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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.

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.

Will HVAC Efficiency Standards Go Up?

Indoor heating, cooling and air ventilation is important for high-quality indoor air. Most HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) equipments consume energy, whether electrical, gas, coal or wood among other fuels. The U.S energy department, together with other HVAC experts, have been working on preserving the environment through new energy efficiency rules and consumer encouragement actions for reduced energy consumption.

HVAC efficiency standards

Efficiency standards for HVAC equipments might or might not go up soon. HVAC experts, together with the US department of energy, proposed a raise of the efficiency standards to 90 by 2013, in 2009. Annual fuel utilization energy of 90 means that the HVAC equipment utilizes 90% of the energy it consumes to give the desired heating, cooling or air conditioning. Current AFUE stands at 78.

The move to raise efficiency standards was met with mixed reactions. New building owners and the local government figured that this move would save consumers money, as they would not lose much energy through the use of their HVAC equipments, and the government would contribute towards energy saving through reduced national energy consumption. Whereas initial acquisition and installation of new high-efficiency HVAC equipments might cost consumers and building owners more money than the current systems, the gradually saved energy would reduce overall energy consumption.

Challenges that face the increase in efficiency standards

Owners of buildings with old HVAC systems find the move to raise efficiency standards inconveniencing in terms of cost and time. The new high-energy efficient equipments do not have the same ventilation systems as the old ones, and that would need an absolute demotion of the existing systems’ ventilation, and installation of new systems’ ventilation. The demolition and installation of new HVAC systems’ ventilation would cost a lot of money and take up time. For these people, retaining their less-energy efficiency equipments seem cost effective, and that is why such are the groups moved to challenge the increase in efficiency standards for HVAC equipments.

Conclusion

It is not yet known whether or not standards for HVAC equipment will go up as proposed by the US department of Energy, in 2009. The move was supposed to be implemented by 2013, but its opponents felt it would be inconveniencing and costly to people who have older HVAC systems. Whether the motion to raise these standards passes or not, all consumers should ensure their HVAC (assessment of HVAC needs, acquisition, repair, servicing and replacement of HVAC equipments) services are conducted by qualified and licensed HVAC contractors.

Is Your HVAC System Protected From Power Surges?

Although many consider it a luxury, your home’s HVAC system is a modern convenience and a comfort. It keeps your home at just the right temperature, no matter the season, so anyone who enters can be comfortable. You probably know that from time to time this system needs repairs and HVAC maintenance, but do you know that it needs power surge protection? Many homeowners worry about protecting their printers, computers, and televisions from power surges, but fail to protect an even more expensive and valuable item; their HVAC system. For an HVAC system, damage from lightning or an electric surge can be quite expensive.

Home Power Surge Protection
Power surges can be caused by storms, lightning, repair work on power lines, accidents, and even from appliances in the home. Electrical power surges can affect nearly every electrical piece of equipment in your home; from your coffee maker to your computer, your doorbell to your television, your HVAC system to your hot water heater. Nothing is safe from a power surge. To protect smaller items, some homeowners purchase specialized outlets or even power strips that promise to protect against electrical power surges. However, most homeowners do not think to protect their home utilities, such as their boiler, furnace, air conditioning unit, and HVAC system. This can be a very costly mistake.

Protect Your Home Utilities
The warranty on your HVAC system does not generally cover any damages or repairs needed due to a power surge or lightning strike. In some circumstances, your homeowners insurance will cover it. However, it is your responsibility to prove that is what caused your HVAC system to malfunction.

Protection is always the best answer when it comes to large investments, such as your HVAC system. Call your trusted HVAC contractor today to discover how you can protect your home utilities. A full house power surge protector will be your best answer to protecting as much as possible against an electrical surge. Your HVAC contractor can offer the best solutions to protecting your HVAC system and avoiding the consequences of not being protected during an electrical power surge.

The Basics Of NATE Certification

When you want to find a HVAC technician you can count on for quality repairs and service, it is essential that you not only ensure they have the right training and expertise to handle the job, but you should also consider choosing a NATE certified technician. NATE certified technicians have exceeded the requirements needed to become a licensed HVAC technician; however, many homeowners don’t know what NATE certification is or how it can benefit them.

What does NATE certified mean?

It is not uncommon for homeowners to not understand the importance of NATE certification. While this is an important designation that is recognized throughout the HVAC industry, both in the US as well as in Canada, it is often something that is a mystery to others. Understanding NATE certification is an important part of knowing how to choose the right HVAC technician. NATE certified technicians are not only more skilled, but they have the commitment to continue to strive for excellence. After all, not all HVAC technicians take the initiative to go above and beyond what is required of them. Fortunately, NATE certification can help set a skilled technician apart from other service technicians in their field.

What is NATE certification?

NATE certification is an important factor in the professionalism and training of a quality HVAC technician. Not only is it essential that the technician study and become extremely knowledgeable in a wide variety of HVAC matters, but they will also be required to pick an area of specialization in which they will need to gain proficiency. The technician will then need to pass a core exam in addition to an exam covering their area of specialization. Whether they choose gas heating, air conditioning, heat pumps or even light commercial refrigeration, this commitment to further education and expertise is definitely a bonus when it comes to hiring a quality HVAC technician.

In addition to providing exceptional heating and cooling services, your NATE certified technician will also be able to provide professional maintenance for your HVAC equipment. Annual AC maintenance is an essential part of protecting your equipment and making sure it will be able to provide reliable cooling during the summer. When quality performance is important, call your professional HVAC contractor and schedule preventative maintenance for your cooling system.