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Why Would I Consider a Whole Home Dehumidifier?

dehumidifier-installation

Today's homes are built for energy efficiency. In these tighter environments, there is moisture and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). These homes are given more efficient air conditioners (single speed) that cool the home quickly and do so while using less energy than older systems. However, systems that run less also remove less humidity. In order to get better dehumidification, we find ourselves over cooling our homes.

So many times, air conditioning is not the total answer to making your home healthier and more comfortable. You want to maintain relative humidity between 45-55% in the summertime. Every installation is different, and many times a whole house dehumidifier is the only solution. You can try to use portable dehumidifiers, however, these solutions only treat just a single room and portable dehumidifiers require you to do maintenance and empty the water reservoir regularly.

Using a Whole House Dehumidifier

When you use a whole house dehumidifier, you will remove up to 135 pints of moisture per day; that is the equivalent of up to 16 gallons!

In summary, your whole house dehumidifier can:

  1. Provide better comfort, and allow you to be more comfortable at higher temperatures. Also, because you will be more comfortable at a higher temperature, you can save money on your utility bills.
  2. Keeping your relative humidity below 55%, you reduce the possibility of bacteria, viruses, fungi, mold, and dust mites from becoming more active. It also can reduce the effects of allergic reactions.
  3. Preserve you home! Too much moisture can create expansion in wood and can lead to mold damage.
  4. Help in eliminating odors. How many times have you went into a room or your basement, and immediately were hit by the musty smell?

Personally, I've had wonderful success with a whole house dehumidifier in my home. I had some mold, and definitely had the musty smell issue in my basement. I installed an Aprilaire whole-home dehumidifier and my wife thought I was a genius. I was able to set my thermostat up 3 degrees higher and still be very comfortable this last summer, which saved us money!

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What is Fresh Air Ventilation?

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Today’s homes are tightly sealed and built with energy efficiency in mind. This type of construction is great for keeping your hot and cool air from seeping out of the house, but it traps all types of harmful pollutants and odors in your house that you may not realize. Fresh air ventilation is needed to help keep those harmful pollutants out of your home.

Proper ventilation can make your home healthier and more comfortable. When your heating and cooling system runs, it circulates all of the chemicals and pet odors as well; trapped air contains harmful chemicals that can threaten your family’s health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the concentration of pollutants can be up to 10 times greater inside your home than outside.

Common Household Contaminants

Commonly found contaminants in the home include:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Radon
  • Smoke
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

These contaminants can lead to several health issues like the following:.

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Chronic winter illness
  • Headaches

Not only do homes with insufficient fresh air ventilation see the above health issues increased, but we also see problems in the home itself including mold and moisture.

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Why Do I Need to Consider a Higher Efficiency System?

furnace-replacement

There are many benefits to consider when determining whether you should do an upgrade to your current heating and cooling system. The average life expectancy of a heating and cooling system is 15 to 20 years. However, as your system becomes older and service repairs are more frequent and expensive, evaluating the timeline for replacing becomes more cost effective.

SEER Ratios

SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio measures the efficiency of your system. When looking at the SEER ratios, the higher the ratio the more efficient your system. Units installed before 1992 were usually an 8 SEER, and units between 1992 and 2002 were typically 10 SEER. Today, depending on what zone you live, 13 SEER is the minimum available by Federal law (14 SEER for heat pumps).

Going Above the Minimum SEER Ratio

These are the reasons why you should consider installing or upgrading your heating and cooling system to an efficiency ratio above these minimums:

  • Incentives & Rebates— Many local utilities offer rebates for higher efficiency systems; a lot of the time the incentives cover the incremental cost of the higher efficiency systems. Also, manufacturers offer rebates and incentives for systems 16 SEER and above, along with 95% AFUE Gas Furnaces. Your professional heating and cooling contractor should be able to review these options with you, or you can also find what is available to you by going to www.dsireusa.org.
  • Lower Utility Costs— If you had an old 8 SEER system, and you replaces it with a new 16 SEER system, you could save up to 50% on your utility bill as it relates to your heating and cooling costs. Newer high efficiency systems translate into lower operating costs.
  • Humidity Control— Higher efficiency systems not only keep your temperature at a lower cost, but also can effectively control your humidity levels in the home. Modulating speeds (variable speed motors) run longer in lower speeds and pressures, which can provide better moisture removal. Remember, bigger is not better. If your air conditioning system is too big, it can adjust the temperature quickly, but does not allow for adequate humidity control (moisture removal). Plus, these systems can cost you more to operate, and you are not as comfortable.
  • Environmental— Higher efficiency systems consume less energy and leave a smaller environmental footprint. Fewer fossil fuels are used and the environment remains clean while you save money!

