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Archive for November, 2009

9
Nov

A zoning system is meant to improve many of the comfort issues you experience while also improving energy efficiency.  The design of some homes may cause challenges with comfortably heating/cooling certain rooms or even entire floors.  Examples may be rooms above garages, areas on concrete slabs or above crawl spaces, rooms with vaulted ceilings, sunrooms, etc.  These scenarios inherently create unique challenges in maintaining even, comfortable temperatures throughout your home.

A basic comfort system will overcompensate for temperature variances in your home by pushing conditioned air throughout your entire home, even those areas that don’t need it.  The result – uneven temperatures and increased energy bills. That’s where the zoning system comes in.

A zoning system consists of a control, automatic motorized dampers and temperature sensors working in conjunction with your comfort system.  The dampers are placed inside the supply ducts to control the airflow to specific areas of your home.  The temperature sensors are located in the separate zones of your home.  It’s similar to having a separate thermostat in each area communicating with your comfort system allowing each zone to be heated and cooled independently.

When any of the zones are calling for heat/cooling (based on your desired set point at your thermostat), the thermostat brings on your comfort system.  The zone control determines which zones are in need of conditioning based on the temperature sensors in each zone.  The dampers are automatically closed in the supply lines to those zones which do not need conditioning and opened in those that do need heating/cooling.

The zoning system allows for you to only heat/cool those areas which need it! This allows you to enjoy more comfortable, even temperatures throughout your home.  Because your system is only delivering conditioned air to the necessary areas, energy consumption is decreased.  Your system operates much more efficiently saving you money on your energy bills.

Unfortunately, zoning systems can’t be installed in every home.  The duct design in your home must be fabricated in a manner which allows for the appropriate zones.  The supply lines must be accessible in order to install the zone dampers, as well. A Comfort Consultant can easily inspect your system to determine whether the zoning system would be right for your home.

Category : Air Conditioning | Heating | Blog
9
Nov

Have you ever considered whether or not you need a whole house humidifier? A humidifier might be a great addition to your whole home comfort system if you:

  • Find yourself zapped by static shock
  • Wake up in the morning with a sore throat, chapped lips or just feeling dry all over
  • Notice cracking in your wood furniture, floors or drywall

You may notice that these issues become worse in the winter. Your heating system adds to these humidity-related problems because the process of heating the air removes moisture. A whole house humidifier can be installed on your heating system to add moisture to the warm air and deliver it through the duct system to your entire home, making you and your family more comfortable.

Even better, a whole house humidifier can actually save you money. A home with higher humidity will feel warmer, allowing you to be more comfortable at lower temperatures. I’m sure you’re familiar with this concept from the weather we experience in Maryland in the summer – as they say, it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity that makes our Maryland summers so sweltering.

Over the years, we’ve been to many homes in Rockville, Germantown, Gaithersburg and other cities throughout Montgomery County where our customers have humidifiers, but they feel as though their home’s air is still too dry. We have found that there are two major obstacles that can diminish a humidifier’s effectiveness:

Problem: Your Heating System. Humidifiers make your home more comfortable by adding moisture to the air. However, humidifiers only work when your heating system is actually running, so you’re only adding moisture when your furnace or heat pump is on. Most systems only run a fraction of the time, and even less if they’re oversized, as many older units are.

Solution: Variable speed furnaces and heat pumps can improve your humidifier’s performance. These units operate on lower settings most of the time, which means they run for a longer period of time to achieve the same effect. This allows more time for your system to add humidity to the conditioned air, and also allows you to run the fan on lower speeds. The lower speed lets you to run your fan continuously with the humidifier, providing additional humidification without requiring the system to operate in heating mode.

Problem: Air Filtration. Your home needs to constantly exchange fresh air from the outside to be healthy. However, we have found that most homes let in far too much air. An average healthy home requires 5-7 complete air exchanges each day in which the air inside your home is totally replaced with fresh air. We’ve measured homes with more than twice that amount! That means the air inside your home is being humidified, conditioned, and then escaping to the outside. The humidity that you have added is being lost outside and your humidifier is unable to keep up with the drier outside air. Not to mention all the money you’re wasting air conditioning the outdoors!

Solution: At GAC Cooling & Heating, we now suggest we analyze any home before installing a humidifier. We want to look at the windows, doors and other places where air can infiltrate into your home.  With this information, we can determine whether the humidifier will perform as it should. We can also point out areas where simple improvements like weather stripping or insulating your duct work can be made to decrease the amount of infiltration to the home.

If you’re interested in more information about how you and your family can stay healthier and more comfortable year-round with a whole home humidifier, contact us at 301.926.3253.

Category : Heating | Humidifier | Blog