How Cooking Impacts Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

There are some everyday actions that hurt a home’s indoor air quality but are overlooked by homeowners because of how essential they are. One such action is cooking. Your eating habits inform the types of pollutants that get into your indoor air. Cooking anything from a piece of toast to chocolate chip cookies leads to differing levels of particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) entering your air. Knowing what these pollutants are can help you take steps to improve your indoor air. How Different Cooking Sources Contribute to Indoor Air Pollution Cooking any amount or type of food will cause pollutants to enter your indoor air. However, the effects shouldn’t be harmful if your home is properly filtered. If your home is outfitted with gas ovens and cooktops, you will perform combustion of fossil fuels every time you cook. Any type of cooking that involves combustion is more harmful than non-combustion cooking methods like microwaves and electric ovens. When you use an electric oven and cooktop, your home shouldn’t become too polluted. However, a small concentration of harmful particles can still enter your indoor air. When you engage in methods of cooking like frying tortillas and stir-frying, particulate matter...

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HVAC Design and Why It’s Important

Most homeowners need to realize how much work is put into designing an HVAC system to fit their home when installing it. Every home has a different size and layout and different electrical, plumbing, and HVAC needs. Because every home is so different, your HVAC system should be designed to fit your home and its heating and cooling needs. Here are some of the things that go into designing an HVAC system for your home. Your Home Is a System When designing your HVAC system, your house is considered a system made up of interrelated parts. Each part significantly impacts how your HVAC system will be laid out to best fit your heating and cooling needs. The first part of the system is the building envelope. This is made up of the temperature and pressure barriers set up within your home. This includes the floors, walls, roof, windows, doors, and insulation. Within the envelope, some things can affect HVAC operation, including appliances that can emit heat. Heat-emitting appliances can often result in hot and cold spots within your home. For example, a kitchen is usually a hot spot in your home due to the oven, especially when in use. Certain...

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How To Save Money On Your Water Bill This Winter?

How to Cut Water Bills During the Winter Anyone concerned about their finances might consider ways to cut back on expenses. Cooking at home and reviewing other discretionary expenditures could help, but some of the highest costs are those associated with living in a home. For many, paying high water bills each month can drain their savings. With winter approaching, it might be a good idea to consider some ways to reduce water bills. Watch the Faucet Usage If you’re like many people, you may turn on the faucet at the sink and let the water run before using it. Even letting the faucet run for a few additional seconds adds up over a month. Shutting off the faucet when not using the water cuts back on that waste. Upgrading the faucet could be another helpful way to save money. Low-flow faucet heads designed for better efficiency may pay for themselves by cutting those bills. Take Shorter Showers Long, hot showers can be relaxing. They could also be quite costly. Spending too much time in the shower allowing the water to run too long may waste quite a bit of water. As for bathtubs, keep levels low to save water....

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Did My Flame Sensor Go Bad?

Your heating system is fairly complex and has a lot of internal components. When just one of these components stops functioning correctly, it can hinder the overall operation of your system. Today, we’re going to take a look at what your flame sensor is and what you’ll experience when it goes bad. What Is a Flame Sensor? A flame sensor is basically a safety feature that most modern gas-powered furnaces have. This sensor controls the gas valve. When it senses that there is a flame present, it will leave the valve open. However, if it senses that there is no flame, it will turn off the valve for your gas. Your sensor is programmed to do this as excess gas inside of your furnace can end up resulting in a leak or a fire. While your flame sensor is a very imperative part of your heating system, it can be utterly annoying when it fails. Signs of a Bad Flame Sensor Over time, it’s not uncommon for a flame sensor to malfunction. There are a few common indicators that will let you know that there is an issue with your flame sensor. These include: Burners turn off a few seconds...

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Do I Need My AC Fan Speed Adjusted?

Unless your HVAC has a variable-speed blower fan, it will always circulate air throughout your home at the same rate of speed. This rate is determined by how fast the blower fan in your air handler spins. Although the fan only spins at one speed, most units still allow you to adjust the speed to be faster or slower. When you adjust the fan speed, it changes the airflow rate and will allow you to cool the home slower or more quickly. Changing the fan speed is usually not necessary and can potentially create issues with your AC system’s performance. Nonetheless, there are situations where adjusting the fan speed can help improve home comfort. Let’s now take a look at the effect that fan speed has on your AC system and the reasons why you might need to have it adjusted. Fan Speed and Airflow Rates To work efficiently, air conditioning systems need to circulate so many cubic feet of air per minute. The exact volume required is determined by the size of the AC unit. The general rule is that the blower fan needs to circulate between 350 and 400 cubic feet of air per minute for each AC...

