HVAC Solutions

HVAC Solutions For Today’s Modern Homes

With technology constantly changing, it makes sense that heating and cooling systems would too. But not all HVAC systems in modern homes are as efficient as they used to be. As it turns out, many modern homes are making it harder for HVAC systems to be efficient. Whether it’s poor ventilation or too many windows, the bills might go up without you realizing it. So, what solutions are there for HVAC systems in today’s modern homes?

How Do Modern Homes Affect HVAC?

Many new homeowners look for homes that are stylish and more comfortable. When touring a modern home, most are quick to mention how nice the architecture is. But sadly, not everyone considers HVAC systems when buying a new house, and it shows. Many newer structures make it harder for HVAC to be efficient for several reasons.

One aspect of modern homes that is making heating and cooling harder is windows. People love having extra light in their rooms, but it comes at a cost. Newer homes have more windows, which look nice at first, but they make your system work harder to control the temperature. Homes used to be designed with only 5% windows on the exterior wall space. Now, windows take up closer to 30%!

On top of that, the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of windows often has higher ratings in newer homes. So, more windows with more heat gain are the opposite of progress for HVAC systems. Duct leakage is another common issue for heating and cooling. It causes about 30% to 40% of heat loss in homes.

But there’s no need to blame new homeowners entirely. For the average person, HVAC efficiency isn’t their first thought, so they might not even recognize these problems until it’s too late. If you recently bought a new home or if you’re looking to do so, become familiar with these modern home issues related to HVAC because solutions are available.

How Can You Improve Your Home’s HVAC?

Just because HVAC in modern homes isn’t ideal doesn’t mean you have to give up. There are plenty of ways to improve your home’s heating and cooling without having to break the bank.

For example, you can’t easily remove windows from your home, but you can replace them. The ideal SHGC rating for a window is between 0.3 and 0.4, but it’s possible that your newer windows are much higher than this. You might need to reach out to a professional to determine the specific values of different windows.

Another way to improve your HVAC’s efficiency is to ensure that your ducts are sealed. Luckily, duct sealing is required for new homes in most areas. But if for some reason the ones in your home aren’t, you could save up to 25% of the heat loss in your home by sealing them.

Improving insulation in your home is also a great way to keep hot or cold air inside. Sometimes, attics aren’t insulated properly, which can cause the temperature inside to fluctuate more than you realize. So, ensure that your new home is insulated as well as possible.

The Future of HVAC Systems

While the designs of modern homes aren’t always ideal for heating and cooling, HVAC systems are still improving. It’s predicted that we will say goodbye to furnaces in the future. Instead, it’s suspected that more energy-efficient models like heat pumps will take control.

In Canada, emissions from heat and electricity harm the environment more than transportation. On top of that, furnaces have to generate heat, making your home less convenient and less eco-friendly the more they run. If your modern home has too many windows and not enough insulation, think of how much heat and energy you’ll be wasting with a furnace.

A 2014 study estimated that about 70% of Canada’s residential energy came from fossil fuels. About 55% of the heating systems used are forced air furnaces while only 4% are heat pumps. Of course, adding better insulation to your home can certainly make a difference, but heat pumps are ultimately the system of our future.

Instead of generating heat like a furnace and then wasting it if it escapes your home, heat pumps transfer heat. They take heat from the outside air and transfer it inside when it’s cold and vice versa when it’s warm. Thus, heat pumps only move heat around rather than making more of it. This process isn’t just great for efficiently using HVAC in modern homes, but it will also benefit the planet too.

Is it Time for You to Make the Switch?

Change takes a while to occur, so saying goodbye to gas furnaces could be very distant in the future. But just because everyone isn’t making the switch yet doesn’t mean you can’t get ahead of the game.

If your modern home is having troubles holding hot or cold air, consider making changes to your windows or insulating your walls better. And if you’re still using a gas furnace, think about switching to a heat pump. Heat pumps will save you money and make our environment safer in the future. So, it can’t hurt to make the change sooner rather than later.

Are you thinking about making changes to improve HVAC in modern homes? West Isle Heating and Cooling is happy to help with all your HVAC needs. If you have questions about improving the heating and cooling in your home or about getting a more efficient system, contact us today!

COVID-19 And HVAC Industry

How COVID-19 Impacted The HVAC Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted a lot of things. Businesses, social events, and travel plans all hit a bump in the road amid the uncertainty. As it turns out, nearly every industry has struggled throughout 2020, including the heating and cooling industry. Yet, the problems related to HVAC were much different than other businesses.

COVID-19 impacted HVAC greatly when the pandemic first broke out. It was quickly revealed that HVAC systems could be leading to the spread of the virus. But how is that possible? And is the problem under control now? Let’s take a look!

How Has COVID-19 Impacted HVAC?

In March 2020, concerns were raised when COVID-19 was suspected to be transferred through air conditioning units. At that time, people all over the world began realizing that the virus was even more contagious than they thought.

