How Controlling Humidity Can Keep Your Home Comfortable All Year Long
Whether you live in a tropical climate or a temperate zone, controlling the amount of humidity in your home can enhance your comfort and protect your health. While some normal fluctuations in indoor humidity levels are perfectly normal, living in a house that is too humid or not humid enough can be bad for your health and your family.
If you want to control the wild swings in indoor humidity and enhance comfort for yourself and your family, you first need to track those humidity levels. You do not need sophisticated and expensive equipment to do that – a simple humidity meter will do the trick. Once you know much moisture is in your home, you can take steps to optimize the humidity levels and keep your rooms more comfortable.
Dry Air – A Serious Winter Challenge
A lack of humidity is one of the biggest challenges homeowners face when the weather turns cold. The amount of moisture in the air drops with the plummeting temperatures, and indoor heat can dry out the air even further.
Adding a humidifier to your home is the best way to combat those lower moisture levels. When fall turns to winter, it is time to get out your humidifier and turn it on. Be sure to clean the reservoir thoroughly before using it, and fill it with fresh clean water every day.
Excess Moisture – A Danger to Your Basement, and Your Home
Too little moisture in the air can be a real problem, but so can too much water. Excess moisture can be just as big a danger, especially since high humidity levels can aid the growth of mold and mildew.
If your home has a basement, it is important to monitor humidity levels carefully. If there is too much moisture in the air, adding a dehumidifier can dry out the basement and help prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
You should also monitor your basement, and the rest of your home, for signs of excess moisture. Unexplained wet spots, stains on the walls and ceilings and a musty odor could all be triggered by excess moisture, so let your eyes – and your nose – be your guide. If you see any signs of excess moisture, it is time to put your dehumidifier to work.
Keeping your home comfortable is important to your health and safety, and that means monitoring and adjusting the amount of moisture in the indoor air. Controlling the amount of moisture in your home is easy enough – you just need the right equipment to get the job done.
Attic Fans as Alternatives to A/C
Many people look for ways to keep cool without resorting to air conditioning when the temperatures rise. While A/C is great, it can also be costly if you have to run it constantly. For those looking to stay cool on a budget, a whole house attic fan is a great option that will likely suffice on all but the hottest days. These fans are able to pull air from every part of the home via suction and replace warm air with cooler air.
1. Getting the Most Out of a House Fan
It’s a good rule of thumb to open some window screens and turn on the house fan whenever outdoor temperatures fall below indoor temps. In these scenarios, your fan will pull the cooler air through the house and force the warm air out through the roof vents.
If you like the way air-conditioning can cool down the house before the day gets started but want to save energy, there’s a way to simulate this feature with your fan. You can run the fan prior to sunrise and trap the colder air inside. This should last you for quite some time in a moderate climate and in the evening you can open the windows again when the temperatures drop.
Whole-house fans are typically ideal for multi-story homes, although they can still work in single-story homes. There are some regions—mostly those with mild climates—that utilize the full potential of these fans more effectively.
2. Choosing a Whole-House Fan Design
Consumers seem to like the ceiling-mounted models best. They’re unobtrusive as they are installed between the living area and the ceiling, as the name suggests.
Another option is to go for a ducted whole house attic fan, a quieter model as they’re placed in the attic proper, further from the living space. You can position the ducts to vent air out of the house directly via flexible ductwork.
A variable speed model works just like it sounds by letting you circulate air at a gentle speed or flush air out of the house quickly at higher speeds.
Fans with programmable thermostats give you added control and convenience but make sure before you use them that your heating and cooling are switched off, windows are open, and there is no fire going if you have a fireplace. There are a few models with insulated doors for an air seal. If your model of choice doesn’t have these doors, remember to cover it up in winter, otherwise, it will be as though a window is open. Just take the covering off in the spring and remember to open at least one window.
3. Choosing a Size
Experts say that a good whole-house fan should be able to exchange all the warm air in your home within three or so minutes maximum.