High efficiency systems offer immediate benefits, such as lower costs, more comfort, cleaner environment, new warranty, and reduced service costs. Your quality contractor should be able to review the benefits and savings for the many alternatives and options available.

Contact Our Experts For More Information

Contact our experts online or by calling us at 636-239-3581 for more information about replacing your heating or air conditioning system.

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You Can Save Money Upgrading Your Ac Systems

air-conditioners

Many people wait until they are in need of a major repair before considering the option to upgrade their heating and cooling system. It is important to remember that when the age of the HVAC equipment in your home is over 10 years and the warranty period has expired; the option for replacing the system should be considered along with the repair alternative.

Incentives on AC Upgrades

Many local utilities are incentivizing their customers to upgrade their systems early in order to save energy and manage their energy usage better. A poorly maintained system will cost you more money to operate and continue to cost you expensive repairs, especially if the efficiency of the system is 10SEER or below. For more information on efficiency ratings check out the Department of Energy.

Ameren of Missouri Rebates

The rebates and incentives that some local utilities are extending to customers can be in excess of $1800. For example in the Ameren of Missouri coverage area these rebates are available along with an efficiency analysis that will determine your system efficiency. The higher efficient systems can save you service costs and lower utility bills. When you consider the increasing cost of utilities and the long term savings on your energy costs, the upgrading of your heating and cooling system can be the better choice. Especially when you will also be getting a new extended warranty, and a reduction in service costs.

Contact Our Experts For More Information

Contact our experts online or by calling us at 636-239-3581 for more information about replacing your air conditioning system.

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How to Choose a Heating and Cooling Contractor

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There is a wide variety of qualified contractors in the marketplace for you to choose from when selecting a heating and cooling expert. The phrase “Buyer beware” is appropriate for this very situation. Directories like Angie's List and Yelp that allow customers to review contractors are becoming increasingly popular and with good reason. The goal of these sites is to assist you in selecting a quality contractor.

Let's discuss what you can do in order to secure a relationship with a quality heating and cooling professional:

1. How Long Have You Been In Business?

A business that has existed for more than 10 years is a good indicator of performing their business both lawfully and at high quality. If a business in the HVAC industry is not performing to industry standards they do not last long.

2. Can You Provide References?

Many quality contractors have customer survey results and comments available for your review either online or on request. You can rely on sites like Angie's List and Yelp but remember that negative reviews are more prevalent than positive reviews on public sites unless the company has specifically requested that their customers provide reviews. Ask your potential heating and cooling contractor to provide references of current customer that you can contact.

3. Are you Licensed, Bonded and Insured?

This question ensures that you are protected and provides you with some assurance that you have chosen a reputable contractor.

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Why Do I Need a Humidifier in My Home?

humidifier-installation

Humidifiers, when used in your home, solve multiple problems that can arise. The largest issue that arises is dry air. The specific issues with dry air in a home are numerous with the largest one being health reasons. You will also find structural damage and increase utility bills when dry air is prevalent.

Your Health
Health reasons are one of the large focus points for needing a humidifier. Low humidity can make it easier to catch and transmit cold and flu viruses. Cold dry air can aggravate asthma and static shock contributes to dry itchy skin.

Structural Damage
Second, dry air can lead to structural damage. It can cause walls, woodwork, and floors to crack. Most wood floor warranties do not cover damage caused by water and humidity changes.

Save Money
Third, there’s the impact it can have on your utility bills. Dry air can make you feel colder, and which then leads to your tendency to overheat your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for every degree you heat your home; you add 4 percent to your energy bill. So your whole house humidifier can save you money and make you feel warmer.

So let me summarize, a whole house humidifier can help control and reduce your health issues which in turn makes you feel healthier, protect your home from damage, and increase your comfort while saving you money.

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SHOULD I REPLACE MY FURNACE?

furnace-repair

The Department of Energy has the authority to develop minimum efficiency standards and can establish Regional Standards as a component of these regulatory changes. The northern states will be impacted by the changes that the DOE sets forth. In fact, the number of heating hours is more than doubled the cooling hours in this region.

