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3 Unique Heating Options For A Tiny House

Posted by on 7:58 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Are you building a tiny house? It’s an increasingly popular movement. Tiny houses can be portable or fixed in one location, and are usually only a few hundred square feet in space. They appeal to people who want to reduce their living expenses, have no mortgage, live more simply, and reduce their impact on the environment. If you are in the process of building your tiny house, or are making up your architectural plans for doing so, one thing you’ll want to plan for in the design is heating. Fortunately, there are a number of unique ways to heat your tiny house that are both inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Here are of them. 1. Passive Solar Heating According to TinyHouseTalk.com, passive solar heating is a great option for people who really want to go green with everything possible in their tiny house. With passive solar heating, energy for heat is collected in the walls, windows, and floor of the house. It is used when needed and expelled when it is not needed Using passive solar heating involves orienting your house in the right direction. Therefore, you need to plan for this type of heating before starting construction on your house. One of the long sides of your house needs to be facing the south, and it should have a lot of windows. It also should not be covered in too much shade from trees in the winter. You need direct sunlight. During the summer, add shades to the south facing windows so they don’t collect too much sun energy. You will then need to equip your house with the things it needs to passively collect the sun’s energy without mechanical parts or electricity. Thermal insulation and specially glazed window glass for collecting and storing energy are the two most important things to include in your house design. 2. Radiant Floor Heating Radiant floor heating is good for both mobile and fixed tiny houses. You can easily get one of your local heating contractors to add the appropriate tubing, heating coils, and insulation under your house to get the heat you need. If your house is fixed on a foundation, you need to get this done while the house is being built. For a mobile house on a trailer bed, the radiant floor heating can be added at any time. Radiant floor heating is very energy efficient. If you are connected to the grid, it will ensure your power bills stay low. If your house is mobile and you’re using a generator you won’t use too much fuel when you turn on the radiant heating. Because tiny houses are so small, you usually won’t need any other form of heating to keep your house toasty in cold weather. 3. Geothermal Heating Geothermal heating utilizes the natural heat of the earth to heat your home. Your house will need to be built over a geothermal hot spot, or in a place that imports geothermal heat, and will need to be in a fixed location instead of mobile. When building the house, get heating contractors to connect your home to the local geothermal energy supply by installing a geothermal heat pump. You will be using a green form of energy, as it doesn’t involve fossil fuels. Your power bills will be small,...

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Time For A New Furnace? How To Know For Sure

Posted by on 8:32 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Are things getting a little heated between you and your furnace? If it’s acting strange or your home seems to have lost its efficiency, it’s time to do something—either invest in a new furnace installation or put time and money into the needed repairs. But how do you know when it’s time for a new system? Since you don’t want to spend any more than you have to, here are the top three signs that it’s time to toss the tools aside and call in the pros for a new furnace installation. Your spouse is getting jealous of the time you spend with the furnace. There are always going to be easy, quick fixes for some furnaces that aren’t working. And they run the gamut from a digital thermostat that needs new batteries to dirty air filters obstructing air flow. There could even be brush or debris is blocking the unit outside if your system happens to have one. But if you’ve spent more time working on the heating system than you’ve spent with your own family, and it still isn’t working as it should, it may be time for a new unit. According to homeenergycenter.com, the most breakdowns usually happen the last two years of a furnace’s life.  Your furnace is old. Do you know how old your heating system is? Hopefully you do, but if it came with the house when you bought it, you may not be sure of its age, and you’ll have to slip into sleuth mode. Check the furnace for a sticker with a manufacturer’s date. If one isn’t present, document the serial number and use that to determine the age. A good rule of thumb is that the first few numbers indicate the week or month it was made, and the last two the year. For example, a serial number of 0294 may indicate the unit was made the second week of 1994. You might find other clues like tags with different service dates that you can use as an overall guideline. Most modern furnaces last anywhere from 15-25 years. But if your research uncovers evidence that your unit was installed before sliced bread was invented (or more than twenty years ago) it’s probably time for an upgrade. Your energy bills are draining your vacation fund. Everyone’s fuel bills will vary, depending on whether or not you have a gas or electric furnace, how many people you live with, and how well insulated the home is among other things. However, if you haven’t been through any major household changes, and the furnace is working harder to heat your home, you’re likely to see it reflected in a higher energy bill. Therefore, it’s time to make some decisions. The first thing to do is check your unit’s AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). The NRC (National Resources Canada) states that any furnace manufactured after December 23, 2009 must have an AFUE of at least 90%. What this means is that for every dollar you spend on your heating bill, only ten cents worth of energy can be lost through escaped heat—or 90% of what you spend must actually stay inside the home. Your unit should come with an assigned AFUE rating. But this number can dwindle, especially if it needs to be serviced, cleaned, or replaced. If...

