Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.
Health Impacts of Air Pollutants
Some health effects may show up shortly after a single exposure or repeated exposures to a pollutant. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable.
Sometimes the treatment is simply eliminating the person’s exposure to the source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants, symptoms of some diseases such as asthma may show up, be aggravated or worsened.
The likelihood of immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors including age and preexisting medical conditions. In some cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological or chemical pollutants after repeated or high level exposures.
In long-term effects, other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.
Reasons for Poor Indoor Air Quality
Gas and respirable particulates in the air are the primary sources that contribute to poor IAQ. Sources can include inadequate ventilation, poorly maintained HVAC systems, cooking stoves, non-vented gas heaters, tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust emissions, building materials, carpeting, furniture, maintenance products, solvents, cleaning supplies etc.
The actual concentrations of these pollutants can also be amplified by other external factors including poor ventilation, humidity, and temperature.
Air Genius – Best Indoor Air Quality Monitor
Air Genius is a state-of-the-art indoor air quality monitor that you should have at your house or in your office to monitor the air that we breathe. The device, developed by India-based Next Sense Technologies, uses the latest sensors to determine particulate matter, VOCs, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), carbon dioxide, temperature, humidity and other important parameters.
We have taken a leap in technological advancement by relaying the data automatically to the server so that you can access the data remotely and in real-time. Through this, one could take initiatives on switching on the Air purifier or by keeping the window open for allowing the fresh air.
Typical Applications for Air Genius Indoor Air Quality Monitor
Did you know the average American household spends about $2,000 annually for utilities? What’s more, $200 to $400 is money wasted due to drafts, air leakage, and outdated HVAC systems. That’s a lot of money, right? You can save that money by making energy efficient upgrades to your home.
Let’s take a look at these money-saving upgrades, shall we?
A very cost effective way to save on energy is by adding more insulation in the attic, or switching out the typical blanket insulation for either cellulose loose-fill insulation or spray foam insulation. The spray foam insulation is the most effective type of insulation for energy efficiency.
With that in mind, installing spray foam insulation requires professional installation and it can range anywhere from $1 to $1.50 per square foot.
2. Energy efficient appliances and HVAC system
Older appliances tend to use a of energy and are nowhere near as energy efficient as newer models. Look for appliances and electronics that are ENERGY STAR approved products. By replacing the refrigerator, washer and dryer and even the ranges, you can save 15% on how much energy your home uses.
It seems like everything is a smart device doesn’t it? Smart thermostats are an excellent way to reduce the amount of heating and cooling is used, especially when you’re not home. In the winter, you can decrease the temperature when you’re not at home and increase it to a comfortable temperature about 30 minutes before you get home, and vice versa.
If you don’t want to go the smart thermostat route, there are programmable thermostats where you can change the settings so the temperature is where it’s set to at the desired time.
4. Eliminating air leaks
One of the biggest culprits of wasted energy is air leakages. A whopping 40% of a home’s heating or cooling is lost due to drafty doors and windows and ill-fitted air ducts. You can prevent this by upgrading your doors and windows to high energy options. Not only are the new doors and windows themselves energy efficient, but the new seals will prevent air leakage.
If you cannot afford new windows or doors, you can always use exterior-grade caulking and new weatherstripping to seal up cracks or gaps you may find.
5. Install ceiling fans
Ceiling fans are a great way to add a bit of style to a room, but they can also help circulate the air, regardless of the season. Most fans have a switch that allows you to change the direction the fan moves. In the summer, it should rotate counterclockwise to push the cooler air down, therefore making the air feel cooler than it actually is. In the winter, it should rotate clockwise to pull the cool air upward and push the warm air downward.
Keeping your home’s energy costs as low as possible isn’t just smart as a homeowner, it’s also a good way to increase the value of your home. And, according to HomeLight’s Q2 2020 survey, we are in a seller’s market! 60% of agents who participated in the survey said there were 60% more bidding wars in June 2020 and the market doesn’t seem to be slowing.
That means if you’re looking to sell, these energy efficient upgrades are a great way to pique a buyer’s interest – maybe even more than one!