Because of these standards, we recommend that you migrate your system to the 90%-efficient furnaces. These furnaces are labeled as a “condensing furnaces”. However, before you jump in and purchase a new condensing furnace, there are several items to consider before you replace your non-condensing furnace with the condensing type.

You should consider the following and how it may impact you:

1. Equipment Space Constraints –
Can the new furnace fit in the old one’s spot? How big is the new furnace going to be?

2. Exhaust Venting Requirements –
What all do you need to have to make the new one work? What’s the cost comparison?

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Why Should I Consider a Maintenance Membership for My Heating and Cooling System?

air_conditioner_2

We get this question asked by many friends, customers, and associates. Especially after this extreme heat this year, many people have indicated that next time they want to get their heating and cooling system checked out before the season starts. But, what do I look for? And how do I know I'm not getting "ripped off?

First let's talk about the benefits of a Maintenance Membership or Maintenance Agreement program. Here are a few of the key benefits that you will receive from your investment each season:

1.) A proper cleaning of your unit will improve efficiency and make sure your system is operating as it was designed. Dirty systems may be operating several efficiency points below the original manufacturer's specifications.
2.) Maintaining a clean filter is one of the most important items you can do. It keeps your system running efficiently. However, a clean and properly maintained filter improves air flow which contributes not only to system performance but also to your comfort. Dirt will reduce the life of your system.
3.) Systematic maintenance corrects minor problems before they grow into costly emergencies, and extends the life of your system.
4.) Many companies, like ours, offer priority service if you participate on their Maintenance Plans.
5.) Also, most companies offer discounts on any repairs if you are on a Maintenance Plan with their company.

You should remember a Maintenance Plan is an annual agreement, and a Maintenance Membership is a one-time event for each time you authorize it.

So, how do you know whether I am are getting a good deal and a reputable contractor? Let's look at pricing first. Many contractors will discount their plans throughout the year. However, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When a contractor offers a rate like $29.95, you need to remember "buyer beware". This level of pricing means you have a contractor that may purposely try to find a repair to increase the invoice even if it is not really needed. For example, they will add a pound or two of refrigerant to get the price up. Look for a price of around $75 to $90. You should be able to get  complete service at a good value in that price range. Note, if you have multiple systems, and/or additional system features like humidifiers, air cleaners, and UV lights, the price will be greater based on the number of systems and the components that are included.

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Whole House Humidifier Versus Portable Humidifiers

aprilaire-model-400-humidifier

I was walking through Target the other day and noticed a variety of portable humidifiers on the aisle. I am asking myself, how many people buy the portable humidifiers? In fact, how many people buy multiple portable humidifiers? In checking around, the quantity of these items sold in retail and big box stores was amazing.

Humidifiers are great. For portable humidifiers to get the same effect as a whole house model, you would have to have one positioned in every room. This would be much more expensive than having a whole house model. In order to maintain portable models, you have to constantly monitor them for water levels, and fill them routinely. And your maintenance becomes more with each unit. The easier and least costly alternative is the whole house version.

First, most every home needs a whole house humidifier. Today’s newer homes are tight, and when you're heating your home the result is drier air. Dry homes causes itchy skin and annoying “static”. However, what homeowners do not know is that dry air can be unhealthy and cause damage to your home. Viruses can flourish in low humidity conditions. Your mucous membrane dries out and can lead to a greater propensity of getting colds, or flu.

Your home suffers also. When air is not properly humidified it can cause wood furnishings, floors, and walls to separate. Musical instruments, such as a piano, can be damaged and become out of tune.

There is also one more advantage to a whole house humidifier – lower energy cost. If you maintain higher humidity in your home, it feels warmer. Thus, you can set your thermostat back a few degrees and save money without sacrificing comfort.

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ARE SPACE HEATERS A GOOD ALTERNATIVE FOR HEATING YOUR HOME?

space-heater

We read an article by John Hall on space heaters just recently, and it was only a day later that I had one of our customers ask me a question about the space heater that the Amish were promoting in the media. My honest answer is that space heaters are a solution, but not always the best solution. I then gave him several alternatives in order to save money on his utility bills.

Homeowners are always trying to save money when it comes to their heating and cooling system costs. The conventional alternatives have been to do one of the following:

  • Get a programmable thermostat and set back the temperature for multiple time periods through out the day.
  • Add insulation to your attic, crawl space, or walls.
  • Just set your thermostat at a lower setting and wear a sweater or grab a blanket.
  • Insulate your windows to create another barrier.
  • Seal around your doors and windows.

