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Low-Cost Heating Guide When Winters are Mild

Low-Cost Heating Guide When Winters are Mild

Your home’s HVAC unit runs all-year-round to make your home feel comfortable. Without quality air conditioning systems and heating units, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy a cool summer or a warm winter with your family. You want to ensure that your HVAC unit is in good...

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Indoor Air Quality is a Greater Focus for Americans

Indoor Air Quality is a Greater Focus for Americans

Why is Indoor Air Quality a Greater Focus for Americans? With Americans spending more time at home in the past year, they’ve placed a greater focus on their homes’ health, safety, and comfort. In fact, a recent survey from YORK® found more than one-quarter of...

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Hot and Cold Spots in My House

Hot and Cold Spots in My House

Here’s What to Know About Maintaining A Consistent, Comfortable Temperature Throughout Your Home Do you feel like you’re changing seasons when you change rooms in your house? Certain areas feel like the tropics, while others have you reaching for gloves and a scarf?...

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Indoor Air Quality is a Greater Focus for Americans

Indoor Air Quality is a Greater Focus for Americans

Why is Indoor Air Quality a Greater Focus for Americans?

With Americans spending more time at home in the past year, they’ve placed a greater focus on their homes’ health, safety, and comfort. In fact, a recent survey from YORK® found more than one-quarter of homeowners plan to make safety improvements in their homes a top priority in 2021. Among these, 81% cited improving indoor air quality as the primary focus.
In 2021, homeowners are recognizing the need for better air quality with nearly two in three (62%) believing that in-home air quality needs improvement, and four in five (81%) will make improving it a priority this year, especially those with children at home.
Indoor air can often contain bacteria, mold, dust, pet dander, allergens, and hazardous airborne transmissions without proper filtration and humidity control, causing air quality in most homes to be 100 times worse than the air outside.
“Ensuring the health and safety of any indoor environment, especially at home, has been the cornerstone of Johnson Controls for 135 years,” said Tom Tasker, residential product manager, indoor air quality, Johnson Controls. “Nothing is more important than taking care of where you live, and it is our mission to protect the wellbeing of homeowners and their families by providing them with safe and clean air quality.”
In the survey, homeowners confessed they have held back from bettering the quality of air in their homes in the past due to a number of reasons.

  • Nearly three in four (73%) admit they have faced at least one barrier to improving their home’s air quality, such as a lack of resources and know-how.
  • 30% of those who struggled to take steps to improve the air quality of their home admit they weren’t sure where to begin.
  • Others confess they were blind to the fact they could improve it (22%) or felt they didn’t have the necessary tools or skills to make a difference (19%).
  • 9% didn’t know how to access their HVAC system.

Despite some barriers, the majority of homeowners have already taken steps to make the air in their home safer or plan to in the year ahead. This includes cleaning their kitchen ventilation systems above their cooking range, having their air ducts professionally cleaned, and replacing products entirely from air filters to entire HVAC systems. Others are seeking more natural solutions like purchasing more plants, placing air purifiers in rooms throughout the home, and cutting back on or eliminating the use of certain harsh chemicals in order to make the air in their home safer.
YORK® offers a range of residential heating and cooling products to help homeowners improve air quality and create a safe, healthy, and clean environment at home. To learn more about YORK® air quality solutions, such as whole-home air cleaners, humidifiers, and controls, visit www.york.com/residential-equipment/indoor-air-quality.

Provided By: HVAC Insider

Furnace Installation, Resolutions, air conditioning, invest, HVAC, HVACR, cold spots, indoor air quality

If you would like to discuss Stellar Air Decorative Vent and Grille Covers or want to have a custom-designed Grille or Ventilator cover made for your home or office, please do not hesitate to call us at 842-795-6680 or you can email us at info@stellarairdecorativeventcovers.com.

Resolutions to Lower Heating Costs In 2021

Resolutions to Lower Heating Costs In 2021

It is the month when resolutions are made, and several get broken before the month has concluded. If one of your resolutions this year is to control your heating costs, you should know that there are many ways you can do this. Some are going to take an upfront investment, but others are relatively painless and can provide huge rewards. Here are some tips for lowering your heating costs and making these resolutions easy to stick to.

  • Tip #1: Lower the thermostat- You don’t have to take your home from a cozy 80 degrees down to a frigid 60 degrees to lower your heating costs. Don’t be afraid to take baby steps of dropping it just one degree, getting used to it there, and then trying another one-degree drop. You and your family will acclimate as time goes by until you reach your bottom threshold that nobody wants to cross.
  • Tip #2: Schedule maintenance- A heating system that has been serviced will use less energy to operate than one where maintenance has been neglected. You will also avoid breakdowns and costly repair bills if you keep up with maintenance.
  • Tip #3: Upgrade energy efficiency- If your home is under-insulated, hasn’t been sealed, or is otherwise unable to retain the heat that your heating system is putting out, it will have to work harder to keep the temperature you have set on the thermostat. A few improvements could save you a great deal of money and more than cover the cost of the upgrades.
  • Tip #4: Consider heating system replacement- If you have an old, inefficient heating system, it could be costing you more than you realize. While the dead of winter isn’t the best time to replace your heating system, you can get started saving now so you are ready when the weather clears, and your heating costs near the end of the year will be lower, thus achieving a delayed completion of your New Year’s resolutions, but better than not at all!Article Provided By: EnergySharks

    Resolutions, air conditioning, invest, HVAC, HVACR

    If you would like to discuss Stellar Air Decorative Vent and Grille Covers or want to have a custom-designed Grille or Ventilator cover made for your home or office, please do not hesitate to call us at 842-795-6680 or you can email us at info@stellarairdecorativeventcovers.com.