Money is a scarce resource. Don’t let monthly bills break your bank while there are numerous things you can do to minimize them. From adding attic insulation to insulating outlets, and installing programmable thermostats, you’ve countless options for reducing your utility bills. Check out the following tips for cutting down your monthly expenses affordably and more effectively. Plus, you will learn everything utility bills.
Incorporate Attic Insulation
Most of the energy people use at their homes goes toward heating or cooling. Research shows that most of this heat escapes to the attic. Most homes lack enough insulation up there to prevent heat from getting out.
Fiberglass insulation is extremely cheap and easy to install. In fact, you can quickly install them on your own. By effectively insulating your home, you could actually save up to 20 percent on your heating, as well as, cooling costs.
But if you can’t install attic insulation yourself, you can always get help online. There are numerous DIY tutorials that can help you through the process.
Install Programmable Thermostats
By installing a programmable thermostat, you’ll be able to save up to 10 percent on your utility bills. Set your unit’s temperature to drop during winter months and raise them during the summer months when you aren’t home. You can then program the unit to return to more comfortable temperatures right before you get home.
This will go a long way in reducing your energy bills and saving you substantial amounts of money. So, what are you still waiting for? Act fast! For more information, visit http://regionalenergy.ca.
Did you know that outlets and light switches can be a major source of air leaks? To prevent this, consider insulating them, particularly if they’re positioned on an outside wall. There are numerous types of specialized seals and insulation materials to choose from. And they’re specifically designed for outlets, as well as, switch plates, so you don’t need to worry about fire risks.
Upgrade to Low-Flow Showerheads
Older showerhead models generally put out 5 gallons of water per minute. On the other hand, low-flow showerheads put out a mere 1.5 gallons per minute and still allow you to enjoy forceful showers.
Even more, they’re easy to install. If you want something more efficient and affordable, then go for a low-flow showerhead. It will help conserve water and save substantial amounts of water every day.
Insulate Water Heaters
Did you know that insulating an older water heater could help you save up to 9 percent on water heating costs? Well, now you know. Insulating hot water heater jackets can prevent standby heat losses by 25 to 45 percent, allowing you to heat your water easily and more efficiently.
Why you should install a Smart HVAC Based System
The HVAC system accounts for more than half of the energy consumed in your home. That’s why a fault system is likely to increase the overall energy consumption in homes. However, with proper maintenance, you can lower these energy bills and still have comfort in your home. So, if you are planning to install an HVAC system in your home, keep reading. Among other things, you will learn about the benefits associated with installing smart based HVAC systems in your home.
Lowers Electricity Bills
Energy bills can be annoying, especially when they skyrocket. Even more, the global energy sector is strained. That’s why energy costs keep on increasing. But does this mean letting nature take its course? No. You can do something to lower these bills. In particular, switching to a smart based HVAC system can be your answer as far as reducing the energy bills in your home is concerned.
One of the biggest pluses of these smart HVAC systems is superior temperature variability. With a smart system, you have an HVAC that will give you the power to control tempt variability according to your needs. This means that users can cool and heat specific rooms effectively without moving from space top space. This saves time and gives you an easy time as you relax or go about your activities.
Another good thing about smart systems is that they give you access to smarter air. Remember, the quality of air is important when it comes to your health. And that’s where smart HVAC systems come in. With these systems, you have a solution that will reduce stuffiness as well as drafts. So, if these are the things that you are looking in an HVAC system, then go the smart way.
You Can Access Then Remotely
Smart technology gives users access to their systems from remote settings. This means that even if you are at work, you can still monitor the functioning of your system. Thus, it’s possible to set the temperature of your room from your workplace before reaching home. This not only reduces energy costs but also improves the overall efficiency.
Why Utility Bills Keep On Increasing
The dreaded energy bill is coming. It can be annoying. If you are unlucky, it will deflate your bank account. Of course, you can try several measures to control the energy budget. However, things may not work out, especially if you don’t pay close attention to your HVAC system. According to research, the HVAC is responsible for almost half of the energy costs in homes. Thus, if you need to bring these bills down, work on your HVAC system. It’s one of the best starting points. So, if you have been wondering why your monthly bills are steadily increasing, sit back. Here are the top reasons why your energy bills are not going down any time soon.
