Tips For Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Your Home

Carbon Monoxide is defined as an odorless and colorless gas which is produced during the process of combustion of fuel. Therefore, some of the common sources of carbon monoxide would be space heaters, fireplaces, wood burning stoves, furnaces, gas central heating spaces and water heaters. Exposure to this deadly gas can cause irregular breathing, nausea, headache, fatigue and dizziness.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

There are many steps that you can take to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. At the outset, it is advisable to install at least one carbon monoxide and one smoke alarm on all floors of your house, particularly near the bedrooms. You should ensure that the alarms you’re buying conforms to the latest UL or Underwriters Laboratories’ safety standards. If you have a central heating system in your house then you should call in a professional to inspect, clean and also tune up the system from time to time. This way you can nip the problem in the bud and also prevent chances for leakage of gas.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, you should keep a watchful eye on the vents, chimneys and appliances of your house. If you spot any type of corrosion, blockage, stains, soot or rust then you should get the problem corrected so that the gas can escape freely without a problem. For chimneys, it is recommended to have a professional clean it at least once a year.

How to Keep Carbon Monoxide Levels Low

To keep the levels of carbon monoxide low in the house, one should not burn charcoal indoors, this means no indoor grilling. It is also not advisable to use paint removers that has the chemical Methylene Chloride in it because this chemical converts into carbon monoxide inside the body. For individuals using wood burning stoves in their homes, it would be wise to ensure that the stove is kept on top of an approved stove board so that the floor is protected from embers and heat.

If you have crawl spaces inside your house or building then you should stay away from using indoor generators. Also, one should operate space heaters only in case of areas that are well-ventilated so that the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning is kept to a minimum.

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Ideal Temperatures To Set Your Thermostat To

The ideal thermostat settings depend on a number of factors, including time of day, level of activity, weather severity, number of room occupants and personal preferences. All of these factors must be considered to get the best results in terms of comfort and energy savings.

Winter

In the wintertime, going about the day indoors at 68°F is ideal. It keeps everyone comfortable despite the subzero temperatures outside without overly taxing the heaters. Savings can be gained by letting the temperature drop a little between 9 am to 5am which is the traditional time when people are in their offices and schools. A drop of 15 degrees is reasonable. It keeps the house relatively warm. The temperature can be pulled up again after residents go back from their work and school duties.

Summer

In the summertime, a thermostat setting of 78°F will not be out of place. It is considerably cooler than noontime peaks of around 100°F or more in certain regions. Again, this can be adjusted to warmer temperatures during office hours when the house is empty, except possibly for pets. The same is true for bedtime since sleep is a largely sedentary activity. The body is easier to cool down at this point than at any other time during the day. What’s more, a low temperature setting will only make it harder to get up in the morning as it will feel very chilly.

Importance Of A Thermostat

All of these adjustments can be difficult to keep track of. Install a programmable thermostat to keep life simple. These small and inexpensive units can be programmed to change the temperature in a room automatically depending on the time of the day. Enter the average ideal thermostat settings for the season and let it do the work.

A good thing about programmable thermostats is that although they can change the temperature automatically, the values are not set in stone. Homeowners can quickly override the settings for an unusually hot day or a particularly chilly evening. These may not happen often, but it’s nice to know that you can make the adjustments on the fly if you need to.

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What Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill. It is present in fumes produced when one burns fuel in stoves, lanterns, fireplaces, grills, furnaces, gas ranges, small engines, or vehicles. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to brain damage and even death; unfortunately, people cannot see it, taste it, or smell it. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as fatigue, nausea, and headaches, are often mistaken for the flu. Poisoning occurs when the gas builds up in a person’s bloodstream, thereby replacing the oxygen in the red blood cells. Carbon monoxide is such an insidious killer that people who are drunk or sleeping can die before they have symptoms. Other symptoms and signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
• Dizziness
• Weakness
• Shortness of breath
• Blurred vision
• Confusion
• Chest pain
• Loss of consciousness

Everyone is at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning; however, it is particularly dangerous for unborn babies, children, and the elderly. Since fetal blood cells absorb carbon monoxide more readily than adult blood cells do, unborn babies are more susceptible to poisoning. Young children are also susceptible because they take breaths much more frequently that adults do. Older adults are more likely to develop brain damage due to carbon monoxide exposure.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in your Home
• Install a battery back–up or battery–operated carbon monoxide detector.
• Have the water heater, heating system, and other coal, oil, or gas operated appliances and equipment serviced by a qualified and experienced HVAC technician annually.
• Avoid using portable flameless chemical heaters inside the house.
• Any strange odor from a gas refrigerator should be checked out by an expert.
• Only buy gas equipment carrying the seal of a reputable testing agency.
• Make sure all gas appliances are vented properly.
• Have the chimney inspected and checked every year.
• Never patch up a vent pipe with gum, tape, or something else.
• Avoid using the over or gas range for heating.
• Never burn charcoal indoors.
• Never use a generator inside the home garage, or basement.

