Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Marietta lucked out last night when Tropical Storm Debby decided to change her path and head farther east; however, hurricane season is long from over and it’s important to storm-proof your air conditioning system before any major storm in order to keep it in its best condition.

Tropical storms and hurricanes often cause power outages and substantial property damage such as flooding, fallen trees, or breaking outdoor furniture. There are, however, a few simple steps you can take to protect your AC system from harm before a hurricane or tropical storm arrives:

  1. Turn off your air conditioning system before the storm arrives.
  2. Remove any window units or duct systems that exhaust through windows, and seal up windows tight.
  3. Put a tarp over your outside unit to protect from rain and debris.
  4. Secure the unit in place with hurricane straps, if necessary, to keep it stable in high winds.

After the storm, do not immediately turn your AC system back on. You should inspect the outdoor unit to make sure that the surrounding area is clear of debris and that the unit is fully, properly functional.

If your unit does experience some damage, make an appointment with a professional to inspect and repair the unit before you turn it back on.

At Casteel Heating and Cooling we are all about going green and helping the environment! Clean air and energy efficient products are important to us. That is why we offer Energy Star products! If you’re like us, then you want your home to to achieve a high level of energy-efficiency. In order to achieve an Energy Star efficient home standard you must improve the following:

There are also four steps you should take when building a new home to ensure your home will meet the Energy Star guidelines. These steps are recommended by ENERGY STAR.

Step One: Find a Builder Who Partners with Energy Star
This way you know the builder is meeting the requirements of Energy Star guidelines.

Step Two: Builder Works with the Rater to Select Appropriate Energy–Efficient Home Features
This builder will help you choose the best combination of energy-efficient features so you know that when you are constructing your home you are meeting the Energy Star requirements.

Step Three: Verifying Performance
Make sure your contractor is testing the products as they are installing them. This will ensure that everything is working properly and efficiently.

Step Four: Energy Star Label
After completion, make sure you receive an Energy Star label. It will be placed on the circit box breaker of the home. This will provide you with documentation stating that your home is in fact Energy Star qualified.

If you are a homeowner who wants to go green consider following these guidelines. Remember, the less energy we use in our home, the less air pollution we generate. So go green and help save the environment!

So what’s all the fuss about a new heating and air conditioning system? We know your thinking your old one works just fine, right? Well you might want to consider a new one with all of today’s highly advanced systems. You can choose from many new options.

    Furnaces that are 95% efficient.
    Units that have different speeds, from high, medium to low for both comfort and savings.
    Air conditioners that can adjust themselves based on the weather depending on hot or mild temperatures.
    Environmentally safe and friendly systems.
    Units that can filter up to 99.98% of the air we breathe.

With all this new technology and advancements in heating and air conditioning units, it’s hard to resist. The newer models can help save you money because of all the new efficiency technology. Who doesn’t love saving money? Not to mention most new systems are safer for the environment. Make sure you talk to your HVAC professional to get a system that is right for you and your home. Installation and design can make all the difference.

At Casteel we understand that energy costs are starting to rise and the global climate is changing. Going green doesn’t have to stop at recycling. If you are looking for an energy alternative- look no further. Residential solar panels for your home are something to be considered. They are a great investment to help keep your electric bill down and help contribute to society’s effort to stop global warming. Still not convinced? Here’s the top 5 benefits of solar energy from Renewable energy development.

Top 5 Reasons for Solar Energy

  • It is not only sustainable energy, but it is also renewable.
  • The use of solar energy requires very little maintenance.
  • They are silent! No more noisy generators!
  • Solar energy technology is constantly improving and making it more affordable for everyone.
  • Solar electric power plants produce zero emissions. Leaving no mark on the environment.
  • Not only will solar energy help you get a peace a mind about your impact on the environment, it also contributes to many new jobs. According to a CNN article, solar energy’s employment base grew 6.8% the past year which equals more than 100,000 jobs. It is expected to grow by 24% next year!

    Solar energy panels are a great investment for your home. Start the trend in your neighborhood! You will not only be helping the environment but you will be supporting jobs in this tough economy!

    We here at Casteel Heating and Cooling value the environment we both live and work in. Since 2005, we have been committed to improving our environmental quality by partnering with local businesses, community leaders and neighbors. For us to do our part, our initiatives became:

    • Promote environmentally friendly air conditioning refrigerant (R-410a)
    • Reclaim and properly dispose of harmful refrigerants
    • Recycle all metals and plastics
    • Offer whole house energy reduction solutions to homeowners
    • Buy recycled office products
    • Reforestation projects through Georgia Forestry Commission
    • Endorse Energy Star programs

    Here’s how you can help:

    • Recycle
    • Change incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs – they use 2/3 less energy and last 10 times as long.
    • Reduce energy consumption at home – seal air leaks in walls, windows, attics and air duct systems. This may reduce your heating and cooling energy usage by 20-30%.
    • Change your air filters regularly
    • Have your HVAC system tune up yearly
    • Get active in the community

    Remember, everyone can make a difference and improve our environment.

