Ventilation - Blog Posts by Tag

The Most Important Areas of Your Home to Ventilate

The Most Important Areas of Your Home to VentilateLingering odors, stuffy rooms, germs and moisture problems — a lack of daily air exchange has very unpleasant side effects for your comfort and health. In fact, most homes harbor at least one serious indoor air quality (IAQ) issue, according to the EPA. With a little effort and the right ventilation strategy, you can bring a breath of fresh air to your home in the rooms that need it most.

Breath of Fresh Air

You may fiddle with the thermostat to try and find just the right level of comfort. Although, very important, your home’s temperature is only one environmental factor that affects your comfort. If your IAQ is a breeding ground for contaminants, such as germs and mold spores, you’re not going to be very comfortable if you become ill. Humidity levels affect your comfort and health, too, if indoor air is too dry or too moist.

You’ll be affected most by IAQ issues in the areas of your home where you spend the most time. Your kitchen and bathrooms should already have point-of-use ventilators. Though, check to make sure these fans vent outside your home — not into your attic.

Focus your ventilation efforts in your bedroom(s) and common living areas. You’ll be able to rest and relax better by being more comfortable and exposed to fewer IAQ contaminants. Pay special attention to rooms where young, elderly or people with respiratory ailments spend time.

How to Ventilate

Now that you’ve decided where you need to ventilate your home, it’s time to decide how best to do so. Natural ventilation brings in fresh air through open windows and screen doors. However, this type of ventilation in uncontrolled and contingent upon outdoor temperatures and weather.

Consider ventilating key areas of your home with a mechanical ventilator. Heat-recovery ventilators (HRVs) use intake and exhaust fans for balanced airflow. Air ducts and vents are installed in areas you need fresh air the most. Moreover, HRVs use a heat-exchange core to efficiently pre-condition fresh air intake.

If you would like a ventilation assessment of your San Diego home’s needs, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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How to Start Improving Indoor Air Quality in Every Room

How to Start Improving Indoor Air Quality in Every RoomConsidering the fact that the average American spends around 90 percent of each day indoors, it’s important to think about the quality of your indoor air. Polluted air can cause allergic reactions, respiratory ailments and discomfort in the form of headaches, congestion or nausea. Common sources of indoor air pollution include pet dander, mold, volatile organic compounds, mold and dust mites. Improving indoor air quality in every room in your home is easier than you think. Following is a guide to get you started.

Bedrooms

  • Pets. Avoid sleeping with pets in the bedroom, keeping them out altogether if possible.
  • Air cleaners. A whole-home air cleaner can help you breathe easier whether you’re asleep or awake.
  • Bedding. Invest in allergen-proof pillows and mattress covers, and wash them and your bedding in hot water each week.

Kitchen

  • Appliances. Prevent mold growth in your refrigerator by wiping away excess moisture and periodically cleaning the seals around the door. Use the exhaust fan above your stove when cooking, and make sure it vents outside, rather than to the attic.

Living Room

  • Plants. Place aquarium gravel around the base of houseplants to reduce mold and dust.
  • Furnishings. Keep pets off of soft furniture to reduce dander.

Bathrooms

  • Ventilate. Use the exhaust fan when bathing or showering to reduce excess moisture and prevent mold and mildew.
  • Lose the mats. Toss old, moldy mats and shower curtains.
  • Walls. Choose tile over wallpaper or paint with enamel-based, mold resistant paint.

Whole Home Tips

  • Control humidity. One of the easiest ways to go about improving indoor air quality in every room is by keeping humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. At these levels, mold and dust mite growth are inhibited.
  • Keep things neat. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and dust with microfiber cloths to trap, rather than spread, dust.
  • Maintain. Change your air filter every four to six weeks, and schedule annual preventive maintenance each spring and fall.

For more tips on improving indoor air quality in every room in your home, call Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve homeowners in San Diego and surrounding areas.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Are You Wasting Energy With Your Skylight?

