Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Five Reasons to Watch What You’re Breathing

The hidden dangers inside your home’s indoor air can cause problems for your family’s health and even create risks of serious, life-threatening illness. Here are five reasons why:

  • Energy-efficient construction practices over the last few decades have created homes that are more airtight. Though energy costs were lowered, that also meant less air exchange. In other words, drafts of air that had been coming and going through leaky windows, ducts, doors, even walls, were plugged up. And pollutants from cooking, smoking, pets, germs and more stayed inside. 

  • Most of us spend most of our time indoors, especially in winter, and we keep breathing in the same old bad air. The house itself starts to feel stuffy and stale. The people inside can start to feel a lot worse. According to the EPA, some pollutants cause health problems such as sore eyes, burning in the nose and throat, headaches, or fatigue. Other pollutants cause or worsen allergies, respiratory illnesses (such as asthma), heart disease, cancer, and other serious long-term conditions. Sometimes individual pollutants at high concentrations, such as carbon monoxide, cause death.

  • Sources of indoor air pollution are varied and common. It could include what’s called “combustion sources” – like oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood or tobacco. It could be wet or damp carpet or household cleaning products. Maybe scented air fresheners and candles. Outdoor sources, such as Radon and pesticides, can sneak inside. Also, a faulty furnace can create the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.  

  • How individuals respond to indoor air pollution varies. Depending on the types of pollutants, the level and duration of exposure, a person’s overall state of health as well as other factors, health effects could show up immediately or could occur years later after long-term or repeated exposure. Because some of the symptoms of exposure look a lot like other illnesses – such as a stuffy nose – you might not realize that the problem is in the air.

The solutions for indoor air pollution can be fairly simple. If you know what’s causing the problem, for instance, you can simply remove the source or repair the equipment. With more knowledge about the hidden dangers in your home’s air, you’ll be better prepared for better decisions. And that’s where we can help…

Contact us for a Free, No Obligation Healthy Air Review. We’ll look for risks in your home’s air and also offer solutions for improving breathability.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Know the Signs of a Home Improvement Scam

I know how it is. Sometimes homeowners are concerned about calling a contractor to their home for a problem. They know they want a tune-up or repair, but they’re expecting the contractor to try to talk them into getting more than they need. It’s such a common concern that I want to reassure you that we do things differently here.
Our tech will come out for a thorough evaluation of the problem you’ve been experiencing. We’ll present a solution that we recommend. We’ll fully explain the reasoning behind this recommendation, and we’ll put the estimate and guarantees in writing so that you won’t have any surprises. Not only that, you always have the choice to say “no” or “not now.” There’s no pressure at all. And, should you have any additional concerns, we stand behind our work.
We used advanced technology to make sure you get the best evaluation and repair. And we keep your comfort and safety foremost in our mind. So call us whenever you need us.
In the meantime, if you want to get a better sense about people working in your home,take a look at this video that could help you know what to watch for when approached by a home improvement contractor. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Winter Heating Bills Go Sky-high This Year

While some of the situation is out of our hands – the price of crude oil, for instance – there are many things we can do to keep a rein on our winter heating bills. 

Your heating system is the one element that should get the closest look before the cold, costly winter sets in.  Now is a great time to have a service tech give your system a thorough evaluation to make sure it’s running properly.

Additionally, the federal government’s ENERGY STAR program makes several recommendations about how you can heat your home smartly this winter, including: 

§  Replace the air filter in your furnace regularly.  Dirty filters reduce air flow, which makes getting the warm air to the registers a lot tougher. 

§  Install a programmable thermostat.  Why heat the home while you’re away?  Setting back the temperature in your household when you’re asleep or at work is another opportunity for energy savings – as much as $100 each year on energy costs. 

§  Seal up your home.  Sealing holes, cracks and openings and then adding insulation is one of the most cost-effective means of improving comfort and reducing energy use.  Cracks in windows and doors can be plugged through weather-stripping and caulking.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How Much Do You Want to Overpay This Winter?

It’s not looking good. This time last year we had good reason to start yelling – I mean “forecasting” – that Winter would bring higher heating bills, and it doesn’t look like this Winter is going to be any better.

Okay, I’ve delivered my bad news for the day, but it will help to have an overall view of “why” this happens. At least it makes you feel less like a victim when you consider…

Prices – This Winter, tight global oil markets and elevated crude oil prices could result in higher heating oil, natural gas and propane prices..

Demand – Total U.S. natural gas demand is expected to be up this Winter over last. This is partly from colder weather in regions with large concentrations of gas-heated homes.

Supply – The severity of the Winter nationwide will be the biggest, single determining factor impacting the supply of energy. But even more unknown than the weather and how it will affect supply, is the stability of countries that export energy to the United States.

So what can you do about it?

The efficiency of your own home heating system, of course, is the factor that will help you best control increased heating fuel costs.

1.      A Home Energy Survey is a great tool to help you pinpoint problems and provide energy use solutions.

2.      Don’t forget to schedule your tune-up before an “elderly system” conks out on you. That’s the best way to make sure your system is running strong when the coldest days and nights hit.

3.      If your heating system is an older, inefficient model, a new system can pay for itself with energy savings and no repair bills.

To find out more about saving money on your heating bills, call us to schedule a free, no obligation Energy Survey.

See? There are things you can do to keep your energy dollars where they belong. And if you’d like us to review your equipment or ductwork in an Energy Survey, as a customer of ours, it’s free. Now that’s savings! Really, just call us at (610) 482-4153 and it’s done. Thanks.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Does Cold Weather Cause Colds?

I used to think so. (Hey, the name fits!) But even though fall and winter are the “prime time” for colds, researchers say that sniffles and air temperature aren’t necessarily related.

The seasonal occurrence may be due to spending more time indoors. And when indoor groups spend a lot of time together – such as in classrooms – the odds increase that germs will be spread.

Relative humidity may also be a factor. In colder months, humidity is low, and that gives cold-causing viruses a better chance for survival. Also, in cold weather, nasal passages’ lining become drier and more vulnerable to viral infection.

To prevent colds:

§  Wash your hands. Hand washing is the simplest and most effective way to avoid colds, especially after making hand contact with others.

§  Don’t touch your nose and eyes. Sneeze or cough into a facial tissue and throw it away. Be aware that others with colds put you at risk. Avoid close, prolonged exposure.

§  Check into a humidifier. These keep the moisture in your home at the ideal level for your comfort and can reduce your chances of getting a cold. (Plus, they can keep your furniture from swelling or cracking and doors from sticking!) Call us and we will give you more info on these health and comfort marvels! They really work.

§  Cold germs can live up to 3 hours on objects and skin. Cleaning surfaces with a virus-killing disinfectant also helps prevent spread of infection.