Prevent Carbon Monoxide in your Home

 

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that can be generated in your own home without your knowledge. It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, which makes it very difficult to detect. Appliances such as space heaters, gas stoves, furnaces, heaters, and refrigerators can all emit carbon monoxide if poorly ventilated. A gas leak can also be a major cause of carbon monoxide emission. Even though carbon monoxide detectors are standard in most homes now, it is still important to recognize any signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide leaks in case your detector has problems.

Inspect High-risk Areas

Because of carbon monoxide’s nature, it is very difficult to detect. Make sure all appliances in your home are well-ventilated. Using appliances in an enclosed space can lead dangerous emissions. An idling car, for example, can fill up your garage with carbon monoxide, which can rapidly spread to your home.

Examine Symptoms

People affected by carbon monoxide generally show flu-like symptoms, or indigestion, headache, nausea, and light-headedness. This is another reason why most people do not make the connection with carbon monoxide. If all the members of the household have similar symptoms, and feel better when they are away from home, this could be an indication of carbon monoxide inside. Also remember to look for other signs in your home that can indicate risk factors.

Look Around the Home

There are some reliable indicators that should draw your attention to the presence of carbon monoxide. A stale, stuffy smell in a clean home is a warning sign. If you notice a burning smell, this is also a red flag. The smell may not be from carbon monoxide itself, but from other toxic gases being emitted by malfunctioning equipment. Excessive moisture on windows and walls, especially if they are close to a fuel-burning appliance, is also an indicator. However, the condensation could also be the result of excessive moisture in your home, so you need to rule out other possibilities before you can conclude that it is a carbon monoxide leak. If you have a pilot light on your gas stove, observe it for inconsistencies. If it continually goes out, it could be malfunctioning and emitting carbon monoxide. If the flames and pilot light on your gas stove are always blue and they are turning yellow, have it checked out. Be alert and on the watch for the smell of natural gas when you turn on a fuel-burning appliance.

If you notice an issue with the air quality in your home, or HVAC system, make sure to contact us. We can come and inspect the system to ensure it is working efficiently. It is important to have the issue inspected at the first sign, before delaying too long and it causes worse problems in the long run. By having the system checked regularly, your home will be warm and enjoyable this winter.

Reasons Why the Thermostat May not Work

If your thermostat is having problems, whether it’s new or old, call us to help. Before jumping to the conclusion that your furnace is broken, know that it could be a malfunctioning thermostat, among other things, from heating and cooling systems that seem to have failed to an overworked system or duct work that needs attention. Most thermostat issues aren’t major issues so chances are, that caught early, it’s not going to be an emergency.

Check the power source. Your thermostat may just not be connected right or at all. A blown fuse, tripped circuit breaker or dead batteries will prevent the thermostat from turning on your furnace. Clean up any dust, dirt, spider webs and other debris. Any of these things can coat the inside of the thermostat and interfere with both electrical and mechanical functions of the thermostat. Put this on your get-ready-for-winter cleaning list. Just use a soft, clean brush to clean the inside components gently. Don’t get anything wet. Also you can use a can of compressed air, such as is used for electronics, to clear debris.

Check for any loose wires or terminal screws inside the thermostat. Make sure wires aren’t corroded or detached. Never remove the thermostat cover without removing the batteries or turning off the power at the fuse or breaker box. Tighten screws and secure loose wires if needed.

It may be time to replace your thermostat is it’s old. They aren’t meant to last forever and an old thermostat may be costing you a lot of money in wasted energy and time spent tinkering with an outdated model. There are great programmable thermostats available now that are easy to use and simple to connect to your existing HVAC system. With any issue you start to notice, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the system for you.

 

Why Programmable Thermostats are Beneficial in your Home

 

Everything we have nowadays is “smart.” From our phones to our TV’s, the options are endless! So, of course, “smart” thermostats exists. We understand that with a hectic lifestyle, sometimes the smallest things can be a hassle. Programmable thermostats work to make your life a little bit easier. With the constant and drastic change of our weather, scheduling your thermostat can go a long way in keeping your home comfortable.

Saving Time

Instead of manually making changes to your thermostat, you can program it for different times and days. Program it to warm up your house 30 minutes before you get up, or program it to lower the temperature 5 minutes after you leave to work. Instead of having to do it yourself and maybe forgetting about it, you can program it in advance.

Energy Efficient

Instead of running your thermostat all day, programming it for the times that you actually need it can save up to 30% on energy costs. A lower electricity bill is always a good thing! Plus, the use of less energy is good for the environment. If you are noticing an increase in your monthly energy bill, make sure to look into a programmable thermostat.

