Heating and ventilating are the main ways to control ambient temperatures in buildings. Comfort Pro’s Heat and Air systems draw fresh air through ducts and blowers.
Everyone knows a comfortable temperature, so the heating requirements vary from home to home. But there are ways to save energy without sacrificing comfort.
Furnaces are the heart of your home’s heating system. They draw in air through return vents, warm it with a heat exchanger, and send it out through ductwork throughout your house to provide warmth for everyone. Traditional furnaces use electric heating elements or burn gas, kerosene, or propane to create the heat energy needed to warm your house. The gases then escape through a flue or chimney. A blower fan circulates the air from your home’s return vents and over the hot furnace heat exchanger. When the thermostat senses a desired temperature has been reached, the fuel valve opens, and the burners ignite.
A flame detector is used to prevent dangerous gas buildup. If the flame detector detects a problem, it shuts off the fuel flow.
In non-condensing systems, combustion exhaust passes through a flue or chimney and is vented outside. A condensing furnace uses a secondary heat exchanger with coils that cause the gases to cool and release water (or condensation). This additional heat is circulated through your home’s ductwork and distributed by the blower fan.
An air filter separates the heat exchanger from fresh, outdoor air entering through a vent to help keep dust and debris out of the system. Gas piping connects from the gas meter or main line to the internal Gas Valve and manifold inside the furnace. A shutoff valve is installed between the gas meter and furnace for isolation in an emergency or routine maintenance.
A blower motor and fan, a thermocouple, a spark ignition device (ignition module or pilot burner), and the flame detector are all in the furnace cabinet. A circuit board regulates the 115-volt single-phase electrical power from the breaker panel to the furnace. It converts it to a control voltage that’s low enough to operate the blower motor safely.
If you have hot-water radiators in your home, a regular bleed at the beginning of each heating season will remove any unwanted air trapped inside. That should be done while the system runs by going room to room (starting at the top of your house if it’s multi-level) and opening each bleed valve slightly until water escapes. Then, close the valve. That should help to improve your heating efficiency and reduce the risk of condensation.
Steam systems operate by boiling water fed through a series of pipes to radiators or convectors, where the heat radiates into the space. The steam then cools and condenses into water that returns to the boiler. Steam-to-hot water conversions are popular in older homes with piping sized for moisture since the piping can be redirected to better suit hot water requirements.
Unlike forced-air, which uses a fan to move air around the house, hot-water systems distribute heat by natural convection, which is more energy efficient. However, they can’t be used for temperature control by room – each radiator is heated to the same level regardless of which rooms are occupied.
If your home has a gas storage system or continuous flow instantaneous heater, make sure you have a gas pressure gauge to monitor the amount of water in the tank. It’s a common mistake to close unused vents, which strain the system and make it less efficient. You can also save energy by using a high-efficiency gas model and ensuring your tank is properly sized to meet your family’s needs. Click here for more information on choosing the best gas hot water system for your household.
Ceiling fans are available in various styles and finishes that complement any décor. They also provide a powerful boost to the efficiency of your home’s climate control system. When used correctly in winter, a fan set to rotate clockwise helps redistribute the warmer air produced by your heating system, which tends to collect near the ceiling, eliminating those uncomfortable cold pockets and making the entire space feel more comfortable.
ENERGY STAR® certified ceiling fans have improved blade design that significantly reduces operating energy consumption, and they feature a variable speed setting to maximize performance in different seasons. Using a higher speed on warm days creates more powerful breezes, while a lower rate is ideal for gentle cooling.
The speed of a ceiling fan is controlled by the electrical circuitry connected to its motor through capacitor values (measured in microfarads). Different value settings correspond to different speeds, and each pull chain pull toggles the circuit to select the desired location. Some fans offer additional control options, such as wall switches or remote controls.
In summer, a ceiling fan sucks up cool air and forces it downward, creating a wind-chill effect that makes a room feel significantly cooler. Some models are designed with an electrically reversible motor to switch between an updraft and downdraft mode. Other fans, known as a flush mount, are designed to appear as part of the ceiling; these are useful in rooms with low ceilings and can be mounted without needing a download or canopy. Lastly, some bladeless models don’t use actual blades but instead rely on a base with a hollow center to circulate air.
Unlike ceiling fans, table or pedestal fans are portable and can be moved from one area of your home to another. These fans can be used on tables or placed directly on the floor in any room of your house, and they can be positioned at different angles to direct airflow in various directions. They are also usually smaller than ceiling fans and are less expensive, although the quality of the fan can make a difference in the price you pay.
The primary component of a table or pedestal fan is its motor. When the electric current passes through it, the magnetic field alters the current into mechanical energy. This energy causes the engine to rotate or oscillate, which cools the surrounding area. The speed of a fan is measured in RPM (revolutions per minute), and the faster it runs, the more air it produces.
Many modern table or pedestal fans come in various materials, colors, and sizes and can be battery- or USB-powered. Some even offer quiet operation to keep your workspace tranquil. For instance, the Rowenta Turbo Silence Oscillating table fan is a great choice for professionals looking for a compact and dependable battery-powered fan to help them maintain a focused work environment.
Other options include the Genesis and Vornado Flippi V6 table fans with a small footprint for minimal desk or table space. These models are ideal for offices and other personal areas. The Treva 10-inch Desktop Battery Fan is also slim and powered by batteries, making it convenient for travel. It also offers a Turbo Boost mode and silent night mode to provide powerful cooling without making loud noises. Austin Palmer, Senior Research Analyst at Consumer Reports, has tested electronics and home appliances for several years. His background working on oil derricks gave him a callused-hands perspective that supplements his approach to product evaluation.
Ventilation involves the movement of air in and out of a space. It can be natural, such as opening a window, or mechanical and may include fans or blowers that clear a general area. The purpose is to reduce exposure to airborne pollutants by diluting or displacing them with fresh outdoor air. It can also be used to control the buildup of moisture within walls.
Typically, ventilation systems move stale indoor air out and bring outdoor air in through doors and windows. These systems can reduce pollutants like secondhand smoke, dust, and pollen. However, they are most effective when paired with other preventative measures, such as avoiding known sources of pollution and keeping it out of the house.
The human lung is the primary organ for gas exchange and is made up of branching airways that terminate in respiratory bronchioles and alveoli, which are sites for gas exchange. Ventilation and perfusion (air and blood flow into and out of alveoli) are regulated by pressure gradients between the atmosphere, intraalveolar mood, and the pleural cavity. The lungs are also the primary oxygen route to the body’s cells, which are required for cell respiration.
Several different ventilation methods can be used in the home, including passive, energy recovery, and balanced ventilation. Each system uses fans to drive stale indoor air out and bring fresh outside air in. The type of system chosen is based on the local climate and needs of the home and should be considered carefully.
Ventilation is a key step in decreasing virus particles in the home and helping prevent COVID-19 from spreading between people. It is best paired with other preventative measures, such as social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and washing hands frequently.