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An Egg-Cellent Smelling Home: Understanding And Removing The Rotten Egg Smell In Your Drains

Posted by on 8:34 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

As a homeowner, you most likely want your house to be valuable, functional, and appealing. While an appealing house not only looks nice, it should also smell fresh and clean at all times. Unfortunately, certain areas of your home can develop foul odors that are challenging to remove. Due to possible buildup and gasses in your plumbing and septic systems, your drains may develop an unappealing odor. In many cases, this odor is similar to a rotten egg smell. While common for many homeowners, it can decrease the fresh, clean feel of your home. Using these egg-cellent tips, you will understand the rotten egg smell and learn the best removal options. Rotten Eggs 101 Before removing the smell from your drains, understanding what the odor is can be helpful. To get started, there are no eggs rotting in your drains. The rotten egg smell is actually hydrogen sulfide, a colorless gas that is most likely present in your water. Unfortunately, this gas is not only smelly, but can also corrode metal pipes. If left unrepaired, the corrosion will lead to leaks and expensive repairs. Water Testing When you first notice the rotten egg smell, test your water. Hire a water-testing specialist to determine exact levels of the hydrogen sulfide. If higher levels are noted, a water treatment specialist may be necessary for remove the gas and decrease the odor in your drains. In many cases, the hydrogen sulfide develops inside your water heater, which is the main source of water used in your home. Most water heaters contain a magnesium rod that protects its interior from corrosion. Unfortunately, when the hydrogen sulfide encounters the magnesium rod, the foul odor increases and flows into your drains. Plumbers in the area can replace the magnesium rod with an aluminum rod to reduce the odor in your drains. Odor Removal After treating the water and repairing any underlying plumbing issues, you can begin removing the drain odors. While there are numerous products on the market to clean and freshen up your drains, they contain toxic chemicals that are harsh on your plumbing and septic systems. To remove the rotten egg smell in a natural, safe manner, choose one of more of these ingredients: Baking Soda Commonly found in most pantries, baking soda is a great option to have in your arsenal of natural cleaning products. The sodium bicarbonate creates a carbonation, which helps dissolve away dirt and debris. In addition, it is an effective odor remover due to its deodorizing properties. Run your hot water for 30 seconds to rinse each smelly drain in your home. Sprinkle a few tablespoon of baking soda directly into the drain. Use a soft-bristled scrubbing brush to clean the interior opening of the drain. Allow it to soak for 10 minutes before rinsing with hot water. Vinegar You most likely have vinegar in your home, as well. While safe and gentle to use in your drains, this strong ingredient effectively removes odors and bacteria. Containing 5 percent acidic properties, vinegar is naturally antiviral and antibacterial, so it is a smart option for deodorizing and sanitizing your interior drains. Complete the following steps on each drain with a rotten egg smell: Boil a large pot of water on your stovetop. While the water is boiling, pour 1...

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A Little Spring Cleaning Goes A Long Way For Your A/C System