Lessons on HVAC Systems from Aria Vent

Lessons on HVAC Systems from Aria Vent

Figuring out how to place your HVAC air register is important to evenly heat and cool your home. Their placement is decided when your home is first built or when the duct work is being remodelled.

WHY ARE AIR VENTS NEAR THE WINDOW?

Windows allow heat and cold to transfer easily. If you place the vent in front of the window, it will create a curtain that will allow you to regulate the air temperature inside. 

For example: If it is very cold outside, the vent in front of the window will blow warm air, keeping the cold air from transferring through the window into your space. This is how your home stays warm and cozy, regardless of all the windows transferring outdoor temperatures.

It is also important not to put the vents too close to the windows, to avoid air loss from the vent.

WHAT IS HVAC LOAD HANDLING CAPACITY?

Load handling capacity refers to how well an HVAC system can work to its maximum output capacity. A maxed-out capacity would be top efficiency performance. 

THE RIGHT SIZED HVAC SYSTEM

It’s important to note that not all systems should work to their full capacity because it can cause stress on the system and overwork itself. That’s why if you design the HVAC system to be slightly oversized, it can work to fulfill the heating and cooling needs at utmost efficiency, without overworking the system. When considering the right size, you will need to determine the size of each room and the overall building.

HVAC SYSTEMS THAT ARE TOO BIG / TOO SMALL 

Be careful, creating an HVAC system that is too oversized can cause a bigger problem. An HVAC system that is too big will become very inefficient, increase energy costs and risk of repair. A system that is too small will not properly heat or cool the area, and can also cause stress on the system. 

WHERE DO AIR RETURNS GO IN THE HOME? 

Location of air returns are flexible, because the ultimate goal of air returns is to get the air back to the starting point (the furnace). Most air returns are always found on central, inside walls of the home, such as hallways.

Height of the rooms is also important for proper air distribution. Depending on the design of your system, air returns can be located on the top of your walls near the ceiling, or at the bottom, near the baseboards. 

HOW TO MAKE AN EFFICIENT HVAC SYSTEM

An efficient home is a comfortable home, especially when it comes to HVAC. 

The biggest consideration when thinking about an efficient HVAC system is the building itself. Taking account for the entire space, ductwork, building material, and windows.

The second consideration is sizing and whether your system matches the size of the building.

Last consideration is of course saving money where it’s possible. An efficiently designed system may cost you more money upfront, but can save you long term on energy bills. 

Consult a reputable HVAC specialist to learn about your options.

Article Provided By: Aria Vent

air conditioning, invest, HVAC, HVACR

If you would like to discuss Stellar Air Decorative Vent and Grille Covers or want to have a custom-designed Grille or Ventilator cover made for your home or office, please do not hesitate to call us at 842-795-6680 or you can email us at info@stellarairdecorativeventcovers.com.

Four Signs to Replace Your Heat Pump

Four Signs to Replace Your Heat Pump

If you are like many homeowners, you know there are a lot of working parts to your heating system, but you aren’t really sure what they all do. So, when you begin to discover that your heat pump isn’t working properly, you may be wondering whether you should simply have it repaired or go ahead and replace it. At Energy Sharks, we believe you should give us a call if you are having problems with your heat pump. Here are four signs it may be time for replacement:

  1. Noise – If your heat pump is suddenly making more noise than usual, you may need to have it checked out. And, if this one-time problem becomes a regular occurrence, this is a good indicator a new heat pump is in sight.
  2. Humidity – If some parts of your home are warmer than others or your home seems to be humid, this is an indicator your heat pump may not be working properly. Especially if your heat pump is 10 years old or more, you may determine a replacement is the best option.
  3. Energy Bill – If you notice your energy bill is higher than usual, your heat pump could be the culprit. Check to make sure there hasn’t been a rate increase in your area, and if not, it may be time to consider heat pump replacement.
  4. Cost of Repairs – If you are constantly calling to have your heat pump repaired and the cost of repairs has exceeded the cost of a new pump, it may be time to replace it so you don’t have the hassle anymore.

Article Provided By: EnergySharks

air conditioning, invest, HVAC, HVACR

If you would like to discuss Stellar Air Decorative Vent and Grille Covers or want to have a custom-designed Grille or Ventilator cover made for your home or office, please do not hesitate to call us at 842-795-6680 or you can email us at info@stellarairdecorativeventcovers.com.

HVAC Upgrades to Increase Home Equity

HVAC Upgrades to Increase Home Equity

According to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, Americans are spending increasingly large amounts of money on residential remodeling projects each year and seeing less and less of a return. From 2017 to 2018, the money spent on home remodels nationwide increased by 7.5%, totaling nearly $340 billion. Yet, the average ROI for these projects was only 56% — a decrease of 12% in just one year, as stated in a survey by Remodeling Magazine.  When you’re planning a renovation project in preparation to sell your home, the key to maximizing ROI and avoiding costly renovation mistakes is knowing which upgrades will add the most value. HVAC upgrades will always be a safe bet and a smart investment — and yet, these home improvements are some of the most commonly overlooked by homeowners and flippers.

In today’s market, it’s riskier than ever to make the wrong renovations. You could end up spending thousands of dollars on kitchen and bathroom upgrades that never pay themselves off. Below, you’ll find an explanation of why HVAC upgrades are your best bet, backed by a list of upgrades that will almost always pay off and help you sell your home faster.