Age has a big say when it comes to the performance of your HVAC system. An old system tends to be less efficient. This means that it will work more to cool or heat any space. So, if your system has served you for years, expect the bills to continue going up. Similarly, a poorly maintained HVAC system tends to be inefficient. This means that it will consume more energy and pump up energy costs. However, don’t let these factors continue draining your money.
You can install a new HVAC system and drive the bills down. If you have the cash, consider going for a smart system. It’s efficient, convenient, and highly reliable. Also, consider maintaining your system on a regular basis. Consult with your heating and cooling contractor to schedule maintenance. According to experts, it’s advisable to do it twice per year.
The operating costs at a particular time can influence the amount you pay towards offsetting your energy bills. For instance, systems that were developed in the 1990s are less efficient than their modern counterparts. This can be attributed to the emergence of technological advancement. For instance, sensors have made these systems more smart and efficient. Thus, they consume less amount of energy, which plays a key role in bringing the energy bills down. Customers are advised to install the newest HVAC systems to bring the energy bills down.
Features also play a key role when it comes to cutting down energy costs. Modern systems come with sophisticated features that make them more efficient. For instance, the efficiency standards of modern equipment are on an upward trajectory. This means that modern systems have superior performance and efficiency than their older counterparts. Standard such as SEER, HSPF, as well as Annual Fuel Utilization is important in determining the efficiency of any system. Also, energy features like variable-speed fans, heat exchange technology, as well as variable speed based compressors can make your system more efficient.
The Locality’s Climate
Your local climate can also increase or lower the amount of money you pay towards energy bills. For instance, if you are located in an extremely cold setting, you will need more energy to heat the interiors. Consequently, your energy bills will be higher. On the other hand, those located in extremely hotter environments will spend more money to cool the interiors.
Also, the following additional factors play a key role when it comes to the energy bills of any home.
The thermostat and other control settings in your system
How the unit was installed
Maintenance levels of your system
The level of insulation in any home
Windows, doors, and other openings in your home.
Are you looking for quick ways to reduce your energy bills? Well, there are actually several measures you can undertake to minimize your electricity costs. According to http://www.regionalenergy.ca/alberta-natural-gas-company/, these measures include insulating outlets and switches, installing a programmable thermostat, insulating your water heater, and installing a low-flow showerhead. Doing this will go a long way in reducing your utility bills and saving you junks of money.
As the climate warms, it’s more important than ever to consider how you can lower your carbon footprint as a homeowner.And lowering your carbon footprint has another huge benefit: you can often save money as a result of green upgrades to your home. For example, solar energy can save you around $600 a year in energy costs. Of course, there are many other reasons why you should use solar energy, but the primary reason to use it is that it is a renewable source, i.e., it will last for billions of years.
Besides making structural changes—like adding solar panels, for example, to your home, there are other ways to save on your utility bills such as turning off lights you’re not using. Below, we’ve gathered our tops tips for saving money on energy – and helping out the planet, too!
Take advantage of sunshine during the winter
The sun is basically free heat for your home. Homeowners can take advantage of what’s called passive solar design. During the day, open the curtains on south-facing windows to let the sunshine inside so it can warm up your house. This will keep your home considerably hotter during the colder months.
Don’t forget to close the curtains when the sun sets so you can keep as much of that trapped solar heat as possible. Consider investing in thick, insulated curtains, which will help keep heat inside your living spaces.
Pay attention to your ceiling fan’s rotation in winter and summer
As you may know, warm air rises. Instead of letting that warm air go up, up and away, you can leverage your ceiling fan to keep that warm air close to you and your family. Reverse your ceiling fan’s rotation so that it turns clockwise instead of counterclockwise. This will keep the hot air in your living spaces.
And during the hotter months, make sure the fan is spinning counterclockwise to pull hot air away from you.
Get a new roof
A new roof can make a huge difference in your energy savings. Best of all? Energy-efficient roofing helps you save money in both the colder and warmer months. Many new types of roofing are “cool roofs” which reflect more of the sun’s rays instead of allowing solar heat to permeate into the home. This means that you don’t have to run the AC as low or as often. In the winter, a new roof helps prevent warm air from escaping.