Are You Wasting Energy With Your Skylight?Skylights are prized for their aesthetic value, brightening homes with natural light. They can also make a home feel warmer during the colder seasons via passive solar heating, and if they are the type that open, can provide beneficial ventilation. However, they can have drawbacks as well, including a detrimental effect on the overall energy efficiency of your home. So are you wasting energy with your skylight?

Skylights can waste energy in several ways. Solar heat gain is often an issue. Skylights can cause as much as four times as much heat gain as a standard window, making your air conditioner work much harder. Heat loss is often an issue in the cooler months, with a skylight installed in the roof typically allowing 35–45 percent more heat loss than a standard window would.

Placement can make a big difference in energy efficiency. For instance, on a north-facing roof, skylights provide light with minimal heat, while south-facing skylights will produce the most solar heat gain.

Both heat loss and heat gain can also be affected by the angle at which your skylight is installed. The flatter the angle, the more sunlight it will be exposed to in the summer, meaning more heat gain. It also increases heat loss during heating season and decreases passive solar heating. The California Energy Commission recommends that skylights be positioned at an angle that is 5–15 degrees greater than the geographical latitude of your area, which is 32 for San Diego.

Lastly, energy efficiency can be greatly affected by the methods and materials used in skylight construction. Choosing skylights that have the federal Energy Star label can reduce energy waste by as much as 40 percent. Using shades, louvers, or awnings with your skylight — particularly if it isn’t a new, energy-efficient type — can also help minimize energy waste.

For more information on reducing energy waste, please contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve been serving the home comfort and efficiency needs of customers throughout the San Diego area since 2002.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Think Indoor Air Isn’t as Polluted as Outdoor Air? Think Again

Think Indoor Air Isn't as Polluted as Outdoor Air? Think AgainGiven the amount of vehicle traffic that contributes to bad air quality in San Diego, it’s easy to assume that indoor air pollution is minor compared to what’s outside. But in reality, the air you breathe indoors may be among the most toxic you encounter, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A recent nationwide study found that while 91 percent of survey respondents believe high air quality is essential for good health, 76 percent used products in their homes that degrade indoor air quality (IAQ). A full 57 percent didn’t change the HVAC system’s air filter regularly to alleviate airborne allergies or control airborne particulates.

Achieving healthy indoor air isn’t difficult or expensive, especially if you use your central cooling and heating system as part of a whole-house approach. Here are some tips to start with.

Improve Ventilation

Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bath to pull out excessive humidity. You can also use an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) as part of your HVAC system to exhaust stale indoor air and replace it with fresh air. ERVs capture the energy in the outgoing air and put it into the incoming air, making them an energy efficient approach to reduce indoor air pollution.

Reduce the Amount of VOCs in Your Home

Cleaning products, paint, new flooring, many cleaning products, dry cleaning and vinyl products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can lead to damaging health effects. Look for products with a clean air label or labeled as no or low VOCs. Ultraviolet (UV) lights inside the air handler and ductwork can neutralize the toxicity of VOCs and help control the spread of viruses and bacteria.

Change Air Filters Regularly

Change the HVAC system’s air filter on a regular basis to keep IAQ higher. A clean filter will trap more airborne particulates like pollen, dust and pet dander, reducing the severity of allergies and asthma.

For more information on indoor air pollution, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We prouldy provide outstanding HVAC and IAQ services for homeowners in the San Marcos area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Helpful Ways to Reduce Household Dust and Improve Indoor Air Quality

Helpful Ways to Reduce Household Dust and Improve Indoor Air QualityGiven the San Diego area’s arid climate, some dust will inevitably find its way into your home. Because this common air contaminant lowers your indoor air quality, however, dust should never be ignored. There are plenty of simple ways to get rid of it.

Stop Dust at Its Source

Bed linens accumulate dust quickly, so wash yours once a week. Shake out your blankets weekly, too. If you have clothes that shed or collect dust, store them in boxes, drawers or garment bags.

Clean Thoroughly

Start by keeping your home’s surfaces clutter-free so dust has fewer places to hide. To clean up dust instead of just redistributing it, use microfiber or electrostatic dust cloths and mops. Vacuum carpets with an agitator (brush) attachment, and use a brush-free attachment on hardwood or tile floors. Take your area rugs outside at least monthly and beat the dust out with a rug beater or broom.

