3 Green Alternatives to Your Current HVAC Unit

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Is it time to replace your HVAC system? Now is the perfect opportunity to upgrade to a system that is modern, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly. Energy-efficient HVAC systems are not only good for the planet but may decrease your utility costs. Here are three green alternatives to your current HVAC unit.

Geothermal Heat Pump

Image via Flickr by Holland and Green Architectural Design

Geothermal heat pumps heat and cool by taking advantage of the stable temperature just below our feet. Not far below the surface of the earth, the ground temperature is a consistent 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Geothermal heating systems are designed to pass water (or another liquid) through a series of pipes to cool or heat the water, depending on the season. 

Pipes are installed underground to nestle into the earth where the temperature is consistent. The pipes are then installed under the floor of your home and pass warmed water in the winter, and cooled water in the summer. A geothermal heat pump (which can last between 10-15 years before needing replacement) is an energy-efficient heating and cooling system that can decrease your monthly utility costs.

Evaporative Cooling

Evaporative cooling, also called “swamp cooling,” is a method for cooling a house that has been around for many years. A “swamp cooler” works by saturating incoming air with water, which drops the air temperature 15 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooled air is then circulated through the house, while the swamp cooler simultaneously pushes out warmer air.

Swamp coolers can cost one-half as much as an air conditioner, and use one-quarter as much energy. In addition, unlike an air conditioner, they circulate a steady stream of fresh air (as opposed to recirculating air in a closed circuit). The one drawback? Swamp coolers can only effectively be used in low-humidity areas of the country.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, sometimes called “on demand” water heaters, can provide between 27 and 50 percent energy savings if installed at each hot water outlet in a home. Tankless water heaters work by heating water as it passes through the unit. In contrast, traditional storage water heaters heat a large amount of water at once and then push it through the pipes to a house’s taps. 

Storage water heaters often generate more hot water than is needed. The water then cools and needs to be reheated again for use. As such, storage water heaters cost far more to operate than tankless water heaters. The icing on the cake is that tankless water heaters also are built to last longer than storage water heaters, and therefore need to be replaced less frequently.

When it is time to replace your existing HVAC system, consider these green alternatives. Geothermal heat pumps, evaporative cooling, and tankless hot water heaters are all ways to decrease your utility costs while lessening your footprint on the earth. Whether you implement one or all of these green alternatives, you are sure to notice the positive impact of your decision.

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5 Home Changes to Improve Your Quality of Life

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Following diets and exercise regimes can be hard, but they aren’t the only way to improve your health. By incorporating small changes to your home, you can improve your quality of life. Use the following simple yet effective changes at home to reduce stress in your life.

Declutter Your Home

Image via Flickr by brad.coy 

It’s time to downsize and get rid of some stuff. Excessive clutter can weigh you down and have a major effect on stress levels. Clutter can be distracting, and it’s often where chaos begins. Start on a smaller scale and pick one item of furniture you dislike or clothing you haven’t worn in a while, and simply just get rid of it. Give it to friends or family as a gift or even donate it. The gratification and feeling of relief will get you in the mood to get rid of everything you don’t need. 

New Coat of Paint

Ever feel like you’re living in a cave? Or that the walls are closing in on you? If returning to a home with poor natural light makes you feel wheezy, it’s time for a new coat of paint. Using fresh bright and vibrant colors to utilize natural incoming daylight is a great way to brighten up a space. Exposure to natural light in your home has been proven to enhance mood and energy by releasing endorphins into the body. Use environmentally safe paint products to reduce the level of toxins.

Install a Water Purification System

Water is the gift of life. Having freshly purified water on tap can drastically improve your quality of life. By installing a water purification system, you can remove chlorine and bacterial elements that live in your drinking water. Staying hydrated with purified water can keep the brain functioning at full capacity and give your body the healthy boost of energy it needs on a regular basis.

Improve Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality can have a huge impact on health and well-being. By reducing contaminants and allergens in the air within a home, you can improve your breathing and lowering your chance of allergies or illnesses. This can be achieved through quality natural ventilation and allowing more fresh air into your home.

Upgrading your home’s ventilation to an HVAC installation can also greatly improve the quality of air being supplied to your home. An HVAC system along with reduced levels of air leakage in a home can eliminate the three signs of poor air quality.

Add Some Greenery to Your Home

We’re not the only living organism that reacts to natural light. Plants, like us, respond to natural light and can improve the quality of oxygen in a space. On top of this, these little green wonders can reduce carbon dioxide and airborne dust levels. Strategically placing plants around your home along with an environmentally safe paint job or installing an energy efficient HVAC system, are all great eco-friendly upgrades to improve your quality of life at home.

By implementing these small yet effective changes, you can make your home a healthier place to live and reduce any unwanted stress in your life.

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