Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Hurricane season may be over, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have some rain and moisture in the air during the winter season! It is important to keep your home dry. Mold spores only grow when there is moisture in the air. Control the moisture levels and you will have control over the mold. It is also important to fix any water damaged areas in your home right away, if you do not fix the water damage problem and only take care of the mold, it is likely that the mold will return. Listed below is what you should know about mold according to the EPA.

  • Mold can effect your health associated with allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory issues.
  • There is no way to completely eliminate all traces of mold, only ways to control it, by controlling the moisture level. You can control the moisture level by using a dehumidifier.
  • If there is water damage, fix the source of the water problem.
  • Reduce indoor humidity to 30-60%.
  • Dry and clean off all water damaged objects withing a 48 hour period.
  • Prevent condensation. You can do this by making sure your home is properly insulated.

You can also install into your home a UV Germicidal Lights, to help you breath in the best quality air. So don’t let mold get the best of you! Make sure the air you are breathing in is clean and mold free. Keep the moisture under control to keep that mold out!

Fall just started, but before we know it, winter will be here. Heaters will be run, comfortable blankets and fires will be used, and hot chocolate will become a nightly treat.

With the cooler weather, there is usually a decline in the amount of time spent outdoors and the amount of time that windows are left open to let in a breeze. All of this will contribute to an increase in indoor air pollutants, especially if you choose not to run your air because the weather feels “just right”.

Chemicals and pollutants are present in your home year-round, but in the summer, spring and fall, we are either outdoors more or we make sure to leave the windows open so we can take advantage of the great breezes that come through.  In the winter, however, given that we keep the windows closed and spend more time indoors, we create an environment for these pollutants to grow and make a negative impact in our home.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to keep that indoor air at a good quality and we’d love to share that with you!

1. Check your filters.  Make sure you filters are clean and fresh.  In the winter, your filters will fill up faster with these indoor air pollutants and once the filter is at capacity, those pollutants will them escape into the air in your home.

2. Consider an air filtration system.  An air filtration system can remove up to 99.98% of indoor allergens.

Fall is already here and before we know it, the winter months will be making their presence known as well.  If you have been someone who has experienced an increased energy bill during the winter months, we are here to provide you with some energy and money-saving tips for the upcoming season.

  1. Seal your windows and doors.  If you have any gaps in your windows and doors leading to the outside, not only will your air conditioning be working overtime to compensate for the cool air coming in, but that same produced heat will escape through the gap, resulting in a cycle of increased energy cost.
  2. Lower your water heater temperature. We all need to be able to heat our water, right? You can still do so and lower the temperature on your water heater, all at the same time. Adjust the temperature just a tad and notice a change in your energy bill, without compromising your comfort.
  3. Invest in a programmable thermostat. There are those times that you’ll forget to set your thermostat before you leave the house, leaving it running and wasting energy. With a programmable thermostat, the temperature can be set for a specific time and take that worry off of your hands.

For more energy and money-saving tips, reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter, or contact us to discuss!

Winter is just around the corner and that means dry indoor air! Do not fall victim to waking up with a dry, itchy throat – there is a solution! A humidifier is a great way to release cool or warm moisture into your home.

Using a humidifier has a variety of benefits especially to those who suffer from allergies and asthma. Some benefits include easier breathing, lesser chance of a cold or respiratory infection, reduces dry skin and throat and it will get rid of that annoying electric shock! Not to mention a humidifier will help keep your wood products like flooring, cabinets, and decorations from getting damaged.

It is important to keep balanced humidity levels in your home; you don’t want to have too much moisture! Too much moisture in the air can create a sticky or damp feeling or cause the air to smell musty. Keep your humidity balanced with the Honeywell Humidifier and don’t worry about suffering from dry air this winter!

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, Georgia should be expecting a colder than usual Winter. The almanac predicted that January would be the coldest but that we can expect cold weather in mid and late February. In fact the almanac goes on to predict that this entire year will be below average temperatures through the end of the year. Why is that important…..because you need to be prepared for anything. At Casteel Heating and Cooling, we’re experts on taming any kind of weather. You need your HVAC to keep you cool? We can perform an AC Tune Up! If you need to make sure you have a place to keep your feet and the rest of you warm and toasty, we can help there too. Let us do a Furnace Tune Up. In fact, we want to save you money in addition to making sure that YOU are in charge of your temperature. Call us today and schedule an appointment. One of our N.A.T.E. certified technicians will come to your house and do a complete battery of tests. We’ll discuss all the options available to you and make sure you’re comfortable every step of the way. What are you waiting for…start saving money today!

