Today on the Reschexpert blog we want to discuss the new realities of daily life and what they mean for you, your family, and your HVAC system. We will discuss areas of your HVAC system that are affected like your thermostat, considerations for at home offices, and what an increase in people residing in your living environment might mean for you, your energy bill, and your HVAC system.
The first consideration for your home is that you might have consolidated your family unit during this stay at home order. In the spring time it may not be that large of deal. However, with kids, Dad, Mom, and possibly Grandma and Grandpa all at home, possibly for the entire summer it could mean your home is going to be a little bit warmer. Without going too in depth, each person inside your home increases the inside temperature and humidity. They do this simply through breathing and existing with their personal body heat. If you add 4 more people to your home’s typical load then increases in temperature and humidity in your living environment might be the next logical step. Some simple things you can do, when everyone is at home to remedy this situation without having to fully upgrade your total HVAC system are the following:
Make it a rule that everyone runs the bathroom exhaust fan during showers or baths. More people, mean more showers, which means more humidity, and increased temperatures and water vapor in that area of the home. Running the exhaust fan during bath time can take the load off your HVAC system slightly as it tries to maintain humidity levels while everyone is home.
Exercise outside. I have a small home and a small living room. If I choose to do a High Intensity Cardio workout in the living room within 30 minutes I can raise the temperature of the entire room by 2-5 degrees. This puts added load on your HVAC system so cardio and workouts should be moved to unconditioned garages, basements, and the yard if possible.
Close windows and doors. I know, I sound like your Dad, screaming at you to close the door, because we are not trying to heat/cool the neighborhood. Allowing your inside environment to maintain a stable temp by excluding outside air, pollen, and humidity will help keep you and your extended family comfortable while you are all jammed into your tin can house during this stay at home order.
Replace filters more often. More people means more dust, pollen, and hair. Replace the filters on time or before time to keep air flowing into your returns properly during stay at home order. Some air filters claim to filter viruses like the flu and Covid 19. The jury is still out on these products and be aware that the thicker the air filter the more friction it will create in your HVAC system and might possibly reduce air flow. I actually prefer a cheaper, thinner, air filter that is replaced more often, like every 15-20 days. But I also have a Chocolate Lab so my filter is covered with her fur after only a few days.
Thermostat law. I prefer to use a thermostat the like Google Nest on systems because it is lockable, programmable, and intelligent. Google Nest Thermostats can also sense when family members are home by using your cell phone’s location. It can then adjust the indoor temperature and humidity according to preferences learned through artificial intelligence.
Turn off appliances. Think about this. When your office moves home, so does your computer. By the time four people are running a 40” flat screen, desktop, laptop, and super heating the battery on their smartphone during charging you can add a significant amount of degrees to any setting. A living room, can become more like server room, and need additional ventilation considerations. Go ahead and adjust your power and sleep settings lower on your devices so that they turn off faster while not in use. Ask your family members to do so too. This will keep device fans from blowing hot air into your living space and working against your already hard working HVAC system during this stay at home period.
Consider more encapsulation. If you cannot upsize your unit (most people only upgrade when their old system is kaput) then think about adding insulation to your attic, upgrading weather stripping around doors, adding blinds or curtains to windows, caulking voids around loose air spaces, and replacing old single pane windows. All of these items can give your HVAC system a needed break during this stay at home period.
Overall, there are plenty of things you can do to help your HVAC system help you during this stay at home period without the need to go all in on full upgrade during these uncertain times. We hope you enjoyed the Reschexpert blog and thanks for reading. Stay safe!