The UltimateAir® News

Take Advantage of Federal Tax Credits & Increase Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Posted on Fri, Dec 02, 2011

energy efficient homeThe federal government is currently offering two tax credits to help assist with the total cost of energy efficient products or upgrades.  Both credits require a large initial investment in order to produce years of utility savings. . 

The underlying intention and incentive behind this unique government-funded opportunity is a mutually beneficial arrangement for the homeowner to save money while boosting the US economy through market expansion from increased demand. 

Only certain highly efficient products qualify and the credit is only eligible if purchased before the end of December, in which case they can be deducted from your taxes.

Energy Efficiency Tax Credit:

  • 10% of cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50 - $300
  • Expires on December 31, 2011
  • Existing home & principal residences
  • New construction and rentals do not qualify.

This credit will offer financial help for both improvements to the home shell and installation of any qualifying energy-efficient heating and cooling systems including:

  • Biomass Stoves
  • Heating Ventilating AC (HVAC)
  • Insulation
  • Roofs
  • Water Heaters
  • Windows & doors

The extended renewable-energy credit is slightly more flexible, allowing both primary and secondary homes to qualify, as do both new and existing homes.

Renewable Tax Credit:

  • 30% of cost with no upper limit.
  • Expires December 31, 2016.
  • Existing homes & new construction qualify.
  • Both principal residences and second homes qualify.
  • Rentals do not qualify.

Applicable for the following products:

  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Small Wind Turbines
  • Solar Energy Systems

How to Apply For a Tax Credit On Your Energy Efficient Product

If installed before December 31, 2011, the credit can be applied for qualifying products through your 2011 taxes by filing IRS form 5695.  Dissimilar to a deduction, the credit will function as a reimbursement, lowering your tax burden by up to $500.

Learn more by visiting Energy Star

Tags: Homeowners, Air Filration, energy efficient, Home Energy Efficiency Best Practices, Energy Star

Attend an Exclusive Air Filtration Technical Training Webinar

Posted on Fri, Nov 11, 2011

As part of our newly launched educational series, UltimateAir® is presenting a comprehensive look at our RecoupAerator® air filtration/ventilation system's performance specifications and air flow controls as part of our Technical Training Webinar.

attend webinarTo be held on Friday, November 18 at 1pm EST, UltimateAir®'s Jason Morosko, vice president of engineering, will host the presentation that will serve as an excellent resource for builders, HVAC installers, design professionals and even homeowners.

Our featured product, the RecoupAerator®, is a whole-house Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) that exchanges the stale air of an average-sized home with clean fresh air.

It exceeds competition with:

  • 95 percent heat recovery ventilator.
  • MERV rating of 12.
  • WarmFlo Defrost system that allows it to be used year round in any climate.

Learn more today and sign-up for the free webinar by clicking the button above. After you've registered, we will send you all of the necessary information and instructions regarding how to call-in on the exclusive presentation date.

Tags: indoor air quality, Air Filration, Air Ventilation System, recoupaerator, HVAC Installer

How to Eliminate Formaldehyde in Your Home

Posted on Thu, Nov 10, 2011

First, the bad news: formaldehyde is in many household products and is necessary to the manufacturing of them, so to some extent is unavoidable. Many new homes have too much formaldehyde and too little ventilation.

formaldehyde in cleaning products

But there is good news: we can substantially reduce its presence in our homes. There are practical steps one can take to drastically reduce the presence of, and exposure to, formaldehyde. While it may be necessary in the manufacturing of certain products, it doesn’t need to linger in the air we breathe!

Formaldehyde is often used in clothing and drapes to create a permanent press. It is used in adhesives, and in some paints and coating products. According to the E.P.A., formaldehyde is most concentrated in particleboard, plywood paneling and medium density fiberboard.

Exposure to formaldehyde has several health consequences. It can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, and difficulty breathing. At its most extreme, it can cause severe wheezing and coughing, allergic reactions and perhaps even cancer.

Tips to Reduce Formaldehyde in your home:

  • Practice the three basics of improving Indoor air quality... Source Control, Ventilation, then Filtration.
  • Source Control -remove the formaldehyde based products or avoid bringing them inside your home.
  • Ventilation -increase ventilation efficiently using the RecoupAerator®. Continuous ventilation will rid your home of unwanted toxins which off gas from furniture and finishes.
  • Test the level of formaldehyde in the air. For as little as $40 you can check existing levels of the byproduct in your home, either as a precautionary measure or after bringing in the product into your home.
  • Try allowing the product containing formaldehyde to air out before bringing it into your home. Leave the newly purchased product in your garage for a few days.