We have posted regarding safety and Carbon Monoxide before but we can NOT stress enough how important it is for you to be extremely careful during the cold season.

Here are some potential Carbon Monoxide dangers in your home:

  • CO is a produced anytime a fuel is burned. Potential sources include gas or oil furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ovens, generators, and car exhaust fumes.
  • CO poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. (Centers for Disease Control)
  • Every year more than 10,000 people die or seek medical attention due to CO poisoning from home-related products. (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
  • More than two-thirds of Americans use gas, wood, kerosene or another fuel as their home”s major heat source.
  • 65% of CO poisoning deaths from consumer products are due to heating systems.
  • Only 27% of homes in America have carbon monoxide alarms, according to the Hardware/Homecenter Research Industry.
  • An idling vehicle in an attached garage, even with the garage door opened, can produce concentrated amounts of CO that can enter your home through the garage door or nearby windows.
  • CO poisoning deaths from portable generators have doubled for the past two years, and many of these deaths occurred in the winter months and during power outages.
  • A poorly maintained gas stove can give off twice the amount of CO than one in good working order.

What you can do to prevent Carbon Monoxide from leaking into your home.

  • Install at least one battery-powered CO alarm or AC-powered unit with battery backup on each level of your home and near sleeping areas.
  • Do not use charcoal or gas grills inside or operate outdoors near a window where CO fumes could seep in through a window.
  • Check all carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Do they use the most accurate sensing technology? Do they need new batteries?
  • Replace CO alarms every five to seven years in order to benefit from the latest technology upgrades.
  • Have a licensed professional inspect heating systems and other fuel-burning appliances annually.
  • Install fuel-burning appliances properly and operate according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep chimneys clear of animal nests, leaves and residue to ensure proper venting. Have all fireplaces cleaned and inspected annually.
  • Do not block or seal shut the exhaust flues or ducts used by water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.
  • Do not leave your car running in an attached garage or carport.
  • Do not use ovens or stoves to heat your home.

How we can help:

  • Let us perform a Home Energy Audit. It includes testing your home for Carbon Monoxide and will give you peace of mind knowing you and your family are safe.
  • Here is a link to Choosing a Carbon Monoxide Alarm from Consumer Reports. This should get you started!

As always, Casteel Heating and Cooling cares about your safety and will help in any way we can to ensure that you and your loved ones are healthy, happy and safe.

Source cited: www.kidde.com

In following with our last post about saving money, we found a few more tips for you and some are even Christmas related!

Let’s face it: We all have a ton of demands during the winter months. Visiting relatives, holiday rituals, and icy cold weather to deal with.
Likewise, your electrical bill may soar during this time. As you strive to maintain an awesome Christmas lights display and start adjusting your HVAC systems, you may quickly run up your home’s energy usage.

However, you can cut down your electrical consumption here-and-there using a few easy techniques, preventing an unwelcome surprise in your power bill.

Tip 1: Use a Timer for Your Christmas Lights: I love an old-fashioned Christmas light display as much as the next person. But while these setups can be amazing in their extravagance, they can also burn a lot of power during the Christmas season. A few years ago, some folks advocated an end to this tradition in order to save energy.
However, you can enjoy Christmas lights responsibly by only using them a few hours per evening. A timer makes the entire process super easy, preventing the possibility you’ll accidentally leave your lights running overnight.

Bonus Tip: Use LED Christmas lights to save even more more money, as their bulbs are energy efficient.

Tip 2: Lower Your Climate Control Usage: If you Live in the South, you may still be running your air conditioning. Be sure to set it at a higher temperature for the holiday months. If it’s icy cold where you live, go ahead and keep your heater just a notch below the perfect temperature. Simply wear a sweater inside, and you’ll save a tremendous amount of money.

Tip 3: Wash Your Clothes with Cold Water: This tip applies to any time of the year, really. By washing all your clothes with cold water, you’ll reduce water heating costs and lower your energy use.

If you’re looking for a long-term savings plan, you can always consider a home energy audit. This way, you’ll learn about all the little things that are costing you big bucks over time. Even so, a few simple measure may be enough to keep your spirits a bit warmer during this time.

