Tuesday, January 2, 2018

As Advertised Ventilation - Backing Up Those Claims?

You see advertisements all over that make claims about everything from removing stains with one stroke to cars that get 10 times more miles per gallon of gas. Some of them are just downright funny and others leave you scratching your head about the validity of the claim. The ventilation industry is no different. Manufactures are constantly making claims regarding the performance of their products. The two main claims are for air movement – known as cubit feet per minute or CFM and sound levels known as Sones. The question is, how do you know you are getting what you are paying for? Is this just another one of those things where manufacturers make up numbers so they look good? There is hope and it is known as the Home Ventilating Institute or HVI.

HVI is an independent third party testing and certification lab that ensures advertised performance numbers are being delivered. HVI maintains a database of models that have been tested and certified in their facility and publishes this list each month on their website (you can view the list here). Products go through stringent testing for airflow, sound, and energy usage. Once a product is certified, it will display the HVI Certified logo on it. It is very simple from there – no logo or not on the list - not certified.

You might still have some doubts and a common question that arises is, once tested what is to prevent a manufacturer from changing the product? HVI has that covered. Products can be pulled at anytime and a verification test completed to make sure nothing has changed with the product. If the product fails, it will be removed from the directory until a suitable action plan can be put into place and the product delivers the advertised performance.

The next argument that comes up is, who is HVI, I have never heard of them, is this one of those pay-to-play organizations? The short answer is NO. HVI is the leader in ventilation certification and is recognized as the preferred method of performance assurance by the countrys top organizations including; ENERGY STAR®, ASHRAE Standard 62.2, California Title 24, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), RESNET, US Green Building Council LEED and many more. These organizations depend on HVI to certify and verify that the products meet the performance numbers they have set.

Unfortunately there are many manufacturers out there that do not have their products tested and certified. These product usually fall into the Too Good to be True category. While we cannot definitively say they are or are not living up to their advertised performance numbers we can say organizations such as ENERGY STAR will not recognize them. The best way to make sure your ventilation products will deliver as advertised is to look for the HVI logo.

To learn more about Air Kings HVI certified Exhaust Fans and Range Hoods, visit www.airkinglimited.com.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Have What It Takes to Be Most Efficient

As we come into the holiday season and homes are putting up decorations and lights (you are using energy efficient lights – right) it can be a time of holiday bliss. Then it can turn into holiday regret when the electric bills start rolling in (see, told you, should have used energy efficient lights). The holidays shouldnt be the only time to be looking at energy efficiency however.

Almost everyone in the United States is familiar with ENERGY STAR®. We see it everywhere. What many people are not aware of is that ENERGY STAR has a special category that recognizes the most efficient products within a product category for that year. Each year ENERGY STAR provides product performance criteria in order to be recognized. In the ventilation fan category, specifically bathroom and utility room fans they must operate at an 85% higher efficiency level than a standard model. This is measure in CFM/Watt (cubic feet per minute of air the fan moves divided by how many watts of energy needed to run the fan). ENERGY STAR has set the criteria at greater than or equal to 10 CFM/Watt. That means that a 100 CFM fan cannot use more than 10 watts of energy to operate.

Great, but what does this mean in real world numbers? Lets first look at the efficiency number of two 100 CFM fans. A standard – builder grade fan operates at about 1.4 CFM per watt. The Air King model D4S, an ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2017, operates at 15.6 CFM per watt when set to 100 CFM. Now lets take a look at what that means from an electric standpoint. For our purposes, we are going to say the exhaust fan runs for a total of 4 hours a day. The builder grade fan operating at 72 watts for 4 hours needs 288 watts per day. Times that by 365 and you get 105-kilowatt hours per year. Using that same equation the D4S only uses 9.3-kilowatt hours per year.

When needing to replace a fan, energy efficiency is a great starting place. Other factors to consider are sound levels, duct size, fan size and of course price is always going to play a part.

To learn more about the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient Fans visit www.energystar.gov/most-efficient/me-certified-ventilating-fans or the Air King site at www.airkinglimited.com

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Home’s Energy Usage

When you take a look around your home, there are probably some easy changes you can make to reduce your monthly energy usage, which will in turn reduce your monthly bills. Who doesnt want to save some money each month? Here are our top 5 tips:

Tip 1 – Use LED Lamps. Yes they do cost a little more than traditional bulbs, but the savings add up very quickly. The light output (measured in Lumens) of a 9 watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent lamp. That is 51 watts less in energy usage. Now lets assume you replace a main light in your home – one that might be on for 5 hours per day. That is a savings of 255 watts per day for just one light. Times that by 365 days and you get 93 kilowatt-hours. At an average of $.12 per kilowatt-hour that is a savings of $11.16 per year for one light bulb. ENERGY STAR® Certified LED light bulbs also last 5 to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Tip 2 – Adjust Your Thermostat. Turning your thermostat down 2 degrees in the winter or up two degrees in the summer can make a large impact. While this is a little harder to calculate than changing a light bulb to an LED, the savings can be significant and add up over the course of the year.