By taking these simple steps, and by being aware of formaldehyde’s presence in so many products, we can substantially reduce its risk to our families’ health.

 

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants

2011 Passive House Conference Recap

Posted on Wed, Nov 02, 2011

The 6thAnnual North American Passive House Conference was held in Silver Spring, Maryland on October 28-29, 2011.  The event attracted a wide array of business experts, builders, self proclaimed “geeks” and one person wearing a weird hat who all shared the latest technological developments and best practices for building sustainable, comfortable, affordable passive house buildings.

ventilation guy with weird hatThe main objective of the event was to spread awareness of, and build an understanding about, best practices of Passive House buildings.  Relative themes and emphasis of the event focused on energy efficient construction as well as the amount of energy saved upon implementation. 

Specific components included technical discussion and testimonies of real world experiences from various leaders in the green building field such as Sam Rashkin, Marc Rosenbaym and Katrin Klingenberg. Speakers also offered opportunities for attendees to adopt passive house standards.

The RecoupAerator® and Passive House Projects

For UltimateAir®, our employees in attendance were proud to hear such kind words about the benefits of our air filtration/ventilation system. Additionally, the number of Passive House projects that were formally discussed at the conference and using a RecoupAerator® was more than half!

Jason Morosko, UltimateAir®’s vice president of engineering and certified Passive House consultant, offered his personal reflections at the conclusion of the event, saying, “It’s only been implemented in United States building projects for the last 3-4 years, but we’re already at a point where we can assess completed projects and hear feedback. This will help build even more energy efficient homes” 

Jason, if you’re still wondering, is the “Weird Hat Guy,” which became his nickname to many in attendance.

In addition to detailed discussion and explanation of Passive House initiatives, there was a portion of the event designated to debunking popular preconceived notions about the negativity of airtight construction.  Common confusion surrounding the complexity of air replacement involved with mechanical ventilation, a key technology that requires significantly less amounts of heating and cooling costs, was carefully clarified and simplified.

Needless to say, endless opportunities lay ahead in future endeavors and involvement with energy efficiency, and the Passive House movement will only grow in the years ahead.

You can learn more about UltimateAir®'s work with recent Passive House projects.

Tags: Passive House, Air Filtration Passive House

Indoor Air Quality Audit: The Outdoors

Posted on Fri, Oct 28, 2011

UltimateAir aims to promote health, specifically clean indoor air inside your home. As part of an ongoing "Indoor Air Quality Home Audit" series, we will travel to every room in the home and outside the home to share best practices and tips to ensure your family is breathing fresh air.

outdoor air qualityIt’s easy to overlook and think that it can’t possibly affect indoor air quality, but there are many characteristics of our yards and the environment that surrounds our homes that have direct impacts upon energy use and air quality within our homes.

How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality by Improving Your Outdoor Air Quality

  • If there are blockages in your chimney, vents or air intakes, remove them immediately (Seek professional help if necessary).
  • If you see cracks on the exterior of your home, seal them.
  • Shrubs should be at least three feet away from the foundation of your home.
  • Refrain from using chemical fertilizer and pesticides on your lawn and garden as they can be tracked in or could infiltrate your home.
  • Remove leaf and grass debris from the intake and exhaust of your whole house ventilation unit intake/exhaust hoods located on the exterior of your house.

How to Reduce Energy Costs by Improving your Outdoor Air Quality

  • Plant coniferous trees on the north side of the home and deciduous trees to the south. This combination blocks cold winds and allows for passive solar heating in the winter, and provides shade in the summer months. Trees remove gaseous pollutants from the air such as sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen oxides. Additionally, they can increase the value of your home!
  • If you are building a home or choosing one, it is best to have more windows facing south than north to make use of solar heat.
  • When installing doors and windows, it is wise to add weather stripping.
  • This combination, in addition to the installation of a whole house ventilation system like the RecoupAerator®, will make your home as energy efficient as possible.

An audit of the area outside your home is one of the simple and practical steps you can take towards the continued health of your family.

Tags: Indoor Air Quality Audit, Common Indoor Air Pollutants, Outdoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality Audit: The Basement

Posted on Thu, Oct 20, 2011

1242266400 resized 600UltimateAir aims to promote health, specifically clean air inside your home. As part of an ongoing "Indoor Air Quality Home Audit" series, we will travel to every room in the home to share best practices and tips to ensure your family is breathing fresh air.

In previous weeks, we explored ways to improve the air quality of the living roombedroom and bathroom. This week, we will focus on the basement. Because many of us don’t spend a lot of time in here we often overlook the potential safety hazards within it.

