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Monthly Archives

November 2014

5 Ways to Ready Your Furnace For Winter

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As the weather turns, you want to be sure your main source of warmth isn’t going to give out on you in midwinter. Luckily, a few easy steps will ready your furnace for the coming cold, reducing the need for expensive repairs (which on average costs $397) and keeping you toasty until spring. 1. Clean the Combustion Chamber The combustion chamber is where the furnace burns fuel, giving off heat. However, combustion also produces dust, soot, and water vapor. It requires periodic maintenance to stay clean and prevent erosion. If you possess a natural gas or propane furnace and see only dust, this is likely a task you can do yourself with a vacuum. If, however, you have an oil furnace or see black soot, call a professional. 2. Change the Filters Air filters protect the air quality in your home, and cannot do so effectively if they are dirty or clogged, so inspect and replace them if they look dirty or greasy. Oil filters, if you have an oil furnace, reduce the chance that oil deposits will gunk up the burners and reduce the furnace’s efficiency or cause it to fail entirely. 3. Check the Burners The burner flames sit on top of the burners and, when all is running smoothly, should be a bright blue. With your combustion door open, turn on your furnace and turn up your thermostat to inspect the flames. If they’re blue, you’re good to go. If they’re a yellowish color, however, your furnace…

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Programmable thermostats

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If you are dreading the upcoming winter’s low temperatures, you can be proactive by improving your living and working environment with the addition of a programmable thermostat. Rely on experienced HVAC contractors to install a state-of-the-art, programmable thermostat that can be fine-tuned to heat your home or office exactly when you want. This way, the winter’s brutal temperatures will be much easier to bear. Homeowners with traditional thermostats might not be aware of just how much money they are wasting and the level of discomfort that they are suffering through. Think about how many times you’ve left your house in the morning and left the furnace on. You spent money to heat your home for the remainder of the day even though nobody was home. Don’t let this happen again. When you install a programmable thermostat, you can program it to turn on and off at a specific time of the day with an easily programmable touchscreen that safeguards against excessive heating or cooling. You can even set it up to reach a specific temperature and stay there for however long as you’d like. A programmable thermostat’s impact on your utility bills is monumental. It can save a family or office hundreds of dollars on an annual basis. Imagine that your town has just been lambasted by a snowstorm, and you face a morning full of shoveling before a stressful commute to work. Yet getting out of bed is easy because you know that you’ll be stepping into a pair…

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What is a Cold Air Return

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Most people realize that their furnace is the appliance responsible for heating their homes in the winter. They understand that the warm air blown through the vents heats the air to a more desirable temperature. However, few people realize that the furnace also pulls in cold air, performing double duty to keep the home warm. When the cold air return isn’t functioning properly, the furnace operates less efficiently. Fortunately, there are HVAC contractors who can service your furnace when the cold air return needs repair. HVAC Heating Explained The cold air return is a small vent located on the furnace and it’s covered by a filter. Like all ventilation systems, the furnace has to “breathe” to properly operate. Anything that breathes must inhale as much air as it exhales. If you barely inhale and deeply exhale, it won’t take long for you to pass out from shortness of oxygen. The furnace, likewise, must also inhale as much air as it blows out to achieve maximum efficiency. When the return on the furnace gets clogged, it performs poorly because it isn’t breathing properly. This decreases the furnace’s efficiency, and it has to stay on longer to warm the room. This contributes to a higher electric bill, and it increases the amount of wear on the unit. Something as simple as a clogged filter on the furnace can significantly decrease the amount of cold air being drawn in. Return or Register Some people may accidentally decrease the air flowing to the furnace…

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Indoor Air Quality

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Anyone who suffers from allergies, asthma, or heart or lung conditions should be aware of the air quality present in their home environment. It’s important to ensure that air ducts are free of pollutants such as excess dust, mold, and mildew, and that there are no tears or holes in the ducts supplying air to the home. To be sure that pollutants are not affecting the quality of air in the home, many consumers use air purifiers with carbon filters to ensure that smoke, fumes, and other particles are not polluting the interior air. There are also UV germicidal lights built into some purifiers, which can neutralize bacteria, mold, yeasts, and a number of viruses present in indoor air. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains an Air Quality Index (AQI) for reporting the daily air quality in the United States. Its rating system (from 0 to 500) measures air quality with a color system denoting the level of concern for persons affected by breathing problems. Green denotes good quality air (from 0-50); yellow is moderate (51-100), orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups (101-150), red is generally unhealthy (151-200), purple is very unhealthy (201-300), and maroon is hazardous (301-500). The Clean Air Act monitors five major pollutants: ozone particulates carbon monoxide sulfur dioxide nitrogen dioxide Ozone and airborne particles pose the greatest health threat. Lung disease, asthma, or allergy sufferers should check the AQI in their immediate area. Pollutants can be dangerous to sensitive lungs as well as to older people…

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