Each year, hundreds of Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not linked to fires, and more than 20,000 visit emergency rooms. People who notice symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning should go outside immediately and call for emergency medical help. Call us for all heating and air conditioning needs.

Debunking Carbon Monoxide Myths

Over the last several decades, we have all become aware of the dangers of carbon dioxide inside buildings. Yet, even though virtually all home have detectors installed that can sense high levels of this gas, carbon monoxide myths still persist, leading to potentially unsafe conditions.

The nature of this deadly gas, which is always present in the atmosphere in small amounts, can be severely misunderstood. For example, many individuals think you can smell and taste carbon monoxide, however, it is odorless, colorless and tasteless. When people indicate that they can smell it, what they are really smelling is the byproduct of a fuel that is burning, which can also produce a taste in the mouth.

Carbon monoxide is always present in the atmosphere, even though some people believe that it is only produced when fuel is burned in a furnace, fireplace or similar device. The human body needs a tiny amount of CO to function, is efficient at getting rid of some excess and even has the ability to function properly when there are higher concentrations of the gas during short durations in winter when buildings are closed tightly due to weather.

Many people also think that CO detectors are prone to giving false alarms. While that was true with the first generation of these devices, such is no longer the case. If your alarm goes off, call your local fire department and have them check the levels. Usually when this happens, something has occurred to spike the CO in your home and the reading will be normal when they arrive, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Never handle carbon monoxide emergencies and fire emergencies in the same manner. Fires happen quickly and double in size every 30 seconds. Although CO levels may seem to rise quickly, it’s usually something that happens slowly over time. Many detectors have a alert mode and a warning mode. With the former, a problem may be in the offing. Investigate and open windows. When the warning goes off, leave the house and call for help. Know the difference and realize that you are never able to detect carbon monoxide on your own.

Why Is HVAC Maintenance Important

Maintaining an HVAC system is as important as buying a capable heating and cooling setup. The functionalities of an HVAC are quite similar to the innards of a vehicle – requiring adequate and timely care for smooth functioning. Proper maintenance won’t just ensure a cool or cozy home environment for several years down the line, but will also keep the energy bills in check.

Lower Energy Bills

As mentioned before, saving energy costs is one of the major reasons to ensure proper upkeep of an HVAC setup. An efficiently running system translates into less money expended on heating, electricity and cooling expenses. Proper maintenance also postpones, if not completely eliminate, the need for system replacement or major repairs.

Fresh and Healthy Air

An HVAC that’s looked after with tremendous care will ensure zero air quality issues. As a result, the coils and filters of the system are less likely to accumulate dirt and dust, which further leads to a healthy environment. An HVAC unit in a bad shape is a breeding place for bacteria and mold, and dirt – all of these could cause respiratory issues or worsen existing health problems in the family.

System Life

Proper maintenance also leads to increased shelf life. In fact, the right maintenance techniques and tips can keep HVACs in pristine shape for more than a decade. Since HVAC systems don’t come cheap, it only makes senses to extract as much juice or running time out of the system as possible.

Efficiency

As per research, unmaintained or dirty units must put in additional effort to churn out the same level of heating or cooling as a properly maintained system. Less energy is required to run a well-maintained machine, which translates into less stress on the machine’s components. This also means periodic maintenance work won’t necessitate major work or upgrades. Moreover, the scheduled maintenance intervals will get wrapped up quickly.

Less Emergency Repairs

Properly maintained systems are less likely to fall apart often and remain much more capable of bearing added pressure during months of peak usage. In other words, a more capable system is less likely to break down.

Conclusion

HVAC maintenance is, therefore, too important to be ignored. If you have a system lying unchecked for a considerable time period, call us to schedule your HVAC maintenance checkup today.

The True Difference Between EER Ratings And SEER Ratings

If you have purchased AC systems or have worked with some for a while, you probably have wondered what the big different between EER ratings and SEER ratings is. These two ratings are used frequently and one substitutes the other at times. But what is the real difference between the two?

