Most people aren’t aware of just how many different accessory products are available for a heating and cooling system, whether it be related to safety and health, comfort, energy savings, or just ease of operation. Let’s touch on a few of these products.
Health & Safety Products
Carbon monoxide detectors are becoming more and more popular. On April 1 of 2011 in Oregon, ORS 476.725 went into effect stating that carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in any home that contains a Carbon Monoxide (CO) producing appliance, or that has an attached garage where CO may enter the home from a car running in the garage. What appliances produce CO? Pretty much any gas or oil burning appliance, a furnace, water heater, gas range, or even a wood burning fireplace. The law states that single family residences are required to have a working CO detector in, or within 15′ of any bedroom at the time of sale or rental. Unintentional CO exposure accounts for an estimated 15,000 ER visits, and approximately 500 deaths each year in the US. – Center for Disease Control. This is a very important product to help keep your family safe from this silent killer.
Duct mounted smoke detectors can be easily installed on your ductwork, and include a tube that enters the duct, and will sense smoke being pulled through the ductwork. Once smoke is sensed by the detector, it will turn your furnace off to avoid circulating the smoke throughout the entire home. You can incorporate an alarm into this setup, but the biggest benefit of this product is the avoided smoke damage that even the smallest of kitchen fires could cause if allowed to be circulated through the ductwork with the force of the furnace fan.
Ultra violet light can be installed on your heating and cooling system, and is very effective at maintaining healthy air in the home. There are many good air filtration systems available, but the downfall with most of them is their inability to kill the particles they trap, and therefore those particles may be disbursed into the duct system again. The UV light will kill mold spores and bacteria, and stop them from reproducing. Ductwork is a breeding ground for these organisms, and the UV light will keep your lungs from taking the abuse.
Energy Savings and Comfort
Now that we’re through all the boring safety stuff, we can focus on the cool gadgets that are available. The most exciting control system available right now is the Prestige HD thermostat from Honeywell. Honeywell has developed a thermostat that will open eyes, and broaden your abilities to control your heating and cooling system. This thermostat has a full color display, and when equipped with the optional wireless outdoor temperature sensor, will also display outdoor temperature and humidity. The stat incorporates an interview based programming method, and will ask you questions about your schedule for each day of the week, to determine optimum programming settings for increased comfort and energy savings. Filter change and maintenance reminders can also be easily set up, so that you don’t let that all too easy to forget, and yet so important, furnace be neglected. That is the basic operation of the stat, but the really cool part is the options available.
There is an optional Portable Comfort Control, which is a remote that you can take with you anywhere in the house, and you can not only control the system from there, but if you want, you can even have the temperature sensed from there. For example, if you are spending the day in a TV room watching movies, and you want that room to maintain 70 degrees, you simply take the remote with you, push the button to sense from the remote, and your heating and cooling system will work to achieve 70 degrees in that room.
If being able to control your system from any room in your home isn’t enough, what about being able to control it from anywhere in the world? The Internet Gateway from Honeywell plugs into your wireless router, and can wirelessly communicate between your laptop, desktop, phone, or iPad. You can control the temperature manually, set up a new program, and also monitor the system. Honeywell monitors the system as well, with no monthly fees. Sensors get installed in the ductwork that read temperature on the supply and return side of your heating and cooling system. If the difference between the two sensors increases or decreases indicating a problem with the heating and cooling system, then emails will get sent to up to 5 emails of your choice. If you have your email in the system along with the email of your heating contractor, then if there is a problem, your heating contractor can be arranging a service call, and contacting you, whereas before you would have to come home to a cold house, and probably pay after hours rates to have it fixed. The Internet Gateway can be especially useful in a vacation home. How nice would it be to bump up the heat when you or a renter are on your way to the home, and oh, if you got half way back home and it clicked with you that you forgot to turn down the thermostat, no problem. Just hop online.
These are just a few of the many products available that can be added to any heating and cooling system at anytime. If you have any questions on these or any other products of interest, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.