WHY TO INVEST IN YOUR HOME’S HVAC SYSTEM

Upgrades like refinished cabinets and new countertops are nice to have, but an updated HVAC system is critical. While homebuyers won’t notice a brand-new HVAC system, they’ll definitely spot an old or broken one — and it might cost you the sale. A prospective buyer probably won’t automatically walk away from a home without all the newest gadgets, but they won’t even look twice at a home that lacks basic heating and cooling abilities.

As such, you should take HVAC upgrades quite seriously and make them a priority over new flooring, paint, and other aesthetic or luxury upgrades. You might hesitate when you look into the costs, but The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that HVAC remodels have a higher average return on investment than most other types of remodeling projects, yielding a return of up to 71%.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER WHEN UPDATING YOUR HVAC SYSTEM

The secret to knowing which HVAC upgrades to make is understanding which ones are best for the kind of house you have and the people you intend to sell to, according to the program manager of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). You’ll want to take into account the region, the age and size of your home, your budget, and the layout of your property. With these factors in mind, you can get an idea of options for your HVAC upgrades options by clicking here or by asking yourself the questions listed below.

Is your current HVAC system still working well?

During the home-selling process, you can bet that people will ask you the age of your HVAC system. If it was installed less than 10 years ago, it very likely has several good years of use left in it, and anything newer isn’t likely to make a difference in home value or offers from potential buyers. If the current components are still operating optimally, there’s no use in shelling out money to fix what isn’t broken. Anything older than 15 years old, however, will be a turnoff to buyers. At this point, consider replacing the HVAC system completely.

Can you get away with an HVAC repair rather than a replacement?

If your HVAC unit is less than 10 years old but functions like it needs to be upgraded, you might be able to get away with some simple repairs rather than a complete system overhaul. To find out if you should repair or replace an HVAC system, multiply the age of your existing unit by the cost of the repair. If the total is more than $5,000, you’re better off replacing the system than repairing it.

Is your home located in a climate that requires heating and/or cooling?

Upgrading an HVAC system in a geographical location that doesn’t necessitate air conditioning or heating will not add value to your home. For example, it would be a waste of money to upgrade a heating system in a place like Southern California where temperatures are consistently warm and the heater would not be used.

On the other hand, if your property is located somewhere with a harsher climate, experts say that HVAC system upgrades will help you sell your house faster. For example, upgrading to a solar heating system would be a smart move if your home is located somewhere sunny, whereas a heat pump would be an appealing feature for a home located in a desert climate.

Do you currently have energy-efficient HVAC units?

Efficiency-labeled homes are increasing in preference and popularity among new homebuyers (because who doesn’t want to save on their utility bills?). When it comes to increasing the resale value of your home, upgrading to energy-efficient HVAC appliances is one of the smartest moves you can make to stand out in today’s competitive housing market.

As reported by energy.gov and the US Green Building Council, homes that have energy-efficient HVAC systems see a 5% to 8% higher selling value compared to homes without this feature. If your unit is too big, too small, or too old for your house, consider making the upgrade to minimize energy waste and attract buyers. Some states even offer tax breaks for homeowners with energy-efficient HVAC systems. You can find out which incentives your state currently offers by clicking here.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR HVAC UPGRADES

It’s hard to go wrong with most basic HVAC upgrades, especially if the home you’re renovating is more than 20 years old. Experts in real estate all agree that, even though you may only recover 50% or less of certain HVAC investments, an upgrade could capture the interest of buyers and make it worth the purchase.

Refer to the list of HVAC-related upgrade ideas below for easy ways to considerably increase your home value and make your property more competitive on the market. While reading, keep in mind how much you want to spend and the current condition of your existing HVAC units.

Basic Options for HVAC upgrades

[H4] Insulation

Poor insulation is an easy fix and a low-risk investment that yields a 95% to 116% return. Fiberglass insulation only costs around $1,200 on average and yields a $1,400 return upon resale within a year of completion.

Properly insulated walls improve a home’s ability to regulate internal temperatures and reduce the demand on its HVAC system. In theory, an insulation upgrade would be easy for the homebuyer to do on their own. Realistically, however, most buyers want their new house to be move-in ready and won’t want to take on any projects after a move. Most people are willing to pay a little extra to have these things done for them, which makes this appealing upgrade a great selling point to disclose.

Furnace/Boiler

Replacing an old furnace or boiler is an easy upgrade that doesn’t require much labor. Most furnaces can last up to 15 years with proper maintenance, but most older heating appliances require frequent, pricey repairs and cost a lot to run. By switching to a new heating appliance, you conserve energy and improve the efficiency of your home’s heating system, which is attractive to potential buyers.

To check the age of your furnace, scan its surface for a tag with a serial number. This number usually tells you the age of your unit. For example, if a serial number is something like 1194CA4678, the first four digits mean that the furnace was manufactured on the 11th week of 1994. Dates after 2000 are usually encoded in the last three to six digits of the serial number (for example, 69809-1032708 would mean that the furnace was manufactured in July of 2008).

Air Ducts

If you are replacing an old HVAC system with a more efficient one, you might need to upgrade your ductwork to accommodate it. Ductwork is made to last 25 years at the most, but it starts to degrade about 15 years in. Deterioration will reduce the efficiency of an HVAC system significantly, so it’s a good idea to replace the ductwork if you plan to sell your home in the near future. Doing so will improve your home’s air quality and ensure that it meets the level of cleanliness recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Windows

Even if the walls of your home are highly insulated, it won’t do much good if the windows aren’t equally energy-efficient. Approximately 35% of a home’s heat escapes through low-quality windows. By spending $15,000 to upgrade to double- or triple-pane vinyl-insulated windows, you can recover about 74% of your energy costs and increase your home value by about $11,000, according to Remodeling Magazine.