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Understanding What an AC Capacitor Is and How to Replace It

It’s an inconvenience at best, if not an outright threat to your family: Your central air conditioner isn’t working. You try to diagnose the issue, and it seems like an electrical problem. Often when your AC unit isn’t getting the power it needs to keep your air temperature comfortable, a faulty capacitor is to blame. A capacitor in an air conditioning unit works sort of like a battery. It stores up the electrical current from the electrical supply and distributes it at a consistent level so that your AC’s motors function. A typical central air conditioner has various motor components: a blower motor, a compressor motor, and a fan motor. Depending on the model, your AC unit might have one central capacitor that supplies power to all three motors, or each motor might have its own separate capacitor. Capacitors can break down suddenly, such as when the air conditioner is hit with a sudden power surge, or they may wear down over time due to normal operational wear and tear. Signs of a capacitor near the end of its lifespan may include a humming or clicking sound coming from the AC unit. Alternatively, you may notice your air conditioner having...

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6 Telltale Signs It’s Time to Install a New HVAC System

An HVAC system is one of the most vital appliances in your home. This equipment keeps you in control of the temperatures in your indoor space by cooling your home during summer and heating it in winter. But when should you install a new heating and cooling system? This is a significant investment and may be a challenging decision to make for most homeowners. Below are the telltale signs that it’s time to consider installing a new heating and cooling unit in your house. 1. Expensive Repair Costs Over time, you’ll need to call a professional to service your heating and cooling appliance. Many parts in your equipment are repairable, and simple fixes will be enough to get it back up and running. But when major components such as the compressor, coil fans, or the motor start breaking down, you’ll need to spend a lot of money on repairs. When the cost of repairing exceeds your expected spending, it’s worth replacing the entire unit. A new appliance will make your household more comfortable, and you won’t experience significant system failures. Once installed, remember to schedule maintenance with our professionals to help extend the life of your unit. 2. Uneven Indoor...

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Is Your Air Conditioner Bad for the Environment?

Air conditioners are a useful convenience in the summer months, but they can also negatively impact the environment by causing air pollution. Ditching your air conditioner altogether may be nearly impossible, but thankfully, there are some ways you can reduce the risks of pollution when using them. It’s helpful to start by understanding the different ways that air conditioners can cause air pollution. Thermal Pollution Air conditioners are effective cooling devices because they take the extra heat out of your home. The problem occurs when that heat is released outdoors. This causes the temperature outside to rise. So, the more air conditioners in use, the warmer the outdoor air becomes. Warmer air outside feeds the need for people to rely on air conditioners to keep them comfortable inside and creates a vicious cycle. The effects of our reliance on air conditioners can lead to something called the urban heat island effect. This occurs when a city or other neighborhood that has a lot of tall buildings and concrete becomes much warmer than the more rural areas that surround it. All the air conditioners running in those huge buildings on full blast is part of the reason urban areas are so...

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Will Closing My Upstairs Vents Really Reduce My Energy Bills?

If you’re like most homeowners, you’re always looking for ways to save money on your energy bills. One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that shutting vents in your unused rooms will save you money. If you’re thinking of trying this method to save money, we encourage you to think again. The Concept Behind Shutting Vents Let’s say that you likely have a room or two in your upstairs that doesn’t get utilized that often. You may think that shutting vents in those rooms will allow your HVAC system to work less since it doesn’t have to deliver any air to those rooms. But, in reality, shutting vents has the opposite effect on your energy bill. Understanding Your Ductwork When the ducts were originally installed in your home, it was designed with the objective of delivering treated air to all the rooms throughout your home. When you shut even just one vent, it will cause a pressure increase inside of your ductwork. This pressure increase happens because your HVAC system is designed to work at full capacity with all of your vents open. The more vents that you close, the higher the pressure is going to build. How Does...

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10 Ways a Smart Thermostat Can Save You Money

10 Ways a Smart Thermostat Can Save You Money Many homes today have a smart thermostat and an app that allows you to control the temperature remotely. There are numerous benefits to this type of device, including its ability to save money on your energy bills. With a smart thermostat and the app, you can start saving by simply making small changes in your daily routine. 1. They Learn Your Behavior Like a smartphone, a smart thermostat can be programmed to learn your behavior and adjust accordingly. Let’s say you start your day at 8 a.m. In that case, the device can predict that and adjust the temperature early to reach the desired temperature by 8 a.m. It will do this to match your comfort, instead of staying on the entire time. 2. They Offer Money-Saving Features The app will allow you to schedule your program to what is convenient for you and sync it with the smart thermostat. You can do the same for away mode, which enables you to pre-set a period that you will be out. The device can automatically determine how long it needs to keep the temperature at your set rate to conserve energy. For...

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