Remember, Casteel Heating and Cooling can perform an energy audit for you. Just call us at 770-565-5884

Article cited: http://ezinearticles.com/?3-Easy-Ways-to-Reduce-Your-Electric-Bill-This-Winter-Season&id=5485980

Deciding Whether or Not to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Knowledge about the potential benefits and possible problems of air duct cleaning is limited. Since conditions in every home are different, it is impossible to generalize about whether or not air duct cleaning in your home would be beneficial.

If no one in your household suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses and if, after a visual inspection of the inside of the ducts, you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty odor or visible mold growth), having your air ducts cleaned is probably unnecessary. It is normal for the return registers to get dusty as dust-laden air is pulled through the grate. This does not indicate that your air ducts are contaminated with heavy deposits of dust or debris; the registers can be easily vacuumed or removed and cleaned.

On the other hand, if family members are experiencing unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think might be related to your home environment, you should discuss the situation with your doctor. EPA has published Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction for Health Professionals and The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality for guidance on identifying possible indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or fix them.

You may consider having your air ducts cleaned simply because it seems logical that air ducts will get dirty over time and should occasionally be cleaned. While the debate about the value of periodic duct cleaning continues, no evidence suggests that such cleaning would be detrimental, provided that it is done properly.

On the other hand, if a service provider fails to follow proper duct cleaning procedures, duct cleaning can cause indoor air problems. For example, an inadequate vacuum collection system can release more dust, dirt, and other contaminants than if you had left the ducts alone. A careless or inadequately trained service provider can damage your ducts or heating and cooling system, possibly increasing your heating and air conditioning costs or forcing you to undertake difficult and costly repairs or replacements.

You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:

There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:
 

  • Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
     
  • You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.
     
  • If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.
     
  • If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.
     

Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects); or
 
Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.
Other Important Considerations…

Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts or go down after cleaning. This is because much of the dirt that may accumulate inside air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space. It is important to keep in mind that dirty air ducts are only one of many possible sources of particles that are present in homes. Pollutants that enter the home both from outdoors and indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or just moving around can cause greater exposure to contaminants than dirty air ducts. Moreover, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to health.

EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned except on an as-needed basis because of the continuing uncertainty about the benefits of duct cleaning under most circumstances. EPA does, however, recommend that if you have a fuel burning furnace, stove, or fireplace, they be inspected for proper functioning and serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. Some research also suggests that cleaning dirty cooling coils, fans and heat exchangers can improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. However, little evidence exists to indicate that simply cleaning the duct system will increase your system’s efficiency.

If you think duct cleaning might be a good idea for your home, but you are not sure, talk to a professional. The company that services your heating and cooling system may be a good source of advice. You may also want to contact professional duct cleaning service providers and ask them about the services they provide. Remember, they are trying to sell you a service, so ask questions and insist on complete and knowledgeable answers.

Article cited: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airduct.html#what to expect of an air duct cleaning service provider

Because this seems to be more prevalent in the winter months than any other time, we strive to make sure that you have all the ammunition you need to defend yourselves. We are reposting a story from the small business site AllBusiness.com that addresses the issue.

With colder temperatures comes a silent threat from fuel-burning appliances — carbon monoxide.

“We get a lot of false alarms throughout the year, but this is our busiest time for actual elevated levels of carbon monoxide in people’s homes,” said Jacksonville Fire Department Capt. Bryan McGee, fire prevention and education officer.

Such calls typically start in mid-October when people begin using wood stoves, fireplaces, kerosene heaters or gas-powered furnaces — all of which produce carbon monoxide emissions in levels usually not harmful, McGee said.

But when appliances are used improperly or are not working right, the colorless, odorless toxic flammable gas becomes hazardous.

Such was the case Sunday, when a malfunctioning furnace caused a “dangerously high” level of carbon monoxide inside a South Jacksonville church.

No one inside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 1053 E. Vandalia Road became ill and South Jacksonville Fire Chief David Hickox said firefighters vented the building, shut off the furnace and advised church officials to call someone to fix the problem.

About 95 percent of Jacksonville’s calls turn out to be false alarms caused by faulty sensors or low batteries in carbon monoxide detectors or by old or damaged heat exchangers in furnaces, McGee said.

“In some homes, we have had levels that are extremely high and a few poisonings because of it,” he added.

There have been no carbon monoxide poisoning incidents so far this year.

