Saturday, 29 November 2014

Do You Need to Humidify Your Home?

The advantages and reasons for using a humidifier in the winter months are not always obvious to homeowners. Maintaining proper humidity levels benefits your health, your comfort, your home’s efficiency and your investment.

In Southwestern Ontario, we get a lot of cold damp days in the winter. Even on damp days, when you heat the air in your home, humidity levels drop. Warm air expands and relative humidity drops. If you wake up in the winter with dry eyes and nose, it’s because the relative humidity in your home is too low.

Health Benefits

Humidity allows the tiny hairs in your nose to move and do a better job of filtering out bacteria and viruses. Proper humidity can actually lower the chance of getting a cold or the flu.

We all know that if we have a cold, a humidifier helps us breath easier and soothes the throat. Humidity also has a major impact on skin conditions like eczema. Dry air also dries out your skin which can cause itchy scaly rashes. Proper hydration and humidity can also lessen snoring.

Comfort and Efficiency

Indoor air in winter, can have humidity levels at around 10% without a humidifier. The ideal winter humidity level for your home is between 30% and 40%.

Increasing humidity in the air will make your home feel warmer. Air that is 70°F and 10% humidity will feel like 67°F. Air that is 70°F with 50% humidity feels like 69°F.

After you have installed a humidifier, you will find that you can keep your thermostat at a lower setting while maintaining comfort. Keeping your thermostat just a degree lower will add up to a lot of energy savings over the winter.

If you pet your cat or dog in the winter, you can get a static electricity shock if the air is too dry. Other signs of static electricity are unruly hair and socks stuck to shirts. Any of these nuisance shocks will be eliminated by proper humidification.

Protecting Your Investment

Static electricity can be an expensive problem as well. Static electricity in your home can damage sensitive electrical equipment like computers.

Wood furniture does not do well in a dry home. Joints on chairs that are glued can shrink and come loose, causing a creaky chair. Cabinet doors can get out of alignment or warp if your house is too dry.

If you’ve installed a hardwood floor, the manufacturer will have humidity recommendations. A dry home will cause gaps between the boards to grow. Flooring manufacturers will not honor warranties if you have not maintained proper humidity levels.

Tropical plants are also susceptible to low humidity. Leaves may get brown at the tips or die off completely. The health of your plants is an indication of the health of your home’s air.

Types of Humidifiers

Whole home humidifiers are installed on your furnace. There are three common types of furnace humidifiers.

Steam humidifiers use less water than other types. 100% of the water used is converted to humidity. Steam humidifiers are also the healthiest choice. They don’t have moisture filled pads that can be a place for bacteria to grown. Maintenance is simple, just clean it annually. A steam humidifier actually cleans itself during the heating season.

Bypass humidifiers are quite simple and trouble free. Water runs over a pad. The moisture evaporates into the air as your furnace fan blows over the pad. These types of humidifiers can deliver a lot of moisture into the air. The drawback is that they waste a certain amount of water. They have a drain pipe that needs to be kept clean.

Drum humidifiers are more common in older homes. A pad wrapped around a rotating drum soaks up water from a tray. Moisture is evaporated into the air, much like a bypass humidifier. Drum humidifiers have more moving parts and are more likely to fail. They require annual cleaning and pad changes.

The Hayter Group sells and services Honeywell Whole Home Steam and Bypass Humidifiers. New humidifiers are often installed with new furnaces. We’ll also service your existing humidifier, when we service your furnace. If you don’t have a humidifier or need one replaced, we are happy to meet with you to make sure that you get the model that will best fit your needs.

Chad Hayter

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What is Zuba Central?

It’s a revolutionary new alternative for heating and cooling your home.

Many people are aware that if you want to improve on the performance of a high-efficiency natural gas furnace, you can go to a geothermal heat pump. Geothermal systems are the most energy efficient way to heat and cool your home.

Geothermal however is not for everyone, as the costs can be high with vertical installations and of course the disruption to your property.

Mitsubishi Electric has developed new leading edge technology that’s changing the heating and cooling equation. Zuba-Central is a system that can heat and cool your home. Heating costs in a typical South-Western Ontario home are 28% lower than a mid-efficiency natural gas furnace and 60% less than electric, oil or propane heat! The bonus is you also get cooling at a fraction of the cost of conventional air conditioning systems.

The Zuba-Central system is perfect for existing homes with a forced air furnace. The system is made up of two major components. There is an air handling system that replaces your existing furnace. There is also an outdoor unit that looks much like an oversized air conditioning unit.

The air handling equipment is connected to the outdoor unit with refrigerant lines, just like a conventional air conditioning system.

A heating and cooling system’s performance can be represented by its Coefficient of Performance (COP). COP is a standardized measurement of how much energy you get from every unit of energy input.

There are 3 types of gas furnaces: low-, mid- or high-efficiency. Older low-efficiency gas furnaces that are chimney vented have a COP between .6 and .75. Mid-efficiency gas furnaces generally have a COP from 0.78 to 0.82. High-efficiency gas furnaces achieve a COP range of 0.89 to 0.95. Most oil furnaces are generally in the 0.70 to 0.84 range.

A COP of .8 means that 80% of the fuel that you are buying is being converted to heat. The other 20% is going up the chimney.

Electric heat is actually more efficient than gas or oil. Electric baseboard heaters have a COP of 1. There is no wasted energy. The reason they are so expensive to heat with, is the high cost of electricity.

Zuba-Central has a COP ranging from 1.4 to 3.19. Zuba-Central is able to achieve these amazing COP ratings because it not only converts 100% of all electrical energy into heat, but it also absorbs outdoor heat energy, which is essentially free.

Zuba-Central is a heat pump with two key components: the compressor and the refrigerant. The system absorbs heat energy from outside and transfers that energy indoors via refrigerant which is moved throughout the system by the high efficiency compressor. And the higher the outdoor temperatures rise, the more efficient the system becomes.

In our area, most winter nights will be between 0°C and -10°C and your Zuba-Central system will be very efficient. The lower COP range on the Zuba-Central will occur on colder -20°C nights. Unlike more traditional heat pumps, a Zuba-Central will still draw heat from the outdoor air at frigid -30°C temperatures.

The Zuba-Central outdoor unit measures 13" (33 cm) x 37" (950 cm) x 53" (1350 cm). This is smaller than a traditional Air Conditioner. The indoor Air Handling Unit is smaller than a gas furnace, and fits right onto your existing ductwork.

You may not even realize your Zuba-Central system is working. The unit runs at noise levels of 52db(A), far less than the 80db(A) of most air conditioning units. Zuba-Central will run as quiet as a light rainfall.

The Zuba-Central system uses ozone-friendly R-410A refrigerant which produces no CFCs or HCFCs, and has zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP). Since Zuba-Central is energy-efficient and it’s capacity varies according to demand, it is actually more environmentally friendly than traditional air conditioners and gas or oil furnaces.

Zuba-Central provides both heating and cooling within the same system. It requires less maintenance than having an air conditioner and a furnace. Zuba-Central is electrically operated, therefore it has no ignition-related problems.

The compressor in a Zuba-Central system features a unique soft-start function, which draws only a small amount of power at start-up. This eliminates light flickering and surges.

Zuba-Central’s outdoor unit weights 267 lbs. Because it is so slim and compact, the unit is easy to handle and may also be wall-mounted to save outdoor space.

The Hayter Group is one of Southern Ontario’s largest geothermal contractors. The company also has expertise in high-efficiency gas, propane, wood and oil furnaces. There is not a single solution that works for every customer. Zuba-Central gives us another environmentally friendly cost efficient offering for our urban and rural customers.

Chad Hayter