Premier Indoor Comfort Systems LLC Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Cumming’

What You Need Know Before Installing Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Plentiful beyond imagination just ten feet below the surface, geothermal is being used to provide more than 30% of Iceland’s electrical needs and it is fast becoming a viable option to provide heat  for your Atlanta home as well.  Before digging straight down, however, it is important to look around and consider some important points.

Geothermal 101

Thermal energy is a force that is produced from the movement of warm temperature to cooler.  The term “geo” is from the Greek word for Earth.  Geothermal energy is the unlimited resource of power that is the result of the formation of the Earth billions of years ago and the on-going process of melting rocks nearing the core of that heat.

Location, Location, Location

Difficult to retrieve from deep within the Earth, geothermal is most often considered for large production where natural breaks in the crust such as volcanoes, hot springs and faults are close to the surface.  Just ten feet below the surface, however, there is enough temperature difference to make available enough to efficiently supply a home.

Still, it’s not a guarantee of success, however.  The density of the bedrock, the water table and the balance between extreme hot and cold temperatures with the temperatures of the thermal energy are all factors to be considered.

Dollar for Dollar

For new construction in Atlanta, geothermal is a great alternative because after the more expensive installation, the cost from month to month can produce enough savings to quickly pay for the system.  The savings are potentially so significant, there are situations where the cost of replacing an old inefficient conventional system can be neutralized by the savings in just two to ten years.

If you are thinking about Atlanta geothermal heating and cooling installation and you would like some more information, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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The Growing Popularity of Geothermal Heating and Energy

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

It’s no secret that use of alternative energy sources is on the rise in Atlanta. Solar panels, windmills and hybrid cars have been heavily publicized over the past several years as people and governments try to employ energy strategies that are more efficient, friendlier to the environment and more cost effective.

One alternative energy option that you may have overlooked amid the press that the above topics have received is geothermal heating. That is, using the existing energy of the Earth as a means to heat and cool your home.

If you have in fact been unaware of geothermal heating and energy thus far, it is rapidly growing in popularity as an alternative energy source. According to an article in GOOD Magazine, there are projects currently underway that would double the United States’ capacity to produce electricity from geothermal energy. In the summer of 2011, the U.S. Congress approved $70 million in funding to research geothermal energy.

It’s not just the government getting in on the act, either. Some contractors report anecdotally that over the past five years or so, demand from customers for geothermal heating installations has risen noticeably.

What’s all the fuss about? Well, for starters, geothermal heating can lower heating costs dramatically by reducing reliance on electric or fuel-based heat. Anyone that has received a staggeringly high home heating bill knows that any relief would be welcome.

Additionally, geothermal heating has the advantage of being hidden from sight. Unlike solar panels that have to be mounted on your home or a towering windmill that dominates your property, geothermal pipes run underground. Once they’re installed, no one even knows they’re there.

It’s not all great news about geothermal heating in Atlanta. You’ll need some extra land to house the underground coils, and the cost of installation is usually higher than other Atlanta heating systems.

So, geothermal may not be for everyone, but if you are looking for an alternative energy solution, you have some land and you can invest some money upfront to see savings each month, then it might just be for you.

For more information, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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Learn More About Air Filters and Mold

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Among the potential problems that can plague Acworth homeowners, mold is particularly frustrating. It is persistent, the spores are tiny and easily spread and it can be hazardous to your health.

Preventing a mold problem involves properly ventilating moist areas, such as bathrooms, to prevent mold from thriving in the moisture. It also means spotting and eradicating any patches of mold that do manage to take hold. Perhaps most importantly, it also means keeping mold out of the air in your home.

Mold particles and spores can readily break off from a mold colony can get into the air. Eventually, they can be drawn up into your HVAC system and redistributed throughout your house. Once airborne, they can settle elsewhere to start new mold growth or wind up in your lungs, potentially causing respiratory problems.

Simply put, having mold in your home is a health risk, so you want to keep it under control as much as possible. The best way to keep out of the air is with an air filter.

The good news is that most mold spores are rather large (relatively speaking), so a HEPA air filter installed in your air handler can remove them from the air pretty easily. They are often 3 microns in size or smaller, so a filter with a MERV rating of 8 should do fine, although some spores can reportedly be as small as 1.5 microns. If you want to be very vigilant, or if anyone is your home has a particularly sensitive respiratory system, you can get a filter with a higher MERV rating of 12 or so.