Enlist Your Heating and Cooling System

Thin fiberglass HVAC air filters trap very little dust. For better indoor air quality, equip your system with an air filter of Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 5 to 11. If you have allergies or asthma, go for MERV 10 or 11 filters. While you’re cleaning your house, switch your heating and cooling system to “fan only.” This pulls your home’s air through the system’s filter, trapping the dust and other particles kicked up while you’re cleaning.

Increase Your Ventilation

If you have only exhaust fans for ventilation, consider having a balanced whole-house ventilation system installed. These systems draw out dusty indoor air and replace it with fresh outdoor air that’s been filtered to remove contaminant particles.

Air Seal Your Home

Tiny cracks around windows and doors let in dust, pollen and many other air contaminants. These leaks also waste your heated and cooled air. To keep your air clean and save energy, seal the leaks by applying caulk to non-movable surfaces and weatherstripping to movable surfaces.

For more ideas on improving your indoor air quality, contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning in the San Diego, La Costa, and Oceanside areas.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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5 Ways Excess Humidity Can Damage Your San Diego Home

5 Ways Excess Humidity Can Damage Your San Diego HomeIn addition to the discomfort it can cause, excess humidity can also wreak havoc on your health and home. Here are five ways humidity damage can occur, and the steps you can take to prevent it from happening:

Trouble Below

Basements and crawlspaces are notoriously damp and are often humid, cool and dark. This, combined with moisture from the ground, can lead to condensation on walls, floors and other surfaces, leading ultimately to mold and mildew issues. Steps should be taken to minimize humidity levels, including:

  • Opening foundation vents to let it remain dry.
  • Keeping basement doors and windows closed on humid days.
  • Insulating basement walls using rigid foam insulation.
  • Using a professionally installed whole-house dehumidifier to remove excess moisture.
  • Installing a solid, thick moisture barrier in crawlspaces.

Flooring Issues

Carpeting and even hard flooring is susceptible to mold if excess humidity is present. Signs of excess humidity may include a musty smell, as well as damp carpeting and padding. A correctly sized and professionally installed air conditioning system can help control humidity levels, while keeping your home cool and comfortable.

Attic Concerns

Ventilation is the key to preventing moisture buildup in your attic space. A solar or electric powered fan can help create air movement to keep your attic cool and dry.

Wall Trouble

Walls may become spongy, and paint may bubble and peel if moisture pockets form within your walls as a result of excessively humid conditions. Sealing leaks around doors, windows, baseboards and wall outlets can help, as can beefing up wall insulation levels.

Storage Problems

Consistently high humidity levels can take their toll on stored items, such as food and clothing. Canned items may become rusty or leak, and dry foods may attract moisture and become stale. Allow air to circulate in closets by leaving doors open, removing unwanted items and leaving space between clothes. You can also store food in an air conditioned space.

For more information on the hazards of excess humidity, call the experts at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. We proudly serve homeowners in San Diego and the surrounding areas.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Your New Tankless Water Heater: Venting Considerations

Your New Tankless Water Heater: Venting ConsiderationsYou did the homework, and decided to go with a tankless water heater for your upgrade or new build project. In either case, now that you’ve bought your new tankless water heater, venting considerations should be next on the agenda if the model you selected heats water with gas rather than electricity. Continue reading “Your New Tankless Water Heater: Venting Considerations” »

Can’t Take The Heat In Your Attic? Consider The Benefits Of An Attic Fan

Can't Take The Heat In Your Attic? Consider The Benefits Of An Attic FanAs the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” However, don’t let this be your mentality when it comes to your attic. If your home seems overly hot or humid, the culprit may be an excess buildup of heat in your attic. Proper ventilation is key to your overall home comfort, so you might want to consider installing and using an attic fan. Continue reading “Can’t Take The Heat In Your Attic? Consider The Benefits Of An Attic Fan” »