As you get your Mobile, Alabama home ready for the heating season, it’s not a bad idea to review some fire safety and home heating tips. A significant percentage of residential fires each year are related to home heating systems. According to the U.S. Fire Safety Administration, from 2008 to 2010, and an average of 50,000 fires related to home heating resulted in about 150 deaths, 575 injuries, and $326 million in lost property. Heating-related fires were said to be the second most common cause of residential fires, following fires related to cooking.
Fire Safety and Home Heating Tips
Heating systems such as gas furnaces and boilers are often the culprit in residential fires. A carbon monoxide leaks is another serious problem. That’s why it is essential to schedule annual maintenance for your home’s heating system. A trusted HVAC technician will inspect every part of your furnace, boiler, or heat pump system to make sure it’s installed and connected safely. He or she will clean parts, check vents, and if necessary, recommend an upgrade if your system is old and unsafe.
If you use space heaters in your home, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe operation. Don’t continue to use space heaters with damaged cords, damaged connections, or other issues. Don’t leave them in places where they can be knocked over accidentally by you, children, or pets, or where they can ignite a curtain or other flammable object. Even then, the space heater should have an automatic shut-off mechanism if tipped over.
If you have a fireplace or wood stove, annual inspection and cleaning, preferably before the heating season, is just as important. A common problem with older homes is cracked fireplace liners or liners with mortar chipped away between sections. If this is the case with your fireplace, dangerous fumes or flames can escape the fireplace and endanger your home and family. Never throw away warm fireplace ashes near your home.
For more information about fire safety and home heating, please contact Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. today at 251-476-3610. Our skilled technicians can provide advice and services to keep you safe and comfortable this winter.
Replacing an old air conditioner is a great way to boost energy efficiency and maintain optimal levels of comfort in your Alabama home. However, to ensure your air conditioner continues to provide efficient performance, there are important steps you should take, which can also help to extend its service life.
Change the Filters Regularly
Since most Alabama homeowners find themselves using their air conditioners the majority of the year, it is recommended that the filters be changed regularly. A clogged filter forces the air conditioner to work harder to move conditioned air to every room, which puts a strain on the system. Clean filters make it easier for the air conditioner to do its job, plus the indoor air quality will be much better.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats prolong the life of your AC by allowing you to use your system more efficiently. You can program the thermostat in advance based on your activities. This will allow you to adjust temperatures so more energy efficient setting results in energy savings and reduce strain on the air conditioner. During the winter months, set the thermostat lower and reduce the number of times the heating system cycles on. By doing so, the system doesn’t waste energy trying to maintain ideal temperatures when no one is around.
Schedule Professional Service
Regular air conditioning maintenance is a must-have for any system. At least once a year, have a skilled technician come to your home and perform a thorough inspection of your unit and ductwork. Professional AC technicians can spot issues with airflow, repair leaks, and ensure the unit is working properly. Although a once-a-year inspection is adequate, you can boost your system’s lifespan even further by having it serviced twice — once before winter and another time before summer.
Call Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. at 251-476-3610 to schedule your next AC maintenance or repair service.
Central or forced air HVAC systems rely on a system of ducts to get conditioned air to every vented area of your home. How well your central heating and cooling works depends a lot on good ductwork design.
Ductwork carries conditioned air from the utility area where your furnace or air conditioner is installed into the living areas of your home. When it is working as it should, each room in your house gets an appropriate volume of air delivery, and the air reaches the vents as warm or as cool as it’s meant to be. When ductwork is improperly designed, however, leaks, heat loss or heat gain, and excessive or insufficient airflow can plague your home. In fact, these flaws can drop an HVAC installation’s efficiency down to 60 percent of its ideal operating conditions. That’s not just bad for the energy bills, it’s bad for home comfort.
Principles of Good Ductwork Design
In new homes, ductwork should be designed at the same time the house plans are being drafted. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) offers updated guidelines on how best to approach residential duct system design.
Good ductwork design takes into account the heating and cooling loads of each room, not just the entire house. Inner rooms may require less conditioning than rooms that are more affected by outdoor temperatures through conduction and radiation, for example, through walls, ceilings, windows or doors. And smaller rooms, such as bathrooms, require less airflow than larger living spaces.
When the heating and cooling loads are calculated, the specific models of furnace and air conditioner should be determined. This is because the rate of air supply provided by the blower fan can impact the size of duct necessary.
The location of the central HVAC system should be considered as part of good ductwork design. Symmetrical or nearly-symmetrical ductwork often performs best when it comes to delivering the correct amount of air to every room, which means that tucking the HVAC appliances into an out-of-the-way location can have undesirable consequences for airflow.
The duct layout should also take the location of other appliances into account. For example, a duct should not be installed next to a water heater, as the heater may transfer heat into the duct during the cooling season, reducing the efficiency of the home’s air conditioner.
When the equipment is selected, contractors should draw up a sketch of your home’s entire air distribution systems in order to calculate the duct size requirements. This step can also help the contractors decide what method of distribution is best: a trunk-and-branch system, where one main trunk duct supplies a number of smaller branch ducts which carry air to each room, for example. Good ductwork design will be fine-tuned to the architecture of the building, as well as the climate.
Ideally, ductwork should be kept in conditioned or insulated areas of the home. Insulating the ducts helps to prevent heat loss and heat gain. Keeping the ductwork securely within the home’s thermal envelope also helps to retain energy.
When the size and layout of ducts has been selected and the ducts are being installed, the contractor should pay special attention to sealing duct connections with mastic to ensure that no air leaks are present in the system.
Good ductwork design governs year-round home comfort when it comes to heating and cooling your home. In addition, improved airflow throughout your home optimizes the performance of your HVAC system.
To learn more about ductwork design, how to get the most out of your ductwork, and proper ductwork maintenance, contact the experts at Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. at 251-476-3610. Our technicians can provide a variety of energy-efficient solutions and systems to improve indoor air quality, energy savings, and comfort in your Mobile-area home or office.