Sick of winter yet? We sure are! These cold days have us longing for a warm spring day to spend outside in the sun! But the need for gloves, scarves, layers (and layers), and a puffy coat isn’t the only thing about winter causing us discomfort. What makes winter even more unbearable is the lack of humidity in the air. If the word ‘humidity’ makes you think of a hot August day in the deep south, you might be thinking, “Are you crazy! Humidity is the worst! It’s sticky and sweaty, and it makes my hair frizz.” Yes, there is such a thing as too much humidity; but it’s important for our health and comfort to have the right amount, especially in our home, office, and anywhere else we spend a lot of time. Without the right balance, indoor air can end up being way too dry. Dry air can cause a variety of problems, not only for our comfort and health, but also for the health of our homes.
Here are just a handful of symptoms you might experience if the air in your home is too dry:
Dry air can be equally problematic in your home. Here are some things you might notice:
So, what can you do about it? Thankfully, this is an easy problem to fix. And even better, you've got options! There are many different kinds of humidifiers, depending on your specific needs and budget.
Here's a basic breakdown of the different types of humidifiers:
Central / Whole House Humidifier - Ducted
Whole House Humidifier - Console
Wick / Evaporative
Steam Vaporizer / Warm Mist
Don't feel like running to the store? Not ready to shell out your hard-earned cash for a humidifier? Need a quick fix? Here are a few things you can do to add a little moisture to the air in your home using items you already own:
So, if your lips are cracked, your eyes are dry, or that cold just won't quit, it might be time to consider a humidifier... or a couple of nice vases!
Here in Maryland, temperatures are well below freezing today. And with a wind chill below zero, you may be finding it hard to get and stay warm. Staying warm is important not only for our comfort, but also for our health. Here are some tips for staying warm (and protect your home) when temperatures are dropping outside.
For your home:
Geothermal energy has been used for thousands of years; starting with making use of hot springs for bathing and district heating. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that a heat pump system was successfully installed for commercial use.
Since then, the use of geothermal heating and cooling has increased significantly, and it is now available for homeowners.
So how does geothermal work, anyway? The Earth’s temperature remains essentially constant throughout the year. Using heat pumps, heat can either be taken from the Earth and used to warm your home in winter, or heat can be transferred from your home into the ground in summer.
In order to achieve this, several components work together. Outside, horizontal or vertical geothermal ground loop pipes are installed for the heat transfer liquid (usually a glycol mixture). These pipes are connected to the heat pump, which does the work of providing the right temperature to your home. Then there’s the distribution system, which may be hydronic (water-based) or an air handler.
Why Go Geothermal?
Here are six reasons to upgrade to a geothermal system:
1. Energy bills decrease because you are only paying for electricity to run heat pumps. Unlike electric heat, the electricity used for a geothermal system is for running the heat pumps, which is less than that needed to provide heat directly. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), geothermal systems can save you 30-70% of heating costs and 20-50% of your cooling costs.
2. Geothermal energy is environmentally friendly. There are no greenhouse gases as with a furnace and it’s a renewable energy source.
3. The equipment is hidden in a mechanical room, so you don't have to worry about how it looks. Piping is buried in your yard and all controls, valves and piping reside in the mechanical room, out of sight. You also have the added benefit of quiet operation.
4. Geothermal heat pumps have lower maintenance costs and longer lifespans than traditional heating and cooling equipment, saving you money in the long run.
5. Geothermal systems are safer for your family. There is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning as there is with fossil fuel burning equipment.
6. Beginning February 2018, homeowners with geothermal systems, among other sources of renewable energy, can claim a 30% tax credit. Click here for more information about renewable energy tax rebates.
There are some things to keep in mind when deciding to make the switch, however. The initial installation cost can seem a bit daunting, but geothermal heating and cooling will save you significant money in the long run. When considering, and planning for, a geothermal system, be sure to speak with our experts about the number of wells, the right size of equipment for your home, whether to install horizontal loops or vertical loops, and whether you’ll want supplemental heating.
If you are thinking about upgrading to geothermal heating and cooling, give us a call! We're happy to discuss all of the benefits, and help you get started.
When it comes to lowering your energy consumption, there is no better way than installing the best heating and cooling systems available today. Typically, when your environment reaches an undesirable temperature, you would rely on your home appliances, such as your electric fans, air conditioning units, heaters, etc, to achieve a comfortable indoor atmosphere. However, you must know that using these machines too often will lead to higher energy costs.
