Posts

HVAC Solutions for Tiny Homes

How Do I Heat & Cool My Tiny Home?

Tiny Homes HVAC OptionsIf you have been paying attention in the greater San Diego area, you may have noticed the uptake of a global trend: tiny homes. We love the tiny house trend and we’re happy to see tiny homes in San Diego because they’re energy efficient & sustainable and because they challenge the status quo and that’s what we’re all about. In their efforts to maintain a lifestyle that is both energy conscious and affordable, many tiny home owners and builders will find themselves with questions:

How can I cool my tiny home?
Which HVAC system is best on such a small scale?
What is the HVAC load calculation for my tiny house?

 

HVAC for small spaces is completely different than a typical home or commercial location. However, fear not – maintaining your thermal comfort index in a tiny home is easy, affordable, and eco-friendly. Here are the major tiny home HVAC solutions you have to consider:

 

Passive Cooling / Passive Heating

 

Passive cooling and passive heating refer to ventilation which is not motivated or generated by an electrical fixture, with ductwork and other technologies. Passive heating or cooling would not require a thermostat or other active controls. Tiny home builders in California may prefer this avenue because they may not be required to make modifications to suit the system, or the modifications will be minimal. For the homeowner, these solutions are often less expensive but can also be less effective. Here are a few examples:

 

  • Windows
    In a tiny home, you’re not cooling a massive space and you can probably achieve a decent cross-breeze just by opening cross-home windows and letting freshness in. The trouble starts when the heat or humidity – especially here in the hot San Diego weather – end up inside your home with no recourse for removal. Also, this doesn’t work as well to heat the home later in the winter.
  • Ceiling Fans
    Ceiling fans can manage to cool or somewhat “heat” your tiny house. While they do not generate their own temperature air, they do effectively circulate cool air and generate a breeze. In the winter, you can turn your ceiling fan in the opposite direction and it will push warm air that has risen to the rafters of your home downward into your living space for an effect of warmth. The drawbacks to ceiling fans include that they are a threat to air quality if not cleaned well and often, they do not generate temperate air so you’re still working, essentially, with the temperature given in the home, and they can sometimes make a small room feel smaller.
  • Floor Fans/Window Fans
    If you are willing to part with the space in your tiny home, a floor fan will make you feel cooler by drawing a draft across your skin. Whether you insert one in a window to draw warm air out from your home or stand one in the room and let it oscillate you will find an increase in comfort. However, these fans struggle to warm up a room and in the warmest of conditions, will struggle to cool it to comfortable levels also.
  • Roof Vents/Attic Fans
    These are a little pricier than the options listed above because they do require a hole to be cut in your roof. One potential drawback to this is that if the unit is not sealed well, moisture leakage can become imminent. That said, these units can warm or cool your tiny home and will provide an increase in ventilation which will increase your comfort. If the weather is hot and heavy, however, this solution will feel uncomfortable.

 Air Conditioner Options for Tiny Houses

Active Cooling / Active Heating

Simply put, when we refer to active cooling or active heating, we are referring to air conditioning units. These will require some type of controls, either by thermostat or on the unit itself. While all of the following examples would require some installation for your tiny house, they are all effective. There are many active air conditioning systems that are highly energy efficient as well. Here are a few examples:

 

  • Window AC Unit
    Say what you will about the aesthetic of a window air conditioner, this solution will work for your tiny home. Of the active cooling solutions here, this is the most affordable and the easiest to install yourself. That said, if your tiny home only has 1-3 windows, as most do, it may feel foreboding to eliminate one by stuffing it with one of these bad boys.

All of the following active cooling systems will require an HVAC technician for installation and maintenance.

  • PTAC
    The term PTAC, which stands for Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner, may not sound familiar but if you’ve stayed in an economy hotel room, you’ve likely used one. This will take up precious wall space in your home but it will effectually heat and cool your space with ease and in 2016, these come in highly energy efficient AC models.
  • RV-Style Roof Unit
    This is another solution, commonly used in RVs, which will both cool your tiny home and heat your tiny home. It is installed into your roof so it takes up less living space. However, if your roof operates at a slant greater than 15 degrees, you will find that this unit shuts down easily. Flat-roof tiny homes will love this option.
  • Mini Split System
    A common mini-me to the traditional air conditioning system, the Mini Split is such that your home will have an interior ventilation unit and an outdoor cooling unit, similar to your large home counterparts. The difference is in the size alone as the Mini system will use a compact air conditioner. To calculate your tiny home’s BTU, follow the same BTU calculation instructions as with a larger home, subbing in your actual square footage and accounting for any outlying factors such as multiple occupants, the probable use of a kitchen, and accounting for sun vs. shade.
    Shop Compact AC Units

 

{Builders: Are you curious about how to design and engineer an HVAC system in a tiny home from scratch? We’re happy to partner with you, too!}

 

If you’re looking to cut down on your tiny home costs and still heat and cool your space with ease, no worries! There are many passive and active HVAC solutions available for your tiny house. For more information or to request an estimate on HVAC services for your tiny home in San Diego or the surrounding area, contact Airmaxx today! We’re happy to help.

Save

Why You Need A High Efficiency Heating System

Your furnace is one of those things that you don’t think about much until you actually need it. Unfortunately, by that point, you don’t have much wiggle room when it comes to fixing problems. Maintenance is something that needs to be done year round, particularly now that you can expect higher heating expenditures this winter.

While the amount of the increase will depend on the type of fuel you use, it’s estimated that over 90% of homes in the U.S. are going to pay more this year just to keep their homes livable.

If you do decide to replace your heating system, fuel is a big concern. At the moment, about one-half of U.S. households use natural gas and changes in energy prices are dependent on the changes in fuel prices. Natural gas is one of the biggest changes, with a whopping 14% increase. Overall, you can expect a 13% increase in heating costs this winter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration at http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=13311.

Some older furnaces can be maintained well enough that they don’t waste too much energy. However, most furnaces built before this decade are less than energy friendly. You can learn to maintain your system on your own, but most people find it beneficial to hire professionals in to take care of this task.

Filters should be changed on a regular basis. This is a simple way to increase efficiency, but many home owners neglect it or only change the filter once a year when cold weather hits.

It’s also important to double check that your thermostat is working correctly. If it is not working, you will likely hear the furnace turning on and off more often than is necessary.

Vents and tubing should be cleared and cleaned regularly, as well. Blockages and debris are not only bad for health, they can also reduce the effectiveness of the heating or cooling system.

Choosing a more efficient heater means lower energy costs. It may be a good idea to look into replacing your existing system. Technology is improving rapidly as consumers realize the importance of having a high efficiency heating system. You will find that the more modern designs will cut costs drastically. In the long run, it could be easier on your budget to replace your furnace or heating system than to continue using the old one.

Whether you use a natural gas furnace or electric heating system, expect costs to go up. However, you can save money with proper maintenance and more efficient systems. There is no need to pay more than is strictly necessary.

Fall Maintenance Heating System Checks

 

Preseason heater check is very important for your safety. Winter months can be harsh and having a broken down heating system will only make your life harder. Most emergency winter service calls can be attributed to lack of maintenance and most people end up waiting long before a contractor is able to fix their problem. To avoid all this trouble, you’d be better off having your heating unit checked before winter sets in.

Most home owners assume that their unit will make it through the winter simply because it is working perfectly during the warm season. This often causes a lot of problems when the unit breaks down when it is needed the most. During winter, your HVAC system is forced to work extra hard in order to warm up your house. The fact that it’s now working on reverse after the summer seasons only makes things worse. Fall maintenance heating system checks ensure most of these potential problems are avoided.

There are plenty of things that could go wrong with your unit and you may never detect them until a professional gives it a look. Thermostats wear out quickly depending on different factors. If they are not replaced on time, they end up forcing your heating system to work on over drive. This will affect your energy bills in a very negative way. Replacing worn out thermostats just before the winter season sets in will ensure your system is working efficiently and keep your energy bills on the low side.

Your unit’s electrical components could also be faulty and may need tightening. In order to prevent break downs and increase the life of major components, a qualified technician needs to measure current on motors and measure voltage to ensure everything is running as it should. The problem with electrical components is that you may never know they are damaged unless a professional checks them out. Maintenance can reduce furnace repairs, saving you thousands of dollars.

Heating systems also come with a lot of moving parts. Just like any other machine, the gears in these units need to be lubricated once in a while. This task may seem easy but will take a skilled person to do it correctly. Spilling the lubricants on electrical components in the unit could short circuit your system, leading to even bigger problems.

Checking that the controls are in perfect working condition ensures your system starts, operates and shuts in the right manner. This will not only provide the right air conditions during winter, but will also increase the life of your unit. This saves you money and a lot of inconveniences.

Choosing The Best AC And Heater Repair Technicians In San Diego

 It would be hard to imagine a day without a good air conditioner or a heater. Some people are unaware that people need to be within a place with comfortable temperature to be able to function well. Proper temperature is also needed to keep most stocks in good condition especially perishable ones. Maintaining air conditioning units and heaters are necessary to ensure that they last for a long time. After all, they are investments so it is imperative to see to it that the money spent on these machines is maximized.

In San Diego, California, there are lots of air conditioner shops that offer repairs, replacements and the like. As everyone knows, the weather in this area can be extreme at times so it is essential for property owners to have functional air conditioners and heaters. On the other hand, it can be a bit tricky to look for the best contractors around especially nowadays when there are so many companies offering similar services. When looking for the best Carrier dealer in San Diego or perhaps just any brand of air conditioning unit, you can use directories and online tools to check out contact information of HVAC companies near your place.

Not all companies or contractors that offer AC repair in San Diego are as good as they seem to be. Advertisements can be too good to be true and it can be frustrating to find out that the services that you have paid for are not as what they have promised. Before you sign up for deals or say yes to any technician, it is best to check whether or not the people you are about to hire are able to abide with the standards of the industry to ensure that you are getting what you pay for. Of course, you need to spend some time doing some research to get more information on the companies and people who can be trusted when it comes to HVAC services in San Diego.

Among the trusted names in HVAC services is Airmaxx Heating & Air Conditioning as they provide free AC repair estimate so clients do not need to worry about shelling any amount just to have their units checked. As they value their customers a lot, they see to it that they inform them what the problems are and what can be done to rectify them. For many years, people in San Diego trust Airmaxx as they do not only provide competent services but they also have wonderful staff that are trained and licensed to do heater and air conditioner repairs.

Overall, keeping your AC and heater units in good condition can be hassle-free if you get the right people to handle them for you. You can gather more information through company websites where you can also see their licenses and the services that they offer. Once you are able to assess all the options that you have, picking the right heater and air conditioning unit technicians can be easy.

Use of Filters in HVAC Performance

Many people are not aware that filters play a crucial role in ensuring good performance of an HVAC system. It not only keeps the equipment in a good condition but also keeps the people healthy by filtering the dirty air out of it. An inefficient filter can minimize the cooling capacity and can also create control problems by wasting more energy. It is thus important to buy a quality filter which is long lasting and performs with low airflow resistance. A good filter usually helps to reduce the dust and the foreign particles getting accumulated on the HVAC ducts and evaporator coils which may impact its performance. Read this article to know more about the use of filters in HVAC performance.

 

When the dust particles get clogged in the system due to ineffective filters, the blower and the compressor has to work hard to circulate the air which in due course of time would heat up the entire system and lead to failure of the cooling modes. The dust particles stick to the coils and ducts and do not allow the heat to get transferred between the air and the coil coolant. A quality air filter present in your HVAC system helps you breathe fresh by preventing foreign particles, dusts and allergens from getting circulated in your home.  Learn more about indoor air quality here

 

Now-a-days, there are also electrostatic filters and electronic air cleaners available that are more efficient and also need not be replaced frequently like the usual filters. The Department of Energy from the US Government has certified the HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters as being very efficient in removing dust particles. Thus these filters are widely used in the HVAC systems in research labs and hospitals. It is important to check the efficiency rating before purchasing filters for your HVAC system. There are many types of HVAC filters used for commercial and residential uses.

 

Electrostatic filters, Electronic filters, pleated filters, Fiberglass Panel filters and Media Air filters are the most common types used for residential purposes. Bag filters, HEPA filters, Rigid Cell filters, and Automatic Roll filters along with the filters that are used for residential purposes can also be used for commercial purpose. Usually, a medium efficiency filter is suitable for businesses and homes but in case there are people suffering from allergies, it is important to use high efficient filters. The high efficient filters would be more moisture-resistant which prevents the growth of bacteria and molds in the filter and thus ensures best performance of the HVAC system. 

Understanding the function of your Vent Covers

Central air units are the most popular form of heating and cooling in the home. This option is the easiest way to circulate warm and cool air throughout your home and the way this is done is through the air vents. The air vents play a major role in your air system and they need to be placed in the right areas to get optimal usage.

There are different types of vents which can be installed in the home to circulate the air throughout the rooms in the home. When installing a new system, certified technicians will be able to tell you exactly where you should put your vents to ventilate your home. They will also be able to help you decide which type of air vents to use in your home.

Basic vent covers are the standard option when it comes to air vents. This option has slats that help move the air through the vent and these slats can be moved manually. This type of vent can be painted to match the floor and ceiling and they can also be purchased in a variety of colors. You can also purchase moveable air deflectors which can be used to redirect the air as it moves through your air vents.

Decorative vent covers are another option. Some people do not like the standard style of air vent cover and they want something more. Decorative vent covers come in cast iron or other metals to give a unique look to the air vents in your home. These vents can also be custom made by metal workers for an even more unique look.

Magnetic vent covers are also another option. This option is an airtight vent cover which will help your central unit work at the right pace. This type of cover is the best to keep your unit on track and not working overtime. This type of cover is a sheet that is magnetic that will cover the normal vent cover. This option is not expensive and can be used to help the air flow in your home.

This option can also be painted, carpeted or wallpapered to match the style of your home. However, if you decide to invest in this option, be sure to check that your existing air vent is magnetic metal so your cover will be able to fit over the existing one.