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Carbon Monoxide Detectors: A Must-Have for Home Safety

Carbon monoxide detectors are always on guard against the presence of the dangerous gas, and it’s important to check your detectors regularly to make sure they’re operating properly. Carbon monoxide (CO) is the most common cause of poisoning deaths in the developed world, so don’t take chances when it comes to CO safety in your home.

Carbon monoxide gas is produced by fuel combustion. Malfunctioning or improperly-vented gas-fired stoves, furnaces and water heaters are all potential indoor sources of this invisible, odorless gas. Carbon monoxide detectors measure not only the level of carbon monoxide in the air, but also duration of exposure. When both factors exceed safe limits, the unit sounds a piercing alarm to alert residents.

To function reliably, carbon monoxide detectors require two critical maintenance procedures:

Test the Detector

This monthly testing procedure is standard for most models, but check your owner’s manual to make sure.

  • Press the “test” button on the front of the detector and hold it down for several seconds until you hear the alarm. Release the button when the alarm sounds.
  • If the alarm fails to sound, verify that the unit is plugged into a wall outlet if it is an AC-powered detector. Replace the batteries if it’s a DC unit.
  • Test again. Still no alarm? Replace the detector.

Replace the Batteries

Twice a year, install new batteries in a DC-powered detector. A detector that emits an intermittent chirp alarm may also require new backup batteries, which are utilized in the event of a household power failure.

Need to get in touch with us or schedule an appointment? Schedule online or call us at 770-253-2665 today!

Information courtesy of Detmer and Sons


Improve Your Comfort With These Winterization Tips

Taking the time for home winterization will help you cut your heating costs and maintain a more comfortable home. It doesn’t cost much or involve a lot of hard work to prepare your home for freezing temperatures, and you’ll notice immediate improvements in comfort throughout.

  • Seal the leaks. As temperatures fall, you may notice cool air coming in around the windows and exterior door frames. Caulk around the window frames will stop the leaks, and fresh weatherstripping around the doors will stop drafts. When the door doesn’t close tightly at the base, use a draft stopper or install a door sweep.
  • Deal with the windows. If you don’t use storm windows or have thermal-rated windows, your windows can lose a lot of heat from your home 24/7. You can buy clear plastic window kits that stop some of the heat transfer outdoors. Depending on how many windows you have, the modest cost will easily pay for itself in lower heating bills.
  • Clean the gutters. When rain or snow melt runs off your roof, it can collect in clogged gutters and freeze, forming ice dams. While the dams may not affect your comfort the first season they appear, when the ice melts, it can damage the roof and exterior walls. Should water leak into the attic, the insulation can absorb the moisture, rendering it less effective for protecting against heat transfer.
  • Have your HVAC system serviced. Not only will this winterization tip help you save energy this winter, it will prolong the life of your equipment. Professional HVAC technicians clean and adjust the entire system, check the airflow through the system, and spot small problems before they become more serious.
  • Switch the ceiling fan direction. Change the settings for your ceiling fans to take advantage of the warmer air that collects near the ceiling during the winter. Blades that turn clockwise will pull the air down and increase the warmth closer to the floor and middle areas of your rooms.

Need to get in touch with us or schedule an appointment? Schedule online or call us at 770-253-2665 today!

Information courtesy of Detmer and Sons


3 Reasons to Change Your Furnace Filter More Often

Wondering why it’s so important to replace those filters? Check out the top three reasons why you should change furnace filters regularly:

1. Clean systems last longer

Dirt accumulates in filters over time, especially during summer and winter months when your heating and cooling systems are in peak use. Dirty build-up causes clogs in filters, and when air can’t pass through easily, the system must work harder, causing overheating. Overheating can cause serious damage, and may even result in needing to replace the furnace. Clogged filters can cause dirt to build up in other areas of the system as well, causing pollution and extra repairs that wouldn’t normally be necessary.

2. Reduce energy costs

Remember how we mentioned a clogged filter can cause your system to work harder? That means an increase in your energy usage. According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for almost half of the average home’s utility bills! Replacing your air filter regularly means that fan motor doesn’t have to work as hard, and you won’t be blowing tons of money on unnecessary energy costs.

3. Healthy air

Poor indoor air quality can cause symptoms such as eye irritation, sneezing, dizziness, and respiratory problems. People suffering from asthma and allergies are significantly affected by poor indoor air quality. Homes with pets experience extra dirt and dander in the air. Changing the air filter in your furnace regularly will prevent dust, dirt, mold spores, soot, bacteria, and allergens from building up in the air inside your home.

