What Type Of Water Heater Is Most Energy Efficient?

Water heating accounts for about 20% of a typical American household’s monthly energy bills. When it’s time to replace your old water heater, it pays to select the most energy-efficient unit that fits into your budget and has the right capacity for your needs. Use these tips to choose the most energy-efficient water heater for your South Hill, WA, home. Consider the Efficiency of Water Heater Power Sources Water heaters can be operated with solar, geothermal, electricity, natural gas, propane, or heating oil. Solar power and geothermal water heaters use a minimal amount of fossil fuels, so they’re an environmentally-friendly choice. Natural gas and propane are the most energy-efficient fossil fuel sources of power for water heaters. Electricity follows behind natural gas and propane when it comes to the energy efficiency of the power source. Heating oil is the least-efficient source of power for a water heater. You’ll also need to consider the availability and feasibility of the power source. Solar power may not be a cost-effective investment in South Hill, and geothermal may have a long payoff period. Natural gas may not be available in all locations. Propane and heating oil have variable prices. Propane and heating oil also...

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How To Humidify Your House In The Winter

During winter, naturally lower humidity levels and more time spent running a heater can lead to low humidity inside your house. Once relative humidity drops below about 40%, it can be quite unpleasant. Low humidity can cause respiratory issues, rough skin and hair, and static electricity shocks. It may also harm your home by causing wood to shrink or warp. If you want to avoid all the unpleasant effects of low humidity, follow these helpful methods. Dry Your Laundry on an Indoor Line When it gets cold, consider using a clothes drying rack inside. This allows the moisture from your freshly washed laundry to naturally humidify your home. Just remember to place the clothes near a radiator or heating vent since it might take them a long time to dry otherwise, and if the clothes aren’t near the heating vent, the moisture won’t disperse into the home as well. If you feel like it still takes too long to dry clothes on the line, consider drying them halfway in the dryer and then letting them air dry the rest of the way. This can still boost humidity quite a bit. Weatherproof Your Home When your home is not weatherproofed, your...

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How to Monitor the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

When you think about air quality, you may think about outdoor pollutants like emissions and greenhouse gases. However, your home can be far more polluted than the air outside. Many risk factors can contribute to unhealthy indoor air quality (IAQ). Three Main Types of Pollutants Before you begin testing your indoor air quality, it can be helpful to understand the three main types of pollutants that may be affecting your environment: Biological Chemical Combustion Examples of biological pollutants include things derived from other living sources such as dust mites, mold, and pollen. These pollutants are commonly found in the average household and may contribute to health issues like sort throat, nasal congestion, eye irritation, and asthma symptoms. Chemical pollutants may not cause immediate symptoms, but long-term exposure can cause damage to the nervous system and internal organs. Common types of chemical pollutants include VOCs, formaldehyde, radon, and lead. Unfortunately, these pollutants are often found in popular household cleaners and building materials. The last type of pollutant that may have a negative effect on your home environment is combustion pollutants. These pollutants can come from things like tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide. An odorless, colorless gas, carbon monoxide can be released...

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The Fascinating Evolution of Staying Warm

Ever since human beings first discovered how to start fires, keeping warm has been a priority for survival and comfort. Looking back at how heating has evolved is a fascinating journey that reveals the innovations of human beings. We no longer rely solely on woodburning fireplaces and stoves but have an array of options to heat the homes in Pierce and King counties, including some that demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment. Roman Hypocaust The first concept of central heating was developed by the Romans. Their hypocaust expanded upon the single woodburning fireplace to heat an entire room. Flues for the hypocaust were built into the walls and floors. As the exhaust from the fireplace moved to the chimneys through the flues, the heat warmed the entire room. While a brilliant advancement in home heating, hypocausts were eventually phased out because they could only be used in homes that were built of non-combustible products due to the risk of fires. New Fuel Sources Wood continued to be the only method for generating heat in homes until the 18th century when it was replaced with coal. In the 1940s, natural gas replaced coal, and in the energy crisis of the...

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Should I Cover My Air Conditioner or Heat Pump In The Fall And Winter?

Is It a Good Idea to Cover Your Air Conditioner or Heat Pump When It’s Not in Use? Although most people in Puyallup, WA, stop using their air conditioner sometime in September, the outdoor unit that powers your air conditioner remains outside all year long. Since other outdoor items, such as patio furniture and swimming pools, get covered up in the fall and winter, it makes sense that your outdoor air conditioner unit or heat pump would need to be covered, as well. Before you spend your hard-earned money on a cover, though, we have a few things that you should know. Quality-Tested Before air conditioner units are shipped to consumers, they are put through a series of torture tests to ensure they can stand up to almost any weather condition. This means that your air conditioner or heat pump can withstand the abuse that Mother Nature throws at it. The best part is that the units are tested without covers of any kind, meaning that a cover isn’t necessary to protect your unit against rain, sleet, snow or any other kind of precipitation. Downsides of a Cover Beyond not really being necessary, a cover can cause problems that may...