Reduce Wear and Tear

By setting your thermostat automatically for the times you do use it; saves time, money, and extends the life of your heating and cooling system. Of course, we want you to use your heating and cooling for whenever you need it, but programming it avoids unnecessary use. The less wear on your system; the more use you will get out of it. This means fewer repairs and more savings. There are countless options to choose from when it comes to programmable thermostats. Depending on your needs, you can choose a thermostat that tracks your energy use, manages your indoor air quality, reminds you to replace your filters, etc. There are many of thermostats to choose from. Programmable thermostats are the future and the best way to keep your energy costs low. If you want to install a programmable thermostat in your home or you have questions about the features, give us a call.

 

Improve the Air in your Home

 

If you think of pollution as something that happens outside, you might be surprised to learn that indoor air pollution can actually be worse than the grime and smog that occurs outdoors. In fact, those same energy-efficient, wonderfully-sealed windows that help keep pollutants out also help keep pollutants in. Dust mites, pet dander, chemicals from fragrances and cleaners, even chemicals from new paint, furniture and carpets can all accumulate to become harmful to your health, especially if you suffer from respiratory issues or allergies.

Warmer months bring higher humidity, and while we may go to great lengths to increase humidity during winter, too much humidity is bad for your health, too. Excess moisture in the air can lead to mold, which is a hazard even to the healthiest among us. For the very young or old, for those with compromised respiratory systems or illnesses, and for those who suffer allergies, mold can lead to serious respiratory complications. Increased moisture leads to an increase in bacteria, and it can also lead to the growth of dust mites.

If you have pets, summer is the time of year you probably find yourself following your four-legged friends around with a vacuum cleaner. During warmer months, pets shed more profusely, leading to an increase in airborne allergens like dander.

It’s a good idea to follow some simple precautions to keep air free of excessive pollutants, like making sure you keep pets groomed, vacuum often, and be sure to change the filters on your HVAC system regularly. You can also take advantage of HVAC technology to substantially reduce particles that contribute to indoor air pollution, respiratory problems and allergies, including UV lights and air purification systems.

The challenge inherent in air conditioning units is that the coil is perpetually wet, which can make it a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. To combat this, you can have UV lights installed inside your ductwork, the purpose of which is to disrupt the damp, dark environment loved by mold and bacteria. The UV rays also damage the physical structure of biological pollutants, preventing them from growing and multiplying, which is why hospitals use UV light to protect against infectious diseases. Another option is to use an air purification system, which will reduce airborne mold and bacteria particles. A good air purifier can eliminate as much as 99% of these harmful particles.

Some air purification systems use electrostatic precipitators to put an electrical charge on particles that are then trapped on collector plates that act as magnets. This works well for odors, too, because it can trap smoke particles that can pass through media filters. If you have any questions about your current HVAC system, or a new one, make sure to contact us.

Improving the Air in your Home

 

When you are indoors, you will want the air to be the best quality possible. Air that has been filtered in some way has been proven to be healthier for people who breathe it. A variety of respiratory illness symptoms have been directly linked to the quality of air breathed by the victim. An air filter is specifically designed to filter incoming air and trap many harmful known airborne substances. An individual who suffers from asthma, hay fever, and allergies find that using a special filter helps to relieve some of their breathing problems. There are numerous harmful particles that float around aimlessly in air, a filter added to an air handling system helps to trap these particles and prevents them from being breathed in. Adding an air purification device to boost the benefits of an air filter helps keep most of the air safe to breathe.

Many people have discovered that using air cleaners in addition to specialty filters in their air handlers provides an even higher quality of air. There are two types of air cleaners on the market today; one is known as an electrostatic precipitator and the other an ionizer. Both of these air cleaning devices make a great addition to the use of a HEPA filter in an air unit and have been known to provide tremendous results.

An electrostatic type of cleaner pulls air into its system and charges particles with either a negative or positive charge. The air is then passed through to a set of plates that hold an opposite charge and trap the particles by attracting them to the plates where they get stuck. An ionizing air cleaner basically does the same type of charging process, however charged particles are released into the air with the electronic charge and they become attracted to surfaces and stick to them. Generally the charged particles will fall to the floor or become attached to fabric surfaces such as curtains. Both types of cleaners have been proven to be extremely efficient at providing cleaner air for breathing.

