Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is vital to everyone who lives or visits your home. Poor air quality results in excess mold & allergens that lead to a number of health issues, especially severe problems for those with asthma. Certain household pollutants can cause health problems, including everything from simple colds to contamination from gasses & smoke.
Some pollutants cannot be avoided like pet dander or dust. However, others can be easily avoided by making a few changes to your household rules. In particular, no one should smoke inside the house, as it can cause excessive allergens and clog filters. Leaks in your ductwork can cause contaminants to enter the breathing air of your home. Repairing these leaks will help to reduce these contaminants and dust. A warning sign of excess humidity, often caused by oversized equipment is mold on vents. To prevent excess humidity, we perform accurate heat loads to insure proper sizing on all of our installations. UV light air cleaners are also very effective in reducing mold from your system and ductwork.
Maintenance & Tune Ups
Your HVAC system is likely the most expensive system in your home and is a major investment in comfort and health. To protect this investment, we highly recommend professionally maintaining your system 2 times each year. This ensures extended equipment life, air quality and efficiency. A common misconception is that we only need to change air filters, but there are many components in the system that need inspection and maintenance.
Benefits of maintenance & tune ups:
Your Home Service Plan includes:
Air conditioning Home Service Plans:
Whatever type of system you have, it is a complex system. While it's designed to work efficiently, after years it can break down and you may need heating system repair. Here are some of the common heating system problems we come across at Strive HVAC & Construction:
Hot and Cold Spots
Many duct systems are improperly designed which causes inconsistent air flow and temperatures in different areas. We specialize in proper system design techniques that will reduce these issues.
Proper duct system design and installation are key to system efficiency and uniform comfort. We take pride in designing and installing duct systems that evenly distribute your airflow. Return air sizing is something that is overlooked and we also commonly check for this issue.
Improper system design and sizing can cause high humidity. If you live in Texas, you know this is a problem. Strive HVAC & Construction always performs heat loads to insure proper system sizing and comfort.
With an upgrade or replacement of your air conditioning system, Strive HVAC & Construction guarantees you more comfort all year long. With our Energy Star® rated cooling systems, you can save up to 60% on energy costs, while keeping your home safe and healthy.
A high efficiency air conditioning unit can reduce your energy costs dramatically.Combined with the tax incentives and local rebates, the annual savings frominstalling a new system will pay for itself over time.
Environmental Regulations on Air Conditioning Units
Not only does replacement of your older air conditioning unit provide a financial incentive, but there are also environmental benefits. Requirements went into effect in 2010 that regulate the chemicals used in air conditioning units. The R-22 coolant used in most central air conditioning systems manufactured in the past is a HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) that causes chlorine emissions. Chlorine gas is one of the manmade emissions which damage the ozone. In 2010, this refrigerant was replaced by R410a, a chlorine-free and non-ozone damaging coolant.
Production of units using ozone-damaging R22 will continue until 2020 but will be substantially reduced as all air conditioning manufacturers switch to using R410a. The cost of units using the old R22 is rapidly rising, while the prices for the more environmentally friendly & efficient R410a are dropping. These newer air conditioning units are far more energy efficient than the older units, saving homeowners a significant amount of money, particularly if you during the hot summers in Houston.
Heat Load Calculation
Determining the Correct Air Conditioning Unit Size
Air conditioner sizing is crucial to its performance and longevity in your home. A/C’s are rated by using the number of BTU (British Thermal Units) of heat that it can remove per hour. You commonly hear A/C size referred to in "tons". One ton is equal to 12,000 BTU's. (12,000 BTU's is the amount of energy required to melt 1 ton of ice in one day.) An average central air conditioner size would be between 3-6 ton or 36,000 - 72,000 BTU's/hr. In order for your air conditioner to work as efficiently as possible, it must be carefully sized to your specific house and environment. That’s why Strive HVAC & Construction always performs a heat load calculation on system replacements. Determining factors for correct unit sizing:
UV LIGHT AIR CLEANERS
If you’re a Texas resident concerned about how indoor air quality affects your family’s health, Strive HVAC & Construction can help. Ultraviolet devices provide numerous benefits when added to your home’s heating and cooling system. There are several reasons to consider adding UV lighting to your HVAC system.
The light that inhibits germs
Many studies have been conducted on indoor air quality in the past few decades. Consistently, they conclude that the air in our homes, offices, schools and stores is anywhere from 5 to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air. These studies also tell us that an incredibly significant percentage of respiratory illnesses are brought on by unclean air.
UV light = clean air. Today, we know that a whole-house approach to cleaning the air in our homes is the most effective means to combating this problem. One of the most effective technologies is a UV (ultraviolet) light air cleaner. This type of disinfection has been around for several generations in sterile environments such as hospitals and cruise ships. Now you can use it to protect your home and your family.
How a UV light air cleaner works. Installed into the ductwork of your HVAC system, rays radiated by an ultraviolet lamp break up the structure of microorganisms such as germs, viruses, bacteria and fungi. As a result, they are destroyed. When employed with a system of air filters and vents, UV air purifiers can practically eliminate germs inside your ventilation system.