To test this virus transmission theory, the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in Singapore did a swab analysis in three hospital rooms. An air duct connected all three rooms, and a patient in one room had mild COVID-19 symptoms.

During the study, small amounts of the virus were traced in the air vent, meaning that there’s a slight possibility for the virus to spread through HVAC systems. The patients in all three rooms could’ve come into contact with the virus, even though only one was infected.

This discovery led to additional concerns about HVAC units on cruise ships. One of the most serious cases involved 705 positive cases of COVID-19 on the same boat. The topic of COVID-19 on airplanes also raised concerns in the beginning because of the enclosed space.

 “The problem is that these systems can’t filter out particles smaller than 5,000 nanometers,” said Professor James G. Dwyer from Purdue University in Indiana.

Of course, this information was revealed at the start of the pandemic, so there has been plenty of time to address the issue since then. Many businesses worked hard to stop the spread in any way they could. Now, many HVAC systems are more effectively stopping the virus from transferring through vents.

Ways Businesses Are Solving These Problems

With the number of COVID-19 cases decreasing, it’s clear to see that most businesses and individuals are doing their part. One of the easiest ways to avoid the virus passing through vents is to stop recirculating indoor air only. Any viral particle can pass through vents if the air is constantly being recirculated. So, businesses were urged to use more outside air and open more windows to lessen the risk.

During the pandemic, cruise ships and airlines found ways to avoid recirculating potentially harmful particles. Opening a window might not be an option in these scenarios, but improving the filters in HVAC systems can help instead. If a system can catch smaller particles, it might be able to filter out the COVID-19 virus more effectively.

“In any confined area, there is a risk of contracting illnesses from other people,” a statement from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reads. “However, the risk is considered lower on aircraft because of the use of high-efficiency particulate air filters, which are effective in capturing more than 99 percent of airborne microbes in filtered air.”

Yet, as much as businesses are trying to lessen the spread of the virus, it’s important for every individual person to help out too. Try using more outside air and opening more windows in your own home to keep your guests safe. Also, wearing a mask and getting vaccinated are also great ways to protect yourself and others.

Finally, keeping surfaces clean is the most effective way for businesses and individuals to help out. Circulating outside air won’t make much of a difference if you let the virus live on your counter for days. Wipe down objects that are touched often and wash your hands regularly. Of course, cleaning is a normal part of a person’s routine, but it’s especially important in these difficult times.

COVID-19 impacted HVAC just like it did for every other industry. Yet, it’s up to everyone, especially businesses and families, to help stop the spread. For questions related to HVAC units, contact West Isle Heating & Cooling. We can help you choose the best system and give you tips for how to be safe using HVAC.

HVAC Heating Ventilating Air Conditioning

How to Reduce Carbon Emissions With Home Heating

If you have cold winters where you live, then you’re probably guilty of running your heating system more than you should. Heat might be the key to keeping us warm all winter, but it’s not quite as comfortable for the environment. Heating systems burn lots of fossil fuels and release carbon emissions just to keep you content. But maybe there’s a more environmentally-friendly way to go about this.

You don’t have to give up heat to save the planet, but there are certainly ways to reduce carbon emissions with home heating. As it turns out, nearly 70% of residential energy comes from fossil fuels. So, it’s time to make a change for the sake of our planet.

Reducing Carbon Emissions

The easiest way to be more conscientious about carbon emissions is to find ways to use less heat and contain heat inside your home better. Luckily, there are a few ways to do this.

You can reduce carbon emissions with home heating by:

  • Sealing any air leaks or gaps in your home to prevent heat from escaping
  • Updating insulation in walls, basement, and attic to be more effective
  • Improving the insulation on your windows.

In addition to those fixes, you can also change some aspects of your routine too. For example, you can try setting your thermostat lower, especially when you’re sleeping or out of the house. It’s estimated that turning your heat down when you don’t need it could save three to six percent of your energy use.

Some systems might also allow you to only heat certain areas of your home. That way, you don’t have to waste heat on areas you rarely use, such as the basement.

Also, if you’re planning to move to a new location soon, consider getting a smaller home. Smaller houses with updated systems will often waste less heat, ultimately reducing carbon emissions.

Reuse Wasted Heat

In addition to reducing carbon emissions with home heating, you can also reuse some of your wasted heat. If you’re interested in doing so, you can get a heat recovery ventilator. But only get one if your home is already effectively air sealed and insulated.

Heat recovery ventilators can ventilate your home while transferring heat from the air leaving your house to the air coming in. It’s an ideal addition to any eco-friendly home.

Drain water recovery units are another option to look into if you want to reuse some heat. When you take a shower, you barely use that heat at all, and then it just goes down the drain. However, you can use a device to recover some of the heat and reuse it in your home. You’ll no longer have to feel guilty about taking boiling hot showers.

