Monday, July 2, 2018

The Air Balancing Act

When you hear Air Balancing you might have pictures of a puff of air trying to stay on a narrow bar without falling off. While that might be something you would see in the comic section, when it comes to your home, Air Balancing is a bit different and more important. The simple explanation is that the amount of air coming into the home needs to match the amount of air going out of the home.

So what air is going out of your home? There is more air leaving your home than you probably realize. Items such as your furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, range hood, and bathroom exhaust fans can all be pulling air out of your home. All of these items provide a pivotal role in the overall comfort and/or indoor air quality of your home so not using them is not an option.

This is where the balancing comes in. As we defined earlier, balancing is making sure the amount of air going out matches the amount coming in. So where do we get the air (referred to as make-up air) to balance everything? This all depends on the construction of you home. Many older homes have what is called natural air infiltration. The rest of the world knows these as drafts. In newer homes, the amount of drafts has been greatly reduced. You might hear the term – tight home. While this helps with the comfort and efficiency of the home it creates an issue with the air balance of the home and it is harder to account for all the air leaving the home. An easy way to balance the air is to leave a door or window open. That works great unless you live in a climate that has temperature changes (like almost all of the United States). There might be a few weeks of the year that this would be a viable option but in the middle of summer in Arizona or the middle of winter in Minnesota, not sure you want to have a window open. This is where mechanical solutions come in. A mechanical solution like the Air King QFAM is set up to bring fresh, filtered air into the home – balancing the amount of air leaving the home. There are air test that can be done to your home to determine how much air is leaving, then the QFAM can be set to deliver the proper amount of air flow to make-up that air providing a safe living environment.

Wait, you used the phrase safe living environment does that mean mine is not? Maybe. If a home is too tight and the air leaving is not replaced, you can create a negative pressure inside your home. Air will always find a way to balance itself and can start pulling from things like furnace vents or chimneys. The negative pressure wont allow them to vent properly and the harmful fumes, gases and contaminates that should be going out of the home could be coming back into the living environment. For these reasons the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), who is a leader in writing codes for indoor air quality standards has included a provision for fresh air (or make-up) air in the latest version of ASHRAE 62.2.

Balancing your homes air is an important element to your indoor air quality and healthy living. For more simple and effective was to accomplish balanced air, visit the Air King website at www.airkinglimited.com.

Friday, June 1, 2018

What Has Happen to the Air We Breath?


There is a lot of talk lately about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). You may have already read some of our other IAQ posts, but what has changed that it is getting even more attention? Why wasnt this as important 5 years, 10 year, 30 years ago? That is a great question and one that has many answers.

They Dont Build Them Like They Used To. Most of the time this is a negative for the newer item. Thats not the case here. Newer houses are constructed to a much tighter building standard that requires the house to be better insulated and more energy efficient. The biggest thing a homeowner will notice is that there are much less drafts. Heres where it gets tricky. Less drafts are great from a comfort and efficiency standpoint but not good from an IAQ standpoint. The drafts you feel are outside air coming into the home and by default exchanging the stale air inside the home. Tighter homes do not have a natural way of exchanging the air, causing it to stagnate. Homeowners need to open windows or doors to accomplish this (not a great plan for those living in areas where it is 100 degrees outside or on the other end of the spectrum, minus 10).

Knowledge. We are getting smarter. Studies have found that the air inside our home can be up to 5 times more polluted than the outside air – yikes! That is from normal living. We have now learned that things like cooking, showering (creating mold and mildew if not properly ventilated), using cleaning chemicals or air fresheners and so forth are major contributors to bad IAQ. Just think how dusty your home gets and now realize that dust comes from somewhere and how much of that you have breathed in. We then go back to the first point and with a tighter home, there is even less chance for these pollutants to escape.

The Easy Factor. As we mentioned, a major contributor to bad IAQ are all the chemical products we use inside our homes. They are convenient and generally do the job. Included in these are air fresheners. There are two inherit issues with them. First is they are a chemical solution and second, why do you need them in the first place? Think of how much could be avoided by just having a properly ventilated home. Let something cook a little too long on the stove – a good range hood will take care of that. Kids clothing stinking up the house – a good exhaust fan plus fresh air coming into the home will take care of that. That spicy chili from last night causing an extended stay in the bathroom – rather then emptying a can of air freshener, a good exhaust fan will take care of that.

So are we all doomed? Nope, there is hope and it is actually an easy solution. As mentioned earlier, a properly ventilated home increase the IAQ dramatically – using bath fans, range hoods and other ventilation fans. That takes care of getting the bad air out of the home but you also want to bring fresh air into the home. When keeping a window or door open is not an option, a mechanical solution might be the answer. A product like the Air King QFAM provides a flow of filtered air into the home and can be set to account for humidity levels and temperature of the air coming in. Products like the QFAM can be installed in a non-intrusive location of the home and provide the fresh air that you need.

To learn more about IAQ and Air Kings solutions, visit www.airkinglimited.com

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Lets Talk Ventilation – Easy Explanations to Ventilation Terms Part 3 (O – Z)

Lets Talk Ventilation – Easy Explanations to Ventilation Terms Part 3 (O – Z)
In our last two Blog Post we started a series to help explain some of the more common terms used in the ventilation industry. We continue the series with the following:

Oscillating: When used in the description of an Air King Air Circulator, it is the ability of the fan's head to move from side to side providing a larger coverage area.

