Tag Archive for: home energy efficiency

Benefits of Managing Your Indoor Air Quality

We spend a significant part of our lives indoors, particularly at home. Unfortunately, the air quality within our homes often leaves much to be desired. Chemicals, toxins, molds, fungi, and other allergens can hang heavy in the air. This all can affect our health and comfort. Poor ventilation, dampness, excess humidity, and dusty and dirty conditions within the home can exacerbate problems. See how the benefits of actively managing your indoor air quality can reap rewards for you, your family, and your bank account.

What’s Involved in Managing Indoor Air Quality?

Actively managing your home air quality means being aware of the significant causes of degraded air. These include:

  • residue from smoke, whether from cigarette smoking or burning wood in open fireplaces
  • airborne particles that make their way indoors, such as pollen, and
  • mold and fungi growing in damp areas of the home that release spores into the air.

Many of these airborne culprits increase due to poor air circulation or degraded filtering by home HVAC systems. Other home environment factors include damaged chimney stacks and external wear and tear, resulting in gaps in walls and windows that let moisture into the home.

You may find that you need to be something of a detective in monitoring and determining the causes of dank air or the reasons behind respiratory health problems experienced by yourself or your family members. Indoor air quality monitors can assist you in this task, and another expert source of advice is your local HVAC company.

What are the Benefits of Managing Your Indoor Air Quality?

You can achieve several benefits from keeping your HVAC equipment at peak efficiency, but the greatest benefit is to you and your family’s overall health. You may realize secondary gains from improved comfort and in reducing HVAC costs.

Here’s More Detail on How to Get These Benefits:

The Benefits of Reducing Allergens

Many people suffer from respiratory conditions such as hay fever and asthma, triggered by airborne particles such as pollen, dust in the air, fungal spores, or tiny nasties such as dust mites. Hay fever sufferers have a miserable time, with symptoms similar to a constant head cold. Asthma attacks can be brought on by exposure to allergens, with deadly consequences if not treated in time.

Over time these symptoms can lower the body’s immune system response and develop long-term health conditions such as sinusitis or worsening asthma. Clearly, reducing airborne allergens in the home positively benefits respiratory illness sufferers.

How to Manage Allergens with a Three-pronged Attack:
  1. Clean or replace all HVAC filters regularly and upgrade to higher quality equipment such as HEPA filters if necessary.
  2. Implement a thorough cleaning routine: wash pillowcases and sheets every two to three weeks; vacuum rugs and carpets with a HEPA filter machine.
  3. Reduce opportunities for pollen and other microbial spores like mold and fungi to get inside by keeping windows closed on high pollen days.

The Benefits of Reducing Exposure to Smoke

Whether you’re exposed to smoke from wood fire burning or secondhand cigarette smoke, you’re inhaling toxic substances. Wood burning releases carbon monoxide, soot, creosote, and other harmful chemicals, while cigarette smoke produces hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and other poisons. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, and worsening asthma are all associated with inhaled smoke, so the less exposure, the greater the health benefit.

How to Manage Health Risks by Ensuring Regular Maintenance:
  1. HVAC filters are regularly changed, with annual maintenance and immediate repair of any leaks in the system.
  2. If using open wood-burning fires, annual chimney inspection, and sweeping.
  3. Cigarette smokers are banned from smoking indoors.

The Benefits of Programmable Thermostats for HVAC

With new technology, HVAC systems can run longer for less cost. Digital thermostats can automatically lower the temperature when no one is home or sleeping at night. The Department of Energy states that 10% a year can be saved on energy bills by simply lowering temperatures for eight hours a day.

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality with Briggs HVAC in Northern Virginia

Our homes should be places of respite, providing breathing space from the hectic pace and barrage of modern life. However, long-term exposure to degraded indoor air can lead to severe and chronic health conditions, while even short bursts of exposure to air laden with carbon monoxide can kill.

Regular HVAC maintenance is a primary way to have clean and fresh indoor air and ensure toxins are not reaching deadly levels. Let us assist you in managing indoor air quality and keeping your HVAC equipment in tip-top condition.

