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Advance Heating and Cooling Blog

Welcome to our blog at Advance Heating and Cooling! We are excited to share our expertise in the world of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) with you.

 

 

As a trusted provider of HVAC services, we understand the importance of maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures throughout the year. Our team of skilled professionals provides top-quality installation, repair, and maintenance services to ensure that your HVAC system operates at its best. 

 

In our blogs, we will cover a wide range of topics related to HVAC systems, including tips for improving energy efficiency, common HVAC issues and how to address them, the latest trends in HVAC technology, and more. We are committed to providing you with helpful information that will assist you in making informed decisions about owning or purchasing an HVAC system

 

Our technicians live in the world of HVAC. We’ve sold and serviced hundreds of furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps and we’ve learned a lot of useful information along the way. This blog is our way to pass that knowledge on to you at no charge. If you have an idea for a topic you would like to see us talk about, send us an email.  

 

Our main goal is to help you maintain a comfortable indoor environment and save money on your energy bills. We highly believe that an informed customer is a satisfied customer, and we work hard to give you the knowledge you need to make smart decisions about your HVAC systems. 

Thank you for joining us on this journey, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge with you.

HVAC Safety: Carbon Monoxide Awareness 

Person pressing button on carbon monoxide detector.

 

Most people have heard of carbon monoxide and know that it is dangerous – but for many, their knowledge stops there. 

 

So what is carbon monoxide exactly? 

 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless and colorless gas that presents significant health issues to people exposed to it. 

 

In this blog, we’re talking about carbon monoxide awareness, from how it is produced and its common sources to why it is so dangerous and the signs of a carbon monoxide leak. Of course, we also detail what you should do if carbon monoxide detectors go off in your home – and how to prevent a leak from happening in the first place! 

 

Do not hesitate to reach out for any of your HVAC needs, including carbon monoxide detector installation as well as furnace inspection and repairs. Our experienced team of HVAC technicians is one phone call or email away, so don’t be afraid to reach out

 

 

How is Carbon Monoxide Produced? 

Carbon monoxide is produced by burning fuels like natural gas, wood, gasoline, charcoal, kerosene, and oil.

 

Thus, common sources of carbon monoxide in the average home include: 

  • wood fireplaces, 
  • vehicle fumes, 
  • charcoal grills, 
  • space heaters, and 
  • gas appliances (including ovens, water heaters, and dryers). 

 

Furnaces, including those run by gas, oil, and coal, can also generate carbon monoxide in the home. 

 

 

Why Carbon Monoxide Is Dangerous 

Carbon monoxide is dangerous because of the health problems it can cause when you breathe it in. The first major effect is that CO reduces the ability of your blood to carry oxygen throughout your body.

 

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: 

  • headache, 
  • nausea, 
  • confusion, 
  • dizziness, 
  • disorientation, 
  • vomiting, 
  • poor coordination, and 
  • vision issues. 

 

Many of these symptoms can mimic the common cold or flu, which is a major reason why carbon monoxide poisoning is so dangerous: it can go undetected to the point of causing lasting health issues, which include a loss of consciousness as well as death. 

 

 

Signs of a Carbon Monoxide Leak 

Everyone should have a carbon monoxide detector on every floor in their home. While carbon monoxide detectors can be life-saving, it is also crucial for everyone to be aware of the signs there may be a carbon monoxide leak in their home.  

 

Woman laying on couch, in pain, touching head.

 

Being aware of these signs can help catch a leak early and allow for intervention – which is also life-saving. 

 

Here are 5 signs of a carbon monoxide leak you should be aware of: 

 

Smelly Air 

The air will often smell weird if there is a carbon monoxide leak in your home. This smell does not stem from the carbon monoxide itself, but rather the other exhaust gases that may be accompanying it. Inside your home, it may smell as if something is burning – a common sign the leak is coming from a gas appliance. The smell of traffic or car exhaust can also indicate a carbon monoxide leak.   

 

Stains Around Appliances 

If a gas line in your home is leaking, you may notice yellow or brown coloured stains around your gas appliances. The gas lines can leak if they are faulty, were poorly installed, are not receiving regular maintenance, and simply due to regular wear and tear.  