A survey by the NAHB also revealed that homebuyers of all economic backgrounds ranked energy-efficient windows among their most-wanted home features, making this upgrade a no-brainer. In addition to reducing drafts and boosting heating efficiency, your new windows reassure your homebuyer that they’ll reap long-term savings on their heating and cooling bills when they purchase your home.

Roof

While the roof serves to protect everything under it, it’s also an important insulator. Inefficient roofing materials account for 25% of heat loss. Just by upgrading to modern, high-tech shingles, you can relieve a lot of the strain on your HVAC system and improve your indoor comfort. Asphalt shingles can lower a roof’s surface temperature by up to 50 degrees and increase home value by $12,000. Investing in a new roof might seem like a big expense, but the NAR has shown that you can recover 105% of the cost at resale.

Central Air

People want to be comfortable in every room of their home all year long. Most homebuyers today consider central heating and air conditioning a standard feature rather than an upgrade, so without it, you may struggle to get an offer close to what you’ve asked for — or to sell your home at all. A central air installation can cost anywhere from $6,000 to 15,000, but it could increase your home value by up to 10%. Some simple math on your part will help you decide whether this investment will yield enough of a return to be worth the hassle.

Doors and Weather Stripping

Another way to significantly improve your HVAC efficiency with minimal labor is to upgrade to energy-efficient doors and repair or replace any old weather stripping. Some of the most energy-efficient materials available for residential doors include fiberglass, steel, and vinyl. Try to avoid wood and glass if your goal is to prevent airflow. After replacing your door, you should see a return of 75% to 91% of your investment upon resale, depending on the type of door you’ve chosen. You might even have better curb appeal and attract more prospects when you give your house a quick facelift with a new door.

When choosing a door, look for the label of the National Fenestration Rating Council that indicates how good of an insulator that particular door will be.

When swapping out your door, don’t forget about the weather stripping. New weather stripping will ensure a tight seal around your doors and windows and prevent air leaks. This is one of the cheapest upgrades you can make to your home, ranging from $130 to $340.

Luxury HVAC Renovation Options

If the HVAC system of the home you’re selling is already in ship-shape and you still have some funds for home upgrades, consider adding a luxury HVAC feature based on the luxury upgrades popular in your area. Jill Simmons, the Director of Consumer Communications for Zillow, stated that, “Having smart home features like smart thermostats are great features to tout in listing descriptions and may help attract a buyer’s eye, which can go a long way when it’s time to sell. Additionally, smart home features may signal to buyers that the home is updated and may have other desirable traits, upgrades, or features.”

She goes on to recommend that, when choosing smart upgrades, you should be mindful of your neighborhood’s trends, the style of your house, and its value. Try to add luxury features that appeal to a wide range of buyers rather than limiting yourself to one type of person. Some upgrades may be so out of place that they don’t yield any return on the investment. For reliable advice, talk to a real estate agent about which features will be most suitable for your property. Some of your options are listed below.

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF)

Residential variant refrigerant flow (VRF) systems are becoming increasingly common in luxury homes. These systems operate quietly at high efficiencies to appease the most environmentally conscious homeowner. VRF units are installed in every room so that, no matter where you spend your time, you aren’t cooling or heating space you aren’t using. These systems are perfect for newly constructed residences or for replacing old cooling systems.

Smart Thermostat

Another NAHB survey showed that smart thermostats are now ranking in the top three most desirable home technologies among homeowners and prospective buyers. These devices allow you to control your home energy consumption and regulate temperatures from your smart device. The cost of a smart thermostat can range from $150 to $400+, not including installation, but you can find affordable options below $150 on Amazon.

With the way the world is going, home appraisers are beginning to include smart devices in home appraisals, according to Realtor.comConsumer Reports reveals that smart home features like smart thermostats can bump your home’s resale value by up to 5%. For example, that would be a $20,000 value added to a $400,000 home simply because consumers are willing to pay more for a house with modern amenities.

Whole-Home Dehumidifiers

A humid climate can be difficult to live in, but dehumidifiers are great smart devices to help with controlling humidity in the home. They can be integrated with a residential HVAC system to produce consistent air quality across all areas of a house so there’s never a difference in comfort as you move around indoors. Whole-home dehumidifiers can cost between $1,300 and $2,800, but the cost might be a great selling point for prospective buyers if you live in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, or another humid place.

Article Provided By: HVAC.com

HVAC, green HVAC, air conditioning, vent cover, StellarAirDecorativeVentCovers

If you would like to discuss Stellar Air Decorative Vent and Grille Covers or want to have a custom-designed Grille or Ventilator cover made for your home or office, please do not hesitate to call us at 842-795-6680 or you can email us at info@stellarairdecorativeventcovers.com.

Indoor Air Pollution and Pregnancy Risk

Indoor Air Pollution and Pregnancy Risk

Pregnancy is a time of growth and many expectant parents use this time to educate themselves. Books, articles, videos, in-person classes — pregnancy resources abound in our modern world. And one of the most common pregnancy safety questions expectant parents ask is: “What should I avoid when I’m expecting?” Smoking, alcohol, and certain medications usually top the list. Other culprits include soft cheeses, deli meats, and fish with high mercury levels. But what about air pollution?

According to the American Lung Association, common outdoor air pollutants include ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Toxic air pollutants can come from burning fuels, vehicle exhaust, building emissions and other sources. However, most people spend 90% of their time indoors.

