June is Healthy Home Month

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently declared the month of June as National Healthy Home Month. This will be our the first year observing the month-long glorification of learning about the impact of the home on your overall health. We curated a few articles that might help you on your journey of making your home a safe place for you and your family, that includes our furry members too.

  1. How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
  2. Why Pets Trigger Allergies?
  3. How Do I Change My Air Filter?
  4. 7 Tips to Keep Your Electric Bill Low this Summer
  5. Can Air Filters Ease Asthma & Allergies?
  6. Air Filter vs Air Purifier

Hope these articles help you live your best life in your home.

Source : U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Website

 


Summer Tips

There are a very few things that can run up the electric bill faster than the AC, and as temperatures soar into the summer, there’s nothing worse than feeling like you have to sweat it out in order to save money. But you can stay cool by preparing your AC for the summer, making sure you can make the most of both your AC unit and summertime. Follow this and a few other tips and maximize comfort without paying extra.

  1. New air filter – It is under extreme weather, that the A/C works harder. When temperatures spike, the AC will work non-stop to keep the house comfortable and cozy for you. Changing the air filter every 30 to 90 days will help your unit work more efficiently and consume less energy because the air flows better through the unit. If the filter becomes clogged, the unit will have to push harder to cool the house, resulting in higher electricity consumption
  2. Schedule a check-up –Have a professional inspect your unit and point out any inefficiencies, leaks or settings that are not adequate for the efficiency of the unit
  3. Aim for comfort – When at home, set your thermostat between 70 and 75 degrees to balance energy savings without sacrificing your comfort. Keep in mind that a single degree change can represent a 1 to 2% increase to your electric bill. If you are gone during the day, keep your unit on but raise the setting to about 80 degrees. It will reduce energy consumption but keep moisture from building. A programmable thermostat can help doing this changes for you and could pay itself in savings
  4. Keep the heat out – Make sure windows are closed and curtains drawn to keep the heat out as much as possible. If your home has many glass windows, find the right curtains or treatments to bounce the heat away
  5. Ceiling Fans! Ceiling Fans! Ceiling Fans! – A good ceiling fan in every room or living area is a great way to save money on cooling the home. By circulating cool air, it can make it feel 3 to 8 degrees cooler that the room actually is
  6. Unplug it – Computers and other home electronics generate heat. Unplug all electronics that are not in use. It will help you cool the home and save those extra bucks

Going on Summer Vacations? Click Here for more tips.


Spring Cleaning: Add Changing Your Filter to the List

As you wake up your home from its long winter hibernation, it’s time to deep clean for the first time in a few months. Spring cleaning doesn’t just make your home look nicer and fresh – it helps you control your allergies and asthma symptoms. This is why changing your air filter should be #1 on your Spring Cleaning list. Follow this checklist to optimize indoor air quality as you get your house clean and spotless for the upcoming months.

1.  Change Your Air Filter

The recommendation is to check your air filter every 30 days and change it after no more than 90 days in use. Include this task on your spring cleaning checklist for a fresh start to the season.

A fresh filter will help eliminate common allergens such as pollen, pet dander, dust, and dust mites. More efficient filters can even remove bacteria and viruses for ultimate air filtering power.

2.  Dust the Ceiling Fans

It’s been a few months since you’ve used the ceiling fans, you’d better add dusting the fan blades to your spring cleaning list. Otherwise, when you turn on the fan for the first time, it will recirculate the built-up dust back into the air and surfaces.

3.  Clean Mold from the Bathroom

With less airflow during the cooped-up winter months, mold can start to grow in damp places like the bathroom or basement. Kill mold with a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide, which is just as effective yet safer than bleach.

4.  Vacuum in Unusual Places

You probably break out the vacuum once a week all year-round, but while you’re in the spring cleaning mindset, vacuum places that don’t usually get attention. This means moving furniture around so you can vacuum beneath it. It also means connecting the brush attachment and vacuuming upholstered furniture and drapes.

5.  Hire a Carpet Cleaner

A professional carpet steam cleaning reaches deeper than a vacuum. It removes dirt and stains, improving the appearance instantly and extending the life of the carpet. What’s more, carpet cleaning removes pollen, dust, and dust mites that like to hide out there and aggravate your allergies.

6.  Have the Air Ducts Cleaned

This may not be something you need to do every year, but if you suspect your ductwork is excessively dusty and grimy, or see dust particles floating in the air when the AC is on, schedule a professional cleaning this spring. Then, every time the AC kicks on, conditioned air will travel down sleek, smooth ductwork before entering your home.


Going on Vacation: AC ON or OFF?

When you leave your home, it is easy to switch your AC unit off and lock the door behind you without a second glance. Unfortunately, this carefree approach has the potential to backfire, as it is almost always better to run the AC while you are gone, rather than turn it off completely.

Dangers of Leaving the AC Off

Your air conditioner continually removes moisture from the air in your home. Therefore, with your AC unit switched off, your windows and other interior surfaces will often develop a layer of condensation. The trapped moisture quickly results in mold and mildew growth.

Without the cooling system running, temperatures inside your home will match or exceed the high temps for each day. Constant high temperatures make building materials, such as doors and flooring, to expand and contract, causing them to warp.

Preparing Your AC for Your Absence

To avoid part failures that could cause a system shutdown while you are gone, perform upcoming preventative maintenance tasks for your air conditioner before you leave. In general, you will need to change the filter, clear the drain lines and check the vent flaps to prepare the cooling system. If you notice any problems with your system, schedule an appointment with your AC repair professional for a quick fix before you go.

