Thinking About Going Off-Grid? Consider Your Home Comfort Options

 

With rising awareness of environmental damages and individual carbon-footprints, many people are considering taking their home, or even life, ‘off grid’. This means that receiving power from the ‘grid’ or power companies is replaced with power producing techniques on a person’s own land. This can be done through a few different sources and usually has the dual benefit of saving a person money in the long-term and reducing their overall carbon footprint.

Things to Consider Before Going Off-Grid

Since most homes are not outfitted to accommodate homesteaders, there are a few considerations you will have to make when it comes to your off-grid home comfort options. Here are some factors that you should consider before going off-grid:

Off-Grid Sources of Power Production

The most common source of power production is solar power, and it is gaining more momentum among people who are environmentally conscious and even those who are just trying to save some money. The benefit of solar power is that it can be used in conjunction with ‘on-grid’ power or in replacement of. The average solar power panel produces 200 watts of power per hour on a sunny day.

Power Consumption in the Home

Most people run appliances that greatly contribute to the comfort of the home. The two largest power consuming appliances are the air conditioner and the refrigerator. An air conditioner can use anywhere from 1000 watts and up per hour. This means that in order to run an air conditioner, only during daylight hours, you would need at least 5 solar panels in working condition. When considering other appliances such as the oven which can use 3000 watts per hour in some cases, the use of power in an off grid home can greatly affect your comfort.

What Off-Grid Options are Available

When using solar power to power your home, many people choose to collect large amounts of power with many solar panels and to store it for use when they choose to run the oven or air conditioner. Greatly reducing your dependence on household appliances such as the fridge or air conditioner will make living off grid much easier. A good rule is that the older and the larger the appliance, the more power it uses.

How Living Off-Grid Will Affect You

When spending a lot of time comparing your power collection to your power consumption and not using some appliances depending on the time of day and weather, it can feel a little like you are not in control of your own comfort as and your comfort can sometimes be dictated by whether it is cloudy or nighttime. Unless you have the land space and initial capital to invest in an off-grid system that completely powers your current comfort level then you may find your quality of life, where use of everyday household appliances is concerned, dropping significantly.

This is not to say that going off grid is a bad thing at all, however it can be much more difficult than many people think. The best thing to do is to slowly work towards your goal by reducing your reliance on the grid by installing power saving measures and power collecting tools to reduce the amount you are consuming from external sources. Gauge what level of power consumption you are comfortable with by calculating your current use and seeing what you would still be comfortable not using.

If you have any other questions or would like to know more about how your air conditioner and regular comfort level can be affected by going ‘off-grid’ then contact us today.

What You Need to Know about Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide poisoning is not a proposition you can afford to take lightly. Exposure to excessive quantities of carbon monoxide will make you sick—and it can even put your life in danger under certain circumstances.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

We all breathe carbon monoxide from time to time, especially when we’re outdoors in the proximity of cars. But if you’re indoors, in a location where ventilation cannot disperse gases quickly, carbon monoxide contamination can become a true threat to your health.

Some of the most common sources of home carbon monoxide invasion include gas- or oil-burning furnaces or boilers, gas water heaters, gas stoves, non-electric space heaters, propane generators, gas grills and automobiles or other vehicles left running in adjacent garages. In some instance these appliances can develop leaks and in other cases improper ventilation may be the cause of the trouble.

Any appliance or device that runs on fossil fuel combustion will produce carbon monoxide, and if you remain unaware of the danger you may inadvertently put yourself or your family members in harm’s way.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-caustic, which means you will only recognize its presence when it makes you sick. Common symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, sleepiness, blurred vision, mental confusion, heart flutters, shortness of breath, loss of muscle control and general discomfort that mimics the effects of the flu.

If more than one person in an enclosed area is reporting such symptoms, and if sudden improvement is noticed after leaving the premises, carbon monoxide poisoning should be suspected. In these circumstances everyone should vacate the building immediately, all doors and windows should be opened and if you have the opportunity to cut the power to your fossil fuel burning appliances before leaving you should do so.

But if your symptoms are strong you should get out as fast as you can and call your HVAC contractor, gas company and/or local fire department afterward to let them know you have an emergency and need assistance. And if anyone is seriously ill you should not hesitate to call 911, since carbon monoxide poisoning can be a life-threatening condition.

Carbon Monoxide Exposure Prevention

HVAC equipment and any other indoor/outdoor appliances that run on fossil fuels should be regularly inspected for damage that might lead to carbon monoxide leakage. Some of this you can do yourself, but in the case of gas- or oil-burning furnaces, boilers, stoves or water heaters an annual inspection by trained professionals should be considered mandatory.