However, there has been a lot of advertising promoting space heaters as a viable means of lowering your heating and cooling costs.  These alternatives are fine for a small defined area but do not address whole home solutions. And if you buy multiple space heaters, you defeat the purpose of saving money.

By installing a whole house humidifier and keeping the home at the correct relative humidity (35% to 40%), you can feel warmer and lower your thermostat setting. This makes more sense to me, and the family is more comfortable.

Contact Our Experts For More Information

Contact our experts online or by calling us at 636-239-3581 for more information about humidifier installation.

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Heating & Cooling Advice: Carbon Monoxide Detection

carbon-monoxide-alarm-coalm

Year after year, carbon monoxide takes about 200 lives in America and puts about 5,000 more people in emergency rooms for treatment, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The risk is often unnecessary and can be prevented easily.

Lots of people wonder what carbon monoxide is and how it gets into homes in the first place. Basically, when carbon-based fuels such as gas, oil, kerosene or wood burn, they produce gases. When fuel combustion or burning isn't complete, carbon monoxide enters the air. The CPSC offers advice that carbon monoxide detectors are a great way to alert yourself or other family members to the presence of toxic gas in your residence.

If you or someone else in your family wake up at night with a strong headache or another family member is unreasonably difficult to wake up — get out of the house as fast as possible and seek medical help.

If you don’t want to risk it, or suffer unnecessarily, our experts recommend that you have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home! It’s easy.

Contact Our Experts For More Information

Contact our experts online or by calling us at 636-239-3581 for more information about setting your thermostat properly.

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Heating & Cooling Advice: Setting the Thermostat for Savings

nest-thermostat

There's an extremely simple way to reduce your heating and cooling costs without buying additional equipment. You can begin saving energy costs immediately when you set your thermostat properly.

It is normal to set an air conditioner thermostat between 75 and 80 degrees. It is normal to set the thermostat for your heating system between 68 and 72 degrees. You should always set your thermostat to the highest possible setting that is comfortable for you in the warmer months, and the lowest comfortable setting in the colder months. If you adjust your thermostat accordingly, you will maximize your energy savings.

How much money can you expect to save? On average, every 1 degree of temperature change is equal to about 10% energy savings. For example, changing your thermostat setting from 75 degrees to 76 degrees in the summer could result in about a 10% savings on your cooling costs.

Contact Our Experts For More Information

Contact our experts online or by calling us at 636-239-3581 for more information about setting your thermostat properly.

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What is Geothermal Heating and Cooling and How Does it Work?

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Looking for ideas on how your home energy costs? Want to explore green energy options? Lots of people don’t even know what geothermal heating and cooling system are or how they work. Here's a simple explanation

The Earth collects about 50% of the sun's energy and remains a constant temperature of 50°F to 70°F depending on the geographic location. A system that utilizes geothermal energy, can use this constant temperature to offer you significant savings whenever you are trying to heat and cool your home.

What many individuals don't realize is that it is possible to save as much as 60% of their energy costs when they compare them against traditional heating and cooling (HVAC) systems. There is no flame, no flue, no odors, and no loud outdoor equipment. A single compact unit can be used as a hot water heating system as well as for heating and air conditioning your home.

Contact Our Experts For More Information

Contact our experts for more information about geothermal heating. Call us at 636-239-3581 to ask about our geothermal heating systems.

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How To Reduce Indoor Air Pollutants & Improve Indoor Air Quality

aprilaire-model-3310-air-purifier

How To Reduce Indoor Air Pollutants & Improve Indoor Air Quality

Want to maximize indoor air quality and reduce the indoor air pollutants in your home?

A high-efficiency air cleaner might help. You can eliminate as much as 99% of the pollen and spores that find their way into your home through your heating and cooling system. You can also eliminate a great deal of the household dust, dirt, smoke, and other air pollutants in your HVAC system. Your indoor air will become cleaner and fresher while reducing the allergens and dust that circulate throughout your house.

If you use a whole house humidifier, you can drastically reduce the annoying discomfort of dry indoor air. A good humidifier works to reduce itchy skin, scratchy throats, static electricity, and damage to your furnishings and woodwork.

One thing that most people don’t realize is this. Since humid air feels warmer than dry air, you do not have to set the thermostat as high to feel the comfort you want. A lower thermostat setting will reduce the costs of your energy bill.

Contact Our Experts For More Information

Contact our experts for more information about controlling the air quality inside of your home. Call us at 636-239-3581 to ask about our air filtration and humidity control systems.

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