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Category Archives for "Winter"

Free Tip Friday – January 12, 2018

Does your heating system have a humidifier installed?  Is it functioning properly? Or perhaps you use a room humidifier.  Is it working well enough to keep your home comfortable?  Do you know what level of humidity in your home is, or how to measure it?

So many questions…how about a few answers?

Let’s start with the basics – why should you consider a humidifier, and what are the benefits?

  1. Increased comfort – The higher the humidity level, the warmer the air will feel at any given temperature.  Just think of how hot it feels in the summer, when the humidity level is sky high. Same principal in the winter months.  If you can keep the humidity level in your home up, you will feel more comfortable at lower heat levels.  Your home will just “feel” warmer, even at the same temperatures.
  2. Save Money – Higher humidity levels allow you to keep the temperature in your home lower.  Lower temp = lower heating bill!
  3. Avoid Illness – Dry air in the winter months can lead to increased health risks:   allergy symptoms, dry sinuses and headaches, colds, and irritated skin conditions, just to name a few.
  4. Prevent damage to wood floors and fine furniture – Extremely dry air can cause damage to surfaces in your home.  
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Free Tip Friday – December 29, 2017

Being comfortable in our homes is so important.  Who wants to spend time in a room, or an entire level of a home, that is less inviting than the rest?

When the really cold temps take hold and single digits are the high, a few colder spots in a home are somewhat unavoidable.  Unfortunately, if you have a two-story home, you may be dealing with an entire level that is less than comfortable.  

We happen to live in a 1970’s era two-story home, and the basement can be a bit chilly. However, we have found that making a few minor adjustments to the furnace output in the cold winter months can make a significant difference in our comfort level.

Simply closing down a few registers on the upper level of our home, and making sure that the lower level registers are wide open, makes a big difference! The hot air is going to rise throughout the home, so why not make that work for us?

Such a simple thing.  But simple does not mean unimportant.  Comfort in our homes is important!

A word of caution though:  don’t close down too many registers – the increased pressure on the furnace can cause the fan to work harder, and burnout sooner.Read more...

Free Tip Friday – December 8, 2017

Unfortunately, the number of injuries and deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning has been rising for years.  There are a number of theories for why this is, but one thing we do know: homes are much more energy efficient these days.  And an energy efficient home does not “breath” like an older (drafty?) home.  Therefore, even low levels of carbon monoxide in a newer home can lead to CO poisoning symptoms.

Last winter I wrote an in-depth article all about Carbon Monoxide and winter home safety.  You can read that article HERE.  If you do not currently have a CO detector – and if you have any of the items in the picture above (fireplace, gas furnace, or an attached garage) … please install one ASAP.  Today would be great!  

The National Fire Protection Association has a great one page summary about where and how to install a CO detector. You can download it by clicking HERE.

Stay safe, and thanks for reading!

Darren

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Start Winter Smart to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

 

I’m a firm believer in starting with WHY.

Often the “why” we do something is more important than the “how”.  If we have a strong enough reason why, we’ll figure out how!

Unfortunately, when it comes to proper heating system maintenance, the “why” can be a bit scary.  If a furnace is not venting properly, if the fireplace chimney is blocked, or if one of many other items is not operating properly as the cold weather approaches, the end result could be carbon monoxide poisoning.  And… it could be fatal.  

Sorry to be so negative right up front, but this is vitally important for your family’s safety.   According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.”

So…what to do?  Glad you asked!

 

CO detector installed on ceiling.

A CO detector is a “must have” for most homes.

First step – if you have a gas-fired appliance of any type (furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, fireplace, refrigerator – yeah, that one surprised me too… although not very common, there ARE gas-fired refrigerators!), a wood-burning fireplace, or an attached garage – you simply MUST have a carbon monoxide detector installed.Read more...