Category Archives: HVAC

Glow Igniter Failure

By | Fixing things, HVAC | No Comments

I was called to fix a gas fired forced air furnace the other day. It was one I was familiar with. This one is on its side in the crawl space. Not the ugliest situation, at least it was dry, had light, and was free of major obstacles or creepy crawlers. Upon discovering that it had power I removed the covers and depressed the door switch to watch the cycle. First the induction fan came on Next the glow igniter came on. WOOPS, no glow then the cut off. Then I examined the glow igniter and saw it was discolored….

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Fireplaces In & Out

By | Energy, HVAC, Understanding your home | No Comments

Fire is one of the primitive holdovers from the Stone Age, like shelter and clothing that we still hold sacred. Everyone enjoys a good campfire. Humans have improved upon it, we have accessorized it and no longer use it as our primary cooking tool, unless you are living off the grid. A good fireplace in the home is not too far removed from the ones of old. A traditional firebox in the home adds value and brings out your “One match” inner Boy Scout too. A fire in the fireplace is calming, and provides ambiance and soothing warmth to snuggle…

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Your Home’s Thermal Envelope

By | Home Evaluations, HVAC, Indoor Air Quality, Insulation, Understanding your home | 2 Comments

No, it has nothing to do with insulated packaging. It does, however, involve thinking differently about energy efficiency and reducing air infiltration into our living spaces. I recently had an in service at a heating company by a nice young man who really knows his stuff. He talked about and displayed a blower door machine. What an amazing tool. When deployed by a qualified technician, it can detect several problems and help to expose problems that can lead to poor home energy efficiency. If your home is not a “slab on grade” type construction, there is a space below the…

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Where is My Heat Going?

By | Green Remodeling, Home Evaluations, HVAC, Insulation, Understanding your home, Weatherization | 2 Comments

For years now I have noticed an interesting phenomenon that I am not sure anyone else notices. It has to do with recognizing roof patterns in the winter. This is clear evidence that heat is escaping through your roof. Head down the block and check out your roof and compare it to your neighbors place. Of course there are a myriad of issues that could be contributing to the results you find, but this is a telling sign. If your roof is the bare one when others have snow or frost, despite having a similar pitch, you could be losing…

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Duct Cleaning

By | Green Remodeling, HVAC, Indoor Air Quality, Understanding your home | 2 Comments

OK you have been in the home for 10 years and you are looking for something to do that will improve your home. You are wondering what would be a good bang for the buck. Or say you have unexplained health issues and you just can’t put a finger on it but you think your home may be the culprit. It is worth thinking about having your duct work checked. Although the EPA thinks it may be an over rated service, there are several instances even they recommend the process be done by a qualified vendor. Duct cleaning is probably…

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Hydronic Heat

By | HVAC, Plumbing, Understanding your home | One Comment

Although I have remodeled many homes we haven’t run into too many hydronic heating systems. By the time we remodel most of the home’s heating systems have been altered several times. My own home started with Coal, then converted to Oil and then to Natural Gas forced air. One of my neighbors refused to change and still uses coal. It is often the first sign of fall to smell the coal burning. Oil furnaces were dirty too and required fuel storage tanks. Some were placed in the ground and others used above ground storage tanks. Most of those systems were…

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Building Code Updates

By | Electrical, Framing, HVAC, Plans, Plumbing, Process, Safe Practices, The Law, Understanding your home | One Comment

As of January 1st 2011 Boise City along with all of the other jurisdictions that adopt building codes, followed the states lead and adopted parts of the 2009 IRC international Residential Building Code. The last code was the 2006 IRC which was implemented in the same year. Plumbers use their own code 2003 UPC and electricians use their own code 2008 UEC, there are fire codes, mechanical codes, and energy codes to navigate as well. Thankfully the inspectors in this city are fantastic. As long as it is clear that they are not the enemy, they do a great job…

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Indoor Air Cooling Season

By | HVAC, Understanding your home | No Comments

Here are a few things that will help make sense of your home’s cooling system. At Levco, when remodeling, we always evaluate the HVAC systems. We usually find something that could be done better or tuned up. Let’s face it HVAC is a system at the house that usually requires little maintenance and either works or it doesn’t. Whether you have an evaporative cooling device (Swamp Cooler), heat pump, ceiling fans, or air conditioning units all of these principals apply. Circulating air feels cooler to us. Just like when our own bodies sweat and water evaporates, we feel cooler. Heat…

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Filters and Your Home

By | Green Remodeling, HVAC, Understanding your home | No Comments

Indoor air quality is one of the four pillars of our green philosophy. Besides working with products that don’t off gas things like formaldehyde, filters are high on the list of things we have control over that keeps our indoor air quality in good shape. Residential air filters are graded on a MERV Scale (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) to determine how much the filter media will let pass through. Filters that pull dust and particles from the air are measured in .3 microns to 10 microns. For perspective a human hair is 100 microns. The MERV scale goes from 1-16…

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I Have a Cold Room

By | HVAC, Understanding your home | One Comment

As a remodeler I am frequently asked about this problem and often get to troubleshoot the situation prior to calling in the big guns. Here are a few of the tips I have found to solve the problem. Turns out this situation is fairly common even in newer homes. In Boise Idaho we live on the edge of a desert and have some unique climatic conditions to consider. This describes a typical home with one zone. Larger homes with multiple system and controllers require a professional.  I have a multi pronged approach to solving these problems in single system homes….

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