. The savings in heating fuel costs can be reduced though by the extra electricity that the fan in the unit requires.
In some areas it could take as many as twenty years of accumulated savings in heating costs to offset the additional electricity cost and to see a return on your initial investment of an HRV. Still many customers like the idea of getting fresher air and not seeing the heat or AC sent out by an exhaust only ventilation system and going to waste.
Wondering if one of these systems might be able to save you money or make your home more comfortable? Visit our website and schedule an appointment with one of our Lorain County HVAC technicians to discuss your air quality options today. An HRV, ERV or ventilation system could all make your home more comfortable and our HVAC experts can help you pick the best one for your unique home situation.
The winter drive that ends with opening the garage door and getting out in relative warmth is a great convenience to a Lorain County resident. Your garage can be a place that does cost you money though if it isn’t properly insulated.
Sealing up of this part of the house has another benefit as well - you can keep carbon monoxide fumes (along with that gasoline and oil smell) from getting into the house. A blog on the Energy Vanguard website brings this point home along with some advice on how to accomplish sealing up this drafty space.
One item of particular interest when you see the picture of the garage ceiling is that there is some exposed ductwork that is most likely being used to warm an upstairs bedroom. First things first - the duct should be checked for leaks. In this case, since it is flex duct, the connections should be looked at carefully. Flex duct should be held in place by straps that do not interfere with air flow and there should be no crimps in it. Some builders like the versatility of flex duct but shoehorn it into some areas, bending it needlessly, which can hurt the efficiency of your heating system.
The solution to this insulation task was to blow foam insulation into that area holding the flex duct to seal it tight. Insulation could be placed below this area and drywall placed below that using the joists to hold drywall in place and thereby sealing the entire area off.
Building envelope improvements always work to help reduce energy costs. Another simple way to reduce costs would be to improve the unit that pushes the air through those ducts. Visit our website today and schedule an appointment for a heater performance check. We are currently offering $15.00 off the cost of this valuable service and our HVAC experts can inspect your ductwork while in your home to ensure everything is properly sealed and secured.
The federal tax credits that have been extended for the coming fiscal year are highest for those who have installed or will be installing “split systems” for air conditioning. The split system refers to the idea that there is a compressor that cools the air and then circulates it in the house while the outer unit sends the warm air into the atmosphere. Another split system, the heat pump, is also getting the larger credit of $300.
How the Heat Pump Works:
A heat pump can work the same as an air conditioner. It pulls the heat and humidity from the air in your home and expels it to the outside. In the winter it can reverse the process and take heat from the air or groundwater and send it through the ductwork to keep you warm.
These units require less energy than other heating systems, but they do have a back-up electric heater added for use in colder areas of the country. These systems do require a certain a level of efficiency to qualify for the credit. Our Lorain County HVAC technician can supply you with information on these products.
The good news is the government is going all the way back to 2009 when examining the systems that will qualify for a rebate. If, in 2009, the system you choose reached the highest efficiency score achievable for that type of unit in that year it will qualify. This can help to put some money back in your pocket in addition to the savings that you have enjoyed since the unit was originally installed.
Schedule a Service:
Visit our website to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our Lorain County HVAC experts to discuss the savings you can expect from one of these split systems. We have the latest information on all of the available tax credits and can help you choose the best unit for your home.