Is Your Home Losing Warm Air Through the Stack Effect?

Stack EffectYou want more cool air in the home now that summer is around the corner. Of course, your home should be optimized to retain warm or cool air depending on the time of year. You should be sure your ventilation and air quality system are designed to address the stack effect. This is especially the case if you live in a multi-story home.

What Is the Stack Effect?

The stack effect is a common issue among skyscrapers, but it can also be a problem for two-story residences. It’s a phenomenon that causes warm air to funnel upwards much the same way air exits through a chimney.

The stack effect occurs when the outdoor temperature is drastically lower than it is indoors. Cold air is denser than warm air. As cold air enters the room from the bottom floor, it pushes the warm air higher where it escapes through cracks and other openings. This ultimately creates stronger drafts as more cold air enters the room in the absence of warm air. The loss of treated air forces the HVAC to work harder, thus running up your energy bill. Continue Reading →

5 Startling Facts About Indoor Air Pollution

indoor air pollutionTake a full deep breath from the abdomen. It feels refreshing, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, that air you just breathed may not be as pure as you think. This is especially true of the air in your home. Various reports have yielded hard-to-swallow facts regarding indoor air pollution. We’ll reveal some of these findings and what you can do to purify the air around you.

1. Secondhand Smoke Is a Major Indoor Air Pollutant

You’re not safe from secondhand smoke even if there are no smokers in the home. Smoke from connected buildings can make their way in through ducts and ventilation shafts from air conditioning and HVAC systems. Cigarette smoke contains over 200 known poisons.

2. Seniors Suffer the Most

Estimates suggest that seniors spend an average of 19 to 20 hours a day indoors. This makes them more susceptible to indoor toxins that can affect respiratory health. Continue Reading →

4 Fireplace Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

fireplace date ideasMore people are celebrating Valentine’s Day at home due to restaurants’ being fully booked. This is actually a good plan if you have a fireplace. Start a fire and celebrate the evening with your romantic love interest. We’re not dating experts, but we know that the fireplace makes for an intimate setting. Here are few ideas for a fireplace date.

Date Ideas with a Fireplace Setting

1. S’mores

Prepare a plate of marshmallows, honey graham crackers, Hershey’s chocolate bars, and strawberries. Make s’mores using the fire and feed the chocolatey treat to each other. Continue Reading →

Is Your HVAC System an Open Entry for Pests?

HVAC entry for pestsHVAC systems require an undisrupted exchange of indoor and outdoor air to function properly. Unfortunately, this also leaves openings for pests—especially small rodents—to make their way indoors. Both residential and commercial HVAC systems provide entryways to some degree. We’ll explain how pests enter through HVAC systems and what you can do to stop it.

How Do Pests Enter the HVAC System?

HVAC openings occur in ducts and ventilation shafts. Pests are also attracted to moisture. HVAC components like the air conditioning condenser may cause puddles near the building that attract all sorts of vermin.

Pest-Proof Your HVAC

We’re in the heating and cooling business. Pest control isn’t our area of expertise, but we do know that poor HVAC maintenance and construction can allow entry points for pests. Here are some tips we recommend to block out pests from entering through the HVAC. Continue Reading →

5 Tips for Winter Grilling

Winter GrillingA grill is a must if you want to make the most of your outdoor living quarters. Of course, a barbecue luau is normally considered a summer activity. However, why not treat the family to a winter luau this December? Here are a few winter grilling tips to ensure you produce the best meats when cooking outside under cold temperatures.

Best Practices for Winter Grilling

1. Reposition the Grill

Identify the direction of the wind and reposition the grill against the house or a physical structure to keep out the gusts. Wind is the biggest enemy of heat retention.

2. Have More Fuel on Hand

If using a gas grill, be ready to use a bit more fuel. More propane is required to heat up the grill at the required temperature under cold weather. The same also goes for a charcoal grill. Attaining the proper temperature will require more charcoal when it’s frosty outside. Continue Reading →

Enhance Your Fireplace with Fire Glass in Mukilteo

Fire GlassWith winter and the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to put the fireplace to good use. Whether you’re using a traditional gas fireplace or an outdoor fire pit, you may want to consider enhancing the warmth and appeal with the use of fire glass.

What Is Fire Glass?