For several reasons, basements tend to become wet, and this wetness is the perfect atmosphere for biological contaminants to thrive. Even more serious, poorly-installed or poorly-maintained utilities and appliances in our basements may leak dangerous gases, as the basement is a particularly susceptible “gateway” for toxins!

They become wet for several reasons, and when they become wet they breed contamination such as mold. This occurs because they tend to be less insulated than the other areas of the house we spend our time in. When we use outdoor hoses, we may be unknowingly allowing water to seep into our basements. And when carpets or stored items in the basement become wet, we tend to keep them there, which perpetuates the problem.

One proven way to prevent mold growth is by installing an air filtration/ventilation system. The RecoupAerator® influences both temperature and  humidity to keep mold spores (and other dangers) from surviving and multiplying.

In addition to investing in a product solution, there are other simple steps you can take to prevent dangers to air quality:

  • Move down spouts away from the foundation of your home.
  • Insulate basement walls.
  • Throw away wet items from basement.

Washers, dryers, furnaces and heaters can all release dangerous gases into the air if they’ve been installed incorrectly or not properly maintained. This is particularly dangerous since these gases—unlike mold—have no smell! A whole house ventilation system, like the RecoupAerator®, is a great way to ensure clean, safe air, but it is also recommended that annual checks are conducted to ensure there are no leaks and that all of the filters are clean.

 

Tags: indoor air quality, Air Filration, Indoor Air Quality Audit

How to Evaluate your Local HVAC Installer

Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2011

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Just as there are several options when it comes to heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) units for your home or business, there are also several options for selecting the right HVAC installer.

 

How does one differentiate between all of them? 

How does one find the best service at the best price?

 

Steps to Choosing the Right HVAC Installer

1. Look for a certified technician, such as a NATE-certified technician in your area.

2. Consider proposals from the certified HVAC technicians in your area. Do not be afraid to ask them questions.

    • Is the contractor complying with state and local codes?
    • Has the contractor provided you with a list of professional, business and trade references?
    • Will the contractor stand behind your installation?
    • Can the contractor service your new system in the future?

3. There are certain steps you want a technician to take before, during, and after installation. So before you choose a contractor, ensure they are going to take each of the steps.  These steps should include:

    • A review of the condition of your duct system
    • That the contractor ensures the unit is safe electrically
    • That the contractor provide a copy of the installation checklist with a record of all measurements taken during installation

4. Before installation, ensure that the technician ascertains the heating and cooling requirements of your home or business. This calculation requires much more than square footage. A technician should consider several other factors:

    • Ventilation needs
    • Insulation
    • Location of windows
    • Air tightness

5. During installation, it is important that the technician measures and documents the airflow. If the airflow is not optimal, energy will be wasted, your health might be at risk, and you will not be as comfortable as you should be with a functioning HVAC system.

The RecoupAerator® removes this concern for your ventilation by requiring no air flow balancing. It insures that the airflow exhausting household odors and pollutants is the same as the fresh, filtered outdoor air being distributed throughout the home.

When ventilation systems are difficult to install, it becomes more likely that the unit will be installed improperly. The technician should not only ensure that the electricity is safely provided, but should install a product that is simple to install and maintain. The RecoupAerator® is the closest to ‘plug & play’ among whole house energy recovery ventilators, and is flexible enough that tinkering is not required to adjust to different settings.

Rating your HVACs Installation Performance

After installation, if ducts were repaired or installed, the technician should measure leaks so that the air you are paying for is being delivered. There are several ways to measure potential leaks, and the technician should not only tell you how it was measured, but what the results were, and how it will be remedied.

Before the technician’s work is complete, several documents should be provided to you. You should ask for the newly-installed unit’s owners manual and accompanying warranties. And the technician should demonstrate to you how you can maintain your unit!

At first glance, it appears difficult to find the best installer and the best unit at the best value. But by relying on respected organizations like NATE and by asking questions, you can locate a great technician. And by relying on independently-tested whole house ventilation systems like the RecoupAerator®, you cannot go wrong.

To learn more about installing a RecoupAerator® and air filtration system in your home, click here.

Tags: indoor air quality, Air Ventilation System, HVAC Installer

Indoor Air Quality Audit: The Living Room

Posted on Wed, Oct 12, 2011

UltimateAir aims to promote health, specifically clean indoor air inside your home. As part of an ongoing "Indoor Air Quality Home Audit" series, we will travel to every room in the home to share best practices and tips to ensure your family is breathing fresh air.