Tip 3 – Use a Programmable Thermostat.  Very similar to adjusting your thermostat is to install a programmable thermostat. The benefit of a programmable thermostat is that it will reduce your energy usage when you are not home. Even the most basic programmable thermostat will help you save by adjusting the temperature of your home up or down depending on if the home is occupied or not.

Tip 4 – Buy ENERGY STAR Certified Products. Look for the ENERGY STAR logo when you buy products such as TVs, Appliances, Heating and cooling systems and of course Bathroom Fans and Range Hoods. Now we are not saying you need to throw out all your household items and immediately buy new ones, but as the time comes to replace that old fridge, TV, etc. look at the benefits of ENERGY STAR certified products and compare the cost savings.

Tip 5 – Eliminate Vampire Power. Most people dont realize that many of the appliances and electronics in your home use standby power. The biggest users are devices like TVs, printers, microwave ovens and computers. Although the energy usage is small, when you add it up it can be significant. Using a power strip that can easily turn the power on or off to these devises is one way to avoid unwanted power usage.

To learn more about how you can save energy visit www.airkinglimited.com/page/climate-change.html or www.energystar.gov/campaign/home?s=mega to asses your homes energy usage.

Monday, October 2, 2017

3 Reasons Its Time to Replace Your Exhaust Fan

Unfortunately in this world things do not last forever. Homeowners know this all too well. Sometimes it feels like things are breaking every time you turn around. The exhaust fans in your home can sometimes take a back seat on the repair list but here are three reasons you might want to consider replacing your exhaust fan sooner rather than later.

Reason 1 – It no longer works. Okay, this is a fairly obvious reason, but you would be surprised at the number of homes across the country that have exhaust fans installed that no longer are operational. The challenge is that it falls into the category or “when I get around to it”. Unfortunately this is a big mistake. As we have outlined in previous posts, indoor air quality can really affect the home and the people inside it.

Reason 2 – The sound level is now almost unbearable. There are a multitude of reasons why the exhaust fan’s sound level has increased. The main reasons are typically that a weld on the fan housing has released, the fan blade if out of balance, or the fan was just loud to start with.

NOTE: Sometime an increase in sound level can be due to a build up of dirt or debris on the fan blade or in the ducting, a damper that is not opening properly or other maintenance issues. Before replacing the fan, make sure to check these items.

This is a slightly more difficult decision than if the fan is not working at all. Since the fan is still providing ventilation, there is not an immediate need to replace. What typically happens however is that because of the elevated sound level, the fan is not utilized which at that point, it is the same as if the fan was not working at all.

Reason 3 – The fan is not providing the proper amount of ventilation. This is one where you want to troubleshoot the symptom first. It could be that there is a clog in your ductwork, a buildup of dust or dirt on the fan blade or a build up of dust or dirt inside of the fan housing. These can all contribute to decreased performance and if they are the case, some maintenance to the fan should clear up the issue. If that is not the case, many times it is because the wrong size fan was originally installed. Most experts agree that you should look for a fan that provides 1 CFM (cubic feet per minute of ventilation) per 1 square foot. So if your bathroom is 10 by 10, you need 100CFM. The trouble with that math is there are other factors involved. Items such as length and type of ductwork, type of usage of the bathroom, geographic location, and many more can have a direct impact. In some cases you might need to increase the amount of airflow of your fan considerably to meet the needs of your bathroom.

A word to the wise on this point. You should have a realistic expectation of what you want the exhaust fan to do. If you are taking steam showers in a sub zero climate, the amount of condensation that will build up will require a small jet engine to keep up with it. If issues like condensation, the mirror fogging up, etc. are happening, a larger fan will help, but you might also want to consider the amount of time the fan is running. In higher humidity situations, the fan might need to run from 20 minutes to hours after the bathroom has been used. Fans with humidity sensors or timers can be very effective in making sure the proper amount of ventilation occurs. The last thing we want is for you to have the same issues after taking the time and energy to replace your existing one. If you are not sure, consult a professional.

Visit www.airkinglimited.com for more information and to see Air Kings full line of exhaust fan products.