Plus, in many areas, you might be eligible for a government tax incentive for replacing an old roof with an energy-efficient version.
Seal drafts around windows, doors, and other areas of your home
One of the best methods for determining what areas of your home can be more energy-efficient is by conducting a DIY energy audit. To do an energy audit, light an incense stick and watch to see if smoke is pulled to cracks in the windows or under the doors. You can also sometimes feel drafts by simply putting your palm up around the edges of windows and doors. Once you find drafty areas, it’s important to seal up those holes with weather stripping or caulking.
Fixing air leaks will benefit you both in the summer and the winter because it helps keep your HVAC system from working overtime.
Invest in a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat is a prudent investment, especially if you regularly forget to turn off the A/C or heat when you leave for work or errands. That wasted energy can add up to a big utility bill at the end of the month. A smart thermostat regulates the temperature and automatically programs a specific range to keep you comfortable but turns off in unoccupied rooms.
Schedule regular maintenance
Routine maintenance is essential to promote the longevity of your HVAC system and to ensure that your home isn’t wasting energy. Make sure to replace filters at least once a month and keep tabs on how old your HVAC system is, most systems need to be replaced every 15-20 years.
There are a variety of reasons as to why it’s in your best interest to find ways to make your home greener. Not only do green upgrades ultimately save you money, they also help the planet during a time when a climate emergency is threatening our very existence. If you want to see a smaller utility bill and live a more eco-friendly life, utilize some of the tips mentioned in this article. You’ll save money and help save earth, too.
As soon as the chill begins to set in with fall, the need for indoor heating starts to push electricity bills up significantly with each passing month. This continues until winter finally arrives and skyrockets electricity bills to ridiculous amounts. This is pretty much what happens in summer too if you happen to live in Texas, Florida or any of the other hot states.
In both situations though, it’s the HVAC system that consumes all the energy, which is not exactly unexpected. What most of us don’t realize is that it’s most likely those clogged filters that are making the HVAC waste more energy than it should need.
How Do Clogged Filters Affect Your HVAC System?
Before we can discuss how clogged filters affect electricity bills, it is important to understand how clogged filters affect HVAC units in the first place.
The role of an air filter is simple enough; it stops as much of the air impurities as possible from entering and circulating in the indoor environment. After a while, all that dirt, dust, debris, etc., that the filter prevented from getting in begins to congeal together, slowly closing off the airways.
Once the accumulated gunk becomes heavy enough, the HVAC system has to work extra hard to push air past these narrow airways. This is where the problem lies, as a number of negative effects from the increased exertion and dirty filters are seen.
The Effects of Extra Load on HVAC Units
Given that an HVAC system isn’t equipped to handle all that extra load on a regular basis, a number of negative impacts are seen as a result of clogged air filters.
The unit begins to consume more power, to be able to push air past the dirty filters
The increased power consumption becomes evident, as energy bills surge in direct proportion
The heat exchange mechanism can overheat and short-circuit
The cooling coil may freeze in absence of sufficient airflow for dissipating condensation during summer
Breakdowns become more common, further adding to the maintenance expenses
Both the heating and cooling capacities of the unit suffers; slower and less effective heating/cooling
Since the air is pushed through the gunk with force, it circulates all the dispersed pollutants throughout the house
How to Know When Your HVAC System Needs a Filter Change?
Some of the signs are pretty obvious, but you should act before they become too obvious and your unit breaks down in the middle of January! It can get a little costly to change air filters on a regular basis for sure, so try to get them from discountfilterstore.com.
Go through the following and it should provide a decent guide towards detecting the need for a filter change before the problems get too serious.
It has been more than three months since your last filter change
The filters are starting to look grey or develop spots
Increase in indoor dust accumulation
Increase in allergic reactions such as sneezing, skin rashes, etc.