With the help of various heating and cooling systems, you won't need to sacrifice your comfort just to lower your energy consumption; but installing these types of equipment can be quite complex. So before the professionals even begin installations, your property must first undergo a process called Energy Analysis.
Energy Analysis is a method in which an energy auditor will inspect your home and determine which areas of your property are experiencing energy saving problems. It can be treated like a routine checkup at the doctors, but instead of looking for what is bothering the body, the energy auditor will look into the structure of your home. They will check for both air and water leaks, faulty wiring, damaged systems, and any other problematic issues, so that they would know what steps to take to optimize your home’s energy saving capabilities.
Why Having Your Home Analyzed is A Good Idea
As previously mentioned, this method will enable you and the auditor to know which areas of your home are causing too much energy consumption. By doing so, you can immediately rectify these problems. Also, by determining how much energy your property has wasted and/or saved, the auditor will provide you with the proper heating and/or cooling systems to maximize your home’s energy saving capabilities, without having to spend too much on unnecessary equipment.
If you believe your property is not using energy efficiently, call TriState Home Services today at 866-624-5970 or complete our contact form, and we will be happy to help.
Winter is the season that most people dread as they count down the weeks, days and hours until the temperature starts to climb. If you meet each winter with trepidation and want it to pass more quickly, here are some tips to get you through the season.
Play a winter sport
Depending on where you live, skiing or hockey might be popular and available. You might prefer ice fishing, skating or curling. The list of options is endless. And if you’re trying something for the first time, the combination of learning something new and expanding your social circles might turn winter into your favorite time of year.
Take up an indoor hobby
If anything to do with the outdoors or ice sends shivers up your spine, staying busy indoors might be just the thing you need. Painting, baking or woodworking in a (heated) garage are some fun activities that can help you ignore old man winter until he’s gone. Make it a winter-only event and you might find yourself looking forward to the colder weather.
Do an indoor renovation project
Do you have projects around the house that you’ve been neglecting? If you couldn’t find the time during camping season, now’s the best season to get it done. You’ll feel productive and by the time the snow melts, you’ll have something to show off.
Plan a fun winter vacation - instead of waiting for the summer
Most people plan getaways in the summer. They crowd airports, campsites, beaches and resorts. If you had intentions of visiting the Caribbean in the summer, why not make it a winter escape instead? Splitting the winter season with a break on a toasty beach is sure to make it go by quicker.
Hibernate a bit
After the long daylight hours of summer, having non-stop fun, you may need a break. Late bedtimes while the sun streams through the curtains will eventually take a toll on your body. Use the long, chilly nights to snuggle up for a long rest. Slow things down and let your body recover for next year. Your body will thank you!
Dealing with winter shouldn’t include having issues with your heating and plumbing. If your home could use some improvements in order to make sure you’re warm and ready for the cold weather, give us a call so you can focus on the fun stuff!
Indoor air quality (IAQ) can have an important impact on your health, as indoor air can be 5 times more polluted than outside air. Your air ducts and heating and cooling equipment could be housing and spreading bacteria, viruses, mold and more.
Luckily, there's a solution to the pollution! Depending on the air quality issues you're facing, there are a number of easy fixes.
In order to make a room comfortable in hot, humid climates, an air conditioner must lower the indoor humidity level as well as the air temperature. If an air conditioner fails to lower the humidity adequately, the air will be cool, but will feel uncomfortably damp. Read More
Dirt, mold, bugs and mites, among other things, are all living in your duct system. Our technicians can get rid of them all with our duct cleaning services. Read More
High Efficiency Filters
Most heating and cooling systems still use a basic air filter. There are several types of permanent air filters available in various efficiencies that can help you filter the air in your home. Read More
With the proper level of humidity in your home, you will feel more comfortable and breathe easier. You can eliminate that dry eye, nose and throat feeling you have when you wake up in the morning, and even prevent certain cold weather illnesses. Read More
Residential ultraviolet units have been independently tested and proven to be effective in the constantly moving air environments of heating and cooling systems, killing mold and bacteria quickly and effectively. Read More
Your family could be breathing in:
Visit our website to learn more about indoor air quality, and how we can help ensure your family is breathing clean, healthy air.