    Homeowners need to stay abreast on new changes with federal regulations on Energy Star ratings and energy efficient products. There are many reliable products out there, and many of those products can pay themselves off in a short amount of time. But, according to Celia Kuperszmid-Lehrman, Deputy Home Editor at Consumer Reports, doing your own research is very important because there are a variety of “products whose energy-saving claims are mostly hype.” Keep in mind that some energy-saving projects aren’t worth doing unless they’re absolutely necessary. For example, replacing your current windows with Energy Star rated windows can be quite pricey, and take many years to pay themselves off.

    If you plan to buy new energy-saving products or foresee it within your immediate future, stay abreast on new Energy Star federal regulations, new technologies, and research your products!

    To read more about what you should keep in mind when buying new energy-saving technology and products visit www.PRNewswire.com.

    Saving money by going green is now on a time limit. If you have ever considered green upgrades to your home, we suggest you seriously think about doing it soon. Energy-efficient tax breaks are over at the end of this year. The maximum tax break for green upgrades this year is $500, and next year it will be $0. Yes we know, upgrades can be expensive, but think through all of your options for the long term. For more insight on this issue, check out this article we found at Marketwatch.com.

    We found an interesting article on Geothermal Systems and how drilling for water is a good way to reduce your electric bill by up to 50%. Not only would a Geothermal System help save you money, it helps your HVAC system and water heater run more efficiently and reduces your carbon footprint. Underground water averages 60 degrees year round, and harnessing that constant temperature can equal better heating and cooling efficiency. During the summer, a Geothermal System pulls cool water from the ground to cool your home cool your home, and expels your home’s heat back into the ground where it is quickly re-cooled. During cold winter months, the opposite process occurs.

    Once thought to be too expensive for the majority of consumers, tax breaks on both the federal and state levels (reducing up to 65% of the total cost) have put Geothermal Systems within reach of most of the general public — well, sort of. While still relatively pricey and not an option for some, installing such a system can pay itself off over the years, reduce your monthly utility bills and your carbon footprint.

    For more information on this interesting product and how it can help you, check out the article we read at Carynews.com and let us know what you think!

    On our blog we have written fairly often about indoor air quality and all of the factors that can affect you and your family. This time, we would like to expand on one factor in particular — VOC emissions. What is a VOC? VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compound) come from synthetic materials used to make your carpet, and are a major contributor to indoor air pollution. Formaldehyde, Xylene, Methylene chloride and Vinyl Chloride are just a few of the VOC’s found in carpets.

    Have you ever noticed that “new carpet” smell? That smell is actually VOC emissions — that’s right, emissions! The compounds actually release gaseous emissions into the air, which are then sucked into your A/C system and circulated throughout your home. VOC emissions can cause a variety of health effects which include difficulty breathing, confusion, dizziness, sinus and throat irritation, skin irritation, vomiting and nausea, and can also exacerbate asthma and allergies. Although these emissions decrease with time as well as lose their odor, they are still present.

    You can easily limit exposure to yourself and your family by doing a few things. First you can replace some or all carpet in your home with hardwood or tile flooring. If you find that you need to replace the carpet, make sure to ask if it is a low VOC emitting carpet. Also keep in mind that the less synthetic material in the carpet, the lower the VOC. If either of those options are not a viable solution, or if you would like to further reduce your exposure to indoor air pollutants, we offer superb air filtration solutions. For more information on how we can help reduce your indoor air pollution, visit us at www.casteelair.com, or call us at 770-565-5884.

    With the hot summer temperatures and no reprieve from the humidity, the current environment is a rich breeding ground for mold growth. Mold, given the right environment, can also grow at unhealthy levels within your home. So how does mold grow, what are the health risks, and can one get rid of it?

    Mold is a fungi that loves to grow in areas with lots of moisture. While we are always exposed to some level of mold, health problems can develop after being exposed to and breathing in high levels of the spores that mold releases. Symptoms of mold intake can be as simple as a cough, eye and sinus irritation to memory loss, headaches, asthma, difficulty breathing and in the worst case, death. Considering we spend the majority of our time at home, eliminating indoor mold growth is extremely important.

    So how can you prevent and eliminate mold within your home? Often times, you can easily determine if you have mold by seeing it, or if you notice a strong dingy or stale smell. It’s a good idea to check all areas that involve water and heat such as your bathroom, AC indoor unit, kitchen and laundry areas. If you do spot mold, promptly clean it with a biocide such as bleach. It is also a good idea to have your duct work professionally cleaned and sanitized, in addition to having an air handler with a mold killing UV light installed to solve any mold problem in the future.