Monday, July 29, 2013

Breathe Easy With Clean Air At Home

     More and more we are hearing about the importance of clean air in our homes. Part of the work of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to promote and insure clean air in our homes, cities, and states. It is a well known fact that often there are more pollutants IN our homes, than those outside our homes. It is also well known that millions of people suffer daily with asthma, pulmonary lung disease, allergies, hay fever, and reactions to mold, mildew and dust. What is a person to do to have clean air in their homes?

     We can't live in a bubble, so the best thing we can do is to first, eliminate as many of the products from our homes that cause irritation to our lungs. Things like perfumes, chemical cleaning compounds, pesticides, and the like. Even carpet can be a host home for many airborne allergens and dust. Personally, I like carpet. Living in the Boise, Treasure Valley of Idaho, carpet feels really nice on a cold winter morning. So for me, getting rid of my carpet is not going to work. In the summer we live outdoors as much as we do indoors so the doors are being opened and closed and that allows more pollutants into our home.
     What I can suggest, and what I am using, is a 'whole home' electronic air cleaner.
These units install right in the return air duct of your central heating and cooling system. There are some units on the market like, Trane CleanEffects, that will purify the air down to .01 microns. This will scrub the air of 99.98% of mold, mildew, influenza, allergens and the like.
     A good air purifier should be at least a three stage system, including a pre-filter that will pick up most dust, lint, pet hair, & etc. The second stage is usually the electronic part in which the atoms are changed to attract pollen and other allergens. The third stage generally consists of specially manufactured filter material that filter out the microscopic bacteria and dangerous influenza. At the same time as these filters are working, your system delivers clean, purified air to your home. A quality system like Trane CleanEffects does not require purchasing new filters for up to ten years. The filters can be vacuumed, washed, and replaced.
     Some folks like to use small portable air cleaners but, frankly, these do not perform as well as a whole house unit in delivering clean air. Plus, they are really only good for a single room or area. Others use what are called "HEPA" filters and 4" pleated filters in their furnace, and these are good, but again. they do not capture 99.98% of pollutants and they do not capture influenza virus. So, to breathe easy at home. To save money by not going to the doctor so much. To ease up on your purchase of over-the-counter allergy medication and perscription medication. Invest that saved money in a whole-home air cleaning system. For more information, check my other blogs at or go to our website at

What Size HVAC System Do I Need?

@comfortguyjerry had an interesting sales call this week here in the Boise, Idaho valley, and I thought it was important enough to blog about it. It has to do with the size, or tonnage of an air conditioning unit you need for your home.
     This gentleman, called our service center and wanted a quote on a 3 ton air conditioner. Immediately our receptionist put him on the phone with me and instead of just ball parking a price, not knowing the whole picture, I set up an appointment to go to his home.
     At his home I found out that several years ago his brother-in-law provided him a "refurbished" 3 ton A/C unit when his original unit went out. I ask him what the square footage of his house was. He told me 1300 square feet. Needless to say, a 3 ton unit was too big. He only needed a 2 ton unit, based on square footage only. I told him 3 ton was too big, due to the fact that the DUCT WORK in his house, when it was built, was sized for a 2 ton unit. Guess what? His current three ton unit was freezing up in the hot summer months and the house wouldn't stay cool. The rings in the compressor have warn out as well. The reason? Over sized A/C unit!  But he kept insisting he "wanted it cool!" this summer. He wanted a 3 ton unit!
     Why am I telling you all of this?  I hate to say it because I am a man, but men have this idea that more is better. You know, if one aspirin is good, then taking four aspirin must be better. "Bigger is better". "Heavier is better". Its a man thing.
      Here's the point. When you have a heating and cooling system, remember it is a 'system', not a air conditioner or a furnace. It is a complete system. That includes the outdoor unit, the furnace, the evaporator coil, the duct work, the return air ducts, and even the thermostat is important. They all have to work in concert with one another to achieve the desired results. For more information go to our website at