Keeping your boiler in optimum shape takes effort. Years of winter heating takes a toll on your boiler system as well as the piping and accessories. Here are some ways you can maximize your boiler’s performance and keep its efficiency up.
Check for leaks
If you make this a regular part of your routine, you’ll recognize issues as soon as they happen. You don’t want to discover a boiler leak only after your basement floods.
Air in a hot water system reduces the heat you get and forces your boiler to work harder, consuming more fuel. At the beginning of every heating season, walk through your home and open the air bleed valve on each radiator to let the air out. Don’t forget to use a bucket to catch the water that comes out once the air escapes.
Check and clear flue vent openings
Flue vents are vital for removing by-products of combustion. Blockages can cause gases like carbon monoxide to enter your home, putting your family at risk. A clear vent also ensures that your boiler is working at maximum efficiency.
Clear the space around your boiler
Boilers need air for the combustion process. If there isn’t enough air, incomplete combustion will occur, creating increased levels of carbon monoxide. Keep your boiler room clear, paying close attention to the area around the boiler itself. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for clearances and if you’re still not sure, get a professional opinion.
Check the color of your boiler’s flame
Your boiler’s flame should be blue. If it’s yellow or smoky, your burner system is malfunctioning and needs immediate attention. Delaying this repair can result in a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Check the water level in your boiler
If water levels drop too low, your boiler can become damaged. This can cause a fire, putting you and your family at risk. Because of this safety issue, getting water levels up is a critical maintenance item.
Have the boiler flushed or descaled
Scale buildup compromises heating performance. Keep your boiler working at maximum efficiency by keeping it clean. Follow the boiler manufacturer’s instructions to flush your boiler annually or call in a professional to have it thoroughly cleaned.
Check the boiler pressure
The boiler pressure gauge should give a reading that is within the manufacturer’s range. If it drops too low, your boiler may not run. If it is too high, your distribution system can become damaged. If you are unsure how to modify your boiler temperature, call in a professional.
If you're concerned your heating system isn't working as well as it should, or if you have questions about boiler maintenance, give us a call!
This new construction, single family home is using the best heating method, radiant floor heating. Radiant floor heating is extremely comfortable, silent and efficient. This home will feature the latest energy efficient geothermal technology for year round comfort. More photos of this project to come!
Floor heating can be installed in just one room, or an entire house - and in brand new construction, or in existing homes. It provides quieter, cleaner, and more even heating. While it can be a little more costly to install, radiant floor heating saves you money in the long run, because it is more energy efficient than other heating methods.
For more information about radiant floor heating, visit our website here or email us and we will be in touch!
Can you imagine what lower energy consumption can do for you and your home? Not only will it help save you money, but it will also help your home maintain cooling and heating, to keep you and your family comfortable. Although some people may think that lowering your energy consumption will also lessen the comfort in your home, that's not completely true. You can decrease energy consumption just by removing energy-wasting elements.
In order to find out where your energy usage is going to waste, you need to run a home energy audit. An energy audit is essentially an inspection of how energy flows and is used in a home, taking into consideration factors that can be addressed to improve energy efficiency in cooling and heating. An audit of your home’s energy efficiency will include comprehensive overviews of your walls, floors, doors, ceilings, and even skylights. This is to determine a leakage rate, which affects the energy consumption of your home.
The energy audit will also show you whether or not your heating and cooling systems are working properly, whether door seals and weather stripping are doing their jobs, and if your insulation is properly installed. Once the audit is complete, you will know what changes need to be made in order for your home’s thermal performance to improve.
Adopting Energy Saving Measures
Aside from an energy audit, you will also want to adopt energy saving habits. These include the following:
These are just a few habits you can adopt to help lower your energy costs. Other things to consider include using more energy efficient lighting options, using appliances effectively, and having an energy monitoring meter in your home.
TriState Home Services offers $100 Energy Audits for Maryland Energy Rebate Customers (for homes up to 3000 sq. Ft. with one heating and cooling system).
To request an energy audit or to discover how you can save on energy costs in Frederick, MD or surrounding areas, contact TriState Home Services today. We can help you address these energy wasting issues in your home with services that include insulation, air sealing, ductwork, and more.
Call us today at 866-624-5970 or complete our contact form.