Also, UV germicidal lights can be a good addition to your HVAC system. These lights emit UV radiation that is safe for humans to be around, but kills many microorganisms, including mold spores. They also kill bacteria and other pathogens that can cause disease.

In addition to proper ventilation, a quality filtration system can effectively eliminate the health risks to your family caused by mold. If you would like an indoor air quality system installed in your home, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call!

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Heating Replacement Checklist: What You Should Consider Before Upgrading

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Many Mableton homeowners who heat their homes with an older heating system—whether it’s a furnace or heat pump—may want to consider upgrading to a more efficient system. Older furnaces with an AFUE rating of less than 80%, for instance, could be costing you a lot more than you realize in heating bills.

While it is a significant initial investment, upgrading to a more efficient furnace or heat pump will pay for itself in energy savings. Before you decide on whether or not an upgrade is right for your home, here are some things to keep in mind.

Fuel Costs

Some types of fuel, such as electricity, are more expensive in certain areas. Depending on where you live, you may want to compare the cost of fuel before choosing a heating upgrade. In fact, natural gas may or may not be available to your home. Check with your utility company to find out what types of fuel are available and which ones would be more cost-efficient for heating your home. You can always call a qualified HVAC technician at Premier Indoor Comfort if you have any questions about a heating system upgrade or the products we offer.

Insulation

Whenever you are thinking about upgrading your heating system, you’ll want to make sure your home is properly insulated and sealed. If you purchase and install a highly efficient furnace, it won’t save as much in energy bills if your house is poorly insulated. Get a home energy audit with a local energy resource organization if you aren’t sure. You might want to also consider upgrading your old windows and doors, or installing storm doors and windows to improve air tightness.

Property Value

A lot of homeowners forget that any upgrade or remodeling project will increase the value of their home. Not only will a heating system upgrade lower your heating bills; it will also add value to your home and property. Always make sure you choose the right system for your home so that it lasts as long as possible.

If you are considering upgrading the heating system in your Mableton home, call us to speak with one of our HVAC experts to ask about our quality products and installation services.

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Question from Cumming: What is Natural Ventilation?

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Traditional ventilation requires the use of mechanical air handlers and fans to move air between the inside and outside of your Cumming home. However, there are alternatives that naturally pull air into your home. Not only are these systems better for the environment because they use less electricity, they create a more natural flow of air that can be more comfortable for the occupants.

How Does Natural Ventilation Work?

There are two primary ways to employ natural ventilation in a building – either stack ventilation or wind driven ventilation. The former uses much lower pressure levels which means most buildings with natural ventilation opt for wind driven ventilation. While there are specific benefits to both systems, the best engineered systems tend to use both for a more even approach to natural ventilation.

Stack ventilation is incredibly simple. The idea is that warm air rises so when air enters a building, it heats up, both because of the people in the building and because of the indoor temperature. As the air rises and exits the building, it creates a vacuum that pulls new air in through vents placed at ground level. Simply opening windows can create this effect.

Wind driven ventilation uses the same concepts of stack ventilation but takes advantage of building design and the landscape to create pressure zones around the home. For example, the pressure on the side of a building that gets buffeted with wind will almost always be higher than the opposite side. Using ventilation based on this concept allows designers to create partial vacuums to draw new air in and expel old air.

What Is Best?

Most buildings today are built using mechanical ventilation because it can be better controlled and because it is more reliable than natural ventilation.  Just be sure it will fit your specific needs by talking to a contractor first.

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How to Fix a Faulty Furnace Blower

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The blower fan on your furnace is designed to distribute warm air through the ductwork in your Atlanta home evenly, ensuring you use all of the energy consumed by your furnace. If the blower doesn’t turn on when the furnace turns on or it continues to run when the furnace is off, it can cost you money and result in cold rooms. Here are some tips on how to fix a faulty furnace blower.

What is the Problem?

First, check to see what the problem is. If your furnace blower remains on all of the time, it may be a thermostat issue. Make sure the fan isn’t set to stay on continuously (a common setting for most air handlers). You should also check the limit control switch to make sure it is working properly. If this is broken, it needs to be replaced which is a relatively simple fix.