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Facts About UV Light and Indoor Air Quality

Ultraviolet light is the highest frequency known on the visible light spectrum. UV light is almost entirely invisible to the naked eye. Most of the UV light we experience comes from the sun and causes sunburn and increased risks of skin cancer. Thankfully, most UV radiation gets absorbed by the ozone layer of our atmosphere before reaching our skin. UV Light’s General Uses Ultraviolet light has several uses. Ultraviolet lights have been used for biological applications, in food processing centers, and for the treatment of water. However, indoors, it is usually used for air purification. Ultraviolet air cleaners are a great defense to use in order to defend your HVAC system from allergens and bacteria that are bioaerosols, or airborne particles made up of living organisms. How Do UV Lights Protect the Indoor Quality of Air? UV lights and allergens have a common link. UV lights dramatically reduce allergens in indoor environments, especially when installed in an HVAC system. This is because UV air cleaners kill tiny microbes as they pass through the HVAC system, which is especially useful for the millions of Americans who suffer each year from allergies and asthma attacks from air ducts that contain allergens, mold,...

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HVAC and Airborne Viruses: Separating Fact from Fiction

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Environmental Protection Agency have brought attention to the fact that indoor HVAC systems can affect airborne viruses. This concern has come even further to the forefront as the country and the entire world navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, let’s look at some common misconceptions in addition to some truths that deserve more exposure. We want to help you separate the facts from the fiction. Fact: Ventilation Can Distribute Airborne Viruses A ventilation system can certainly distribute some airborne viruses throughout a home. However, this does not apply to all airborne viruses. Distribution occurs more with germs that can be transmitted through aerosols. In such cases, inadequate ventilation can exacerbate the situation because, just as with pollution particles, those aerosols will accumulate over time. On the other hand, strong ventilation or even natural ventilation, such as opening a window, can mitigate this buildup by introducing fresh air. Fiction: Strong Ventilation Alone Is Enough to Combat Airborne Viruses Strong ventilation helps to ensure that virus-laden aerosols do not accumulate and increase your risk of infection. Your greatest risk of exposure, however, is immediate contact. You should socially...

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The Pro and Cons of Air Purifiers

You might have thought about putting an air purifier in your home to improve your indoor air quality. It’s important to pick the right one based on what you’re trying to accomplish. Here are the differences between the various types of air purifiers and their pros and cons. What Is an Air Purifier? An air purifier is a device that removes pollutants from the air. Different types of air purifiers are designed to remove various types of pollutants. An air purifier can either be portable or one that is installed into your home’s centralized heating and cooling system. To remove pollen, dust mites, mildew, pet dander, bacteria, and viruses from the air, you should get an air purifier with a HEPA filter. This filter removes pollutants from the air as small as 0.3 microns and is over 99% effective. People with asthma and allergies really benefit from HEPA filters. The air purifier may also have a filter made of activated carbon. This filter is effective at removing smoke and lingering odors from the air. They capture smoke and smells from cigarettes, cooking, pets, and other sources. Helps You to Breathe Easier Air purifiers can help everyone, but especially people with...

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How to Tell if You Need Air Conditioning Repair Work

It is highly likely that you rely on your air conditioner to regulate the temperature in your indoor environment. Therefore, you need your AC system to be operating in top condition to keep you cool during the hot summer weather. Unfortunately, your AC unit could malfunction every once in a while. If that’s the case, it is a good idea to turn to our professionals for effective repairs. There are certain key hints you need to watch out for if you suspect that your unit is backfiring. Some of these issues may appear as minor hitches while others are more conspicuous. Make sure that you pay close attention to the condition of your AC system. The following are seven common signs that your AC is in need of urgent repairs. 1. Short Cycles Short cycling is what happens when your AC unit shuts off too quickly before attaining the required level of cooling. In many cases, you will notice that your AC unit keeps going on and off frequently. When this happens, it is difficult to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Moreover, your electric bills will be affected. There are several reasons why your unit may be acting this way....

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How To Paint Your Home Without Impacting Your Indoor Air

Painting your Puyallup, WA, home is a fast and low-cost way to revamp the interior. When you want to change the look and mood of a room, painting offers a simple solution. However, many paints contain volatile organic compounds, which cause poor indoor air quality. Cleaning up the mess with solvents can make the situation worse. Here are some tips on painting your home without causing a negative impact on your indoor air quality. Test for Lead If your home was built before 1978, test for lead before painting. The local health department has lead-testing kits, or you can have someone do the lead testing for you. Chips or dust from old lead paint can build up around windows, baseboards, and door frames. When you sand those areas in order to smooth them or remove the old paint, the lead particles can become airborne. Breathing in lead particles is particularly dangerous for infants, children, and pregnant women. Avoid Creating Dust As much as possible, avoid creating dust when painting your home. Keep dry sanding to a minimum. Wet sanding is safer, but it can still generate dust. You could also mist the area that needs sanding. Just use a spray...

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