Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

In 2004, the CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) Freon R-22, which contributes to ozone depletion and global warming, was scheduled to be phased out due to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an international environmental agreement. In January 2010 the U.S. required a 75% reduction of R-22, and therefore prohibited the production and import of R-22 supported equipment. R-22 is now being replaced with a new refrigerant called R-410a, which is a greener, more environmentally conscious alternative. So kudos to the government for looking out for Mother Earth’s future–but there’s a catch!

The catch is that most home’s HVAC systems still use R-22 as a coolant, which is increasingly being phased out. Although R-22 should continue to be available for a few years to come, the price per pound will continually rise. Currently, depending on location, R-22 costs around $80 per pound, and by the end of 2011 the cost is estimated to rise well of $100 per pound. R-22’s replacement, R-410a, only costs between $150 and $200 for 25lbs, which comes out to about $8 per pound on the high end. As of today, that’s a $72 difference at the least! The average home’s HVAC unit (both condenser and evaporation coil) uses 10-15lbs of freon to run.

So how exactly does that affect you? Well, say you have a leak in your unit or you are low on freon and need to refill; that could cost you up to $1,200 not including service fees! (Unless, of course, you’re a Casteel Heating and Cooling customer! At Casteel, You Won’t Pay for Freon!) But let’s continue on with the scenario. So you refill your unit with R-22 and pay $1,200, but in 2 or 3 years your unit springs another leak. That $1,200 refill years before has now turned into a $2,500 to $3,000 refill due to the continued rise in R-22 prices. So you decide to go ahead and just replace your unit with a $3,000 unit that is supported by R-410a. By that time R-410a will be a standard, and its prices will have also risen. If you had acted early and just replaced your unit instead of refilling it with R-22 years back, you could have saved yourself well over $1,200, depending on when you refilled and the current cost of R-22. We know, it seems like a costly undertaking to replace an HVAC unit, but think long term and you will save yourself some money!

For more information on the Montreal Protocol and R-22’s replacement R-410a, visit EPA.gov.

Standing in the air filter aisle in Home Depot or Lowe’s can be overwhelming, and deciding on the right filter can become very difficult. Aside from dimensions, which filter works best for your house, and what filter rating should you consider? These are valid questions that can be answered with one word — traffic.

Do you have children and/or pets? If so, how many? The traffic in your home should directly determine the filter you choose. The more people and pets that you live with, the more things are tracked into your home. Higher traffic increases the chances of more dust, pollen, mold spores, particulates, dander, allergens and virus carriers that enter your home, and ultimately enter your HVAC system. Once you understand the amount of traffic in your home, you can determine through the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating chart which filter best suits your home.

Living alone, you would be fine with a lower MERV rated filter due to less traffic. If you live with pets, or with just a couple of people, you would want to choose a mid-range filter on the MERV rating chart. But, if you have children, a spouse and 1 or more pets, a filter with a higher MERV rating would be best for your household.

For more information on what a MERV rating is, visit www.airpurifierguide.org.

The air quality within your home is extremely important to your health. Whether you have pets or loved ones living with you, their health is just as important as your own.

According to ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning), 35% of the air in your home needs to be replaced every hour. Indoor air pollution is caused by an assortment of products. Some common air pollutants include:

-Air Fresheners
-Candles (scented and unscented)
-New Carpeting, Paints and Varnishes
-Cars, Gasoline, Paint and other chemicals stored in your garage
-Lawn Chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides


With 35% of your home’s air needing replacement hourly, good ventilation is very important. To maintain good air ventilation in your HVAC system, always use quality air filters. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters can protect you from indoor air pollutants including some harmful chemicals that other filters don’t protect against. Replacing your air filters regularly helps to combat poor indoor air quality. Also, having your air ducts professionally cleaned reduces the build-up of dust, mold, particulates, pollen and carbon monoxide.

For more in-depth information and how to further control indoor air quality, visit the link below.

EPA Indoor Air Quality

We have posted about this topic before, but this time we have found a Biobased Insulation Alternative that can, by itself, help you save up to 50% of your monthly energy costs.

Biobased Insulation is made up of cellulose, cotton, fiberglass, foam, sheep’s wool oil, Rockwool, and reflective radiant barriers such as foil. These materials individually consist of recycled paper, recycled blue jeans, wood pulp, sand, and soy. Although the vast majority of this material is made up of recycled and renewable resources, fire retardant and mold resistant chemicals are added for additional safety.