People who suffer from breathing conditions such as COPD, emphysema, asthma, and other breathing conditions benefit the greatest from air purifying devices. These devices are designed to trap the very particles that irritate breathing conditions. Many people who have tried an air cleaning device experience far less breathing symptoms and find that their overall health can improve as a result. It is important to keep an air purifier clean for maximum results. In addition to keeping air purifying devices clean it is equally important to vacuum and dust on a regular basis as well. People with breathing problems that use air cleaners to clean the air in their home have a wide array of brands to choose from. If you are not sure which one is right for you, make sure to contact us.

Getting the Most out of your Air Conditioner

 

Most of the electricity used in the home during the warmer months is by the air conditioner. This is one area where homeowners can save money. By becoming aware of certain habits that need to change, the home will run more smoothly. The first tip for saving money is to choose the air conditioner size correctly. Sometimes, people think that bigger air conditioners will provide more home comfort and feel that it is the best for the home. This is not always true. Using an air conditioner unit that is too big for the home will not provide uniform temperatures or lessen humidification, so in this case, bigger is not necessarily better.

 

 

Placement of the thermostat and proper usage can help save money. Many times when people come home from work, they flip the thermostats to an excessively low level thinking it will make the air conditioner get colder faster. This is not true and can damage the unit and cost more money when the unit works harder to get to the low temperature. It will not enhance the air conditioning and repairs may be necessary from overuse. The placement of thermostats is another great factor to consider when saving money. It should never be located around warmer items, like televisions, lamps, or stereos. This could accidentally trick the thermostat into working harder than is required.

 

 

Another common mistake that wastes money is placing the air conditioner in a spot that collects heat. Just because there is an available space beside the house does not make it the best choice. Make sure that the unit is placed in a shady spot or else it will have to work harder than necessary. Being in direct sunlight hinders the unit from working properly. Similarly, you will not want to place it behind bushes or shrubs to hide the unit. This will obstruct ventilation and can clog the condenser coils so that repair is needed, along with making it less efficient to run.

 

 

If your home currently uses several window air conditioning units to provide home comfort, it would be less expensive to cool the area with ductless air conditioning. These units are revolutionary cooling solutions and situate in one or two story homes. Many homeowners are switching to the ductless air conditioning these days, due to the money saving factor of running traditional air conditioning units. If you have any questions about your current air conditioner, or if you are looking for a new one, make sure to contact us, and we can advise you on the options you have.

Setting the Thermostat to the Right Temperature

 

 

The right thermostat settings can do wonders for your energy costs. You can save up to five percent in heating costs for every degree you lower your thermostat between 60 and 70 degrees. Many people find that setting the thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter provides a comfortable home environment and keeps heating costs under control. At the night, or during the day when everyone is away, the temperature can be set to 6-10 degrees cooler to provide more savings.

The key to making these temperature changes effortless is to install a programmable thermostat with which you can assign different temperatures to different times of day or even different days of the week. Some households have different schedules on Mondays as opposed to Thursdays, for examples. These household rhythms can be programmed into the thermostat. For example, if people in your household wake later on weekends, you probably won’t need to raise the temperature to 68 degrees until 9am. Then on weekdays, you might like your house to be comfortably warm by 6:30am, when the earliest riser stumbles into the kitchen seeking coffee. Programming your thermostat to raise or lower the temperature according to your family’s schedule can save a great deal of money.

During the summertime, keep your air conditioners or central air unit set at 75 degrees or above for cost-efficient cooling. Your family’s habits may allow you to keep the temperature higher. Consult your family and see what everyone is comfortable with. Additionally, a box fan can allow you to raise your thermostat by making rooms feel cooler than they are, and they cost about one tenth as much to run as an air conditioner. If you notice that the air conditioner is no longer efficient, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the HVAC system to ensure it is working properly for you.

Getting the Air Conditioner Ready for Summer

 

You will want to make sure that your air conditioner is in the best condition for the upcoming summer months. By doing so, you can help to ensure your home stays cool and comfortable during the summer months. If you notice anything out of the norm, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the HVAC system for you.

On the first really hot day of summer, the last thing you want is to flip the switch on your central air conditioner only to find that it doesn’t work. When an air conditioner sits idle for months, collecting leaves and debris, a bit of maintenance is often needed to get it running properly. If you don’t do this maintenance before summer arrives, you may end up waiting several hot days before we can come and inspect it.

A central air-conditioning system employs two main components: a condenser unit, which is typically located outdoors, and an evaporator unit mounted on the air handler or furnace. Together these extract heat from room air through refrigeration technology. The air handler or furnace blower blows the resulting chilled and dehumidified air through ductwork to the home’s rooms.