 

When it comes to gas furnaces, this is one of the major reasons to engage in regular furnace maintenance to head off any potential issues before they can result in a harmful carbon monoxide leak in your home. 

 

Pilot Light Issues 

If one of your gas appliances, including your furnace, uses a pilot light, pay close attention to it. A pilot light that frequently goes out without a clear explanation may indicate there is a carbon monoxide leak present. This is because the light burns off the small amount of carbon monoxide in the air, but if it is frequently out when you turn on your furnace, the gas can build up to dangerous levels. 

 

Increased Soot 

Gas appliances in the home, including furnaces, must have adequate ventilation. For quite a few homes, this ventilation comes in the form of a chimney. When it comes to identifying a potential carbon monoxide leak, look for increased soot in your chimney around the vents. Increased soot can indicate the ventilation is poor, which can cause carbon monoxide to build up in your home. 

 

Physical Symptoms 

Unfortunately, many individuals do not notice there is a carbon monoxide leak in their home until they are experiencing the physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.  

 

Remember, these symptoms can vary widely but are often classified as flu-like symptoms. If you begin experiencing them without another clear explanation, especially if any of the other signs of a carbon monoxide leak are present in your home, call in a specialist. 

 

 

What to Do If Carbon Monoxide Detectors Go Off 

If your carbon monoxide detectors happen to start going off, it is crucial to act quickly. In fact, you should have a clear plan in place on what you will do if such a situation arises.  

 

Here are details on the steps you should take if your carbon monoxide detectors go off: 

 

  1. Evacuate: The very first thing you need to do is get out of your home as quickly as possible – be sure to alert others in your home to do the same. 
  2. Call Fire Department: When you are outside, call your local fire department and let them know your carbon monoxide detectors have gone off and you are outside your home. 
  3. Call An HVAC Professional: When the fire department has averted the immediate danger to you, you should also consider placing a call to an HVAC professional. This is especially important if the leak definitely came from your furnace, but even if that was not the case, now is also a good time to have your system inspected. 

 

While those are the steps you absolutely must take, there are also a couple things you may want to consider if you have time: 

 

  • Open Windows/Doors: On your way out of your home, open any doors or windows that are on your pathway out. Do not run around opening everything if it is going to significantly delay you in getting outside. 
  • Turn Off Appliances: Similar to opening doors and windows, if you are passing appliances, such as your furnace or gas stove, on your way out of your home, quickly turn them off. 

 

 

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Leaks for HVAC Safety 

While knowing the signs of a carbon monoxide leak is important, as is what to do if you detectors go off, there is something else to keep in mind: how to prevent carbon monoxide leaks in the first place. 

 

Here are details on 4 of the most important tips to prevent these leaks from occurring:   

 

Install and Inspect Carbon Monoxide Detectors 

Every level of your home should have a carbon monoxide detector if it does not already. In addition to having these professionally installed, you should also ensure your detectors are inspected regularly – many subscribe to annual inspections as a good standard of practice. 

 

Inspect Furnace Every Year 

As your furnace can be a potential source of carbon monoxide, you should be sure to schedule an annual furnace inspection from a licensed technician. These appointments help identify necessary maintenance activities, keep the furnace clean, and provide an indicator on when a furnace replacement may be needed. 

 

Prevent Backdrafts 

Backdrafts, often the result of negative pressure (such as by two appliances being close together and a fan running at the same time) can be a source of carbon monoxide leaks. Thus, preventing a leak because of a backdraft means stopping the backdraft from occurring in the first place.  

 

The solution, however, varies – and often merits calling a professional for an evaluation. However, options include creating a room with both high and low ventilation as well as replacing an old furnace with a new one, specifically a sealed combustion model. 

 

Inspect Vents Regularly 

Inspect your vents, including the vent pipes, regularly to detect potential damage or inefficiency issues. This is also a good time to clean your vents to ensure everything is working properly. If you are unsure about what to look for, or are otherwise not confident about inspecting or cleaning your vents, call an HVAC professional and book an appointment. 

 

 

When to Call an HVAC Professional 

When it comes to carbon monoxide awareness and safety, one of the best tools available is an HVAC professional. Licensed HVAC technicians can conduct furnace inspections and repairs, monitor ventilation systems, and similar activities to help reduce the risk of a dangerous carbon monoxide leak occurring. Make sure you have at least an annual inspection and maintenance appointment to keep your systems in top condition. 