The way this product works is that it is sprayed into all spaces in your attic. The foam is made to expand into all crevices to create a tight seal between indoor and outdoor environments. This creates what is called a “Thermal Envelope” which keeps desired air within the home, and undesired air out. That benefit allows you to then downgrade your AC outdoor unit which would use less energy to run. Traditional insulation cannot completely seal a home, which leads to leaking. In addition, traditional insulation is not mold resistant, and if it becomes damp or wet, it becomes a virtual farm for mold and bacteria, unlike Biobased insulation.

Biobased Insulation is a healthy, comfortable, green, energy efficient, and a long term cost effective way of insulating your home! To find out more about Biobased Insulation, go to PallenSmith.com.

Imagine an “optical battery” that could convert sunlight to electricity for a small fraction of the cost of today’s photovoltaic cells.  Well, you may not have to imagine much longer.  Scientists at the University of Michigan may have discovered a breakthrough in solar power technology that could drastically reduce the cost of solar power.  It was once believed that the effects of light’s magnetic field were so weak they were irrelevant when it came to solar power.  However, according to physics professor Stephen Rand, that is not true.

It was discovered that if light is intense enough, it can generate voltage from magnetic effects 100 million times stronger than earlier predicted when traveling through nonconductive material.  These magnetic effects can be bound for electric power production.  Stephen Rand states:

“This could lead to a new kind of solar cell without semiconductors and without absorption to produce charge separation in solar cells, the light goes into a material, gets absorbed and creates heat. Here, we expect to have a very low heat load. Instead of the light being absorbed, energy is stored in the magnetic moment.  Intense magnetization can be induced by intense light and then it is ultimately capable of providing a capacitive power source.”

So what does this mean?  It will be difficult to make this a low cost power producer because the intensity of the light must be 10 million watts per square centimeter.  For comparison, ordinary sunlight produces less than one watt per square centimeter.  However, William Fisher believes new materials such as transparent ceramics combined with focused sunlight could work at lower intensities of light greatly reducing the cost of solar power and becoming a reliable energy producer.  This breakthrough could have a major impact in the heating and cooling industry!

Casteel Heating and CoolingFreon or R-22 as its known in the trade, is being phased out. What does that mean for you? It means you can no longer purchase a new HVAC system that uses Freon. But wait? Can I still get Freon? Yes, you can for now AND Casteel Heating and Cooling, you won’t pay for Freon!

In 2010, manufacturers were to stop making R-22 according to the guidelines of the EPA. Now it has to be recycled and recovered and beginning in 2020, all R-22 used will need to be those types. For now, you can still get it and Casteel has it!

So never fear, Casteel Heating and Cooling is here!

Bob Casteel and Casteel Heating and Cooling not only leads the nation in Amana Ultra High-Efficiency HVAC units but they are also a green business leader in Cobb County. According to “Cobb In Focus” magazine, “the company’s current initiatives now include collecting and safely disposing of environmentally detrimental air conditioning refrigerant and promoting greener alternatives; providing customers with a range of total-home energy reduction solutions, including endorsing Energy Star programs; participating in reforestation efforts with the Georgia Forestry Commission; and recycling all metals and plastics used by the company as well as using recycled office products.”

Following these tips will help you reduce your energy costs:

Air Conditioner

  • Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean cooler when it comes to room air conditioners. In fact, a unit
    that is too large for the room operates less efficiently than one that is properly sized.
  • Don’t switch the unit off and on. Window units work best when left to run for long periods.
  • Don’t keep the unit running at the coldest setting. Set the thermostat as high as is comfortable.
  • Don’t put lamps or TVs near the air conditioner thermostat.
  • Use interior fans to circulate cooled air more effectively through the house.

Our handy Usage Calculator will help you estimate the cost of using various household appliances.

For more tips about other household appliances see the Full Story

At Casteel Heating and Cooling we are committed to improving the environmental quality of our community by partnering with area businesses, community leaders and our neighbors to create a cleaner, safe place to live and work.

Some of our initiatives are:
  • 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

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 tuned up yearly
  • Get active in the community

Together…we can make a difference!