• How Your Commercial Refrigeration System Works

    You can save energy and money by working with a qualified HVAC contractor near Portland to install or upgrade your commercial refrigeration system . And when you watch the accompanying video, you’ll learn the basic principles of how your refrigeration system works. All refrigeration relies on the continuous movement of a cooler liquid through a tube that goes around the object that is to be cooled.

    Perhaps the most important component of an energy efficient refrigerator is the throttling device. Refrigerant liquid is elevated to a high pressure before being introduced to the throttling device. This device resists the refrigerant, which causes a significant drop in pressure. As the pressure drops, the boiling point of the liquid also drops, which causes it to begin evaporating. The heat required to evaporate the refrigerant comes from the liquid itself, which causes it to decrease its temperature.

  • The Whys and Hows of Tracking Your Energy Usage

    Tools Specifically For Energy Usage Tracking

    Perhaps the most compelling reason why homeowners decide to track their energy usage is to become informed about where their money is being spent. If your energy usage peaks during the winter months, it’s a good indicator that your furnace is working too hard or is inefficient. High electricity bills during the summer might mean it’s time to schedule an air conditioning maintenance visit, change the AC filter, or perhaps replace the air conditioner in your Portland-area home altogether. Another reason to track your energy usage is to evaluate your savings after you make upgrades, like getting a new furnace installed . Here’s how to get started.

    Getting Your Account Online

    While it isn’t strictly necessary, it can be easier to track your energy usage if you set up an online account with your utility company. These days, most service-oriented companies offer online options, including Portland General Electric and Pacific Power. With an online account, you should be able to view your account history. Your utility company may even offer tools specifically for energy usage tracking. You can also view your current statements online.

    Understanding Your Bill

    Utility bills can be confusing, and different companies each use their own format. If you aren’t sure how to interpret yours, check the utility company’s website for a tutorial, or call the company directly. Look for the read dates, which tell you the length of the usage period. The read dates are different from the bill dates. When you check the costs, ignore the total labeled “net costs,” since that can include the previous month’s expenses.

    Comparing Your Energy Usage

    Some utility companies offer brief comparisons of your energy usage and your locality’s average energy usage. Or, you can check with the appropriate municipality or state agency for this information. If your energy usage is significantly higher than the average, it’s definitely time to consider some household upgrades.

    Developing Smart Saving Strategies

    To make the most significant impact, you’ll likely have to make major upgrades, such as by replacing your air conditioning unit and furnace in favor of energy-efficient options. There are also plenty of other options that don’t require a major upfront investment. For example, you should change your AC filter and furnace filter as recommended by the manufacturer. Otherwise, your HVAC system will use more energy.

  • How Do Your Utility Bills Compare to the Average?

    Tility Bill For Electricity, Water, Heating

    In the Portland, Oregon area, many families are interested in saving energy and reducing their utility bills. And this may spark your curiosity about how your utility bills compare to the average consumer’s. A combined utility bill for electricity, water, heating, and trash removal for the average family in Portland is $113.42 , according to SmartAsset. That’s for a 915-square-foot apartment. Of course, the total amount you’ll spend each month depends on many factors, such as whether your appliances and HVAC systems are energy efficient.

    Heating and cooling costs can be much higher than the average when the HVAC systems are outdated. If your heater is 10 years old or older, or if your heating bills have been steadily increasing, it’s time to consider replacing it. Your HVAC contractor can point you in the direction of an energy-efficient unit. Before the warm weather sets in, consider upgrading your AC unit too. Older units may need to be replaced when they break down frequently, run continuously, or make loud noises. With a new HVAC system, your family will be more comfortable, and you might beat the average utility bill for your area.

  • Can Weatherization Increase Indoor Air Pollution?

    Most Common Indoor Air Pollutants

    It’s only natural to worry about air pollution when you live in an urban area, but not all pollutants are found outdoors. Your home may harbor hidden air pollutants that can cause your family to suffer ill health and poor quality of life. Ironically, the more you weatherize your home to save energy, the more likely it is that your indoor air quality will decline. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort and energy efficiency in your Portland-area home, however. You can have an HVAC contractor evaluate your current system, and develop solutions that work for your family.

    Types of Indoor Air Pollutants

    Air pollutants include any airborne contaminants that can cause harm. They’re difficult to detect, because they are usually invisible and can be odorless. Here’s a look at some of the most common indoor air pollutants.

    • Radon: A gas that naturally arises from the earth. It can cause lung cancer.
    • Tobacco smoke: Secondhand smoke can be introduced directly to the home if tobacco is smoked indoors, or it may drift in from outside. Tobacco residue can accumulate on a smoker’s clothes and household surfaces, which also pollutes the area.
    • Biological contaminants: These include pollen, pet dander, and mold.
    • Carbon monoxide: This deadly gas is produced by combustion appliances like gas stoves.
    • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): These are emitted by some household cleaners, personal care products, and building materials like paint, carpet, and composite wood products. They can be carcinogenic, and may cause neurological damage.

    Indoor air pollutant levels rise in weatherized homes, because of the insufficient ventilation of the air.

    Techniques for Ventilating Homes

    A weatherized home is an energy-efficient home, and it’s better for the environment and your wallet. But as you improve your home’s weatherization, you should also check with an HVAC contractor about your ventilation system. A good ventilation system will curb indoor air pollution, without sacrificing your home’s energy efficiency. The main types of ventilation are spot and whole-house ventilation. Spot ventilation devices include localized solutions like exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. These usually aren’t sufficient to make a significant impact on your indoor air quality, which is why your contractor may recommend a whole-house ventilation system. These systems are comprised of ductwork and fans to vent indoor air to the outside, and to introduce fresh air to the inside in a controlled manner.