With recent research showing that air pollution can significantly impact mothers and babies, pregnancy is a good time to consider your home’s heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. Humidifiers and air purifiers can help with indoor air quality, but if the source of your air, your HVAC system, isn’t clean, those additional measures won’t matter.

An informed decision on the heating and cooling components you use can affect your air quality. Depending on the temperature where you live, your home might require a furnace-air conditioner combination to heat and cool your home. A heat pump can be a great option for more moderate climates. Because heat pumps don’t use combustion, there is no risk of carbon monoxide filling the air of your home.

No matter how you choose to heat and cool your home, one thing is certain: clean air is best for everyone, and especially for pregnant mothers and newborns.

HOW AIR QUALITY AFFECTS PREGNANCY

Studies have found links to adverse health outcomes because of poor air quality or air pollution. Some affect women before or during pregnancy, while others appear in babies or even older children.

Low birth weight

After a typical, healthy pregnancy, a full-term baby usually weighs between six and nine pounds. Low birth weight is defined as less than 2,500 grams, or five pounds, eight ounces. The Centers for Disease Control reports that about 8% of babies in the United States are born with low birth weight.

Multiple studies have observed the effects of air pollution on birth weight. One study conducted in Los Angeles investigated obstetric records of births by non-smoking women. Mothers living in more polluted areas gave birth to babies who weighed, on average, 314 grams, or 0.69 pounds, less than infants who were born to women residing in less polluted areas.

Another study from China observed women who were pregnant during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a two-month period when the city was required to lower emissions and improve air quality. The study revealed mothers who were eight months pregnant during the Olympics gave birth to babies who were 0.8 ounces heavier, in contrast to women who delivered during the same calendar months in previous years.

Preterm birth

Babies born before the 37th week of gestation are considered preterm and are at risk for neurological disorders and permanent physical disabilities, as well as for breathing difficulties, cardiac problems, an inability to maintain body temperature, an immature digestive system and retinopathy. While premature birth can happen to anyone for many reasons, air pollution is one possible reason you should try to avoid.

Several studies have found links between air pollution and preterm birth. One by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of York revealed that “in 2010, about 2.7 million preterm births globally — or 18% of all preterm births — were associated with outdoor exposure to fine particulate matter.” A Swedish study published in 2013 showed a correlation between first-trimester ozone exposure and the incidence of preterm birth, while a National Institutes of Health study suggested air pollution exposure during a second pregnancy may increase the chances of preterm birth.

Autism spectrum disorder

According to a 2014 study from the Harvard School of Public Health, expectant mothers who are exposed to high levels of fine particulate matter during the third trimester could have twice the risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than pregnant women living in areas with low particulate matter. The researchers did compile data during all three trimesters of pregnancy, but they noted that the “only statistically significant association” between fine particulate matter and autism spectrum disorder occurred during the third trimester.

The study followed women from 14 states in all regions of the continental United States. It also considered factors such as population density, elevation and distance to freeways and other particulate sources, like power-generating utilities and waste combustors.

Asthma

For pregnant women who have asthma, as long as it is well controlled, the condition poses no significant risk to the mother or the unborn baby. Uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy, however, can lead to high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia or premature delivery. No matter how well controlled a person’s asthma, air pollution can worsen asthma symptoms.

In addition, recent research has shown air pollution exposure during pregnancy may increase the likelihood of the baby developing asthma later in life. A 2016 study looked at the role of air pollution from traffic sources in urban areas. Researchers discovered that “children whose mothers lived close to highways during pregnancy had a 25% increased relative risk of developing asthma before the age of five.”

Fertility challenges and miscarriage

Multiple studies, including a 2018 systematic review of literature, have suggested that “air pollution could represent a matter of concern for female infertility.” In fact, one study found that fertility rates in northern California increased when eight plants burning coal and oil closed down, reducing the levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxide.

Scientists have also devoted much effort to studying the effects of air quality on miscarriage, often called spontaneous pregnancy loss in the medical community. They have concluded that “short-term exposure to elevated levels of air pollutants was associated with higher risk for spontaneous pregnancy loss.”

Other risks and takeaways

When it comes to air pollution and pregnancy safety, researchers have also found links to increases in gestational diabetes in expectant mothershigh blood pressure in children and delayed psychomotor development. However, it is important to note that most studies so far have established only correlations between air pollution and disease, rather than a direct cause and effect.

While the research is compelling, remember, in some cases, scientists have not determined which time period — week, month or trimester — is most susceptible to the dangers of air pollution. In addition, most studies have focused on outdoor air pollution, so more research is necessary to understand the effects of poor indoor air quality on pregnancy.

OUTDOOR VS. INDOOR AIR POLLUTION

According to the EPA, outdoor air pollution can affect human health, harm the environment and cause property damage. Interestingly, the EPA has reported that “the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.”

How is this possible? One reason is inadequate ventilation. Scientists who have studied sick building syndrome found that designers in the 1970s made buildings more airtight in an effort to improve energy efficiency. The reduced ventilation negatively impacted the health of building occupants. More recent standards from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers require an increased outdoor airflow rate.

What’s the application to homes, where we spend the majority of our time? Most residential structures are designed to minimize the amount of outdoor air that can “leak” into and out of the home. When not enough outdoor air enters a residence, pollutants can build up, according to the EPA’s resource, “The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality.”

Outdoor air enters and exits a house by three methods: infiltration, natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation. Infiltration means that outdoor air flows into the house through openings like joints, around windows and doors, and cracks in walls, floors and ceilings. Natural ventilation is when air moves through opened windows and doors.