 

Woman sitting at desk, on a phone call.

 

Do not hesitate to reach out for any of your HVAC needs, including carbon monoxide detector installation as well as furnace inspection and repairs. Our experienced team of HVAC technicians is one phone call or email away, so don’t be afraid to reach out

 

 

 

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HVAC Ventilation Options for Fresh Indoor Air

Woman stretching on yoga mat in living room.

 

Did you know that, on average, we spend 90% of our time indoors?

 

Now, think about this: the air inside our homes can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Take a deep breath. What have you just inhaled?

 

Indoor air quality isn't just about comfort — it's about your health and the well-being of your loved ones. Poor indoor air quality can lead to a range of health problems, including allergies, asthma, and even more severe respiratory illnesses. It can also affect your sleep quality, energy levels, and overall productivity.

 

It's time to take the air you breathe indoors seriously.

 

In this blog post, we’ll be taking a closer look at HVAC ventilation options to transform the air you breathe indoors. We'll share more about natural ventilation strategies, mechanical ventilation systems like HRV and ERV, the role of air filtration, and the benefits of whole-house ventilation.

 

We understand how this can seem daunting and overwhelming at best. We are here to support you through this process. Our highly skilled team is one phone call or email away, so don’t be afraid to reach out for any of your HVAC needs.

 

 

What is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the condition or purity of the air inside buildings and structures, particularly in residential homes and workplaces. It includes various factors, including the presence of pollutants, the balance of humidity, temperature, and other indoor environmental elements.

 

 

Factors Affecting Indoor Air Quality

There are many factors that can affect indoor air quality. Some of them include:

  • Pollutants: IAQ is greatly influenced by the presence of pollutants such as dust, pet dander, pollen, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), tobacco smoke, and more. These pollutants can originate from both indoor and outdoor sources.
  • Humidity: The moisture content in the air plays a critical role in IAQ. High humidity levels can promote mold and mildew growth, while low humidity can lead to discomfort, dryness, and respiratory issues.
  • Temperature: Indoor temperature affects both comfort and IAQ. Extreme temperatures can exacerbate the release of certain pollutants, impact humidity levels, and affect occupant well-being.

 

 

Health Implications of Poor Indoor Air Quality

Prolonged exposure to poor indoor air quality can lead to a range of adverse health effects, including respiratory problems, allergies, cardiovascular issues, and even long-term chronic illnesses, creating a significant risk to the well-being of occupants.

 

Man laying on couch, holding his head and tissues.

 

Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Respiratory Issues: Poor IAQ can lead to or worsen respiratory problems, including allergies, asthma, bronchitis, and other lung conditions.
  • Allergies and Irritation: Dust mites, mold, pet dander, and pollen can trigger allergies and irritate the eyes, nose, and throat.
  • Long-term Health Risks: Prolonged exposure to indoor air pollutants has been linked to more severe health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and even cognitive impairment.
  • Reduced Productivity: In workplaces with poor IAQ, employees may experience reduced cognitive function, fatigue, and decreased productivity.

 

 

Types of HVAC Ventilation Options

Now, let’s explore the various HVAC ventilation options available.

 

Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation refers to the process of using natural elements like wind and temperature differences to bring fresh outdoor air into a building and remove stale indoor air. The benefits of natural ventilation include energy savings, reduced reliance on mechanical systems, and the introduction of fresh outdoor air, which can improve indoor air quality.

 

Strategies for Natural Ventilation
  • Cross-ventilation: Opening windows on opposite sides of a building to allow for air circulation.
  • Stack ventilation: Utilizing the natural tendency of warm air to rise and escape through upper-level openings, drawing in cooler air from below.
  • Louvers and vents: Installing adjustable openings or vents to control the flow of outdoor air.

 

Mechanical Ventilation

Mechanical ventilation involves the use of mechanical systems (fans, ducts) to exchange indoor and outdoor air. Benefits include precise control over air exchange rates, improved air quality, and the ability to filter incoming air.