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Because the living room is where our families spend a great deal of time reading, watching television, entertaining guests and eating, it tends to be an area that accumulates risks to our health. Many of these risks are hidden from view, making it all the more dangerous!

Everyone knows the danger of secondhand smoke. But many do not know that the risks do not end when the smoke dissipates and the smell ceases. The toxic chemicals in cigarettes are absorbed by furniture, clothes and curtains.The easiest solution is not to allow people to smoke inside your home.

Additionally, carpets, drapes, furniture and other furnishings may release dangerous toxins into the air. While purchasing solid wooden furniture and low emission furnishings may prevent this, it is not always possible to know which toxins are present or to go out and buy new furnishings. Investing in a product like the RecoupAerator®, which ventilates your entire home, removing toxins from the air so that they are not absorbed, is a wise decision.

Eliminating Dust In Your Living Room

Though air conditioners and humidifiers are meant to make our living rooms more comfortable, they can do more harm than good. If they are not properly maintained, both can breed bacteria and mold. The air conditioner or humidifier then circulates these dangerous micro-organisms around the living room. It is advisable to clean both as often as possible to prevent this. Dust tends to hide in living rooms, on top of cabinets and entertainment centers, and under furniture.

How to Keep Your Living Room Clean

Of course, we cannot throw out all of our furniture… but there are simple steps that can be taken to create a healthier environment.

  • Cleaning the furniture with a damp cloth on a weekly basis eliminates the dust before it accumulates.
  • By reducing clutter, the dust and mites have fewer places to hide.
  • Removing carpets reduces the amount of dust breathed in.
  • Adding the RecoupAerator® a balanced filtration/ventilation system that exhausts dust and airborne pollutants, continuously diluting them while introducing and filtering fresh, outside air into the home.

An audit of your living room is a simple and practical step towards the continued health of your family. 

Tags: indoor air quality, Indoor Air Quality Audit, Common Indoor Air Pollutants

The University of Maryland Wins the 2011 Solar Decathlon!

Posted on Mon, Oct 03, 2011

In August we announced our participation in the 2011 Solar Decathlon, where collegiate teams are tasked with designing and building a solar-powered home as a means of educating students and the public about the benefits of energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

UltimateAir® is very proud to announce that the University of Maryland, whose project included one of our residential RecoupAerators® air filtration/ventilation systems,  is the winner of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011!

Congratulations to all involved!

Maryland's Architecture Team Leader Leah Davies spoke after the announcement: “There are lots of tears of joy and relief," she said.  "We are all so proud of the thought and hard work put into WaterShed, and really excited that our message was viewed in such a positive way.”

UltimateAir®'s RecoupAerator® provided ventilation at 70 cubic-feet-per-minute and maintained the indoor air quality for the Watershed Project, all while exchanging energy and moisture between the incoming and outgoing air streams.

We are glad to have played a role in the University of Maryland's huge accomplishment and look forward to our continued participation in this exceptional event!

Learn more about the big win by visiting www.solardecathlon.gov.

Tags: Passive House, RecoupAerator Solar Decathlon, University of Maryland

Commercial RecoupAerator Part of First Public School Passive House

Posted on Fri, Aug 26, 2011

passive resized 600

Ultimate Air and the RecoupAerator have been featured in the Green Mechanical Contractor’s latest article, “The Building That Teaches- First Passivhaus U.S. School Building”.

This Franklin County, Virgina public school (K-12) is the first in the United States designed to Passive House standards and is equipped with the first ever  commercial RecoupAerator on the market!

Adam Cohen, LEED AP, co-owner of Structures Design Build LLC, has been involved with the CEED project (Center for Energy Efficient Design) since 2007.

When asked why his company selected the RecoupAerator over similar products he said, “There are no other products in the United States that have this type of cutting edge technology and efficiency. We also wanted to use a U.S. based manufacturer.”

Passive House design is a fabric first approach to low energy use, and the RecoupAerator lowers energy use with its high efficiency air exchanger. It’s all about numbers, Cohen says, revolving the three metrics: heating and cooling annual demand, air tightness and overall energy use.

The United States has a huge opportunity to improve our nation’s energy efficiency by adhering to Passive House standards for new commercial and residentail building projects. As a leading air filtration/ventilation system that uses less energy than most lightbulbs, the RecoupAerator is well positioned to serve this market.

Be sure to read the full article in the latest GMC, and learn more about how the RecoupAerator can be part of your next Passive House project.

Tags: indoor air quality, energy efficient, Passive House, passivhaus, air filtration systems, public school air quality