An example of mechanical ventilation is a fan that intermittently vents to the outdoors, removing air from one room, such as a bathroom or kitchen. A larger air handling system uses fans and ductwork to regularly extract indoor air and deliver filtered outdoor air throughout the house.

When infiltration, natural ventilation or mechanical ventilation are not adequate, indoor air pollution levels can rise. Most immediate effects of poor indoor quality are similar to the common cold or other respiratory viruses. Therefore, it can be difficult to know if the symptoms are related to air quality or minor sickness. If you experience troublesome respiratory symptoms, try to note the time and place they occur. If they go away or decrease when you’re away from home and return when there, this could mean poor indoor air quality is to blame.

HVAC maintenance and indoor air quality

When it comes to pregnancy safety, it’s important to investigate the air quality in your home even if you’re not experiencing nagging respiratory symptoms. Some health effects show up only after years of repeated exposure to poor air quality, and these can be as serious as cardiovascular disease or cancer. Here are some actionable steps to check your home’s air quality:

Find sources of air pollution

Check for signs of ventilation problems. According to the EPA, these include “moisture condensation on windows or walls, smelly or stuffy air, dirty central heating and air-cooling equipment and areas where books, shoes or other items become moldy.” Other possibilities are a gas stove, certain building materials and synthetic or treated upholstery.

You might also consider testing your home for radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. Inexpensive testing devices are available, or you can hire a professional to conduct testing. Local and state health departments often have consultants who can help with identifying and solving problems related to indoor air quality.

Improve ventilation

You can reduce the concentration of indoor air pollution by increasing how much outdoor air is entering your home. Weather permitting, the simplest ways to improve ventilation are to open windows and doors, run window or attic fans and operate a window air conditioner with the vent control open. Another option is using bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors, eliminating toxins from the room and boosting the outdoor air ventilation rate.

If you are doing a temporary activity that can release pollutants into your home, it’s essential to have good ventilation. Examples are painting, paint stripping, heating with kerosene, welding or sanding. When possible, move those activities outdoors.

Replace or add equipment

If you have a traditional HVAC system or furnace, the EPA recommends changing the filter every 60-90 days. Make sure to buy the correct size; it should fit snugly so air does not leak around the filter.

You might also consider adding a portable air cleaner to your home. This is a separate unit that filters gases or particles, even the fine matter that is considered most harmful. There are different types of air cleaners, and effectiveness varies widely. Most air cleaners filter either particulate matter or gases, so if you’re looking to reduce both, you will probably have to purchase two units.

Another possibility is to switch to a heat pump, a decision that depends on climate, budget and personal preference. The average cost of a heat pump ranges from $700 for a ductless mini-split system to $13,000 for a geothermal heat pump system. Regarding air quality, heat pumps do not use combustion and, therefore, do not produce harmful emissions.

OTHER BENEFITS TO MAINTAINING A CLEAN HVAC SYSTEM

Pregnancy is usually a joyous time for expectant parents as they anticipate a new baby. But it can also feel overwhelming when digesting new information, budgeting for baby expenses and preparing your home for your baby’s arrival.

By maintaining your HVAC system, you can find reassurance by avoiding costly breakdowns and repairs. The last thing you want during an already uncomfortable pregnancy is a home that’s too hot or too cold. Having a well-kept HVAC system ensures the air you breathe is clean, giving your baby a greater chance of protection from the risks of poor air quality.

MAKING SENSE OF PREGNANCY SAFETY AND AIR QUALITY

Many expectant mothers might spend time carefully inspecting ingredient lists and conducting online research to guarantee these things are safe for your growing baby.

Breathing clean air, thanks to a maintained HVAC system, is just as essential as the healthy food and hydrating beverages you put into your body during pregnancy. The source of your home’s air is your HVAC system, and it’s important to understand its condition, both on the interior and the exterior, during pregnancy and when welcoming your new baby into the home.

Article Provided By: HVAC.com

HVAC, green HVAC, air conditioning, vent cover, StellarAirDecorativeVentCovers

If you would like to discuss Stellar Air Decorative Vent and Grille Covers or want to have a custom-designed Grille or Ventilator cover made for your home or office, please do not hesitate to call us at 842-795-6680 or you can email us at info@stellarairdecorativeventcovers.com.

5 Fast Fall Fixup Ideas for Your Home

5 Fast Fall Fixup Ideas for Your Home

Sweep in a new season with these fast fall fixes for your home. With details on the tasks you should tackle this fall, you’ll know just what to do to welcome in a wonderful autumn.