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Clean Air and Heart Health

      Seventy percent of U.S. households are affected by allergies or asthma. These folks are more susceptible to harmful particles and allergens from the air INSIDE their homes. In fact, up to 72 trillion allergens find their way into your home every day. Add to that, if these family members have heart issues, the problems caused by unclean air are compounded.
     The EPA states, that exposure to fine particles impairs breathing, and increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and other serious health problems. Particles like dust, smoke and bacteria are often .3 microns in size or less. At that size allergens can get deep into your lungs because they aren't filtered well by your nose and throat.
    Many experts tell us that there is often more allergens and contaminants inside our homes then there are outside. Why is that? Well, today's homes are built better, tighter, and insulated better then in decades past. Now, this is a good thing, but it is also a bad thing, in the sense it traps particles, off gases, pet dander and the like inside our homes. We rely on a little one inch pleated filter in our furnace, or in some cases a four inch filter to clean our air. These filters are okay if you don't have health issues related to unclean air. What is the answer for those of us allergy sufferer's?
     According to the 2007 Consumer Digest report, Trane 'CleanEffects" whole home air cleaner is the highest rated professionally installed electrostatic precipatator on the market. "CleanEffects" has been shown to capture 99.98% of all airborne allergens, down to .1 microns in size. It will even capture influenza virus like the swine flu.
So, the irritants like hair, pollen, mold spores, skin flakes, bacteria, dust, tobacco and cooking smoke are scrubbed from the air.
     As published in the BioMed Central Journal, an independent publishing house committed to providing access to peer-reviewed biomedical research, and as accepted and presented at the Indoor Air conference, Trane "CleanEffects" has been shown to reduce triggers for allergies and asthma, and can be an important part of your overall allergy and asthma management plan." For more HVAC summer home tips read my blogs at or see our website at

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Energy Tips for Home and Business

Summer is here in the Treasure Valley of Idaho, and so is the heat. It will get to 100 degrees today and high 90's the rest of the week. When the temperatures rise, cooling can be the largest part of summer electric bills. The Idaho Power Company has provided these tips to help you be energy efficient.

Adjust your thermostat up to 78 degrees, or use natural ventilation to cool during the night.
When practical, use your microwave or barbecue grill instead of your stove top or oven.
Use a clothesline or a clothes drying rack when possible. (Who knew)
Turn off fans when you leave the room. Fans cool people, not rooms.

Make sure your thermostat program direct digital control system is programmed properly.
Evaluate and replace outdated lighting.
Install occupancy sensors in all enclosed offices, small spaces and meeting rooms.

Close your blinds on south-and west-facing windows during warm summer days to keep out un-wanted heat and reduce air conditioning use.
Tune up your HVAC system. Get you system serviced regularly and  replace air filters.

You can read more of my blogs at or go our website at   

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Staying Cool in The Summer Without Air Conditioning

     Because I work for a heating and cooling company, you would think that my first inclination would be sell you a air conditioner to keep you cool and comfortable in the summer. The fact is, there may be many reasons why you may not be entertaining the idea of investing in a new air conditioner right now. That being said, what can you do to try to stay cool if you don't have an A/C or just would prefer not to turn it on?
  When I was growing up and living in northern California, we were doing good to have a 'swamp cooler' in our house and then we would only turn it on when it got to 110 degrees outside. Our house was old, poorly insulated, and had single pane windows. There are still a lot of houses like that in existence.
     Before you crank up the A/C or evaporating cooler, you may want to revisit some techniques that our grandparents used to keep cool. Here are some ideas to consider.
#1: Use windows to your advantage
     If you have windows that can be opened, do so whenever the outside air is cooler then the inside air. Don't just throw them all open. Remember, hot air rises, so create a natural draft by opening a downstairs window, like on the shady side of the house. Then, go upstairs and open a window on the sunny or hot side of the house. You can do the same thing even if you have a single story home. Here in the Boise, Idaho area, when it's cool in the morning I often open a living room window at the front of the house and then open a bathroom window near the back of the house, and that just creates a nice flow of fresh air.
     Once the outside air becomes hotter then the indoor air, then it is time to close and cover the windows before the hot air begins to move into the house. There are also a variety of fans you can use to draw the air to the upstairs, or install attic fans to remove the trapped hot air in your attic. It's nothing for the attic temperature to reach in excess of 200 degrees in the summer. Ceiling fans are also good to use to keep the air circulating. Fans run on electricity, but it is only a  fraction of what air conditioners use.
     Lastly, embrace summer. Enjoy it - don't fight it so hard. You could move any daytime activities to the coolest part of the house for the summer. You could move your sleeping quarters to a screened in porch on hot nights. When you get sticky hot, then soak in cool bath or shower. You could play with the kids in the kiddie pool or just soak your feet in a tub of cold water while you sip a cold refreshing beverage. The heat of summer is sometimes called natures way of telling us to 'slow down' our busy lives and enjoy those 'dog days of summer'. More ideas will blogged later. For more good reading go to my other blogs at For Air Conditioner information see our website at