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

Alternatives to Air Conditioning in Your Atlanta Home

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Let’s face it – we rely pretty heavily on air conditioning in Atlanta to keep us comfortable during the warmest months of the summer. So, what do you do when the mercury dings 90+ and your air conditioner is either broken or you are in a place without AC? Luckily, there are alternatives. Here are some of the better options:

  • Move Air through the House – As simple as it sounds, air circulation can have a huge impact on the temperature inside, especially in the late afternoon. Mid-afternoon sun will hit your roof no matter how many trees you have planted. The result is a decent amount of heat pouring into your home. But, if you open the windows and let a cross breeze through, amplifying it with fans, especially ceiling fans, moving air will carry that heat out of the house later in the day when the temperature drops.
  • Block Direct Sunlight – Unless it’s 90+ degrees outside, most of the discomfort in heat comes from direct sunlight. Block that direct sunlight and you severely reduce how warm it might get in your home. Trees planted along western, eastern and southern walls do this very effectively, especially if they are deciduous and will allow in the warming sun in the winter.
  • The Power of Water – Feel warm? Get some cool water and place it on your forehead, arms or legs. A bowl of cool water in front of a fan can be soothing as well, assuming humidity isn’t a problem. If it is, consider getting a dehumidifier to run in lieu of an air conditioner for those days that aren’t too hot. They are less expensive and can reduce discomfort significantly.

The cooler you can make your home, the less your AC has to work. Call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems today for more information about how to effectively cool your home.

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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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Geothermal Installation Steps

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Are you interested in geothermal heating for your Conyers home? Are you considering using the natural heating and cooling energy of the Earth as a way to keep your home at a comfortable temperature?

If you are, you probably have a lot of questions, not the least of which have to do with the installation process. You may assume that it is complicated, but in most cases it is quite simple. Here is a simple summary of the steps involved in installing a geothermal system:

  1. The very first step, before any kind of installation can even be planned, is to evaluate the ground on which your home sits to be sure it can support a geothermal system. The area must be evaluated for soil and rock composition, availability of ground and surface water and availability of land.
  2. Once you have determined that your yard can handle a geothermal system, it is time to choose the type of system you need. This depends a lot on the evaluation from step 1, as well as some other factors. For one example, if you have very little land available, you may need to opt for a vertical loop configuration. For another, if you are fortunate enough to have a small body of water on your property, you can take advantage of a pond loop installation.
  3. Your contractor will dig and/or drill trenches for placement of the geothermal pipes. Try not to be nervous. They will disrupt your yard as little as possible.
  4. With the trenches prepared, pipes can be placed in accordance with the configuration you chose.
  5. Your contractor will fill the trenches back in to cover the pipes loosely. You may want to work with a landscaper to fully “re-assemble” your yard where the pipes were installed.
  6. Finally, the installation team will hook up the geothermal system to your home, make any necessary final adjustments, and you are good to go!

If you’re interested in geothermal heating in Conyers, contact Premier Indoor Comfort Systems today to discuss the installation process for your home.

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Question from Norcross: What Is an Indoor Propane Heater?

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

An indoor propane heater is an option if you’re looking to supplement your central heating system in a particular location. After all, when you turn on your heat, you’ll likely be heating your whole Norcross house. But if you’re only occupying a small area of the house at any given point in time, it may not be necessary to expend all of that energy to heat spaces that are completely unoccupied.

While electric space heaters are certainly an option in this situation, indoor propane space heaters are definitely worth a good long look. There are several different types of propane space heaters and most can easily be mounted on the wall of a room in your house to provide consistent warmth any time you need it. And because propane is generally much cheaper than electricity, you’ll be able to save a ton on your total home heating costs.

Indoor propane heaters are available in both vented and unvented varieties, and the type that’s best for you will depend on your specific heating needs and the dimensions of the space to be heated, among other factors. In general, it’s a good idea to have propane heaters installed by a professional to ensure that they’re safely in place and that they’re set up to provide the most efficient and effective heat possible.

The main difference between vented and unvented space heaters is that the unvented models simply circulate the air in the room and use its oxygen supply for combustion. Vented propane heaters, on the other hand, are able to take in air from outdoors for combustion and will also vent any gasses produced during combustion back outside.

When you do install a propane space heater in one or more areas of your house, it’s a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector installed as well. That way you’ll have an early warning if something is going wrong with the heater. Although propane space heaters are quite safe, particularly when they’ve been professionally installed, you should still take every precaution to keep yourself and your family safe.

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How Often Should I Have My Geothermal System Checked? A Question From Woodstock

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The beauty of a geothermal system in Woodstock is that is requires very little maintenance. They have fewer mechanical components are than other heating systems – and most of these components are underground or inside, shielded from the outdoor elements. The underground tubing usually is guaranteed to last 25-50 years and inside components are easily accessible for servicing.

Nonetheless, keeping a geothermal system working at peak efficiency is very important. If the geothermal system loses some of its efficiency, it will cost home and building owners money in energy costs, which makes little sense since geothermal system installation costs are higher than most other heating systems.

Its key component is the ground loop system, polyethelene tubing which carries refrigerant from below the Earth’s surface and back to an above-ground compressor. When installed correctly, the buried ground loop can last for decades. A leak in the metal tubing is usually the only problem if the ground loop is not installed correctly. In the case of a leak, it may be necessary to dig up the tubing – often installed at least ten feet below the surface – and repair the leak.

Other geothermal system components include its air handling unit, compressor, and pump. These components require periodic system checks by qualified professional heating and cooling technicians. Maintenance normally requires filter changes and component lubrication, to name the most common. In some cases, building owners can perform their own filter replacement and refill of lubricants. However, it is recommended that an experienced technician perform a multiple-point inspection of the geothermal system components, usually during regularly scheduled maintenance.