Of course, adding these systems to your home can be pricey, but they will reuse so much heat in the long run, ultimately reducing carbon emissions. So, if you’re able to give one a try, it can certainly help.

Replace Your Heating System

Finally, upgrading to a more eco-friendly heating system can help you reduce carbon emissions with home heating. Older, less efficient units are more likely to have negative effects on the environment. So, if it’s time for an upgrade, why not look at the most environmentally-friendly options?

Many households are aware that heat pumps are often the best options when it comes to saving money and helping the planet. Yet, there are some models that are even safer than others. Geothermal heat pumps are considered one of the most eco-friendly because they’re kept underground. They take heat from the earth rather than the outside air.

Below the earth’s surface, the temperature is warmer and more consistent. So, it will take less energy to heat your home. Geothermal heating costs more upfront than a traditional heat pump, but it will save you money in the long run due to how efficient it is.

Another eco-friendly heating option is solar heating. This is considered the greenest heating option, but it might not always work the best. If the solar panels can’t get enough energy from the sun, a backup heating system will kick in. So, it’s not the most reliable option, but it can still benefit the environment greatly.

Are you looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions with home heating? Luckily, there are plenty of ways for you to reduce, reuse, and update when it comes to your heating system. Westisle Heating & Cooling is here to help with all your HVAC needs. Contact us today to see how you can help make this world a safer place!

HVAC Maintenance

9 Maintenance Tips To Get Your HVAC Ready For Spring

Most homeowners breathe a sigh of relief when spring comes around. Warmer seasons mean it’s time to put the winter coats away and have some fun in the sun. Yet, there are some extra chores that come along with spring, and not just spring cleaning. You also need to prepare your HVAC system for warmer weather, which is more important than most people realize. The best way to keep your HVAC system efficient and long-lasting is to do the following items in preparation for spring.

1. Run Your System Before it Gets Warmer

There’s no need to use a cooling system until the weather heats up. But if your system malfunctions the first time you use it in the spring, then you may be faced with a heat wave until someone can come to fix it. Therefore, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Run your HVAC system before spring arrives so you can schedule repairs in advance if needed.

2. Replace Dirty Filters

Dirty air filters are more than just a gross chore we have to complete. If an air filter gets covered with dirt, dust, and hair, it can get into your ducts and cycle around your house. This is a common reason for allergies acting up. Thankfully, that extra sneezing can be avoided if you check your filters frequently and replace them as needed, even more once spring comes along.

3. Clean the Area Around Your System

During the winter months, it’s possible that the wind might’ve blown dead plants, dirt, and debris around your outdoor HVAC system. These objects could affect the air quality inside your home, which is why you should take a look at your outdoor unit often. It’s recommended that you clean up your HVAC system a few times a year to avoid a debris buildup.

4. Clean the Air Ducts

Like filters, air ducts should also be checked on, even when the weather is cold. Dirt, dust, and debris can build up in ducts too, which is another instance where harmful objects could circulate into the air you breathe. It not only causes allergies, but it can also cause discomfort and potential lung problems.

5. Remove Obstructions Outside

Your unit should have plenty of open space around it outside. You shouldn’t allow any plants to grow within two feet of the unit and keep outdoor decorations away as well. A clear area will allow your heat pump to gather air easier, so it’s important to check to make sure nothing is obstructing your unit. If you plan on growing more plants, make sure they are a safe distance away so no vines, branches, or leaves will get in the way as the plant grows.

6. Seal Air Leaks in Your Home

A great way to ensure that your HVAC system works properly in the spring is to guarantee that the cool air stays inside. Walk around your home and check for any air leaks, such as the cracks between windows and doors. Sealing up these small openings can help keep warm air from creeping inside your home during warmer months.

7. Program Your Thermostat

It’s a good idea to program your thermostat ahead of time so it will cool down when the temperatures rise. Set the temperatures to fit your lifestyle. However, it’s a good idea to set the temperature a little higher on your cooling system when you’re not planning to be home.

8. Schedule Routine Maintenance

Having an HVAC specialist look at your system annually is a great way to prepare your HVAC for the spring. They can inspect it and clean it as needed to ensure that it runs as efficiently as possible. The best time to do this is before the warmer seasons begin since it can be a significant transition for your system. It’s better to have a professional look at your system regularly than to have to pay for expensive repairs further down the road instead.

9. Get a New System if Needed

Sometimes, you’ll need a new HVAC system as spring approaches. If your system is becoming noisier or not cooling your home like it used to, then it might be time for an upgrade. Consult an HVAC specialist about what new cooling systems will work best for your home in the spring and summer months.

Keeping your HVAC system running perfectly is the key to keeping your home comfortable. Westisle Heating & Cooling is happy to help you with everything you need to do to prepare your HVAC system for spring. Contact us today to find out how we can help keep your system as good as new.