Non-electric space heaters need significant ventilation and gas grills and generators should only be operated outside, well away from the house. Also, you should never leave vehicles idling in garages or near open windows.

By all means, if you have appliances in your home that produce carbon monoxide you should purchase at least one battery-powered carbon monoxide detector. When installing them follow manufacturers’ instructions closely and test the batteries regularly to make sure they aren’t low on power.

Worried about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Salt Lake City? HVAC Construction Inc. Can Help

Does your furnace run on natural gas? Do you live in the Salt Lake City area?

If the answer to both questions is ‘yes’ we invite you to call HVAC Construction to schedule a maintenance visit today. Our trained technicians will go over your HVAC system with a fine tooth comb and immediately repair any problems they discover, including those that might lead to carbon monoxide leakage.

At HVAC Construction we know carbon monoxide poisoning is a deadly serious issue and we will do everything in our power to eliminate that threat from your life.

Follow us here for fascinating facts about heating, air conditioning and indoor air quality maintenance.

Governors Play A Critical Role In Advancing Energy Efficiency

The challenges of reducing energy consumption in a nation as large as the United States and as dependent on technology as we have become are massive. From school campaigns with students that encourage all to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” to municipalities that institute odd and even grass watering days, everybody tries to do something. But for real change to increase energy efficiency, it takes not only the individual, but the state. As the leader of the state, the governor has the most crucial role to place to advance energy efficiency.

A paper newly released by the National Governors Association (NGA) describes how our states have played an essential role in the progress with using energy efficiently that the United States has made in recent years. The governors play the leading roles in the progress. That makes perfect sense, when you consider the unique position they occupy and the people and businesses they have the ability to influence and educate. Not only can they make sure their own state governments are supportive of energy efficiency and careful of waste throughout government departments, thereby reducing state budget energy expenditures, but they also may work with the utility commissioner to make sure that the state’s energy infrastructures are well-maintained, their reliability strengthened and new expenditures postponed when not yet necessary.

Governors are well-placed to ensure that legislators, regulators and energy companies work together to help consumers lower their energy costs. They accomplish this by improving energy efficiency rules and standards, understanding and implementing best practices, conducting planning for future energy needs and for the potential for changes to bring about savings in energy use that lead to cost reductions. Governors are able to work with legislators on the state and national level to support innovative financing for citizens’ energy saving efforts and innovations on repayment options. They have the powerful ability to offer spending incentives to the energy companies to increase energy efficiency to everyone, from homes to industries.

Government, through state legislatures lead by their governor, has provided mechanisms to encourage energy investment commitments by the private sector. Supporting research and development is equally important, in order to stay ahead of the growth in the need for energy that new technology brings. Working with technology companies, universities and developers of these programs is vital. For further information, read the NGA paper posted at http://www.nga.org which further describes steps taken to advance energy efficiency.

10 Most frequently reported HVAC problems

 

The HVAC system in the home is important to the overall comfort of the family. With a properly functioning HVAC system, your family will be able to remain warm during the winter and cool during the summer. An HVAC system was created to last for at least ten years or more with regular maintenance. However, like any other mechanical system, there will always be issues. There are several common HVAC problems that home owners experience all over the world and these common problems are listed below.

  • Icing up in Winter/Summer
  • Blowing Cold Air in Heating Mode
  • HVAC running constantly without shutting off
  • High Electricity Bill
  • Water leakage
  • Strange Noises
  • Weak Airflow
  • Circuit Breaker Tripping
  • Unit Does Not Reach Temperature
  • Steam on Outdoor Portion of Unit

Each of these issues is common occurrences during the summer and winter months. to avoid these issues, home owners should have their units inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. This type of service is known as maintenance service. Your local HVAC provider will be able to provide you with the service options you need in your home. Most times a heating and cooling provider will offer several packages for maintenance that include different features.

Home owners should speak with their local provider to find out what options they have for maintenance. This way, the above issues that are quite common can be avoided. Packages can be purchased for several years in advance so you never have to worry about your heating and cooling unit. Service can be provided before summer and winter, which are the two extreme seasons of the year. The maintenance service will ensure that your unit is operational and ready to handle the upcoming season.

If you do experience any of these problems with your unit, you can trouble shoot the unit yourself or contact your provider for repair service. If you have any issue with your unit, the repairs should be taken care of right away. Disregarding the problem and waiting to have repairs conducted can result in major issues with the unit including total breakdown or the need for replacement.

Overall, it is important to stay on top of any issue you may have with your HVAC unit. Take the proper precautions and stay involved. Keeping track of your unit will provide you with a comfortable home year round, no matter the season!

Infographics About Hvac Construction Inc.

1_hvac infographic