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How Do Solar Cells Work? A Question From Norcross

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Rising energy costs and concerns over depleted resources have many people seeking out alternative energy sources for their Norcross homes. One popular solution is solar cells, which harness clean energy from the radiation of the sun to use as electricity. This technology is not terribly new, of course, having been used in calculators for years. A house is rather different from a calculator, though, so the prospect of using solar cells as a source of electricity lends itself to some questions, especially “how does it work?”

How it Works

As you might imagine, there is some complex science behind how cells really work. Rather than get down to the nitty gritty physics of it all, a brief overview should do. Essentially, the radiation from the sun is a tremendous energy source, emitting up to 1000 watts of energy per square meter of Earth in a single day.

The materials in solar cells make them photovoltaic (PV), meaning they are able to convert light to energy. When light strikes the PV cell, its energy is passed along to a semiconductor, thereby generating a current. There’s a good deal more complexity involved in the process but essentially that’s it.

Making It Work for You

There are a number of issues to consider and obstacles to overcome in installing solar cells that work properly, such as:

  • Angle and Orientation – Ideally PV cells should be directed south, at an angle that is as close to the latitude of their location as possible. All sources of shade and other obstructions must be removed for the sake of efficiency.
  • Storage and Backup – The sun doesn’t shine all the time, so you will need a backup system in place. Some options include connecting your home to the power grid, using deep cycle batteries to store energy for use later, or installing a backup generator.
  • Current Inversion – The current produced by the photovoltaic process is DC, so in order to be used like “regular” electricity from a wall socket, it needs to be converted to AC. This means installing an inverter as part of the system. Some PV cells come with invertors built in.

Installing SunSource® Home Energy System can be a clean and budget-friendly idea, but it can also be somewhat complicated. Proper materials and installation are vital to proper functioning, so consult with a professional if you are in doubt.

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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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Your HVAC System and Electricity: Some Tips From Norcross

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

While not every HVAC system in your Norcross home requires electricity, many of them do. Your air conditioner, electric furnace or water heater and ventilation system all need access to the central power line. So what does that mean for your system and what problems should be you beware of?

How Your HVAC System Uses Electricity

How your HVAC system works depends largely on which components need electricity to operate. Here is a quick summary of how each system uses electricity:

  • Air Conditioning – Most air conditioners are electric and therefore use electricity based on the number of BTUs produced. For example, if your air conditioner produces 25,000 BTUs and has a SEER of 16, it can produce 16 BTUs for every watt of electricity consumed per hour. As a result, it consumes 1,562.5 watts per hour when the system is running at maximum capacity. If it runs at full capacity for 8 hours per day, 30 days a month in the summer, that’s 375 kilowatt hours – which is the measurement unit you’ll see on your electric bill.
  • Heating – Your heating system may not use electricity, as many homes today use gas or oil combustion furnaces or boilers to produce heat. However, if you have an electric furnace, that electric power is used to heat the filament in the furnace. Electricity also powers the blower fan motor which pushes air across the filament and into the air handler. An electric furnace sized to heat a 1500 square foot home can use up to 8,000 watts per hour to produce enough heat for your home. That converts to roughly 5,000 kilowatt hours per month. The current price of electricity will determine how much this actually costs, you but it can really add up quickly.
  • Ventilation – Your ventilation system is almost always going to use electricity to circulate and filter air. While mechanical filters rely on the movement of air to remove certain particles, ventilation systems have a variety of components including fans and possibly even condenser coils to conserve energy as air is exchanged between the inside and outside.

Electricity plays an important role in your HVAC system no matter how your system works. To ensure yours continues to operate as intended, have your power system checked on a regular basis when the rest of your HVAC system is serviced.

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How Much Maintenance Do Solar Panels and Require? A Question From Norcross

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

The most commonly cited benefits of solar panels and solar modules are that they are eco-friendly and cost effective. Many resources on the subject are quick to point out that despite high upfront costs, solar panels pay for themselves over time by being durable enough to provide cheap energy for a long time. You know all this, but as a Norcross homeowner, you also need to know what kind of maintenance is involved in a solar system. In short, after investing your cash, how much work will you put in?

The amount of maintenance required by solar panels is fairly low, as they are quite durable and the only truly vulnerable component is the glass face. There are some steps that you can take to maintain and extend the life of your solar system, though. Below are some routine maintenance tips.

Cleaning

There are quite a few things you can do to keep your solar panels in tip top shape. For example, you should clean your solar panels regularly with water and dish soap to remove any surface grime. There are also surface sprayers available which allow you to clean your panels effectively from the ground.

You should avoid installing panels in a location where they will attract dust, grime and bird droppings, such as near trees, branches, or other growth. Remember that your solar panels are only as good as the energy they can capture, so keeping them clean is much more than a simple cosmetic measure.

Inspecting

To ensure they continue to work properly, you should examine your solar panels regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Clean away any dirt or debris and tighten any loose connections. Should your panel become damaged in any way, for example by severe weather or blown down branches, have it repaired immediately.

If your system has a backup battery, be sure to replace the batteries as they wear down. There will be a noticeable decline in performance when this happens. Also inspect the connections on both the batteries and the inverter to ensure they are tight.

Generally speaking, solar panels themselves don’t require much maintenance. Simply keep them clean and inspect them regularly and they should last a good long while. Other components, such as backup batteries or generators, inverters, and additional arrays will require extra maintenance as well. For the most part, installing a solar system will not add much to your usual household maintenance tasks.

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