Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘N Versailles’

Pittsburgh Geothermal Guide: Types of Loop Systems

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Energy resources are changing rapidly.  The conventional oil, gas and coal fuels are giving way to alternative sources like wind, solar and hydro.  Geothermal energy is less understood by consumers, but potentially the most abundant source available, nearly as huge a supply as the Earth itself. Many people are considering installing geothermal heating and cooling in Pittsburgh.

From the Greek word “geo” for “earth”, geothermal energy is generated by the natural process of heat gravitating toward cooler temperatures.  The by-product can be captured and utilized simply as heat or converted to electricity. In small, self-contained residential or large commercial applications, this typically happens in either closed or open looped systems.

Closed Loop Geothermal Systems

Systems using water or anti-freeze that run from the pump into the ground and back to the pump continuously are closed looped.  Most efficient for smaller residential systems where land is available, two or three horizontal loops are side by side just a few feet underground.  Sometimes the loops are spiraled underground to extend the overall length in a shorter area.

Where the need for length may be prohibitive to run alongside the building, large commercial buildings and schools often use vertical systems.  A series of holes four inches in diameter are drilled about 20 feet apart and 100–400 feet deep and filled with two pipes connected at the bottom to form a loop. Each loop is connected with a horizontal manifold pipe in a trench which connects to the heat pump in the building. Vertical loops are also the choice when the soil is too shallow for trenching.  This system minimizes the disturbance to existing landscaping.

If the site has an adequate water body, a pond/lake loop may be the lowest cost option where a supply line is run underground directly to the water and coiled into circles at least eight feet under the surface to prevent freezing before looping back to the building.

Open Loop Geothermal Systems

An open loop system takes surface water or a well to use as the heat exchange fluid that circulates directly through the GHP system instead of a piped fluid passing through the surface. Once circulated through the system, the water returns to the ground through the well or a discharge over the surface.

Hybrid systems using a combination of a geothermal loop underground and outdoor air (i.e., a cooling tower), are another technology option, particularly effective when cooling needs are significantly higher than heating needs. Where local geology permits, the “standing column well” is a variation of an open-loop system with one or more deep vertical wells drilled.

Whichever loop is used, it is clear the face of energy is changing and geothermal energy is beginning to play an increasing role of supply to meet the new demand.

For more information about getting geothermal heating and cooling installed in your Pittsburgh home, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling  a call today!

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Gibsonia HVAC Tip: Seasonal Air Quality Control

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

For people who suffer from seasonal allergies in Gibsonia, air quality is a key concern. Allergens in the air cause brutal bouts of sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and even sinus headaches. Even taking refuge indoors will often not assuage these symptoms, as indoor air is often comparable to outdoor air in terms of allergens and overall quality.

That is, unless you take care to control the seasonal air quality in your home, which can not only help ease the suffering of allergies, but also soothe asthmatics, keep out pollutants and generally promote better overall health.

How do you go about controlling the air quality in your home? To start, try these 9 tips:

  1. Vacuum carpets regularly. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and invest in some allergen suppressing bags.
  2. Keep your vents clean. This is also a good maintenance practice to lengthen the life of your ventilation equipment.
  3. Dust hard surfaces and wash bed linens weekly.
  4. Install HEPA filters in your ventilation system, such as in air conditioners or other air handler units. Use a higher rated filter to keep out more allergens and pollutants.
  5. Invest in and use an air purifier. Again, make sure to get one with a HEPA filter.
  6. Have your home tested for radon and carbon monoxide. Have smoke, carbon monoxide and radon detectors working properly at all times.
  7. Use a humidifier to keep overly dry air from irritating sinus passages.
  8. Keep doors and windows closed tight, especially during allergy season(s).
  9. Prohibit smoking inside. Banish smokers to the outdoors.

By taking charge of the air quality in your Gibsonia home, you also take control of a measure of your family’s health. Some of these measures require at least a bit of an investment – for example, higher rated HEPA air filters are often more expensive and need to be changed more frequently – but the benefits to your well being and that of your family are clearly well worth it.

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Will Switching to Geothermal Save Me Money? A Question from Monroeville

Monday, November 7th, 2011

There are simply a ton of different types of heating systems you can have in your Monroeville home and they are each more appropriate in different situations. However, some are certainly always going to be cheaper to operate than others, although that alone may not make one or the other right for you.

In the case of geothermal heating systems, the operating costs are definitely quite low. But those are not the only costs you will have to think about when you are considering what type of heating system to put in your home to keep your heating bills down.