OSHA: Occupational Safety & Health Administration - Part of the United States Department of Labor. Learn more at www.osha.gov.

Powder Coat: Painting system where dry powder is charged and sprayed onto metal and then "baked" on. Provides an extremely durable and long-lasting finish.

PSC: Permanent Split Capacitor. Component used to initially charge the motor on start up.

RPM: Revolutions Per Minute. Unit of measure for how many revolutions are accomplished in a one minute time period.

SJT: Stranded Junior service Thermoplastic cord set. Rated for up to 300 Volts.

SO: Stranded Oil resistant compound cord set. Rated for up to 600 Volts.

Sone: A sone is an internationally recognized unit of loudness. The sones translate laboratory decibel readings into numbers that correspond to the way people sense loudness. Double the sone is double the loudness. In everyday terms, one sone is equivalent to the sound of a quiet running refrigerator in a quiet kitchen.

Standard 90A: Standard set by the National Fire Protection Agency in regards to ceiling radiant fire dampers. Learn more at www.nfpa.org.

Thermostat: Devise used in certain Air King models that allows the user to set a temperature range where the unit will automatically turn on or off.

UL: Underwriters Laboratory. UL is the trusted source across the globe for product compliance. Benefiting a range of customers - from manufacturers and retailers to consumers and regulating bodies - we’ve tested products for public safety for more than a century. Learn more at www.ul.com

UL 555: Standard set by the National Fire Protection Agency in regards to ceiling radiant fire dampers. Learn more at standardscatalog.ul.com/standards/en/standard_555_7

Ventilation: The act of exchanging air from one location to another.

Volts: An electromotive force. Most household products within North America operate on 120 Volts. Watts Unit of electric power measurement.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Lets Talk Ventilation – Easy Explanations to Ventilation Terms Part 2 (E – N)


In our last Blog Post we started a series to help explain some of the more common terms used in the ventilation industry. We continue the series with the following:

ENERGY STAR: A government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. Learn more at energystar.gov.

ETL - Intertek: ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories) was founded by Thomas Edison in 1896 and in their words, "Intertek provides quality and safety services to businesses across the globe. We help our customers improve their products, assets and processes to make them more successful in their chosen markets". Learn more at intertek.com/.

Fluorescent (CFL): Compact Fluorescent Lighting - Energy efficient lighting option that uses a chemical reaction of gases inside a tube to generate light. Fluorescent lighting is more efficient that standard incandescent lighting but new technology in LED lighting is slowly phasing out Fluorescent lighting.

Fusible Link: Term used with fire rated dampers. The fusible link is two pieces of metal joined together that will release when the temperature reaches a set point (212° on Air King models), breaking the link and allowing the curtain to seal off the ducting.

GFCI Circuit: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. Switch utilized for high voltage electrical shock protection. The GFCI will shut off an electric power circuit when it detects that current is flowing in a way it is not meant to, such as through water or a person.

Grease Filter: Filter used to catch grease and other contaminates from entering the unit. Most commonly used with range hoods. Grease filters should be cleaned at least once per month or more depending on usage.

Hanging Brackets: Used to mount certain Air King exhaust fans. They attach from one ceiling joist to another ceiling joist and allow the installer to position the exhaust fan between them. Can also be referred to a Hanger Bars or Hanging Rails.

Horizontal Exhaust: Exhaust that enters into the duct work on the horizontal plane (out the side or the back of a unit).

HVI: The Home Ventilating Institute - HVI - is a non-profit association of the manufacturers of home ventilating products. HVI offers a variety of services including, but not limited to - test standards, certification programs for airflow, sound, energy performance for heat recovery ventilators, market support and three annual meetings to discuss common industry issues. Through a Certified Ratings Program, HVI provides a voluntary means for the residential ventilation manufacturers to report comparable and creditable product performance information based upon uniformly applied testing standards and procedures performed by independent laboratories. Together these activities help to promote the health and growth of the home ventilation while providing consumers with valuable information and confidence in their choices. Learn more at hvi.org.

Incandescent: Common household lighting option. Many incandescent lighting option have been phased out over the past several years in favor of more efficient lighting option such as CFL and LED.

Infinite Speed Control: Controls the speed of the motor. The user has the ability to set the unit at any desired speed level.

Keyhole Slots: Mounting system for installing units where the mounting screws or nails can be put into place and then the unit is lifted over the screws and slid into place.

NFPA: The mission of the international nonprofit NFPA is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating scientifically-based consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. Established in 1896, NFPA serves as the world's leading advocate of fire prevention and is an authoritative source on public safety. In fact, NFPA's 300 codes and standards influence every building, process, service, design, and installation in the United States, as well as many of those used in other countries. NFPA's focus on true consensus has helped the association's code-development process earn accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Learn more at nfpa.org.

Night-Light: Low wattage light feature. Air King products that have this feature utilize either a 4 Watt or 7 Watt bulb.