As you sweat your way through the hot summer months, you’re probably not thinking about your heating system. However, it’s important to get a head start on furnace maintenance. If your furnace isn’t serviced before the cooler months, there’s no guarantee it will work properly when you need it to.
The best time to have a heating system tuneup is in the late summer or early fall. Let’s take a closer look at why it’s best to schedule your annual maintenance visit during this time.
Avoid Deadly Gases
Neglecting your furnace flue for long can be extremely dangerous. If debris blocks the flue, it can result in soot blowback into your home. Carbon monoxide could then enter your home. The by-products that oil and gas furnaces produce can eat away the lining of the flue. This problem can also prevent carbon monoxide from flowing out of the flue.
Carbon monoxide can cause severe illness and even death. If you wait until the first cold nights of late fall or winter to have your heating system serviced, you could expose yourself as well as your family to this potentially deadly gas. Scheduling maintenance before you have to turn on your furnace …
Your home’s air is full of dust and other contaminants. They get into your home, triggering allergies and asthma. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to mitigate those contaminants, particularly if you’re running your A/C.
Here are a few tips for using your HVAC system to improve indoor air quality.
Change your air filter.
In addition to cooling the air, your HVAC system also filters out dust and other particles before circulating it through your home. Over time, though, the filter becomes clogged. Not only does this prevent it from cleaning your air, it also restricts airflow, wasting energy and wearing out your system. Check your air filter once a month and replace it every three to six months, to keep your air clean and your system working at peak efficiency.
Clean the condenser coil.
Another factor in lowering indoor air quality is humidity. Your HVAC system dehumidifies the air as it cools, but if dirt and grime are allowed to build up on the outdoor unit’s condenser coil, it can interfere with the dehumidifying process. The moisture in the air can then foster mold and bacteria. You can clean your condenser coil yourself using a brush and a hose, …
When it comes to comfort on a hot summer’s day, nothing does more for your comfort than air conditioning. If you’re looking for energy savings without sacrificing that comfort, consider these energy and money saving tips.
Manage the humidity. Lower humidity always feels more comfortable when the weather is warm because the moisture on your skin evaporates quickly, which cools you off immediately. The ideal humidity during the summer should range from 30 to 50 percent.
If you’re unsure about the humidity, invest in a hygrometer, an inexpensive device that measures humidity. If it’s high, instead of turning on the air conditioner to lower it, start using the bathroom and kitchen fans to lower it. Once you’re finished bathing or cooking, turn the fans off. Despite their small size, they pull out a lot of air you’ve paid to cool off.
A dehumidifier attached to your HVAC system will keep the humidity level healthy automatically and help save energy. High humidity fosters bacterial and mold growth, along with dust mite proliferation.
Low refrigerant in your central air conditioner may begin with an assortment of initially insignificant symptoms.
As the refrigerant charge drops, however, these minor issues can turn into major dysfunction, eventually shutting down the system completely. Refrigerant absorbs heat from the airflow inside your house at the system evaporator coil, then conveys it to the outside condenser coil where it’s released into the air. The level of circulating refrigerant is a very precise specification.
If it declines below that amount, you may note any of the following signs:
Cooling shortfalls. When the refrigerant charge drops, the air conditioner can’t extract enough heat to keep the house cool. The unit will run increasingly longer cycles to meet thermostat settings, eventually running non-stop. Higher costs. Extended A/C cycles mean increased electricity consumption, which typically shows up in higher monthly bills. If other causes are ruled out, an air conditioner running too many hours per day due to low refrigerant may be the reason. Increasing humidity. Humidity extraction is an important part of the A/C cooling process. As the refrigerant charge drops, the evaporator coil doesn’t condense water vapor effectively and indoor humidity rises. The comfort level in the house, meanwhile, declines as …
A fresh coat of paint can quickly breathe new life into your home’s interior. Make sure you aren’t compromising your health in the process, however. Indoor air quality suffers if you don’t take the right safety steps. Here are ways to diminish IAQ concerns when painting interior surfaces.
Use the Safest Paints
Many types of paint include harmful chemicals, called volatile organic chemicals or VOCs. These can have a direct impact on health. When painting the interior, only choose paints that are intended for indoor use and, whenever possible, use paints that are labeled no or low VOCs.
Keep in mind, however, that even the safest paints can emit some harmful chemicals during their application and afterward. You can diminish the impact by ventilating your home.
Ventilating the home while painting can be as simple as opening exterior doors and placing a box fan in a window. The goal is to bring in as much fresh air into the home as you can while drawing the harmful elements outside. Make sure you aren’t just recirculating the bad air throughout other rooms in the home. …