The EER Measure

The EER rating (Energy Efficiency Rating) is a system used to measure how many watts of power are used for an AC to produce about 1 Btu/h of cooling power under fixed conditions. The EER ratings were the first ever used system to rate air conditioner efficiency and were appreciated for how simple it was to calculate with it.

However, technicians saw an error in the same system because it did not account for those ACs that took a while to reach peak cooling power when turned on. Thus the EER rating was revised and some changes made to what is a now SEER rating.

The SEER Measure

In full, it is known as the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. This system deviates from the norm of measuring energy efficiency under a constant operating temperature. To calculate SEER ratings, one has to measure how much energy is saved whenever the AC is in the cooling period; these measurements are taken under varying temperatures.

Thus, as EER ratings measure energy efficiency at constant temperature, SEER ratings take the same measurements under different temperature then average the resulting figure.

So Which Should You Use?

The standard way of taking Btu/h ratings is using SEER ratings, though the EER ratings also come to play in a lot of situations. Whichever you choose will depend on the temperature conditions in each season. For example, the EER ratings will be more efficient during summer when the temperatures are at a constant high. On the other hand, in areas where temperatures are moderate and often fluctuate during the day, the SEER ratings will be most accurate.

That is the major difference between EER ratings and SEER ratings. For more information on efficient heating and air conditioning options, feel free to call us today.

Reasons To Invest In A Whole Home Electrical Suppressor

Electricity over surge in a house may lead to disastrous outcomes. It may destroy many electrical devices which may result into unplanned for expenses repairing or replacing these devices. You may eliminate the chances of this happening by installing one surge protector for your whole home. This regulates the amount of electricity coming into your home and thus there will be minimal chances of an over surge in the house.

Every home requires a whole home electrical suppressor for the following reasons. There are numerous electrical appliances with circuit boards. These can be easily destroyed by an electrical over surge from the main power line. To protect all these devices from being destroyed, you will need to install a whole home electrical suppressor.

Most electrical surges in a home are internally generated. This means that the negligible surges that our electrical devices introduce into the system build over time. This causes degradation of the efficiency of these devices. This means that devices that would have lasted for several decades will last much shorter. To prevent this, you will require a whole home electrical suppressor.

Perhaps some of your devices may share an electric socket. This means that a surge by one of the devices will negatively affect all those devices. This can be prevented by layering the surge protector. The layering will be two-leveled: one at the sockets or any other point of service and at the electric service level to protect the whole home. This prevents other devices from being affected by a surge produced by another since not all devices are responsible for the surges we are talking about.

Now, some may ask why you may require a whole house suppressor when the electrical surges are only produced by a few devices. The reason is that even if the devices introduce the surge to the circuit, this surge will not just affect that device, it will affect everything electronic in the circuit. This means that you may be experiencing damaged equipment once in a while. Therefore, in order to reduce this, you should install the whole house electrical suppressor.

Electrical surges may even lead to electrical shocks to people in the house especially when running hot water showers or sinks. This may affect their general health in the long run. It is very important to ensure that your home’s electrical devices are protected from harm. For any questions, clarification or any other HVAC need, contact us.

Viable Factors To Consider When Choosing New Air Conditioner Or Heater

The choice of a heater or air conditioner for your home or building is an important decision to make. Therefore care must be taken to avoid making rush decisions that will have negative effects on your life. With this in mind, we have prepared a list of things that you should always consider when choosing a new heater or when choosing new air conditioner.

The refrigerant in use is always useful. With regulations on environmental friendly use of resources, it is wise to avoid refrigerants that deplete the ozone layer thus contributing largely to global warming and climate change. Efficient and environmental friendly refrigerants like R410a should be used. This will ensure you observe your responsibility to your environment and at the same time leading a quality life.

Maintenance is usually a consideration that you cannot avoid. Different systems will require different levels of maintenance. There are companies that will offer maintenance for their products for a specified period of time. These are very good companies to work with as they ensure the system remains highly efficient at all time. When these contracts are over, you are required to continue maintaining the equipment as required for best results.

The cost of the system is a major thing to look out for. This is to make sure that the buyer gets value for their money. Therefore, you may be required to compare prices offered by different manufacturers or sellers and make the best choice. With this in mind, it is wise to browse through information on different products, their manufacturers and sellers and make an informed choice.