For more information: https://youtu.be/E7r5nmoR_-4?t=2s
The control center of your HVAC system.
Controls your system settings and preferences.
There are two basic types: electromechanical thermostats and digital thermostats. Each has its own unique advantages.
Electromechanical thermostats. These are the older types with little metal coils and a mercury tube inside. These aren't as accurate as digital models. This type of thermostat is being phased out because of its use of mercury and the effects it has on the environment.
Digital & Wi-Fi thermostats use the newest technologies available. Most models today are programmable, which means you can set times for your system to run or shut down based on when you need it. This thermostat is much more accurate and has more options to keep your home or office comfortable. Wi-Fi thermostats give you the ability to control your HVAC remotely.
Trane ComfortLink™ II
Programming your thermostat can save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 5°–10° for eight hours. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.
The first step in cooling air.
But how does air conditioning actually work? It’s based on using a refrigerant, which easily converts from gas to liquid, to transfer heat out of your home. An air conditioner cycles the refrigerant through its system, extracting heat with each cycle, until your home has reached the desired temperature.
How compressors work. The compressor’s function is to compress the refrigerant, which arrives at the compressor as a cool, low-pressure gas. The compressor packs the molecules closer together. This increases its energy and temperature, so the working refrigerant leaves the compressor as a hot, high-pressure gas.
This compressed, hot gas then passes through the condenser coil for the next step of the air conditioning process. This is the part of your outdoor air conditioner that has metal fins all around. The fins act like a radiator in a car to help the heat dissipate. When the working refrigerant leaves the condenser, its temperature is much cooler and it has changed from a gas to a liquid under high pressure.
Getting the cool air to you.
An air handler includes a blower, heating and/or cooling elements, filter racks or chambers, and dampers.
Air handler care. Changing your filters regularly is the key maintenance for your air handler, whether it's part of your furnace or a stand-alone unit. You should also have your entire HVAC system inspected and maintained by a professional each year to catch any small problems before they become big.
How furnaces work and how to keep yours working right.
What is a furnace? Simply put, a furnace draws air in from the living space, heats it up and returns it to warm the home. Modern furnaces are forced air systems in three basic configurations based on the direction in which the furnace outputs heat:
1. Up flow furnaces
An up flow furnace takes cool air in from the bottom and discharges it from the top. Up flow furnaces are generally placed in a home's basement.
2. Horizontal flow (or cross-flow) furnaces
A horizontal furnace lies on its side, pulling cool air from one side and pushing warm air out of the other.
Horizontal furnaces are often used in locations where there is limited space and may be found in a crawl space or a closet.
3. Downflow furnaces
In this configuration, the furnace takes cool air from the top and discharges warm air from the bottom. Downflow furnaces are generally found in homes with no basement and are usually placed in an attic.
Choosing a configuration. The biggest consideration in choosing among these configurations is your home's layout. If you have no basement or crawlspace, an upflow furnace is not an option.
Maintaining your furnace. As with all HVAC systems, air filtration is critical to effective heating. Make sure you change or clean your furnace filters often and have your furnace professionally serviced before every heating season.
Removing heat from your home's air.
Modern air conditioning actually works by converting a gas refrigerant to liquid transferring heat out of your home. The liquid is cycled through the system, extracting heat with each cycle, until your home has reached the desired temperature.
How evaporator coils work. The evaporator coil is the part of the air conditioning system that actually pulls heat out of your home’s air. After the compressor and condenser have turned the refrigerant into a cool liquid under very intense pressure, the evaporator allows the liquid to evaporate, which extracts heat from the surrounding air, lowering the air temperature.
Evaporator coil care. For your air conditioner to work efficiently, it's important to keep your evaporator coil clean. Usually, this is as simple as changing your filter frequently -- each month in the peak cooling months. However, you should have an HVAC specialist inspect your air conditioner at least once each year. While there, the technician can determine whether your evaporator coil needs a more thorough, professional cleaning.
INDOOR AIR CLEANERS
A whole house air cleaner helps your family breathe easier. According to the American Lung Association®, indoor air pollution poses a threat to respiratory health and everyone should consider doing what they can to improve the quality of indoor air.*
In fact, indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks. Pollutants that can affect air quality in a home include particulate matter such as dust, smoke, pollen, animal dander and organisms such as dust mites, molds, bacteria and viruses. Gaseous pollutants may come from gas stoves, vehicle exhaust, and tobacco smoke and from building materials such as adhesives, paints, varnishes, cleaning products, and pesticides.
Whole house air cleaners have been shown to minimize the ill effects of indoor air pollutants. Strive HVAC & Construction's professionals are experienced in air quality evaluation and they are prepared to help you assess your family's indoor air quality needs. We'll help you select the model that's right for your home, then install and regulate your new air cleaner for maximum efficiency.
It is essential to regularly clean or replace your air conditioner filters. A clean filter improves your home’s air quality. It also allows your air conditioner to run more efficiently, which can save you money on energy bills and help you avoid costly repair or replacement.