The life of your furnace and the health and safety of your family depend on regular heating system maintenance. Changing your furnace filter is a very simple way to keep your indoor air clean and avoid costly repairs to your heating system.

Need to get in touch with us or schedule an appointment? Schedule online or call us at 770-253-2665 today!

Information courtesy of Pronto Air


Thermostat Tips, Conclusion

A home’s comfort level is determined by who lives within the home. When evaluating your settings, you’ll want to consider, “What indoor temperature will provide personal comfort for my family and cost efficiency?” Some people like a home that is warm and some prefer a cooler environment. If you haven’t been consciously managing your temperature settings up to now, you might be surprised that changing your settings just a little up or down, depending on the season, will provide you with the same comfort you have enjoyed previously in your home.

No matter what your preference, adjusting your thermostat — either manually or with a programmable thermostat — will ultimately help you save money.

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Thermostat Tips, Part Three

Through proper use of a programmable thermostat (using the four pre-programmed settings) you can save about $180* every year in energy costs.

Rules of Thumb for Proper Use:

  1. Keep the temperature set at its energy savings set-points for long periods of time (at least eight hours), for example, during the day, when no one is at home, and through the night, after bedtime.
  2. All thermostats let you temporarily make an area warmer or cooler, without erasing the pre-set programming. This override is cancelled automatically at the next program period. You use more energy (and end up paying more on energy bills) if you consistently “hold” or over-ride the pre-programmed settings.
  3. Units typically have two types of hold features: (a) hold/permanent/vacation; (b) temporary. Avoid using the hold/permanent/vacation feature to manage day to day temperature settings. “Hold” or “vacation” features are best when you’re planning to be away for an extended period. Set this feature at a constant, efficient temperature (i.e. several degrees warmer temperature in summer, several degrees cooler during winter), when going away for the weekend or on vacation. You’ll waste energy and money if you leave the “hold” feature at the comfort setting while you’re away.
  4. Cranking your unit up to 90 degrees or down to 40 degrees, for example, will not heat or cool your house any faster. Most thermostats begin to heat or cool at a set time, to reach setpoint temperatures sometime thereafter. Units with adaptive (smart/intelligent) recovery features are an exception to this rule � Adaptive recovery units are constantly calculating the amount of time required to heat or cool the house, so that it reaches that temperature when the homeowner programmed it. By “examining” the performance of the past few days the thermostat can keep track of the seasons. In this way, your house is always at the comfort levels when occupied, but saving the most energy when unoccupied.
  5. Many homes use just one thermostat to control the whole house. If your home has multiple heating or cooling zones, you’ll need a programmed setback thermostat for each zone to maximize comfort, convenience and energy savings throughout the house.
  6. If your programmable thermostat runs on batteries, don’t forget to change the batteries each year. Some units will indicate when batteries must be changed.

 

Tips courtesy of EnergyStar.gov


Thermostat Tips, Part Two

Installing a programmable thermostat in your home will let you run a scheduled heating and cooling program without having to remember to manually change your settings throughout the day. Most programmable thermostats are able to automatically adjust the temperature in your home up to six or more times per day. You can also manually override the automatic settings if you need to at any time without interrupting the daily or weekly programming.

A programmable thermostat offers such ease of use, that it’s easy to set your home’s temperature lower while you are asleep or during the day when you are at work.  In the summer months, raising your home’s cooling temperature to over 78 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours per day — a typical work day — can really make a difference in your utility bills.

When programming your thermostat, just take into consideration your daily schedule. In the winter, do you like to sleep in a cool house?  If you like your home cooler at night, set your thermostat to a lower setting about an hour before you actually go to bed so the house starts to cool down. Prior to waking up, you might want to set the thermostat so the heat comes on approximately two hours before you actually get up so the house is nice and warm.

You should also consider adjusting the thermostat anytime your house is vacant for four or more hours per day. Typically, adjusting temperatures 5 – 8 degrees (down in winter, up in summer) can help save energy if you are going to be away from home for several hours.

Here are a few tips and benefits of a programmable thermostat from Energy Star:

  • Install your thermostat away from heating or cooling registers, appliances,
    lighting, doorways, fireplaces, skylights and windows and areas that receive
    direct sunlight or drafts. Interior walls are best.
  • Keep the thermostat set at energy-saving temperatures for long periods of time,
    such as during the day when no one is home and at bedtime.
  • Set the “hold” button at a constant energy-saving temperature when going
    away for the weekend or on vacation.
  • Change your batteries each year if your programmable thermostat runs on
    batteries. Some units will indicate when batteries must be changed.

You can read about more benefits of using a programmable thermostat in Energy Star’s Guide to Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling