Archive for April, 2012

Improving Indoor Air Quality with UV Germicidal Lights?

Monday, April 30th, 2012

To improve the indoor air quality use ultraviolet germicidal lights in Portland homes to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and toxic mold that can cause respiratory problems and other health concerns. These microorganisms spread by releasing airborne spores containing the genetic material used to create a new organism. UV lights use a wavelength of ultraviolet light to destroy the organism’s DNA, which takes away their reproductive capabilities and also kills them.

UV germicidal lights are fairly inexpensive and can be installed to work with your existing forced air HVAC system. They are typically used in tandem with either an electronic or mechanical air cleaner. While air cleaners can filter pollen and other irritants, UV germicidal lights destroy the viruses and mold spores once these pollutants have been trapped by the air cleaner. After the air has been filtered through your HVAC, it will circulate more easily through system and increase the efficiency of the unit. In addition, UV lights are useful in killing hidden mold growth, which can only be detected by special thermal imaging equipment.

Homeowners with particularly chronic allergy problems or extremely poor indoor air quality choose to install both types of air cleaners, in addition to a UV light, for the ultimate protection from indoor air pollutants—from bacteria to pet dander.  If your home lacks adequate ventilation, or if you are unable to control the source of common pollutants, you might benefit greatly by installing UV germicidal lights. Poor indoor air circulation can exacerbate the spread of harmful microorganisms, so make sure you have proper ventilation if you don’t have UV lights in your home.

UV germicidal lights have also been used to filter tap water because they are more reliable and easier to install than other water treatment systems. However, they are typically used to provide cleaner indoor air quality.

Call Clean Air Act if you have questions or concerns about the quality of the air inside your Portland home.

Spring Newsletter

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Check out our Spring Newsletter for informative articles on your Air Conditioning and Heating needs, along with promotions, a highlighted client testimonial, a “did you know” fact, and a delicious Spring recipe for you to try!

Heat Pump Air Duct Requirements

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Between the concerns about climate change and the rising costs of energy production and consumption, there is a lot of experimentation with new heat pump replacements in Beavercreek.  Standard choices are being re-evaluated and new designs are changing the requirements for various parts.

In homes and other buildings where systems were designed and installed according to the cheaper energy parameters prevalent in the day, it may be time to consider drastic changes to increase the efficiency and decrease impact on the carbon footprint.  Room for improvement can be found in many corners.

Heat Pump Technology

Among the systems getting a fresh look are heat pumps, a device that transfers thermal energy from one location to another, usually in the direction of from a colder temperature to higher and generally the opposite of the natural flow.  While compressor-driven air conditioners and freezers are technically heat pumps, “heat pump is the term that usually implies one of the less-common devices in the class that are not dedicated to refrigeration-only.

Heat pump installations that maintain a thermally conditioned-space can be used to provide either heating or cooling, depending upon whether the environment is cooler or warmer than the conditioned-space.  Typically pumps utilize some thermal energy from the environment itself, such as the natural heat beneath the Earth’s surface.

By simply transferring the energy rather than producing it, heat pumps are being more seriously considered as attractive alternatives to provide an efficient and clean system for conditioning public and living spaces.

Change of Use

In considering a change from an existing system to a heat pump, there are many details to compare to see if it makes any sense at all.  The overall local climate (cool or hot) in general, and the availability of geothermal heat, in particular,  are two major factors.

Since a heat pump typically moves conditioned air through ductwork, the advantages of the change are much more realistic with a system of pre-existing ducts such as a forced air furnace or central air-conditioning unit.  While a heat pump often requires a larger volume of ducts, the old network of metal tunnels was often over-sized for inefficient furnaces and should do fine in a conversion to a heat pump.

The Right Data

Since the required formulas are dependent upon variables such as size, distance, volume and oomph, the design is strategic and makes all the difference.  Call Clean Air Act to speak with a trained and experienced professional.

Do the homework to get the best recommendation for your home.

How Do I Get More Fresh Air in the House During the Winter?

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Winter is a real bummer for many Welches families. It’s cold and dark outside and to top things off, you have to keep your home sealed up nice and tight so the warm air produced by your boiler or furnace doesn’t escape. Not a lot of fun. Luckily, there are solutions to help your indoor air quality in Welches. Which solution you choose will depend on a few factors, however.

The Simplest Way

The easiest way to get fresh air is to open a window. Unfortunately, it is also the most expensive way. After all, the air outside is cold and by opening a window, you force all the air you just heated outside. Most modern heating systems can compensate for the energy loss, but it will cost you quite a bit over the course of the winter to heat not only your home, but your backyard.

That’s why there is so little circulation in the winter to start with. The need for effective insulation and weather stripping to reduce energy use and fuel costs led to increasingly sealed up homes.

Ventilation

So, ventilation is the next best option, and while there are fans and exhaust options that allow you to circulate air into and out of your home, the most cost efficient way to do so is with a heat recovery ventilator or for those with humidity problems, an energy recovery ventilator.

These devices contain advanced heat exchangers that will transfer the heat from your indoor air into new air as it is brought into your home. As fresh air is transferred inside, the heat is passed from indoor air to the outdoor air via a heat exchanger. By retaining the heat with a recovery ventilator, you keep your energy bills low and your home filled with fresh air.

The best part is that this same technology works in the summer if you want to let in a little fresh air on a sunny day. Instead of pouring all of that cool air conditioned air outside, you can simply use an energy recovery ventilator to draw heat out of new air as it enters your home. Heat and humidity stay outside and you stay nice and cool.

There are quite a few types of energy recovery ventilators, ranging from simple heat only models to advanced heat pumps that will gather lost heat from throughout your home. The size of your home and the climate in which you live will determine which the best fit is for you.  If you have questions call Clean Air Act

The Most Effective Environmentally Friendly Heating Methods

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Protecting the environment is a priority for many homeowners these days. The problem is that it can’t be as a high a priority as your heating system in Portland home. Sure, you want your home to be environmentally friendly, but you need it to be warm.

So, it seems you are forced to run your electric or high efficiency furnace as much as is necessary and hope that it’s not too much for the environment — or your wallet — to take.

Beyond the traditional heating methods of electricity, gas, oil and what have you, there are some alternatives out on the market these days that can keep your home warm while also being green.

Geothermal

One solution is geothermal heat, which harnesses the natural heat of the Earth to warm your home. Pipes filled with coolant run through the ground outside your home, absorbing the warmth of the Earth. Then, the warm coolant is pumped into your home through a network of pipes that radiate heat.

This method is effective and requires no additional fuel or energy.

Micro Combined Heat and Power (MCHP) Systems

Relatively new to the game are so-called MCHP systems. These heating systems have on-board power generators with high-efficiency computer modules attached. The power module interfaces with the thermostat, calling for heat when necessary. That activates the generator system, which quietly and efficiently generates all the necessary power to run the heater.

These systems are incredibly efficient and can slash the cost of your heating bill. As an added benefit, they continue to work during power outages, which has obvious utility in areas that experience harsh winter storms.

Solar

Then, of course, there is the most obvious and readily available source of heat to the whole planet: the sun. Solar heating systems can be either active or passive, which essentially just depends on whether additional specialized equipment is to be installed.

Obviously, solar heating systems are a better choice for areas that get a lot of sunlight year round.

Whichever environmentally friendly heating solution you choose, they have the added benefit of lowering your heating bill, which is always welcome.  Call Clean Air Act if you have any questions

Happy Easter from The Clean Air Act, Inc.

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

From your Heating, Cooling, and Air Quality specialists at The Clean Air Act, In., we hope you enjoy your weekend! If you are celebrating Easter, check out these family friendly Easter Egg decorating ideas for a little inspiration. Enjoy!

Easter Eggs

The History of Heat Pumps

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Thermal energy is the natural movement from warm temperatures to colder temperatures creating energy in the change of temperature to the mass.  A heat pump typically is a device that moves the air (or other matter) in the opposite direction from its natural flow.

A heat pump often uses an intermediate fluid called a refrigerant which absorbs heat as it vaporizes and releases the heat when it is condensed,  using an evaporator to absorb the heat (or energy) from inside an occupied space and forcing this heat to the outside through the condenser. The key component that makes a heat pump different from an air conditioner is the reversing valve which allows for the flow direction of the refrigerant to be changed, allowing the heat to be pumped in either direction.

Timeless Technology

While mechanical movement of this energy, what we can actually call a pump,  has been a relatively recent invention,  the concept of this principal of physics has been in use since ancient times. Harnessing the power of geothermal energy (produced from the heat of the earth itself), natural hot springs “pumped” warm air into cool spaces in China and Europe thousands of years ago.

By 1852, Lord Kelvin had theorized the heat pump, but it took nearly 100 years to actually build one.  In the last half century, the technological advances have made heat pumps part of our lives in many ways.

First Pump

In the 1940s a man named Robert Webber was motivated to build the first known heat pump while tinkering with his refrigerator.  Accidently burning his hand on the outlet pipes of the cooling system, he was quite painfully awakened to an idea about the transference of heat.

Recognizing the freezer was constantly producing heat to cool its interior, he connected the outlet pipe to the storage tank of his hot water heater, extended that into a flow through pipes which heated air nearby, and  then used a fan to blow the warmth into another room.

The first heat pump was a crude, but effective method to provide comfort.  Creating a full-size version soon after, Wagner could heat his entire home.

Heat and Electricity

Today Portland heat pumps are built in many ways and shapes to heat or cool buildings of many sizes.  Combined with geothermal forces close to the Earth’s surface or potentially  deep within its fiery core, heat pumps are able to energize the turbines that can produce huge amounts of electricity

As technological improvements are refined during this time of climate change and dwindling fossil fuels, heat pumps promise to play an important part in our futures.

If you are interested in having a heat pump installed in your home, call Porland HVAC professionals Clean Air Act Inc.!