Refund opportunities are usually not considered when choosing new air conditioner. However, they may be useful to you since you may end up choosing a heater that will not work well in your building. It is advisable to find out more about any refund programs set up by the state or even by the manufacturers. It would be sad to lose out on getting a refund on a very expensive piece when the state can refund a certain percentage or even the whole amount of purchase.

The efficiency rating of the system when choosing a new heater should be highly put in mind. This has a direct effect on the level of electricity or energy consumption and therefore the extent of your power bills. Choosing new air conditioner should therefore be guided by the energy efficiency. The rating is usually indicated but if not, you can always ask the seller.

Decision making when it comes to choosing a new heater or choosing new air conditioner may present several challenges. That is why experts in this field are readily available to guide you and make sure you are fully satisfied with the decision you make. If you require some consultation, please find time and call us. We will readily help you with what you need.

How Air Conditioners Work: Phase Conversion And Phase Transition

How does air conditioning work

The main job that an air conditioner performs is to cool the interior air. The system performs this following the principle of phase conversion where a liquid is converted into a gaseous state, thereby absorbing the heat and cooling the surrounding air.

The air conditioners use a spiral coil filled with refrigerants which are liquids with compounds that force the air that comes in contact into them to convert into gas. The interior air enters the system and is fanned over the evaporator coil by a special fan attached to the system. As the liquid turns into gas, it takes off the heat off the air and the outgoing air that is released into the atmosphere is cooler and more fresh. AC systems also use a humidifier which absorbs the moisture off the air and thereby absorbing some part of the heat, too.

However, a humidifier is not part of the central function of an AC, one of which is the phase conversion process just described above. The other end of the process involves turning the gas back into liquid again, so that the cycle can continue uninterrupted. This process is called phase transition. The component that plays the main part in this process is called compressor. This is an electric pump which uses high pressure to convert gas into liquid. The heat generated as part of this process is vented through a duct system into the outside air, so that the indoor air does not get affected by it anyway.

In the central air conditioning system, the compressor and the condenser are fitted into a separate unit which is installed outdoors. However, in the case of window systems the compressor section is fitted towards the outside while the evaporator and the coil part lies at the front of the system so that the cooled air can directly go back indoors.

We are a company providing air conditioning and heating system needs to a large base of clients for a long time. Give us a call today for any servicing, repair and maintenance job on AC, furnace, or heating systems or any other HVAC needs, or if you need any additional information on how air conditioners work.

Furnace Warning Signs: What They Are And How To Identify Them

You can, usually, tell if your furnace is functioning at optimum or not through simple observation, or professional furnace inspection. By checking your furnace’s filters, vents and other part’s condition, you can identify furnace warning signs that indicate your furnace is functioning less efficiently. HVAC professionals can, of course, detect more technical problems, during the inspection of the furnace.

Warning signs of a faulty furnace

Funny odors

Funny odors, emitted by your furnace, are a sign that one or more parts of the furnace are not in proper shape and are, therefore, not functioning properly. Such odors could emanate from dirt on dirty or clogged filters, obstructed airflow, gritting metallic parts, and or burning furnace parts. Simple nut adjustments or cleaning/ unclogging of filters and vents can rectify the problems. In other instances, only professional HVAC attendants can detect the real problem and rectify it.

Unstable thermostat readings

Your furnace’s thermostat regulates the degree at which your furnace can heat your indoor air. Absence of change in indoor air temperature whereas the reading on the thermostats has changed, or overheating of indoor air when thermostat readings remain constant, is a sign that your furnace or thermostat is broken. Check your filters, vents and other parts for dirt or obstructions that may be the cause of your furnace malfunction. You can also check your thermostat setting and location to ensure it does not detect heat or cold from other appliances.

Abnormal noises

Before you identify what noises are abnormal with your furnace, you need to know what normal noises your furnace emits, if any. For instance wood furnaces emit crackling sound as the wood burns and occasional sparks, whereas burning gas has a distinct pressure sound. A soft humming or fanning sound may be the only sounds an electric furnace emits from rotating fans or mortar. Any other sounds from your furnace signify something that needs to be fixed.

Conclusion

Obstructed airways, worn out, and dirty furnace parts can inhibit efficient functioning of any furnace. You may sense when your furnace functions less-efficiently from abnormal sounds, odors, flames or sparks, as well as imbalanced indoor air temperature. For all your HVAC needs, including furnace maintenance and repairs, contact your local HVAC contractors.