Clean or Replace the Filters

This is the easiest and often most important step. Clean or replace your furnace or air-handler filters twice a year or whenever they begin to look clogged with dust. If you don’t, air flow will be restricted, reducing efficiency, and you will recirculate dust into your home

Clean the A/C Condenser Coils

A central air conditioner’s condenser unit, typically located outdoors, is like a large fan in a metal box with sides that look like grilles. Ideally, it is protected through the winter by a condenser cover or tarp to prevent accumulation of debris inside it. Otherwise, it is likely to contain leaves, yard debris, and dirt—and you will need to clean it. A large fan inside the metal box moves air across radiator-style condenser coils. If debris has gotten inside the unit, dirt has probably clogged some of the coils, as shown at right. Anything that obstructs the flow of air will cut down the condenser’s efficiency, so these coils should be cleaned at the beginning of every cooling season if they are clogged.

 

Why you Should not Ignore the Thermostat

 

The thermostat is a vital component in your heating and cooling system’s ability to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.  It detects the temperature of the air in your living space while the system is running.  The thermostat gives you the ability to set a comfortable temperature for your home.  If the thermostat detects that the temperature in your home has surpassed your personally preferred temperature, it will pause the air conditioning unit until the temperature has dropped to the level you indicated as desirable.  Likewise, the thermostat will activate your heating system if it detects that your home’s temperature has dipped below your desired set point.

There are a variety of types of thermostats that can provide you varying levels of climate control in your homes.  The two most commonly used types of thermostats are the digital non-programmable thermostat and the programmable thermostat.  The digital non-programmable thermostat provides consumers with manually controlled settings and accessible, easy-to-read buttons and LCD display.  These types of thermostats use electronic means to determine your homes temperature and control the cooling and heating of your living space accordingly.  They offer programmability, quick response time, and automatic setback.

The programmable thermostats provide consumers even more control over the heating and cooling of their home.  These systems present the ability to set different desired temperatures for your home based on the time of day.  With the ability to coordinate hours of absence with less temperature variation, consumers can conserve energy.  This allows consumers to avoid wasting money and energy on an empty house and provide their families with the most comfortable and cost effective environment while they are at home.  These systems provide a wide range of programmability, from simple daytime and nighttime options to the option to program appropriate temperatures for different days and times of the week.  Programmable thermostats give consumers the ability to make the most productive use of their system, resulting in the most efficient energy use and lower energy costs.

Regardless of your choice of thermostat, it is important to maintain this essential component of your climate control system.  Thermostats control when your heating and cooling system turns on and off, how long it runs, and the subsequent temperature of your family’s living space.  They control how much energy your system uses and, consequently, how much money you spend on your home’s climate control.  If your thermostat is installed improperly or calibrated incorrectly, it will not measure your home’s temperature correctly which can result in sporadic, inappropriate activation of your heating and cooling systems.  Consequently, this will decrease your systems energy efficiency and create an unpleasant environment for your friends and family.

 

 

Why Preventative Maintenance is Important for your HVAC System

 

Just as your vehicle needs regular service to ensure that everything is operating correctly, your heating and cooling equipment should be inspected and adjusted to achieve optimum performance. You might choose to put off that service for your vehicle, but you know that there could be serious consequences in the long run. Similarly, failing to maintain the HVAC system regularly, can lead to serious problems. By choosing a preventive maintenance plan, you can take advantage of timely service to help reduce the chance of an unexpected breakdown.

 

HVAC maintenance enables you to begin the season with reliable and efficient service from your home comfort equipment. You can reap numerous benefits from regular preventive care, including:

  • * Improved efficiency – annual efficiency loss for normal system use can be five percent or more and a tune-up can counteract this loss.
  • * Identification of faulty parts – a mechanical system experiences wear over time, and regular HVAC maintenance allows for worn out or broken parts to be repaired or replaced as needed.
  • * Averting system problems – regular maintenance can reduce the potential for a later breakdown by as much as 95 percent. While it is impossible to avoid all HVAC repair, preventive care can save a lot of money  on unanticipated cooling emergencies.
  • * Longevity of your equipment – you can expect quite a few years of service from an air conditioner. Regular maintenance reduces the risk of early equipment failures and costly upgrade needs.

A maintenance plan allows you to take care of your equipment and identify problems early. You will be able to manage your home comfort levels effectively throughout the year. Make sure to contact us, and we can schedule an appointment to inspect the air conditioner for your home. Noticing a sign of an issue early can help save you money, as well as wear and tear on the HVAC unit.