If the furnace blower isn’t turning on at all, you may have a belt problem. This can be fixed by you if you have the proper tools. To repair the belt problem, first turn off all electricity to the device. You’ll need to remove the old furnace blower belt, so release the tension in the pulleys before removing the belt.

Installing a new belt is not unlike doing so for your car. Make sure to check the blower or your user manual for proper tension when you install the new belt. Make sure you purchase the right size belt and set it to the right tension. If you cannot or you do not feel comfortable doing so, you should call a professional to inspect and repair the problem for you.

Getting the Blower Back Up and Running

Once your new belt is in place, test the system carefully, starting with the lowest setting (if there are variable settings). If it does not yet work or if something sounds strange, call a technician right away. You don’t want the motor to burn out or something else more substantial to go wrong with your furnace or air handler during the middle of the winter.

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Components of a Geothermal Heating System: A Guide from Cumming

Monday, October 17th, 2011

A geothermal heating system in your Cumming’s home has three basic components and some add-on ones as well.

Its most distinguishing feature is the ground loops. The most common is the “closed” ground loop system, which is a series of pipes that are buried underground. These pipes contain a heat transfer fluid, comprised of antifreeze and water. This fluid absorbs heat from the ground and carries it to the home. This fluid also absorbs heat from the house and sends it into the ground to keep the home cool.

Examples of closed loop systems include the horizontal closed loop, which can be used in larger parcels of land (over an acre for example). The loops are placed typically placed horizontally 6-to-10 feet below the surface. A vertical closed loop design is recommended for smaller parcels of land and loops are often buried vertically approximately 20 feet underground. Other types of ground loop designs use well water to transfer heat in an open loop configuration, or have a closed loop submerged underwater in a pond or lake.

The next component is the heat pump, which draws the fluid from the ground loop. In a heat pump, heat energy is exchanged with the ground to heat or cool the home. In the heating mode, fluid warmed from underground flows through the heat pump. A fan blows across the pipe warmed by the fluid. Because the fluid is much warmer than the air inside the heat pump, heat energy is released into the cooler air. The cool air is warmed and distributed inside the home. The process is reversed for cooling. Cool fluid in the pipe absorbs heat from the warm air inside the home. Once pumped underground, the excess heat in the fluid is absorbed by the cooler earth.

The final component is the air handling or distribution system. Here, a fan in the heat pump’s furnace blows air over a fan coil and the heated cooled air is distributed through the home’s ductwork. Some distribution systems are hydronic, where hot water is circulated through radiators or radiant floor heat tubing. This water absorbs heat from the heat pump and then distributed throughout the home.

In some homes, both a forced air and hydronic system, often referred to as a “hybrid system” work together.

Optional components include a heat pump “desuperheater,” which is used to help with domestic hot water heating. In warm weather, the desuperheater recovers some of the heat – that would otherwise be sent to the ground loop – to help produce hot water. In cold weather, some of the heat pump capacity may be diverted from space heating for the same purpose. Desuperheaters save approximately 25% on domestic water heating costs.

Another component is an auxiliary electric heater, which is built into the geothermal heat pump This auxiliary electric heat is installed to allow heating and cooling technicians to size – or resize – a home’s geothermal heat pump system to assist the system during the few coldest days of the year. Auxiliary electric heat is also an emergency backup heat source if there are any operational issues with the geothermal heat pump system.

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How a Furnace Works: A Guide from Waleska

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Do you know how your furnace works? Believe it or not, lots of Waleska homeowners probably can’t explain the operation of furnace. It probably isn’t at the top of your “to do” list. It’s only important to know that once you set your thermostat to a desired temperature, the furnace comes on and warms the house.

When the temperature in your home falls below the level set on the thermostat, an electric pilot light automatically ignites to heat a burner inside the furnace. This burner uses gas to generate heat within a combustion chamber inside the furnace. After the furnace senses that the thermostat has triggered the flame and that it is properly lit, the actual spark (or ignitor) is turned off.

Simultaneously, a motor in the furnace pulls in air from an exchange or return, which could be a grill in the floor, ceiling, or wall of a house. That air flows through ducts into the plenum of the furnace. The plenum is on the opposite side of the heat exchanger from the burner.

