1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

November 23, 2008

:328 Check Supply Registers

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:328 EcoTip: The vanes on supply registers (the registers that blow the air into the room) should be installed to blow the air toward the middle of the room – not at cold exterior walls. In winter cold spots on walls may result in condensation forming when warm air is directed at them. The warm air hits a cold surface that’s temperature is below the dew point – condensation will form. Walls with condensation are more likely to grow mold. By blowing the air away from walls it can mix with the room air making condensation on the wall where the air hits it less likely.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :301, :302

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May 1, 2008

:122 HEPA Filters

Filed under: :122 HEPA Filters — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:122 EcoTip: A recent Danish study has shown that when HEPA filtration is used to reduce airborne particle levels in the homes of elderly participants their vascular blood flow was increased. The HEPA filtration reduced particle levels by about 60%.

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 Additional Information

Suggested Review – :041, :042, :043, :110

I like portable HEPA filters better than those that are installed in HVAC systems. Portable systems allow you to focus the filtration in the area being occupied, and are much more serviceable and affordable.

Preventing infiltration (:041, :042, :043) and using a more efficient filter in the air handling system as described in :110 provides a pre-filtration of the air, which then can be further scrubbed by the HEPA filter.

 More information about the Danish study is at:

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/02/15/hepa-filters.html#skip300x250

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April 20, 2008

:111 Fill a Bag – Checking HVAC Flow

 Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:111 EcoTip: In order for central air conditioning systems to function efficiently, it is necessary for them to be free of significant leaks and be balanced. This means that the air supply is flowing somewhat equally throughout the system. In an unbalanced system you might have too much air going to one area and not enough in others. There are sophisticated duct balancing systems that can be used to professionally perform these checks, but an inexpensive simple do-it-yourself method was developed by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Administration using a plastic garbage bag, coat hanger, duct-tape and a timer.

image credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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Additional Information

Suggested Review – :110

The CMHC says to use a Glad 66 cm x 91 cm garbage bag. Which is about 2ft X 3ft when it is laid out flat. The coat hanger is bent into a circle, shape that will fit all the way around the heating and cooling supply registers you have in your home. You may need to reshape it for different openings. Tape the edge of the plastic bag to the coat hanger.

To test your duct system – turn your HVAC fan unit to on. It is not necessary to have it actually heating or cooling  –  just blowing. Place the completely deflated garbage bag over a supply register and time how long it takes the bag to inflate completely. Record this time for all the supply registers. Now place the fully inflated garbage bag over each return register record how long it takes for the bag to deflate.

The total inflation time for the supply registers should equal the total deflation time for the return registers. If there is only one return register, you may find it deflates too quickly to measure accurately. In this case you might try using two bags simultaneously over the return register.

If it takes 2 seconds for bag to inflate that is approximately 75 cubic feet of air per minute coming into the room. This is pretty good for a standard size room. Same size rooms should have approximately the same amount of air delivered to them. Half size rooms should have about half the air. Serious deviations should be checked. A duct may have come loose or the system may not have been designed properly.

The following table from CHMC shows ratio between inflation times and airflow rates.


Time to inflate a plastic trash bag (66 cm x 91 cm [26 in. x 36 in.]

Airflow

Approximate time to inflate bag

5 L/s (10 cfm)

13 seconds

10 L/s (20 cfm)

8 seconds

15 L/s (30 cfm)

5 seconds

25 L/s (50 cfm)

3 seconds

If more air is required, adjust the grille openings at the supply register in the room. Keep in mind that bedrooms require more fresh air when occupied by more than one person. http://www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/Publications/infosource/Pub/hrv/hrvsystem.cfm?text=N&printview=N#airflow

 

 

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April 19, 2008

:110 Upgrade Furnace Filters

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:110  EcoTip: Pleated filters are available that do a much better job than standard HVAC filters. Hot weather is coming so it is time to start thinking about making sure your air conditioning system can run as efficiently as possible.

When you change your filter – upgrade to a higher efficiency pleated filter. They fit in the same slot as a standard fibrous furnace filter but are much more effective in removing dust and small particles like mold spores. 

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 Additional Information

Suggested Review – none

The Filtrete pleated filter by 3M has a MERV 11 rating which means it will do a pretty good job of removing mold spores, pollens and other small particles and it fits in a standard system slot.

Lawrence Berkeley research laboratory has excellent additional information of furnace system retrofits and includes information on filters at: http://ducts.lbl.gov/HVACRetrofitguide.html

 

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February 12, 2008

:043 Sealing Ducts

Filed under: :043 Sealing Ducts — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Suggested Review – :039, :040, :041, :042

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip provides information about sealing leaky duct-work.

1:5:10:043 Tip: Leaky furnace ducts and connections result in energy loss. They should be sealed using secure strapping and an HVAC system approved mastic. Duct tape tends to fail – often with expensive results.

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Additional Information

EPA’s EnergyStar program has excellent information on correcting duct leaks at: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=behind_the_walls.btw_ducts

duct_problems.jpg 

Major sources of leakage include:

A. Leaky duct connections

B. Leaky return ducts

C. Furniture blocking registers

D. Leaks at furnace and air filter slot and duct tape failures

E. Fallen duct insulation

F. Leaky supply ducts

G. Kinks in duct-work restricting airflow

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February 11, 2008

:042 Duct Leakage

noc20070101_0146.jpg Fluke IR Fusion Source: Restoration Consultants www.moistureview.com

Suggested Review – :039, :040, :041

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet deals with finding ductwork leaks to prevent and energy waste and save money.

1:5:10:042 Tip: Thermal imaging and duct blaster testing are two techniques that can be used to identify duct leakage. When ducts leak into attic, crawlspaces or wall cavities, they waste energy by heating or cooling a space that is not occupied or supposed to be conditioned. Air conditioned air leakage into these unintended areas may result in moisture condensation and mold growth. Air pressure differences created by the leaks can suck or blow insulation, dust and other air pollutants into the occupied space.

Tomorrow I will talk about ways to correct duct leakage.

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Additional Information

inspect2.jpg Duct Blaster

Source: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=behind_the_walls.btw_inspection

An energy audit using a duct blaster will tell you how much energy is being lost. A thermal imaging scan can indicate where the leaks are located. Thermal scans of the building envelope are best done when there is at least a 20 degree temperature difference between the inside and outside. Duct work evaluations can be done any time of year as long as the system is either heating or cooling.

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