What NOT to Burn in an Outdoor Fire Pit

what not to burnAn outdoor fire pit is a great addition to any patio. Such a fixture is becoming a mainstay for outdoor living. Of course, you must treat the appliance with great care. This means being selective with what you place in the fire. We’ll outline what not to burn in an outdoor fire pit.

Do Not Burn These in an Outdoor Fire Pit

Even if you forget everything else in this article, just remember this simple rule: Don’t burn anything in a fire pit other than natural wood.

The fire pit is not a trash incinerator. Do not burn paper, trash, or anything manmade. These release carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, and a number of other toxic chemicals into the environment.

You also shouldn’t burn treated wood. This includes pallets or any form of wooden materials used in industrial applications. These often contain the toxic chemical methyl bromide.

Particle board is another item to keep out of the fire. This is a form of engineered wood that contains adhesives for bonding the wood fibers together. Some adhesives contain formaldehyde, a chemical found in tobacco. Continue Reading →

Improve Indoor Air Quality with Ultraviolet Light

ultraviolet lightAdequate ventilation is essential for air quality control. There are many ways to reduce indoor pollutants. These may include cleaning the home, investing in a portable air purifier, etc. However, most homeowners don’t know they can also improve indoor air quality with ultraviolet light.

How Ultraviolet Light Purifies Air

Fall is a time to be wary of indoor allergens. The air is full of airborne particles known as bioaerosols. Home interiors are also vulnerable to fungi, mold, and mildew.

Okay, so how does UV light factor into this? Indoor air receives much less exposure to sunlight. The indoors also happen to have up to five times more pollutants, according to EPA estimates.

UV light in a certain wavelength, known as UV-C, will kill bacteria by altering its DNA. UV-C light is not a recent discovery. In fact, many facilities use the light for various purposes, such as purifying water, disinfecting laboratories, etc. Continue Reading →

The Best Walk-In Refrigerator Food Storage Ideas

Walk-in Refrigerator Food StorageThe food industry is required to abide by very strict guidelines regarding food storage. To ensure you’re following regulations, and minimizing food waste, be sure to follow these best practices for walk-in refrigerator food storage.

Food Storage Tips

Keep Meats Separate

Meats, including poultry and fish, are susceptible to bacteria growth. This is why they should be kept separate from other perishables. Meats should also be placed on the lowest shelves. When meat is thawing, some of the juice from the meat may thaw and melt. Placement on an upper shelf can cause the liquid to drip down onto the food below, thus causing cross contamination. Continue Reading →

Portable Vs Standby Generators: What’s the Difference?

portable vs standby generatorsBlackouts do occur in the Mukilteo area from time to time. This can be debilitating for businesses and even some residences if the power outage lasts for several hours. This is why some people are investing in commercial and home power systems. This comes in the form of a standby generator, which should not be confused with a portable generator. We’ll explain the difference in a portable vs standby generators comparison.

Standby and Portable Generators Explained

A standby generator is installed to your home’s natural gas line and automatically starts within 30 seconds of an outage. These generators are permanently situated outside the home and can supply power to all major appliances and air conditioning systems. Plus, they’re also known for fairly quiet operation. Standby generators last for about 15 years and require maintenance every two years by a repair and service company.

Standby generators also add value to your property should you ever decide to sell your home. You can recoup about 50% of the generator’s cost. Continue Reading →

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 →