Gas will typically burn for at least two minutes before the blower starts to disperse heat throughout your home. This extra time gives the air an adequate period of time to warm up and also so that cold air won’t be pushed through the vents into the rooms in your house at the start. After either the preset time (roughly two minutes) or pre-established temperature is reached, the blower’s motor is turned on and it blows air over the heat exchanger, which usually consists of a series of copper tubes or pipes. When a fan blows air onto the heat exchanger, the air is heated. This heated air is then blown through a series of ducts to heat your home via vents in the floor, walls or ceiling. Exhaust fumes from the combustion process exit the furnace through a gas flue or chimney.

Just as the heat in your home turns on when a certain temperature is reached, it also turns off after the rooms are warm enough, thanks to your thermostat. The thermostat again senses the temperature in the room. When the room warms up to the temperature set by you at the thermostat, the gas valve is switched off, stopping the flow of gas. After the gas is turned off, the blower motor will still run for a few minutes, allowing the heat exchanger to cool off a bit. In some furnaces, the blower motor never shuts off, but operates at low speed to keep air circulating throughout your home.

In a nutshell, your thermostat is the brain in your heating system and your furnace is the brawn, doing most of the work.

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How Do I Know If Solar Heating and Cooling Will Work On My Home? A Question From Cumming

Friday, September 30th, 2011

When undertaking any home improvement project in Cumming, there will be challenges making sure the new features fit well with the existing construction. Solar heating and cooling is no exception. You may want to install solar modules on your home for your HVAC needs, but will the two work together?

There are ideal conditions under which solar modules can be used, and striving to create these conditions will often present some challenges. Fortunately, in most circumstances, there are some easy adjustments you can make to ensure your new solar modules work as well as or better than advertised.

The Big Two

There are two major factors which play in to solar modules performance more than anything else. First is orientation, or where the house has exposure to the sun. Ideally, solar modules should be mounted facing south to maximize efficiency. They can also work when facing some easterly or westerly directions, albeit with some performance loss.

For maximum exposure to the sun, solar modules should be mounted at an angle that matches the latitude at which your home sits. You also want to avoid any obstructions. The path from the sun to the solar modules should be as clear as possible, with minimal shading or obstructions to interfere with the modules collecting light.

Other Challenges

Independent of these major variables, other issues can come into play when determining if solar heating and cooling will be a good fit for your home. You have to worry about geography and weather, your energy needs, and the insurance costs of adding solar power to your home.

While these challenges exist, as you can see there are generally ways around each of them. Consult with a contractor or other expert, who can help you decide if a SunSource® Home Energy System is a good fit for your home.

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How Long Does It Take To Install A Solar Power System In A Home? A Question From Douglasville

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

As with any major home improvement project, the process of installing solar power takes a good amount of time, even in Douglasville. However, most of that time is spent on research, planning, and purchasing leading up to the actual installation. This is important to keep in mind, as investing in solar energy is nothing to rush into, and there is a great deal to be considered first.

Once all this preparation is done, the actual installation is usually brief, depending on how robust your system will be and any additional components needed. Some “extras” that may cause installation to take a little longer may include:

  • System Size and Capacity – Obviously, the time it takes to install a system will vary depending on how many panels need to be installed. Even so, most home systems will use few enough panels that the time difference is not substantial.
  • Ground Mounting – A ground mount is sometimes necessary when there isn’t a good place to install panels on the house itself. This can be due to roof orientation, less than ideal angles, or nearby obstructions. The additional variables and construction of a ground mount may take a few extra days.
  • Backup Systems – For homeowners who opt to have batteries and/or a generator installed as backup, installation will take a bit longer due to the added complexity. Backup systems require additional components and wiring, which takes some extra time.
  • Weather – Often an overlooked variable, the weather is important as installing solar panels involves working outside and at inclined levels. Bad weather can put workers in danger, so the work may be necessarily delayed.

For most simple home systems, installation will take only a few days. Even with more complex systems that incorporate some of the additional elements mentioned above, installation time should not be affected by more than a day or two. As long as the process goes according to plan and the weather holds, you could expect to have your system up and running within a week. For many, that timeframe is even less. Also, since the work is being done outside, you generally will not be disturbed, aside from some sounds of movement on the roof.

Although installation is a big part of the process of switching to solar, the time it takes is not significant when compared to the preparations that should be done beforehand. Installation should be a brief, albeit exciting, culmination of a longer planning process.

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