In addition to having equipment to check the carbon monoxide level of a building, the Jacksonville Fire Department can check those inside for possible poisoning. With its portion of a public safety grant earlier this year, the fire department bought two finger-clamp monitors to measure the level of carbon monoxide in the blood.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, dizziness and confusion.

An estimated 170 people die each year and thousands of others end up in hospital emergency rooms because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

To avoid the risk, McGee suggests people have fuel-burning appliances and water heaters checked before winter by a qualified technician. Fireplaces should be checked regularly to ensure they are in proper working order and properly ventilated. Chimneys should be cleaned annually.

State law requires an approved carbon monoxide alarm be installed within 15 feet of a bedroom in most residences. An exception is those that have all-electric power — no gas heat or a gas water heater — and do not have fireplaces or attached garages.

McGee said it’s important to replace the batteries in the detectors regularly. Carbon monoxide detectors more than three years old probably need to have the sensor inside replaced, McGee said.

Intermittent beeping every 30 seconds to a minute can indicate a low battery or a bad sensor.

If the detector’s alarm sound is constant, “then it’s an obvious incident of carbon monoxide,” he said.

If that happens, get out of the house immediately and call for help from a safe location outdoors or from a neighbor’s house.

Please heed these warnings. If you want to be sure that you’re safe, let Casteel Heating and Cooling come take a look. We care.

Article cited: http://www.allbusiness.com/environment-natural-resources/pollution/13500641-1.html

During this time of the year alot of us are using dehumidifiers to keep us from drying out. While this is a good thing to do, you have to stay on top of them to make sure they are running properly and efficiently AND most of all, doing what they were meant to do.

We found a great resource for troubleshooting your dehumidifier issues and are more than happy to share it here with you!

Dehumidifiers will work only down to the temperature for which they are designed. If there is no operating temperature stated, then it is a 65 degree model, and it will freeze up below 65 degrees. In some models this will cause the compressor to shut off, allow the ice to melt (could be an hour or so), restart, refreeze, and the cycle continues with no water being removed and the electrical costs mounting. And, unfortunately, in some units, the compressor does not shut off and stays on and the frost on the coils becomes ice that becomes a block of ice that blocks the airflow and eventually burns out the motor. This is why we recommend a low temp dehumidifier for areas of the country where the temperature can fluctuate down to 40 degrees at night.

DEHUMIDIFIER PROBLEMS

There is little or no water in the bucket
If your dehumidifier doesn’t seem to run frequently and the humidity in the room remains high, adjust the humidistat control to a drier setting. If the dehumidifier seems to run constantly, but there’s little or no water in the container, there is possibly a problem with the refrigeration system. Try cleaning the air filter and the unit itself, but if that doesn’t work, you will need a qualified appliance repair person or facility.

The indicator light is on, but the unit won’t run
The water tank may be completely filled. Most dehumidifiers have a safety switch to turn the dehumidifier off when the water tank is full. It is usually a float inside the tank to trigger this switch and prevent the tank from overflowing. If the tank is empty and the unit doesn’t run, look at the inside wall against which the tank pushes to see if there’s a switch or mechanism present. Sometimes just pushing in the bucket a little differently will press the switch. Also, you may be able to activate or bend the switch slightly with your finger to solve the problem.

The dehumidifier runs, but no air is coming out of the machine
Your dehumidifier has a fan that draws the room air over the coils. If there is no air movement from the unit, it is possible that the fan motor may have burned out. If so, the fan motor needs to be replaced.

There is frost on the coils
The coils you see on the back of your dehumidifier are called the evaporator. When the unit is running, these coils turn ice cold. As the fan draws the moist air over the coils, the humidity in the air condenses on these coils. And if the temperature of the air blowing over the coils is too cool, this condensation will freeze on the coils.

Possible solutions might be:

  • Add heat to the room in which the dehumidifier is located.
  • Turn the unit off to allow the temperature in the room to rise.
  • Place the dehumidifier on a shelf or table (the air is coolest near the ground).

The container seems to fill up too quickly
When the container seems to fill too often, it means your dehumidifier is working properly. However, if the container fills quickly day after day, there may be additional moisture in the air due to a pipe or water leak or an open crawl space. If so, it would be best to correct this problem by stopping the leak or closing off the crawl space.


Artcile cited: http://www.allergyconsumerreview.com/dehumidifier-advice-troubleshooting.html