- The first tip is the most obvious one – open the windows for five to 10 minutes every day to let fresh air in and lower the concentrations of toxic chemicals and carbon dioxide. A more energy efficient option is installing a heat recovery ventilator.
- Make your house a no-smoking zone. Cigarette smoke contains 4,000 different chemicals. None are good for you.
- Minimize dust. Use a doormat to prevent dirt from entering your home, and/or have people remove their shoes at the door. Also, vacuum and mop the floors at least once a week. The vacuum cleaner should have strong suction, rotating brushes and a HEPA filter.
- Keep humidity between 30% and 50%. This will limit mold growth and dust mites. The presence of mold specifically can have adverse health effects including runny noses, eye and skin irritation, and asthma attacks. Ways to regulate humidity include:
a. Using a dehumidifier
b. Opening the window or using an exhaust fan when cooking, bathing or running the dishwasher
c. Venting the clothes dryer to the outside
d. Making sure there are no water leaks in your home
e. Emptying the drip pans in your window air conditioner and dehumidifier
f. Not overwatering plants (including those mentioned below)
- Avoid synthetic fragrances. Many air fresheners, laundry products, perfumes and hand soaps containing synthetic fragrances emit harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs cause eye, nose and throat irritation, frequent headaches, nausea, and can also damage the liver, kidney and central nervous system. So rather than using these products, try the following:
a. Freshen the air by arranging lemon slices on a plate
b. Eliminate odors by putting baking soda in a small bowl
c. Choose products without synthetic fragrances
d. Avoid aerosol spray products
- Deploy house plants. Some everyday house plants can eliminate toxins such as benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. They can also absorb some VOCs. Recommended plants include English ivy, a variegated snake plant, a Peace lily or a Florist’s chrysanthemum.
Winter means spending more time indoors. And that means breathing a lot more of that indoor air which, believe it or not, may not be as clean as outdoor air. That’s because your indoor air is comprised of outdoor air, plus all the pollutants, allergens, etc. that inhabit your house. So here are some tips on improving indoor air quality.
Every year, more than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning not linked to fires, more than 4,000 are hospitalized, and more than 20,000 visit the emergency room due to exposure to this lethal, odorless, colorless gas.
While everybody is at risk for CO poisoning, those especially at risk include infants, the elderly and those with chronic heart disease, anemia or breathing problems.
One of the challenges in recognizing CO poisoning are the symptoms resemble those of the common cold or flu. These include headache, dizziness, weakness, blurred vision, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. More severe problems include brain damage and cardiovascular issues.
Here are several tips for preventing CO poisoning in your home.
If you suspect someone has CO poisoning, do the following:
Would’ve. Could’ve. Should’ve.
As we enter 2018, those are three words we are all vowing not to say. We are intent on keeping our resolutions. As you are preparing your list, here are 12 resolutions (one for each month) for caring for your heating and air conditioning system.
When your furnace is bringing warm air into your home this winter, that air is dry. You’ll notice that in several visible ways, such as those annoying static electricity shocks and a dry throat. But that’s not all. Air that is too dry is not good for your health, your possessions, or your pocketbook.
For those reasons, a whole house humidifier makes sense to keep your indoor humidity between the 30% and 60% levels recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Here are the benefits.
Selecting a Humidifier
First, note that many furnace manufacturers offer humidifiers that are compatible with your unit. Also make sure installation of another humidifier will not void your furnace warranty.
There are two types of whole house humidifiers: evaporative and steam humidifiers.
Evaporative humidifiers work by having warm air pass through an evaporator pad saturated with water. The air absorbs the moisture and moves it throughout the home. These humidifiers are powered by the furnace’s fan and must be installed in your ductwork.
Steam humidifiers operate by heating water in a canister and converting the water to steam that is forced through the ductwork. These humidifiers must also be installed in the ductwork, but may not need to be connected to the furnace.
Evaporative humidifiers are less expensive upfront, sometimes as low as $250. These units also use little electricity, but lots of water. Steam humidifiers can require less maintenance, since evaporator systems’ evaporator pads can become a breeding ground for bacteria and should be replaced each year. But even for steam humidifiers, you should flush sediment from the tank annually.
Another important consideration is capacity and compatibility. You need a humidifier that will provide enough moisture for your entire home. A rough rule is approximately 12 gallons a day can humidify up to 3,000 square feet.
Also, some humidifiers now offer “smart” features that can operate independent of your home heating.
As we head into cold weather season, you may already have had your furnace inspected and you may have discovered you need a new furnace. Or your furnace may be 15 years old or more, and you might think it is better to be safe than sorry.
No matter why you have decided to buy a new furnace, here are some important tips.
While this blog is being written with the temps nearing 90, odds are this is the last blast of summer, and cold weather is just around the corner. Hopefully you’ve already scheduled your furnace maintenance. But there is one more thing you need to do. Ask yourself: is it time for a new furnace? When mulling this over, consider that the last thing you want is for your furnace to break down during one of our obscenely cold days. You will be miserable. Your pipes could freeze or burst, causing extensive and expensive damage.
Here are some warning signs to consider:
It’s that time of year again. Your mailbox and email inbox are about to be inundated with reminders (including from us) that it is time for your annual furnace heating inspection in Chicago. And you are going to ask yourself: do I really need to?
Obviously we’re biased, but our answer would be a resounding yes. Here’s why.
With summer here, you want to keep cool and at the same time keep your energy costs under control (http://www.bishopheating.com/blog/energy-saving-tips-for-summer). One way to do that is with ceiling fans in Chicago. Here are a few thoughts.
Ceiling fan prices range from under $100 to several hundred dollars, based on numerous factors. Here are some things to consider when buying a ceiling fan, in no particular order:
Room size Fan size
Up to 144 sq. ft. 42-inch
Up to 225 sq. ft. 44-inch
Up to 400 sq. ft. 52-inch
Rooms more than 18 feet long may need two medium-sized fans
o Cross-laminated veneer blades
o Veneered constant density board
o Clear or smoked acrylic
Summer’s here. Hopefully by now you have had your AC system serviced so it is operating at peak efficiency to keep your home cool and to maximize energy savings. But that is not all you can do to reduce your energy costs in the summer. Here are some more tips (note: many of these are good for all year round):
Windows and window coverings
Appliances and Lighting
If you are looking for HVAC technical service advisor then we are here to help you! Last month we gave you some tips on whether you should consider purchasing a new AC unit. So if you decide it is time, here is some advice on how to go about buying a new system. Check out our HVAC buying guide below.
Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning
Family owned since 1943