You can calculate the flow rate by doubling the total square footage of the whole house. Find this number and then find a fan with the same or better cubic feet per minute capacity.
We recommend consulting an expert in ventilation to get a professional opinion on the ideal size of a whole-house fan for your needs.
4. A Cost-Benefit Analysis
On the budget end, whole-house fans are about one hundred and fifty dollars, and five hundred and fifty on the premium end. You should also factor in the cost of installation, which could be as much as one thousand dollars.
There are certain places and companies that will give out rebates for whole-house fans. For example, in Sacramento reports indicate that these fans use only ten percent of the energy that air conditioning uses. Thus, in only a few seasons the fans pay for themselves many times over
What are some reasons to choose a tankless water heater?
If you are currently in need of replacing your water heater, it is a good time to upgrade to a new type. One good type is a tankless water heater. Here are some reasons to consider choosing this among the other options available.
They Last a Long Time
One great reason to get a tankless water heater installed in your home is that they are known to last a long time. When replacing your hot water heater, you want one that is going to last for a while so you don’t have to make this decision again for quite some time. Consider the water heater an investment, so even if the tankless appliance is a little higher than other water heaters, you make up for it by not having to pay for another one for many years. As long as you keep it in good condition, it can last over a decade in many cases.
The Tankless Water Heater is Smaller
A benefit you might not have considered is that a water heater without a large water tank is also going to take up a lot less space. If you already have limited space for placing the appliance in the first place, this can be an excellent benefit for you. Many water heaters are placed in the basement or garage. You might be in need of more storage in these spaces, so being able to save even a little space without a bulky water heater can make all the difference.
You Can Reduce Your Energy Costs
While the tankless water heater might cost a little more in the beginning, you will save money by having a water heater that uses less energy overall. Traditional water heaters require filling up a large tank with water, and keeping it warm so that the water is ready when you turn on the faucet. However, this is uses much more energy than is really necessary. With the tankless water heater, only the water you use after turning on a faucet is going to use up energy. You will notice that within the first few bills after having it installed, your energy and water bills have started to decrease. Not only are you saving money on your investment, but you are helping the environment and lowering your own carbon footprint.
As you can see, there are a wide range of benefits to go with a tankless water heater. Speak to a plumber if you have more questions about tankless water heaters and wonder if it is a good option or your home.
Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for Your Home?
A typical water heater has a useful life of approximately 15 to 20 years. Most homeowners will have to replace a hot water heater at least once or twice over the course of their time as homeowners, and some will choose to make an optional upgrade. For example, you may upgrade to a more energy-efficient model in order to save money on utilities each month. Whether your upcoming water heater replacement project is mandatory or optional on your part, you may be wondering if a tankless water heater is a great option for you.
Never Run Out of Hot Water (…Maybe)
You may have heard that you never will run out of hot water with a tankless water heater, and this is true to an extent. A tank-style hot water heater may heat a certain number of gallons of hot water, and when this water is used, cold water will flow through the tap. With a tankless hot water heater, the unit will heat water on demand, but it can only heat so much water. This means that you may be able to take a shower using hot water for hours if you like, but you may have trouble taking a shower, running the dishwasher and washing clothes all at the same time. A solution to this problem in busy homes is to use two tankless hot water heaters piggy-backed on top of each other.
Save on Energy Costs
You may have also heard that you can save money on energy costs, and there is some truth to this. Consider that with a tank-style hot water heater, you are keeping the water in the tank heated at a specific level regardless of whether you use the water or not. For example, even when you are on vacation and do not use hot water for several weeks, the hot water is still being heated in the tank. With a tankless hot water heater, the water is heated only when you need it, and there are energy savings in this.
When you wonder if this is the right model of hot water heater for your home, think about how frequently you need to feed water into multiple different appliances or features at the same time. This will help you to determine if a tank-style or tankless model is better for your needs.