Barron Heating AC Electrical & Plumbing Blog: Archive for the ‘CHEE’ Category

BPI CEO: Kids Suffering in Our Unhealthy Homes

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Our Homes Suck – And That’s Why Our Kids Have Sinus Problems

By: Larry Zucker (CEO of the Building Performance Institute) 

We all know about how stack effect works in homes, but during presentations, I’m always surprised by how many hands are raised in response to the question: “How many of you think you can make a house too tight and cause problems with indoor air quality?” Generally, at least three-quarters of the room raises their hands. Really? My colleague Joe Kuonen says that getting a house so tight that you need to ventilate is a feat worth celebrating. “Now, we can get fresh air from a place we can trust,” he says. Where do most of our homes get their fresh air? From places we cannot trust, like crawl spaces.

What do we know about crawl spaces? Generally, they are dark and wet. This is a perfect habitat for mold, rodents and insects to thrive – and gain access to the house. Those of you who have spent a lot of time in crawl spaces have horror stories about close encounters with both living and dead creatures. Allison Bailes once published a photo of a dead opossum in a crawl space next to a disconnected return duct!

On the other side of the band joist is the basement where the air handling unit often resides. If there is insulation on the band joist, it is generally discolored by filtering air that passes through the crawl space. Thankfully there is a furnace filter, you might say. If you look at most furnace filters in people’s homes, you’ll generally find them clogged and gross. And with the furnace filter slot at the end of the return duct, the furnace filter is protecting the blower motor from the air that everyone in the house has been breathing. This can’t be good for your health.

Why should we care about the quality of indoor air?


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Where Your Boot Meets the Floor

Friday, October 18th, 2013

One key duct component you’ll hear mentioned regularly in the world of home performance is the venerable “floor-to-boot” connection.

It may sound like some obscure honky-tonk dance, but it is really one of the more important points in your home to investigate and seal when it comes to indoor air quality and efficiency. The floor-to-boot connection is the seam where the metal duct meets the subfloor. The included fittings usually consist of a round duct elbow and a rectangular duct box that fits up into the hole cut in your floor. The registers (aka grilles) you see around your house that deliver heat are fit inside this rectangular duct box. From the floor seam to the elbow, leaks at this point are important to address AND can also be the easiest to DIY.

Often, the material or nails that were installed to secure this piece of duct to the floor have been compromised, worn out or damaged. A gap can form around the edge that is a direct leak from the crawl space (yuk!) into the home. This is a passive leak when the furnace is not running and a forced leak point when it is.

This “broken boot” condition can also be a key indicator that other parts of your system may be compromised and a duct performance test is warranted.
See our articles on crawl spaces and duct leakage to find out more.

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Is it CHI or CHEE?

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

The Chinese have a term ‘CHI’ that is defined as: The light, refreshing, uplifting feng shui energy that is beneficial to your health and well-being. We’d like you to consider your ‘CHEE”
They tell us that Good Chi, takes many forms, such as:

  • The energy you experience walking by the beach (high amount of negative ions are beneficial to your health)  
  • The energy you experience in a lush forest (Japanese have the expression of “wood bathing”)
  • In a harmonious interior environment with a good flow of feng shui energy, clean air and plenty of natural light.

At Barron, we can’t help you with the FengShui design of your home or suggest which local beach or forest might put your spirit in the best position to receive ‘good Chi’ (probably any of our great outdoor areas will do the trick)…but we can help in positioning your home to be in the perfect condition to control, clean and condition the indoor environment we will spend most hours of the day in.

Many homes can’t keep windows open during good weather due to allergens and outside air moving into the home and causing respiratory issues. This leaves a home feeling stuffy or uncomfortable.  Then to make matters worse, when they lay down to sleep in the evening in a home that may be too warm or uncomfortable to provide the beneficial sleep…the home can go into a state (due to negative pressure) that brings a tremendous amount of dust, contaminants & allergens into the home.  The contaminants enter through can lights, attic hatches, electrical switches or under wall plates and pollute the air we breathe.  Ever wonder why you wake up more stuffy than when you went to bed?

At Barron, we appreciate the CHI but we’re more about the CHEE.

What’s CHEE?  We’re glad you asked…

CHEE stands for the Comfort, Health Energy Efficiency of your home.  Creating the perfect balance of those three is Barron’s specialty and what we feel is the key to providing the perfect indoor living environment.  We work hard at good CHEE so that the path to your front door can bring the same feelings of peace and serenity that a walk on the beach or next to the forest can provide.

Take a look at the different Services we provide to improve the CHEE around your home as you work toward your own perfect balance.  We’d love the opportunity to help.

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