As autumn leads to cooler weather in our area, it’s a great time to check the efficiency of your home’s heating and airflow systems. Barron Heating & Air Conditioning’s dedicated Air Solutions division, with nearly a dozen certified technicians, offers a variety of options to ensure your furnace and air ducts are up to snuff.
Michael Takemura, Barron’s Business Development Manager, is also the company’s Building Performance Manager. With a background in physical chemistry, Takemura is an expert in the science of home and building performance, with a firm understanding of both physics and thermodynamics.
Properly analyzing a home’s performance, he says, means more than just fixing a furnace.
“When our guys and gals come out and look at a home, they look not only at the furnace or the main piece of equipment, but how it’s all working together as a system,” he says.
Barron technicians look at how air moves through the envelope of a home, measuring the air being supplied and the air being returned back to the furnace. Both amounts are measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. “The goal of every system,” Takemura says, “should be to return the same amount of air being supplied.”
If the amount of air supplied isn’t the same as what’s returning, there’s a problem. Not enough air being returned to the furnace means your system has to work harder, leading to loss of longevity and reliability of equipment, and ultimately, greater chance of breakdown.
If your duct system is leaking air, it can result in decreased efficiency in your system and comfort in your home. That leakage, Takemura says, is far more powerful than you might think, as it is forcefully blown by a furnace. “A one square-inch hole in your duct work can be the equivalent of leaving your window open 30 square inches,” he says. “A one-inch hole seems pretty small until you think about it that way.” He says these problems are often noticed on the second floors of homes, or with areas furthest away from the equipment not receiving adequate conditioning.
Barron Air Solutions offers several solutions to improve both the quality and airflow in your home. Among these is “Aeroseal,” a patented technology designed by scientists at U.C. Berkeley with funding from the United States Department of Energy.
Aeroseal works to seals holes in duct work from the inside. Barron technicians deliver non-toxic, aerosolized sealant into your ducts, while blocking your air registers. This forces the sealant to penetrate any holes in the ducts that aren’t supposed to be there. Sealing these holes increases comfort, energy efficiency, and also improves air quality.
“If you’re returning more air than you’re supplying, it puts a negative pressure on the house,” he says. “When that negative pressure is on the house, it starts pulling air from all different sorts of areas.”
These areas could include doors or windows, which can sometimes be positive since it pulls in fresh air. But if air is drawn from crawl spaces or attics that may have dust or mold, it’s not the kind of air you want to be breathing, Takemura says. Air systems are tested both before and after the application of Aeroseal, showing you how much energy you’re able to save. Aeroseal is guaranteed to last 10 years, but may last up to 40 years, according to test results.
Barron also provides duct cleaning, a service that some people don’t do as frequently as they should. While some companies do little more than shop-vac the inside of registers, Barron brings in a heavy duty vacuum truck. After the vacuum is hooked into the duct system, an air compressor with whips, or little fingers, are put into the duct system, helping push dust and debris back towards the vacuum. Duct cleaning is recommended every five years, Takemura says.
Barron also provides indoor air quality products, including air scrubbers that kill germs and bacteria as they travel through duct work. They also have HEPA filtration filters that provide hospital-grade filtration. Ideally, air filters should be replaced about every three months.
“Basic filters are only intended to protect the furnace,” he says. “They’re not actually made for cleaning the air.”
Regardless of what services you’re looking for, you can be sure Barron Home Performance Technicians will examine your whole system, ask the important questions, and help you achieve exactly what you’re looking for regarding clean air and efficiency in your home.
“We look beyond the box at the big picture, but we talk to the customer about what they’re specifically trying to fix,” Takemura says.
To set up an appointment today, call 1-800-328-7774 or visit the Barron Heating website.