5 Energy Efficiency Trends to Look for in 2022

The quest for home energy efficiency continues in 2022. With most people looking to reduce home power costs, the power industry and technology advances provide new opportunities in this area. From solar options, smart devices and systems, and technically advanced materials, here are five energy efficiency trends to look for in 2022.

1. Solar Panels and Batteries

While the take-up of solar panels has been a strong trend that will continue in 2022, batteries are now becoming a standard part of the solar package mix. Batteries supercharge the homeowner’s investment in solar panels by storing the excess generated power. Without a battery, surplus solar power is lost back into the grid. Plus, you’re still reliant on the grid at night or in poor sunlight weather. Batteries change all that and give you energy self-reliance.

Some solar batteries have innovative system capabilities allowing them to connect with smart speakers like Alexa and Google Nest, along with other smart devices in your home.

2. Energy Smart Home Devices

Building on the advances in solar technology, there is a proliferation of energy-related smart devices already on the market. New and enhanced technology is frequently released and becoming commonplace.

Smart Power Adapters and Strips

Inexpensive and easily used, smart power adapters transform standard appliances, lighting, and other electronic equipment into instant smart home devices. Mobile phone apps connecting with the smart adapters let you control power usage from your smartphone. Many of these adapters will also connect with Alexa, Google, and Siri smart speakers, responding to voice commands.

You can obtain energy information from the speakers, including real-time use and length of time on. When paired with motion sensors, the devices can turn on or off all power in a room when people enter or exit. Voice commands or a phone tap quickly turn the adapter on or off.

Smart Light Bulbs

Smart light bulbs use LED technology. In the long run, they beat other light bulbs in the energy efficiency stakes as they use less energy and have a longer life. Some models have motion-triggered and geofencing functionality, allowing automated control of when lights go on or off. Other features include remote control, scheduled timing, and color-changing with Bluetooth or Wi-fi connectivity. In some instances, integration with security cameras and thermostats can occur. As with smart adapters, these can be operated from smartphones and smart speaker systems.

3. Enhancing Home Energy Efficiency with Smart HVAC Systems

Most homeowners spend a substantial amount of their energy costs on heating and cooling, and advances in HVAC technology are one of the vitally important energy efficiency trends occurring. Innovative HVAC systems incorporate automated controls and can monitor and adjust indoor temperatures with fine precision. Smart thermostats are controlled using smartphones, with vents turned off in unoccupied rooms.

If your heating and cooling equipment is nearing end-of-life, it’s worth discussing your smart home options with experienced HVAC installers.

4. Smart Speaker Systems — One of the Runaway Energy Efficiency Trends for 2022

With much of the smart home equipment emerging, the presence of smart speaker technology is everywhere. Driven by pandemic conditions in 2021, the market for Amazon, Apple, and Google smart speakers surged. While there are other smart speakers, these three brands are firmly ahead in popularity and connectivity to smart devices and home energy management.

Just a few of the energy efficiency benefits being achieved by smart speakers include:

  •  An energy company partnering with Alexa, allowing customers to adjust their home energy use according to half-hourly price changes from time-of-use tariffs
  • Google’s Nest Temperature Sensor working with smart thermostats to reduce energy use while keeping indoor temperatures at a preferred comfort level, and
  •  Apple’s Siri also talks to the Ecobee SmartThermostat, which has smartphone controls, clever scheduling, and sensors to detect room occupation.

5. Low-E Windows

And just for a change from electronic-based technology is the passive yet extremely valuable, low-emissivity window. The technology behind these windows is based on a specially designed high-performance glass with a transparent thin metal-oxide coating. The metal layer reflects infrared heat back indoors. The improved insulation substantially lowers home heating and cooling costs.

Keep Home Energy Efficiency High with Regular HVAC Maintenance

With all the effort you go to in keeping home energy efficiency at its peak and costs down, don’t forget to schedule a maintenance service for your HVAC at regular intervals. Your HVAC’s performance has a substantial impact on your energy drawdown needs. Regular maintenance is necessary to keep your heating and cooling equipment operating at its best. Here at Briggs HVAC in North Virginia, we are experts in installation, maintenance, and services for all your home comfort systems.