Archive for the ‘ February 2013 ’ Category

Exploring Geothermal Heating and Cooling

With people becoming more conscious of the environment, and wanting their dollars to go further, companies around the world are coming up with new technology to satisfy consumers. Enter Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems. These systems are both environmentally friendly and have lower operating costs.

Geothermal Systems use the Earth to heat and cool air in the home using a series of pipes, called a loop, which is installed below the surface of the ground. During the winter, Earth’s natural heat is collected as fluid circulates through the loop. It is then carried into the house where an electrical compressor and heat exchanger concentrate the Earth’s energy and releases it inside the home at higher temperatures. In summer, the home is not cooled by blowing in cold air, but rather drawing the heat from inside the home and cycles through the loop where it is absorbed by the Earth.

These systems also produce much less greenhouse gases than air conditioners, oil furnaces, and electric heating. The US Environmental Protection Agency has called ground source heat pumps the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available. Further, geothermal heat pumps are durable and require little maintenance. The underground piping for the system is often guaranteed to last 25 to 50 years. And with no outside condensing units like air conditioners, they are quieter to operate.

All in all, geothermal heating and cooling is a good way to go. While the upfront cost may be a little more, the long term benefits make up for it. By using a renewable resource (the Earth’s heat) and lowering greenhouse gas emissions, there is a much smaller environmental footprint left behind.

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Simple Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is critical in maintaining your health.  The source of pollutants can be broad and difficult to identify.  Signs that your home has poor air quality is if you notice a change in your health after moving into your new home or harsh odors can also be an identifier of poor indoor air quality.    When compared to outdoor air quality, indoor air quality can be 2-5 times more polluted which is alarming as people spend a majority of their time indoors.  

There are three categories for improving indoor air quality:

  • Source Control
  • Improved Ventilation, and
  • Air cleaners

Here are some simple steps that can be taken to improve the overall air quality in your home:

1.  Air out all furniture and carpet for 48 hours prior to bringing them indoors.

This is the time where the new items off gas the chemicals that they obtained while being manufactured.  The smell that comes from new furniture or carpet is the slow release of VOCs (Volatile organic compounds), it is best to prevent those chemicals from ever entering your home by letting the toxins escape from the fabric.

2. Install a carbon monoxide detector

Carbon monoxide levels can rise quickly in unventilated areas without anyone noticing as there are no signs of the colorless, odorless, toxic gas.  The carbon monoxide detectors need to be installed close to the bedrooms and there needs to be at least one on every level.  Gasses in a home such a carbon monoxide need to be carefully managed by making sure proper ventilation over stoves and fireplaces is in place to control the potentially hazardous gasses.

3. Prevent any Water From Entering Your Home

Check your roof, foundation and basement or crawlspace once a year to catch leaks or moisture problems and route water away from your home’s foundation.  Leaks need to be fixed in a timely fashion to avoid moisture from spreading and gaining momentum which could potentially lead to mold and other issues compromising the air quality in your home.   Ventilating the bathroom can also help draw out moisture in an otherwise damp environment.  Moisture can be a leading culprit for harboring bacteria, when higher humidity levels are reached your walls are liable to start producing condensation.  Damp environments are harmful as bacterial thrives in a wet environment and ultimately those toxins can be released into the air.

4. Proper selection and maintenance of your air filter

Filters are measured by (MERV) minimum-efficiency reporting value based on their efficiency to remove particles from the air.  It is recommended to start with a MERV 9 rated filter or better.  A general rule of thumb is to change your air filter every 30-60 days depending on the level of occupancy and if you have pets in your home.

We hope this information has been helpful in the quest for breathing clean healthy air in your home!

Thank you for reading.  You can find our website at: www.masterstch.com