 

Types of Mechanical Ventilation Systems
  • Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV): HRVs transfer heat between incoming and outgoing air streams, maintaining indoor temperature while exchanging air. They are effective in cold climates.
  • Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV): ERVs not only transfer heat but also moisture, helping to maintain balanced humidity levels. They are suitable for climates with varying temperature and humidity.

 

Air Filtration Systems

Air filters are crucial components of HVAC systems that capture and remove airborne particles and pollutants from the incoming air. They help reduce allergens, dust, bacteria, and other contaminants, improving IAQ.

 

Different Types of Air Filters
  • High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters: These are highly effective at capturing small particles, including allergens and some viruses.
  • Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) filters: MERV ratings indicate the filter's efficiency in capturing particles. Higher MERV ratings denote better filtration.

 

Whole-House Ventilation Systems

Whole-house ventilation systems provide controlled and balanced air exchange throughout the entire building, ensuring fresh air in all rooms. Advantages include consistent air quality, reduced indoor humidity, and improved overall comfort.

 

Installation and Maintenance Considerations
  • Installation: Whole-house ventilation systems require professional installation to ensure proper functioning and air distribution.
  • Maintenance: Regular cleaning and filter replacement are essential for maintaining the efficiency and effectiveness of these systems.

 

 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Ventilation Options

Consider the following factors when choosing the right ventilation options for your specific circumstances. Taking them into account will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your building's size, climate, energy efficiency goals, and budget constraints.

 

Building Size and Layout

Building size: Consider the size of your home or commercial space. Larger buildings may require more robust ventilation systems to ensure adequate air exchange.

 

Layout: Evaluate the layout of your space, including the number of rooms and their accessibility. Some ventilation options may be more suitable for open floor plans, while others work well in compartmentalized spaces.

 

Climate and Outdoor Air Quality

Climate: The local climate plays a significant role in ventilation needs. In hot and humid climates, you may need strategies that help control indoor humidity, while in cold climates, heat recovery options like HRVs may be preferred.

 

Outdoor air quality: Assess the outdoor air quality in your area. If outdoor air is heavily polluted, you may need more robust filtration or ventilation solutions to ensure the air brought indoors is clean.

 

Energy Efficiency

Consider the energy efficiency of ventilation options. Some systems, like HRVs and ERVs, can recover heat or energy from outgoing air, reducing overall energy consumption.

 

Look for energy-efficient models and systems that meet your ventilation needs without significantly increasing your energy bills.

 

Budget Considerations

Determine your budget for ventilation improvements. Some ventilation systems can be more expensive, but they may offer long-term energy savings and improved air quality. When determining your budget, be sure to factor in installation costs, maintenance expenses, and any potential rebates or incentives available for energy-efficient ventilation systems.

 

 

Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality with HVAC Ventilation

 

Regular Maintenance and Filter Replacement

  • Schedule routine maintenance for your HVAC system to ensure it operates efficiently and effectively.
  • Replace air filters as recommended by the manufacturer or HVAC professional to prevent clogs and maintain air quality.

 

Regular maintenance can also identify and address issues such as mold growth, leaks, or malfunctioning components that can impact IAQ.

 

Monitoring IAQ with Sensors

 

Woman on phone monitoring indoor air quality.

 

  • Invest in indoor air quality (IAQ) sensors or monitors that provide real-time data on air quality parameters.
  • IAQ sensors can measure factors like humidity levels, temperature, carbon dioxide (CO2), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulate matter.

 

Monitoring IAQ allows you to track changes over time and take corrective actions when needed, such as adjusting ventilation rates or activating air purification systems.

 

Combine Ventilation Options for Optimal Results

Consider combining different ventilation options for comprehensive air quality improvement.

 

For example, you can pair mechanical ventilation systems like HRVs or ERVs with air filtration systems to filter incoming air while recovering energy from exhaust air. Whole-house ventilation can complement natural ventilation strategies to ensure consistent air exchange throughout your space.

 

We understand how this can seem daunting and overwhelming at best. We are here to support you through this process. Our highly skilled team is one phone call or email away, so don’t be afraid to reach out for any of your HVAC needs.

 

 

 

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Author

Vincent Afrouzi
Name: Vincent Afrouzi
Posts: 56
Last Post: June 3, 2024