Are you taking care of your furnace during the winter?
The answer to that question may be more important than you think. During the winter, we spend more time indoors trying to shelter ourselves from the cold. You want to make sure that your home is comfortable AND safe. Shockingly, indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air.
Here are our tips for maintaining high indoor air quality during the winter.
The first, most important defense against poor indoor air quality is investing in a quality furnace filter. Look into your medical-grade filter options to keep the pollutants, allergens, dust and more away from your family.
If you do not think that a high-efficiency filter is important for your home, you should at least make sure that you are changing your furnace filter often enough. At minimum, you should change your furnace filter four times per year – once before the start of each season. However, if you are an allergy sufferer or you have pets, you may want to consider changing your furnace filter once a month.
Start off with a clean state at the beginning of winter. This starts with your ductwork. After your furnace does its work, the warm air is distributed throughout your home through a system of ducts. You want to make sure that the air is not picking up any unwanted pollutants along the way. To avoid this, schedule a duct cleaning appointment with your local contractor. this is also a good way to catch any hidden issues your home may be suffering from – like mold, insects or rodents.
Be conscious of the cleaners and air fresheners you use during the winter. Consider natural alternatives. Remember, you can potentially breathe in anything you spray on your surface or spritz into the air.
Lastly, don’t forget to schedule a maintenance appointment for your furnace at the beginning of the heating season to make sure everything is operating properly. The time for scheduling an appointment this winter has passed; however, you can always ask your local contractor about a maintenance agreement. Many contractors will set up something with you so that they come out to check your HVAC system twice-a-year – once before the heating season and again before the cooling season.
The time for scheduling spring preventative maintenance will be here before you know it. Don’t forget to talk to your contractor about a maintenance agreement during your yearly appointment.
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There’s more to a condensing furnace than just high efficiency.
Are you in the market for a new gas furnace? There are so many different models to consider! Make sure to keep in mind your high-efficiency, condensing furnace options. High efficiency does offer some pretty obvious perks, but there are other benefits to upgrading to a condensing model.
So, what about these efficiency perks? Furnaces have long lifespans. In fact, the average lifespan of a furnace hovers around 20 years! However, although your furnace may still be kicking after all these years, it could be operating poorly. If you have an older furnace in your home, it may have only been rated at 60% AFUE or 70% AFUE when it was first installed. As furnaces get older and older, they can lose some of their original efficiency through normal wear and tear. A condensing furnace upgrade can significantly cut your utility bill spending.
Here are some other perks of condensing furnaces.
- High-efficiency furnace qualify for better rebates. Not only are you going to be saving money on high-efficiency operation from month to month, but you could get some money shaved off of overhead costs by looking into manufacturer rebates and local utility rebates too.
- Better air distribution. Because a condensing furnace typically runs longer at a lower capacity than a traditional, non-condensing gas furnace, your home can experience more even temperatures and increased comfort.
- Variable-speed blowers for increased comfort at all times of the day. Some high-efficiency, condensing gas furnaces also contain variable-speed blower motors. These components can adjust airflow to meet the real-time heating needs of your home.
If you are in the replacement market, make sure you look into your condensing furnace options. You may be surprised at the amount of efficiency you can afford. Start your search for a high-efficiency furnace by scheduling a consultation with your local heating contractor.
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Do you know what the refrigerant in your HVAC system does?
Heating season is in full swing. Do you use a heat pump to heat your home? If so, chances are your system contains refrigerant.
There are many components that make your HVAC equipment work. One of these components is your refrigeration system. Refrigerant facilitates the transfer of heat either to or from air that is distributed throughout your home. Refrigerant removes heat from the air as it evaporates and adds heat to the air when it condenses. Evaporation and condensation occurs in coils of the same name – the indoor, evaporator coil and the outdoor, condenser coil. In different portions of the cooling cycle (or heating for heat pumps), your refrigerant is either a liquid of a gas.
A few years back, the HVAC industry had to switch from R-22 refrigerant (Freon) to R-410A. R-410A does not contain chlorofluorocarbons (a.k.a. CFCs). This means that it does not contribute to ozone depletion were it to escape into the air. Other refrigerants, like R-22, do contribute to ozone depletion.
If your heat pump isn’t heating or cooling correctly, there could be an issue with your refrigerant system. Make sure you always call a contractor for HVAC system maintenance. You don’t want to attempt to repair your refrigerant system unless you know what you’re doing. Not only is refrigerant expensive, you could damage one of the other crucial components of your system (like your compressor or coil) leaving you with a much bigger repair bill and a longer time without heating or cooling.
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Are you worried about your home’s indoor air quality?
Are you starting to get cabin fever? Subzero wind chill and snow storms have been keeping people cooped up in their homes. And, since you’re spending all that extra time indoors, you want to make sure your indoor air quality is high.
One of the best ways to tackle poor indoor air quality during the winter is with a clean home. This cold weather may make you want to curl up on the sofa under a blanket with a hot cup of tea, but braving the chill and taking some time to clean is well worth it.
Here are some household chores that can raise the quality of your indoor air.
Vacuum and rotate your mattress. Your mattress can play host to all sorts of unpleasant odors and bacteria. You want to make sure that where you lay your head down at night is fresh.
Clean fan blades. The blades of your ceiling fan can be dust traps, especially if they aren’t in use.
Dust. If you are noticing dust on more surfaces than usual, it could be an issue with your furnace filter. Change your furnace filter once-a-month during the winter. It is the best line of defense against poor indoor air quality – trapping harmful particles before they have the chance to circulate through your air.
Avoid wearing shoes indoors. Have a go-to pair of slippers or stick with socks. You could be tracking all sorts of unpleasantness from the outdoors into your home – lowering indoor air quality and making it necessary to clean your floor more often.
Deep clean carpets. Carpets, like ceiling fan blades and mattresses, can be bacteria traps. Deep cleaning your carpets at least once a year will help you get all those deeply embedded particles out of your home.
Don’t forget to roll up your sleeves and get ready for spring cleaning! Yes, the season is still a while away, but taking care of some chores regularly during the winter can help you save time.