  1. Swap out your air vent covers or grilles with a fashionable fall themed cover.
    While you routinely clean out your air filters, have you thought about swapping out your dusty old vent cover? Get rid of the grilles or return covers that are getting in the way of your signature style. Our popular Leaves design adds classic Charleston charm to any room. The delicate details of our laser-cut natural wood covers helps bring in the sweet feeling of fall throughout your home decor.
  2. Seal off drafts as you get ready for the fall season.
    The days of leaving the windows open and grabbing extra fans to cool down are almost over. While you prepare for the scent of pumpkin spice lattes and ready all your cozy fall sweaters, take some time to find the drafty spots by your windows and doors. Add some weather stripping to help create a better seal so your fall electric bill doesn’t come as a surprise this time around. If you have ceiling fans, look for the switch on the side of the fan’s unit and flip your fans so they turn in a clockwise direction. This will move warm air from the ceiling down to the floor.
  3. Give your exterior and interior lights a little love.
    As we fall back and Daylight Saving Time ends, you’ll see a little less sunlight. Make up the difference by adding exterior lighting. Line your walkways and garden paths with warm-glow all weather lights or hang up string lights for a cozy fall feel. And don’t forget about your interior lights, too. Replace old light bulbs or swap out the bright cold white bulbs for ones with a warmer fall glow.
  4. Update the entryway.
    Get ready for muddy boots and rain jackets instead of flip flops and tennis shoes being tossed off right when the kids come through the door. Now’s a good time to add an entryway rug that can handle some damage. Find a rubber or PVC backed rug that’s easy to wipe down. Your floors and your chores list will appreciate it.
  5. Add autumn accents and decorate!
    With the cleaning and organizing out of the way, get to the fun part of fall fixups –– the decorating part! Create a bowl of decorative gourds, pumpkins and acorns for a fall harvest feel. Add a seasonal fall wreath on your door to welcome your family and friends. Now’s the time to have fun with seasonal pillow covers, stylized centerpieces for your dining table, and more!

 

Don’t forget to check out our blog on HVAC maintenance tips  for your seasonal cleaning.

If you would like to discuss Stellar Air Decorative Vent and Grille Covers or want to have a custom-designed Grille or Ventilator cover made for your home or office, please do not hesitate to call us at 842-795-6680 or you can email us at info@stellarairdecorativeventcovers.com.

 

Air Filter: Major Consequences of Not Changing It

Air Filter: Major Consequences of Not Changing It

If you are like most people, you aren’t thinking about your HVAC system until it stops functioning the way it should. Do you know one of the biggest sources of a system complication or failure? A clogged air filter. Read on to learn more about how air filters function in your HVAC system and what can happen when they aren’t changed on a regular schedule.

 

HOW DOES AN AIR FILTER WORK?

 

Air filters are generally made of spun fiberglass or pleated paper and surrounded by a cardboard frame. They are inserted into a specific place in the HVAC systems and act as a barrier to prevent contaminants and other particles from circulating in the air, or from reaching sensitive parts of the system. Some of the common things that filters block are dust, pollen, lint, mold, hair, animal fur, bacteria, and more.

 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD FILTERS BE CHANGED?

 

Depending on the type of air filter you are using, you will need to follow different schedules to ensure that the filter is always functioning for optimal performance. Most manufacturers recommend that basic filters are changed every 30 to 60 days, but there are other circumstances that could affect that schedule.

 

  • A filter in a regular home with no pets should be changed every 90 days
  • If your home has a single pet, the filter should be changed every 60 days
  • For multiple pets, or if anyone in your home suffers from allergies, you’ll want to change the filter anywhere between 20 to 45 days
  • People in single-occupant homes with no pets, or those who own vacation homes that don’t get much use, can usually wait for 6 to 12 months before changing their filter

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER? 

 

When air filters are not consistently changed, they get clogged by the buildup of particles and contaminants that stick to the filter.  While the filter is designed to accommodate these minuscule items, the buildup creates an almost impenetrable barrier so that the air cannot completely flow through, which can ultimately cause multiple problems for the entire HVAC system.

 

 Higher Energy Bills

 

When the filter becomes clogged, air cannot easily flow through the system. This causes the whole system to have to work harder to distribute heat or air where it is needed, which increases your utility bills since the air is running for longer.

 

Poor Temperature Regulation 

 

Since clogged air filters make the system strain to create airflow, warm or cool air cannot adequately go where it is needed. This means that some rooms could be too cold during the winter or too hot in the summer.

 

Health Concerns 

 

If the air filter is clogged and cannot trap contaminants as it did before, those things can end up back in the air that everyone in your home is breathing. Immediate issues could include headaches, itchy eyes or throat, and dizziness. If the air filters are not changed and the issues continue, the long-term effects could be respiratory diseases, heart disease, or cancer.

 

Furnace Failures

 

As the system is working harder to get around clogged air filters, it can cause the entire system to overwork and eventually break. If this happens, you’ll need to replace the entire system, which can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000. Air filters usually cost less than $40, so they are easy to replace frequently compared to replacing the entire system.

 

Clamped-Up Coils 

 

Evaporative coils, which help remove heat from the air to keep your home cool, can freeze up if they are overworked. With a clogged air filter, the air won’t flow over the coils correctly, which makes them stop working and leads to total system failure. Again, the price to fix this issue is greater than simply purchasing a new air filter every few months. Protect your HVAC system and your wallet by replacing the air filters on a regular schedule.

 

WHAT TO DO

 

If you haven’t changed the air filters in your home lately, your next step should be to figure out which filters you need and replace them as soon as possible. If you find that the old filters look like nothing, not even air, could ever pass through them, it’s time to contact an HVAC professional. They can visit your house to inspect the system and resolve any issues caused by the clogged filters, thus preventing further problems in the future.

No matter what you need in regards to your HVAC system, HVAC.com can connect you with top-rated professionals in your area that can address any problem. Find helpful information and resources on our site, then let us help you get in touch with the HVAC specialist that you need.

Article Provided By: HVAC.com

If you would like to discuss Stellar Air Decorative Vent and Grille Covers or want to have a custom-designed Grille or Ventilator cover made for your home or office, please do not hesitate to call us at 842-795-6680 or you can email us at info@stellarairdecorativeventcovers.com.

How Does an HVAC System Work?

How Does an HVAC System Work?

WHAT IS HVAC?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, air conditioning system. It provides thermal comfort and improvement in air quality. This system is one of the most important parts of a building, it includes the exchange of air to the outside and supplies the circulation within the building. Supply ventilation systems allow for better control of the air that enters the house. It removes pollen, dust and dehumidifies to provide humidity control.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUPPLY VENTS AND AIR RETURNS?