Posted by on 11:27 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Summer is just around the corner, so it makes perfect sense to take stock of your air conditioner’s current state. After a long winter, there’s plenty of spring cleaning to be done to get your A/C system ready to tackle warmer temperatures. Spring cleaning is all about taking care of those basic maintenance tasks that help improve your A/C system’s overall efficiency and performance. If you’re ready to dive in, here are a few tasks for air conditioner repair you can get started on: Change Your Air Filter It’s by far the simplest and most important of all the spring cleaning tasks on this list. Think of changing your air filter as an insurance policy for your A/C system – leaving a dirty air filter in place makes it more difficult for the air conditioner to draw the intake air it needs to function, creating excess wear and tear as the system works harder to cool your home. Experts recommend that you change or clean your air filter on a monthly basis, unless otherwise specified by your A/C system’s manufacturer. Some manufactures go by a three-month interval, depending on the type of air filter used. As you choose your next air filter, you want to be sure you pick the correct size and type for your system. An ill-fitting air filter can cause bypass leaks, while a filter that offers extraordinarily high levels of filtration may also unnecessarily block airflow due to its design. Clean the Air Registers You’d be surprised at the amount of dust and debris that’s left behind as air passes through the registers. For this reason, it’s a good idea to remove and thoroughly clean each and every air register in your home. Not only will this prevent airborne contaminants from migrating further into your home, but it also improves overall airflow. You should also take the time to vacuum and wipe down the area immediately around the registers. Clean and Patch the Ductwork as Needed It’s not every day that you get a chance to check your ductwork for leaks and other issues. You should take this moment to inspect your ducts, patching up gaps, cracks and minor leaks in the ductwork as you go along. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to inspect all of your ductwork due to space constraints, so just complete as much as you can. You’ll also want to give the insides of your ductwork a thorough cleaning. Unfortunately, there’s only so much a handy shop vacuum can do – instead, it’s up to your technician to clean the ducts, using the proper equipment and techniques.   Get Rid of Debris Around Both Outdoor Cabinet It’s common for leaves, twigs and vegetation to pile up around the bottom of a central A/C system’s outdoor cabinet. Given that the condenser coil within gets its air from the bottom of the cabinet, it’s important to keep that area clear of any potential obstructions. In addition, you should hose down the condenser coil periodically to remove leaves and other debris that fell in through the top of the unit. Clean the Coils Over time, dust and debris can accumulate on the evaporator coil located within the A/C system’s indoor cabinet. The coil’s dark and damp confines also provide an ideal place...

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A Guide For Giving Your Furnace A Well-Needed Summer Break

Posted by on 10:08 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Throughout the winter, your furnace has been a reliable and dependable source of warmth and comfort. But with warmer temperatures on the way, it’s time to think about how to best prepare your furnace for a season of dormancy. The following offers a few good pointers for giving your furnace a well-deserved rest, especially after a season of hard work. Going Offline Depending on your area’s climate, there’s a good chance that you won’t need the reliable and effective heat that your furnace offers. With that in mind, you may want to consider shutting down your furnace in order to save a few bucks on your overall energy consumption. Completely shutting down your furnace could save you as much as $60 per year in energy costs, depending on fuel costs and the type of furnace you own. Turn off the electricity – First, make sure the thermostat isn’t set on “heat” and then shut off the furnace’s main power. Most furnaces feature a simple switch (usually an improvised light switch) you can use to accomplish this task. If not, go to the circuit breaker panel and identify the breaker connected to the furnace’s main power. Turn off the gas – To shut off the pilot light, locate the red pilot control knob and turn it to the “off” position. On some furnaces, you’ll have to push the button inward as you turn it. Keep in mind that some systems have hot surface igniters in place of pilot lights. Next, find the gas control switch and turn it towards the “off” position to prevent leaks while your system lies dormant. If you have an oil-fired furnace, then you’ll want to set the pilot to burn on its lowest setting instead of turning it all the way off. Some oil-fired furnaces tend to be more susceptible to condensation and corrosion when the pilot light is shut off, plus you run the risk of voiding your oil furnace’s warranty. Now is the Time for Maintenance With your furnace finally out of commission for the time being, now is as good a time as any to catch up on maintenance. The first thing you’ll want to do is clean or replace the furnace’s air filter. Using a dirty air filter lowers your furnace’s overall performance and creates excess wear and tear while raising fuel consumption. You’ll also want to remove all of the dust and debris that’s accumulated in and around the air vents, as well as around the furnace itself. If you’re particularly handy with a screwdriver and ratchet set, then you’ll want to remove and clean the furnace blower. Pay close attention as you clean each of the blower’s fan blades – you’ll want to use a soft brush to avoid damaging the fragile blades. There are plenty of other maintenance tasks you can perform on your own: If your furnace is equipped with a belt-driven blower, inspect the belt for signs of wear and tear and replace as necessary. If your ducts have adjustable dampers, make sure these are set to their summer setting. Use compressed air to dust off the pilot or the hot surface igniter. Lubricate your furnace’s blower motor according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Taking Care of Your Ductwork You should also consider having your furnace technician...

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