Installing the right HVAC unit is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your home. The right system promises to keep you and your family comfortable for years to come and if you choose wisely, you may only have to make this decision once.
To make sure you select the right HVAC system for your needs, take a look at the pros and cons of the most popular choices for heating and cooling your home.
Furnace-A furnace uses electric, gas or oil to generate hot air which is then distributed through a duct system around your home. This is a good option if you live in an area that experiences very cold weather.
Pro: Gas and electric furnaces are reliable sources of heat in any climate. If you’re on a budget, they will be a less expensive initial investment than a boiler or heat pump.
Con: The blown warm air may give your home a drafty feel. If you need your home to be cooled in the summer, a separate unit may be required. The air duct system will require regular maintenance to ensure that the unit runs efficiently.
Heat Pump-Heat pumps, powered by electricity, extract heat from the outside air and use the air duct system to distribute the warmth around your home. They are a good option if you live in a milder, less humid climate. If the weather is too hot or too cold the system will be ineffective.
Pro: You can reverse the heating process to extract cool air from outside and cool the home, this saves you the need for an additional A/C unit. Heat pumps don’t rely on burning fuel to generate heat, making them more energy efficient and cheaper to run.
Con: If the weather outside is below freezing, a heat pump will not be able to heat your home. Similarly, if the outside temperature is higher than inside, it won’t successfully cool your home either. A heat pump will be a higher initial investment cost than a furnace.
Boiler-Not to be confused with a water heater, a boiler is a device capable of boiling water incredibly quickly. The hot water is then distributed throughout your home through a piping system. It can be powered by gas, electricity, oil or wood pellets. This is a great option if your home doesn’t require cooling in the summer.
Pro: Using hot water instead of hot air offers many advantages in heating your home. The piping can be used for underfloor heating and there are no air filters that require regular maintenance. Boilers can maintain a consistent heat meaning that they don’t switch on and off as often as furnaces.
Con: The main reason you don’t see as many boilers in homes as you do furnaces, is the cost. A boiler will cost more to install and maintain than a furnace.
Whole House Fan-A whole house fan works by drawing in cooler external air through your windows and doors, while forcing warmer internal air up and out through your roof. They’re a good option if you live in a milder climate, where the outside temperature is generally cooler than inside.
Pro: Unlike an A/C unit, a whole house fan utilizes the external air to cool the home making it less expensive to run and more energy efficient. They use around 90% less energy than an A/C unit.
Con: A whole house fan relies on extracting coolness from the external air and will be unable to lower the temperature of your home if you experience hot or humid climates.
Central Air Conditioning-An air conditioning unit uses electricity to generate cool air and distribute it throughout the home via the air duct system. An A/C unit is ideal if you live in an area that gets very hot and humid.
Pro: A/C units don’t rely on external temperatures to distribute cold air. They will often double as a furnace to heat your home in colder temperatures. The air ducts filter the air, eliminating any humidity or pollution.
Con: The costs of running and energy efficiency are considerably higher than a whole house fan. The air ducts and filters will require annual maintenance from you or a HVAC professional.
By Holly Miller
Felix Home Inspection now offers a FREE 90 Day Home Warranty to all our clients. The warranty is serviced by Residential Warranty Services that includes mechanical and structural coverage. This is another way Felix Home Inspection can help its clients with the home buying process. It also gives another layer of protection to our clients in case of any mechanical or structural changes between the inspection and closing day. To find out more about the FREE 90 Day Home Home Warranty give us a call 910-536-6360 or go online www.felixhomeinspections.com
By Nick Gromiko
Electrical panels are boxes that house circuit breakers, which are are safety devices that stop the electrical current if it exceeds the safe level for some portion of the home electrical system.
Many people, even experienced electricians, have been killed or seriously injured while opening electrical panels. In 1991, an Atlanta electrician was killed while attempting to inspect a panel that had a faulty spring-loaded bus-bar assembly. Apparently, the bus-bar was moved while the electrician was opening the panel, causing an arc and a lethal electrical explosion. Generally, two factors contribute to these situations: defective components and complacency.
Inspectors must be aware that all forms of electrical inspections, especially electrical panel inspections, are inherently dangerous. Practice calm, steady movements and learn to avoid distractions. A sudden flash, shout or movement could cause an inspector to lunge and touch an electrically live and dangerous component. Advise your client that they should never remove an electrical panel cover themselves, as they should leave this duty to InterNACHI inspectors or qualified electricians. Before touching the electrical panel, inspectors should ask themselves the following questions:
While removing the panel cover, inspectors should:
Inspectors can check for the following defective conditions during an electrical panel inspection:
In summary, electrical panels are potentially dangerous and should be inspected with care.
by Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard
Sump pumps are self-activating electrical pumps that protect homes from moisture intrusion. They are usually installed below basement or crawlspace floors to remove rising groundwater and surface runoff before it has a chance to seep into the home. Accumulated water can cause interior damage and encourage the growth of mold, mildew, and fungus. Pumps should be maintained and equipped with all necessary components in order to ensure their reliability.
How a Sump Pump Works
A pit, known as a sump pit or sump trench, can be dug at the lowest part of the basement floor to capture and contain any flowing water. A sump pump sits at the bottom of this trench (or beside it) and expels excess water through a series of interconnected pipes to a suitable discharge location. The pump can sense water levels through a float that rises and falls with fluctuating water levels in the trench. The sump pump becomes activated and deactivated based on the height of the float, providing a simple, automated way to monitor and deal with variable water levels.
Types of Sump Pumps
Inspectors should check for the presence of the following:
InterNACHI inspectors are not required to check for a proper discharge location. They can note an improper discharge if they see it, but searching outdoors for the discharge is not recommended. The following is good general information that can be passed on to the homeowner:
In summary, sump pumps are used to remove excess water from homes that would otherwise cause property damage. There are multiple types, but they all monitor water levels and ensure that they do not rise higher than predetermined levels. Proper maintenance and inspection will ensure pump efficiency and prolong their lifespan.