Fire glass was introduced in the mid-2000s and has since become a home trend. Fire glass is made from small bits of tempered glass that has a crystal and ice-like appearance. Its use serves a functional and aesthetic purpose.

Fire glass was created as an alternative to ceramic gas logs. The glass increases heat radiation by up to 400%. The extra heat retention allows you to cut back on gas use, thereby conserving energy.

Aesthetically, the glass looks absolutely stunning when the fireplace is in use. Unlike ceramic gas logs, it does not kill the natural look of a flickering flame. It also obscures the appearance of gas jets. With the fire burning, the glass radiates a sparkly shine. Continue Reading →

Humidifiers Aid in Improving Indoor Air Quality & Achieving a Balance

humidifier, indoor humidity, home humidity, allergy prevention, asthma preventionHumidity is essential in the prevention and treatment of allergies. Your home’s humidity level may be anywhere from 0 to 100 percent. However, the recommended range for indoor environments tends to be between 20 and 70 percent. It is important to remember that lower humidity improves indoor air quality, but higher humidity is healthier for throat and nasal passages. It is important to find a balance for your home and family—not too damp or too dry.

Low Humidity Leads to Low Allergen Production

Typical allergens, such as mold or dust mites, can’t survive when humidity levels are low. Thriving in higher temperatures of 75–80 degrees F, dust mites are practically invisible creatures which live off of dead skin cells. Our allergies flare up when the enzymes in their waste become airborne. They flourish in an environment with a 70 to 80 percent humidity range. Though it’s nearly impossible to entirely remove house dust mites and their waste, lowering the humidity in your home below 50 percent will control their numbers. Continue Reading →

Is Your Gas Furnace Leaking Water? Find Out Why!

Why is Your Furnace Leaking Water?Do you see water or signs of condensation around the base of your furnace? When it’s working properly, the only sign of water coming from the furnace should be a regular dripping sound. There are many reasons why your furnace might be leaking, such as a condensation leak, a drip, or a draining issue. Your home’s gas furnace should not be leaking water, but if it is, follow the steps below to diagnose and fix the problem.

Furnace Condensation Leak

If you have a high-efficiency furnace in your home or business, the most likely reason for a furnace leak is that condensation is not draining properly. You have a high-efficiency furnace if the yellow energy guide tag shows 90% or higher AFUE, or if the vent/flue pip is white PVC (instead of metal). These high-efficiency furnaces cause condensation because they have cool exhaust. Normally, the condensation should exit your home through a floor drain. The leak could be a result of: Continue Reading →

BBQ Maintenance 101

top grilling maintenance tipsAir conditioning on full blast and the smell of grilling in the air can only mean one thing: summer has arrived! Everything in your home needs cleaning from time to time: from your fireplace to your air filter system. To make sure your BBQ is at its best, it’s essential that you clean and maintain your grill. With the following top grill maintenance tips, you can be sure your food will taste great this summer and that your BBQ will continue to work for years to come.

#1: Cleaning the Grill Grate

We recommend letting the grill grate heat up over intense heat for around five minutes. This burns away most of the grit remaining from the previous grilling session. Next use a grill brush to easily clean up the rest. Continue Reading →

5 HVAC Tips to Save Money on Your Electricity Bill This Summer

Summer electricity billThe fireplace and furnace are beginning to gather dust and the grilling season is going strong. You may have noticed that when the temperature rises in the spring and summer, so does your energy bills. Air conditioning units are the main culprits of the spike in energy use. With the following tips you’ll be able to stay cool in the heat while keeping energy costs down.

  1. Replace your Air Filters.

Air filters should be changed monthly to continue effective system performance. A dirty air conditioner can reduce air flow, which forces the unit to use more energy in order to pump cool air throughout your home. Dirty air filters can also be a health concern.

  1. Replace Your Old Air Conditioning Unit

If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it is time to invest in a newer and more energy-efficient model. Many of the Carrier Residential air quality systems have Energy Star ratings, which can use up to 50 percent less energy than other systems.

  1. Keep your Window Blinds Drawn

Windows, especially those that let a lot of sunlight in, work against your air conditioning unit and can turn your home into a stove! To maintain a lower temperature in your home, purchase and install blinds or curtains for the windows that get the most sun. This will block much of the heat coming from the sunlight. Continue Reading →