Geothermal heating systems do not actually generate heat – they absorb it from the ground. Because of this, they actually use very little energy when they are running. All you are really paying to power is the fan that blows the heated air around your house. Also, because geothermal heating systems are more efficient at extracting heat in below freezing conditions than traditional heat pumps, they can continue to keep you warm on their own in more extreme conditions.

Traditional heat pumps, while they also cost very little to operate, do sometimes need to be supplemented by more conventional forms of indoor heating like a furnace when temperatures outdoors get too low. This is not the case with geothermal heat pumps, so if you live somewhere that has colder winters, a geothermal heat pump may be just what you are looking for. Of course, you can always opt for a furnace instead, but these will definitely cost more to run than either type of heat pump.

When you are trying to assess whether or not switching to a geothermal heating system will save you money, you first have to start with the heating bills you currently have. Then, factor in the cost of the geothermal heat pump installation as opposed to the installation of a more conventional system.

You are then in a position to see whether or not the amount the geothermal system will save you each month is enough to offset the higher cost of installation within a reasonable amount of time. Of course, the savings will always eventually add up over time, but if the length of time it will take you to break even is the same or longer than the expected life of the system, it is probably not worth it to invest in this type of heating.

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What Size Air Conditioner Will Fit My Home? A Question From Brentwood

Monday, August 15th, 2011

When you are trying to determine what size air conditioner to get in Brentwood, the first thing you need to know is how large the space you want to keep cool is. Air conditioners come in a wide variety of sizes and each is appropriate for a particular type of space. So once you know how big the space is, you will be able to compare that to the capacities of the various air conditioners out there to find the right one for your needs.

The cooling power of air conditioners is actually measured in British Thermal Units, or BTUs. Each BTU rating corresponds to a particular square footage which that air conditioner should be able to cool properly and efficiently. For instance, a 10,000 BTU air conditioner can cool a room that measures between 400 and 450 square feet, and so forth. The higher the BTU, the larger the area the air conditioner can acceptably cover.

It is pretty easy to see why you would not want to pick out an air conditioner that is too small for the space you need to cool. The system simply would not be able to keep the space cool enough and it would use a lot of energy trying.

However, that does not mean that the bigger the air conditioner is the better. In fact, you will do just as poorly to purchase an air conditioner that is too big for the space you want to cool than one that is too small. This is because air conditioners do more than cool the room. They also remove humidity as they cool the space.

An air conditioner that is too large will cool the room quickly, causing it to switch on and off frequently. Not only is this annoying because of the noise that the air conditioner makes, but it also increases the wear and tear that the unit must endure. An air conditioner that is too big will also not be able to remove humidity as efficiently because the room is cooled so quickly. Plus, it will use much more energy than necessary to do a sub-standard job.

With these types of calculations, it is relatively easy to pick out a single room air conditioner. However, if you are trying to purchase a whole home air conditioning system, you will probably need a professional to help you figure out exactly how powerful you need the system to be to keep your home comfortable and cool all summer long.

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How to Reduce the Load on Your Central Air Conditioner in Monroeville

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Your central air conditioner can handle a lot, whether it is in Monroeville or Cranberry. It can keep your house cool and comfortable all summer long with only a minimum of maintenance. And if you have a newer, more energy efficient model, you probably are not even paying very much for this luxury. But no matter how good your air conditioning system is, it is always best if you can reduce its cooling load as much as possible.

Cutting down on the amount of work your central air conditioner has to do will save you money both in the short term and in the long term. You will be able to keep your house cool all summer while paying even less than you already do and you will help to extend the life of your system as well.

In general, reducing the cooling load that your air conditioner is responsible for involves keeping your house cooler by some other means. One great option when this is your goal is to have some ceiling fans installed. These help to circulate cool air and also create a breeze that can make it feel cooler even if the actual indoor temperature is the same.

With adequate ceiling fans in place, you will usually be able to turn up the thermostat on your central air conditioner and still be completely comfortable indoors. Turning up the temperature on the thermostat means that your air conditioning system will not have to work so hard because it will not have to get the indoor temperature down so low.

You can also reduce the indoor temperature in your house by blocking the sunlight that comes in and warms up the indoor air. Drawing the blinds, especially in those rooms that receive warmer afternoon sunlight will keep that sun from raising your indoor temperature. This, in turn, means that your air conditioning system will not have to work so hard to get the temperature back down.

You can also help to keep cool air inside and warmer air out by covering any doors and windows you are not likely to use with plastic. Also, check to make sure there are no cracks or drafts anywhere that may be letting in air from the outside or allowing cooler indoor air to escape. All of these things can make it possible for your air conditioner to keep your home cool without working so hard, and that will also mean that you will be paying less each month on your energy bills.

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