Heating/cooling seems to be taking a lot longer than expected
Heating/cooling isn’t as effective as before
Air filters serve the vital function of keeping the indoor environment fresh and healthy for everyone, but those same filters can also become the cause for health and financial problems unless they are changed in time. As long as you keep track of the change cycle though, none of what we discussed should be a cause for concern.
When those winter months come, it can feel great to blast on the heating. That feeling of being cozy in your home while it’s freezing outside is something many people love about winter. That’s until you see your energy bill and realize all of that energy has come at a steep cost.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here we look at 9 brilliant tips that are going to allow you to stay warm in your house while saving energy. This will be much better for the environment and also much better for your pocket.
1) Cozy clothing
We’re not suggesting that you have a coat, scarf, and gloves in your home. Rather you can wear jumpers, thicker pajamas and winter socks. This will allow you to be comfortable in your clothing while also giving you the ability to turn down your heating by a couple of degrees.
Also getting thicker duvets for bedtime and nice throws for snuggling up in front of the TV can help keep you warm without your boiler doing all the hard work. You always want to be comfortable in your home but sometimes that can be done without adjusting the heating.
2) A 21st century Christmas
The holiday is a wonderful time of the year and many people love putting up a vast array of Christmas lights. You don’t have to be a humbug and take them down; instead, you can do it all a little more efficiently.
In these modern times, you should be using LED bulbs for those lights. Many people are still using their old bulbs which are much less efficient, and also more unreliable. Also, put your lights on a timer so that they only come on when it gets dark and go off at bedtime.
3) Use a space heater
Do you only stay in one room during the day or evening? Heating just one room instead of them all could save you a huge amount on your energy bills.
To make the most of this you can turn off the heating in your home and switch on your space heater. This will prevent a huge amount of waste. This shouldn’t be confused with using a space heater on top of your heating as this would be more inefficient.
4) Maintain your humidifier and HVAC systems
Over time your air conditioning, heating, humidifier and energy systems will become less efficient. It’s always a great idea to service your systems such as a furnace humidifier, see if any parts need to be replaced and then enjoy their greater output.
A lot of energy can be lost by devices that are either outdated or in need of a service, with your boiler being a great example. It’s usually easy to check this yourself or call out a professional to do it for a small fee.
5) Seal any leaks
If there is a draft coming through your home, then you need to block it. One common area of concern is basements and sealing leaks will prevent the warm air of your home escaping outside.
Other areas such as doors could benefit from a draught excluder and if you have inefficient windows, using quilted curtains can prevent drafts. If you’re not sure where drafts are coming from, using an infrared thermometer can be a huge help.
6) Keep a stable temperature
Some people can fall into the trap of switching their heating on, getting too hot, switching it off and opening a window, then switching their heating back on when it gets cold. If you repeat this process, not only can you get uncomfortable, but it’s a huge waste.
The best solution is to get a thermostat that you can time. You need to know your ideal temperature and use this for when you’re at home. You will also be able to turn your heating off when you’re out of the house and down when you’re sleeping.
7) Use solar energy
There are many misconceptions about solar energy, with one of the biggest being that it only works in warm climates. The reality is that all they need is sunlight, even if it’s freezing outside. They also don’t need direct sunlight to be powered up.
If you live in a spot where you have the space and budget, then it doesn’t matter what the temperature is. While a solar panel won’t be as effective if there are fewer daylight hours, they can still provide a huge boost of clean energy in those cold winter months.
8) Avoid your tumble dryer
You can’t put your clothes outside to dry and therefore you put them in your tumble dryer, it makes sense. This they are brilliant for getting the job done quickly but use up a huge amount of energy in the process.
If your radiators are on, then you might as well use them. If you don’t need clothes to be immediately dried then they are only going to take a few hours in front of a radiator and you’ll save a lot of money.
9) Don’t block radiators
Okay, this is a direct contradiction to the point before but with clothing it is different. If you have a bed or other piece of furniture in front of a radiator, it will have a hugely negative impact on its ability to heat your room.
You need to allow the radiator to heat the air around it and then give enough space for that air to circulate. In terms of circulation, if you have a ceiling fan then it’s a good idea to put it on reverse and in its lowest setting. Hot air rises and a ceiling fan, when used like this, can push the hot air back down into the room.
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