Supply vents blow air outwards into a room. They are usually smaller and have slats behind the vent covers. Air returns suck the air out of the room into your ducts, and back into the furnace. 

WHERE DOES MY HVAC SYSTEM FILTER THE AIR?

If your furnace is in the basement, more than likely this is where you will find the removable air filter that keeps your air clean. If you don’t have a basement, then most likely your furnace is in the attic. It would be very inconvenient to go to switch the filter in the attic, that’s why these homes will filter the air in the air returns located on the walls and ceilings. This makes the filters easier to access and replace!

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I REPLACE MY AIR FILTER?

Typically air filters for HVAC systems should be changed at least twice a year. A good trick to keep on track is to replace the filters when you switch your clocks for daylight savings time. Change the clocks, change the filters. That way you never forget! 

If your home is more prone to dust, or pollutants, than you may want to change it more than twice a year. 

THE OVERALL VENTILATION PROCESS 

Thermostat

The most important part of a HVAC system is the thermostat. The thermostat triggers the entire system to start cooling or heating.  It is normally centrally located in your home and programmed based on your preferences. 

Furnace &  Heat Exchanger

The furnace heats the air that moves through the system with natural gas. Within the furnace is a heat exchanger, which is responsible for heating up the air to the right temperature. You’ll typically find the furnace in the attic, basement, or a specially designed closet space.

Air Conditioner

The air conditioner cools the air and is found outside of the building. It uses electricity and coolant liquid to reduce the temperature of the air, while sending hot air outside and cold air inside.

Ducts

Ducts are a very important part of the HVAC system! They help move air efficiently throughout the home. It is a channel of connected tubes that are built behind the walls. Ducts are responsible for delivering and balancing the air flow through the rooms of your house. Ducts connect to the air vents that you see on your floors, walls and ceilings.

Air Vents

Vents are the final part of this system. There are two types of vents – supply vents and air returns:

Supply vents, supply air to the room.

Air returns remove the air from the room and suck it back into the system to be recycled and reconditioned by the furnace.

Article Provided By: Aria Vent

If you would like to discuss Stellar Air Decorative Vent and Grille Covers or want to have a custom-designed Grille or Ventilator cover made for your home or office, please do not hesitate to call us at 842-795-6680 or you can email us at info@stellarairdecorativeventcovers.com.

Lessons on HVAC Systems from Aria Vent

Troubleshooting Guide for Air Conditioning

Air conditioners are essential to keeping your home cool and comfortable, especially in the summer. When your AC breaks down, waiting for a professional to come to your home and fix it can take days or weeks, depending on scheduling and availability. Often, simply popping open a window or running a fan isn’t enough on a particularly hot summer day. The good news is that there a surprising number of instances in which you can diagnose and repair a broken AC on your own. This article reviews troubleshooting tips and highlights a few common issues and solutions so you can get your AC back up and running.

TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS

  • Make sure the thermostat is set properly. Sometimes fixing your air conditioner is as simple as learning to set the thermostat properly. If set incorrectly, your air conditioner may not work the way you want it to. You might have your thermostat set to heat instead of air conditioning. If this happens, you’ll likely have hot air coming out of your air conditioning vents. It’s easy to forget to make the switch when the seasons change. Double-check this before you assume that your AC unit is broken.
  • Change the thermostat batteries. Have you checked the batteries in your thermostat lately? If you haven’t changed the batteries in a long time, you might be dealing with a dead battery. Without functioning batteries, the thermostat cannot communicate with the air conditioning unit.
  • Replace the air filter. If the filter gets too dirty, the air cannot flow properly. As a result, your air conditioner won’t work as well or maybe at all. Modern air conditioners in particular are extremely sensitive to dirty air filters. If you can’t remember the last time you changed the filters, it’s time to change them.
  • Check your circuit breaker. The next thing you can try troubleshooting is checking your circuit breaker. If the circuit breaker connected to the air conditioner has been tripped, you’ll need to reset it.
  • Check the air vents. Make sure that all of your air ducts and vents are clear. If they get clogged by dust or dirt, the air can’t flow properly; simply cleaning your air vents could be the answer to your problems. There may also be issues within the air ducts that you can’t see. Things like mold or vermin infestation can prevent your AC from working properly.

WHEN TO CONTACT AN HVAC PROFESSIONAL

While there are plenty of things you can do on your own troubleshooting and combatting common problems with your air conditioner, there are several instances where you need to contact a professional.

  • Strange Noises Coming From Your AC: Is your air conditioner making loud banging, clanging, or other unfamiliar noises? If these sounds are coming from your air conditioner or vents, you likely have a serious problem. This is not something you can fix on your own, but an HVAC professional will understand the issue and find a solution.
  • Issues with the Outdoor Unit: If your outdoor air conditioner unit is the problem, you should not try to fix this yourself. While changing your air filters and replacing batteries are perfectly fine for you to do on your own, fixing more complicated issues may void your warranty. For true maintenance issues, it’s best to contact a professional.
  • Improperly Installed AC: If you’ve noticed that your air conditioner was not installed properly, you should call a professional to reinstall or fix it.

Article Provided By: HVAC.com

If you would like to discuss Stellar Air Decorative Vent and Grille Covers or want to have a custom-designed Grille or Ventilator cover made for your home or office, please do not hesitate to call us at 842-795-6680 or you can email us at info@stellarairdecorativeventcovers.com.

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