Choosing the right air filter.
There are a number of common filter options available. The right one for you depends on your family's sensitivity to airborne particles:
Proper attic ventilation and exceptional insulation are critical to creating the most energy efficient attic environment. Year round your roof is absorbing solar heat from the sun. In the summer months its imperative that this heat is managed, otherwise it will radiate into your home, causing the living areas to be uncomfortably warm during peak temperatures.
Extreme attic heat will make your air conditioner run much longer than necessary, causing higher utility bills. Proper ventilation & insulation reduces attic temperatures, therefore lowering temperatures throughout your home. Improper attic ventilation will cause accelerated granular loss on your roofing shingles, which cause buckling, curling and rotting of the plywood decking. Roof shingles are a very important component in your home. Unfortunately, you may have a reduced warranty on your shingles because your attic is not vented to specifications. Roofing manufactures know that if the attic is not properly vented, the shingles will fail prematurely. Appropriate attic ventilation adds many years to the life of your shingles.
High humidity in your attic will also lower the R-Value of your insulation. Damp insulation does just the opposite of what it is supposed to. Condensation on the bottom side of your roof not only causes mold, but the OSB or plywood absorbs the moisture like a sponge and starts deteriorating. This leads to extra expenses when re-roofing because all the decking has to be replaced before new shingles can be installed. High Humidity in your home is often noticed by condensation on the windows. Fogged up windows with water accumulating is a sign of underlying problems. Proper attic ventilation will lower the humidity and increase the comfort in your home.
Proper Attic Ventilation will:
Decrease utility costs year round Lower temperature in living areas of your home
Prevent mold growth in your attic Validate Shingle Warranty Extend the life of your roof
Ventilation serves two purposes: Exhaust Heat and Expel Moisture
Research has proven that heat and moisture are every attic’s worst enemy. Almost Every single home is at risk of mold growth in the attic if the attic is poorly ventilated, and most homeowners don’t even know they are at risk.
Strive HVAC & Construction offers a combination of soffit vents, ridge vents and solar attic fans to pull air through the attic. Wind or natural convection pulls air out of the attic through the ridge vents, while replacement air flows in through the soffits.
For maximum comfort and energy efficiency
Virtually all older homes fall far short of today’s insulating standards and even many new homes in Texas fail to meet of the Department of Energy’s minimum recommendation of R-49 for attic insulation. In fact, most new homes have only R-30 fiberglass insulation with an effective R-value of less than R-20 in the winter! Winter is the prime time for heated air to flow to unheated spaces, like your garage, attic or basement. The opposite happens in summer when heat from outside tries to invade your cool home. The attic is the prime conduit for the majority of the heat transfer. Not only can insulation play a key role in maintaining an inviting, uniform temperature, it also acts as a sound absorber to make your home a quieter place. Combine decreased heat transfer and sound absorption with lower energy costs and less strain on your heating and cooling system.
THE ATTIC TENT
The Ultimate Attic Access Cover
Every year countless homeowners pay large amounts of money to purchase and install energy efficient windows and doors in their homes. But many overlook the area recognized as one of the home's common areas of energy loss: the attic access. Before the invention of the Attic Tent, there was no practical solution for this issue. Strive HVAC & Construction is proud to offer and install The Attic Tent. It’s an easy and affordable solution to help make your home more comfortable and efficient year round. It was designed to create an air tight barrier that helps reduce humidity from entering your home from the attic.
It fits most standard folding attic stair sizes and has convenient zippers that allow safe & easy access. The Attic tent keeps out insulation and dust particles from your living areas, which helps improve indoor air quality.
Contact us today and join the tens of thousands of homeowners that have purchased The Attic Tent. You will enjoy its benefits for years to come.
Attic Breeze Solar Powered Fans
Attic Breeze Solar Powered Fans reduce moisture & heat build-up in your attic, which reduces the load on your HVAC system. Available for all roof designs, solar attic fans easily install without electrical wiring or structural changes. The sleek designs blend seamlessly into the roof line of your home. Powered completely by free solar energy, solar attic fans pull hot air and moisture out of your attic extending the life of your roof and HVAC equipment.
Attic Breeze UltraFlō®technology maximizes solar attic fan performance while using high-efficiency monocrystalline solar panels. The dynamically balanced aluminum fan blade insures quiet operation. Heavy duty powder coated finishes are available in black, brown, gray, white and terra cotta.
Manufactured in the USA using only the highest quality parts and materials, Attic Breeze is ONLY solar fan manufacturer who offers a residential LIFETIME warranty. Attic Breeze solar powered fans are engineered to withstand harsh weather conditions and have been performance tested to withstand intense wind loan pressures. Texas Windstorm approved and rated for hurricane force winds of over 170 MPH.
This innovative design ultimately uses the suns energy to vent your attic, making the solar attic fan extremely energy efficient. Adding a solar attic fan to your home can cut your energy usage and save you money. Contact Strive HVAC & Construction and start saving today!
For options: http://www.atticbreeze.net