While On Vacation, use these Settings

Right before you leave for vacation, set the thermostat to a temperature that is between 5 to 10 degrees higher than your normal setting. By turning up the temperature, you can save money on energy costs while continuing to reap the benefits of leaving your AC running. Professionals state that 85 degrees is the best temperature because it resembles outdoor weather. In turn, your AC does not work as hard and your electricity bill won’t skyrocket. You will just have to deal with a warm house when you get back.

If you want to come home to comfortable temperatures, consider having a digital thermostat installed. With this device, you can control the temperature settings from a distance using your Smartphone. Otherwise, you will need to set the thermostat back down to a comfortable temperature and wait several hours for your home to cool off again after coming back from vacation.

Netting The Benefits

By properly preparing and setting your air conditioning unit before your vacation, you can avoid having to worry about your home while you are away. Upon returning from your trip, you will just be able sit back, relax and recuperate from your fun vacation without worry about the state of your home or AC unit.

Although you should not turn your AC off when you go on vacation. This will prevent you from paying too much in air conditioning costs while still protecting your home from the extreme heat.


Ask Your AC Technician…

With Spring already here, you’re probably preparing to schedule your next AC tune-up. When the technician comes over to perform preventative maintenance, you should take this time to get answers to your most pressing questions. Here are a few concerns you might have.

How frequently should I change the AC filter?

The basic rule of thumb is to check the filter once a month and replace it after no longer than three months. If you have allergies, you may want to change the filter more frequently than this, especially if pets or smokers live in your home.

Which MERV rating is right for my AC unit?

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating, indicates how well the filter does its job. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller particles the filter can remove from the air. Follow these guidelines:

  • MERV 6 filters are sufficient if you have no pets and no allergy problems. The capture large debris and particles.
  • MERV 8 filters provide better air-filtering power, making them the best option for the average home. These filters capture dust mites’ debris and mold spores.
  • MERV 11 filters offer superior air filtration for exceptionally clean indoor air. Best option for pet owners or smokers.
  • MERV 13 filters are some of the highest efficiency versions you can install in a residential HVAC system. More efficient filters that can capture even the bacteria and virus carriers in the air.

How often should I service my air conditioner?

Most technicians recommend scheduling preventative maintenance once a year. Spring is the best time for a service call because it gets your cooling equipment tuned-up and ready for summer.

How do I troubleshoot problems with my AC unit?

Air conditioners are robust and designed to work even in less-than-ideal circumstances. However, if yours starts acting up, follow these troubleshooting tips before calling a cooling technician for help.

  • If the air conditioner won’t turn on, check the thermostat setting. Then, make sure the unit has power by checking that it’s plugged in and no circuit breakers have tripped. Replace the filter in case bad airflow is causing overheating and look for problems with the condensate drain line. If you can’t solve the problem, you may need to call a professional.
  • If the AC starts blowing hot air, this means the air handler is running, but the condenser isn’t. Make sure the outdoor unit has power and clear away any debris that could be blocking airflow to the condenser.
  • If strange noises or smells are coming from the AC, don’t ignore them. Shut off the unit immediately and call a professional for help diagnosing and repairing the problem.

Stock Up on Replacement Air Filters

If you go to change the AC filter at the recommended interval only to discover that you’re all out of replacement filters, take this time to restock your supply. Spring is a good time for that, so you have the replacement air filters you need for the next few months.


When should I replace my HVAC unit?

As you get ready to turn on your furnace, you may assume it’s best to rely on the equipment until it breaks down for good. However, there are plenty of signs you should replace your HVAC unit other than a total breakdown. If you time it right, an HVAC replacement could start paying you back from day one. Here’s how to know when to replace your HVAC unit.

Age & Fuel Utilization Efficiency

A well-maintained furnace can serve you for nearly two decades. However, furnaces manufactured before 2000 are typically rated 80 Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) or less, meaning that only 80 percent of the fuel that goes into the system is converted into usable heat for your home.

Today, furnaces can achieve near-total efficiency with ratings of 96 AFUE or higher. If you replace your 80 AFUE furnace with a 96 AFUE model, you can expect about 20 percent lower heating bills effective immediately. These energy savings help the furnace pay for itself over the coming years.

Increasing Utility Costs

In addition to being lower-efficiency to begin with, your aging furnace experiences a significant drop in performance as it nears 15 or 20 years old. If you compare utility bills from the past few years, you’re bound to notice an increase in recent years. The rising cost of natural gas may not be the only thing to blame.

Increasing heating bills are also undoubtedly caused by your aging failing to perform even close to its AFUE rating. This means you’re paying more to heat your home than necessary.

Safety Concerns

Gas furnaces and other fuel-burning appliances produce carbon monoxide as a byproduct of incomplete combustion. When operating normally, your furnace vents a deadly gas outside and disperses into the air. If your house has an outdated HVAC unit with questionable venting safety, an upgrade could improve your peace of mind and ensure your family’s safety.

Home Comfort Problems

Older HVAC systems have a harder time circulating air properly, which could cause some rooms to become too warm while others never get warm enough. Installing a new furnace with more advanced features – and modifying the ductwork if needed – will improve these comfort problems so you can stop adjusting the thermostat constantly.

High Repair Costs

More frequent and expensive repairs indicate that your equipment could be on its last leg. Instead of pouring more money into repairing an aging unit, take recurrent breakdowns as a warning sign and put your money toward a replacement HVAC unit.

Odd Smells or Noises

These problems could mean something is very wrong with your furnace. A repair might get the unit up and running again, but if the cost is too high, these issues could signal the beginning of the end for your furnace.