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October 15, 2010
As previous years have proven, in Oklahoma, winter weather can sometimes be quite intense. With frigidly cold temperatures and long winter storm emergencies that can last days, it's only wise to take the proper steps to ensure your home is ready for the coming heating season.
Have Your Heater Inspected
It always seems things break down when we need them most and when it's cold outside, nobody wants to be left without heat. Before you begin using your furnace or heat pump on a regular basis this season, you should have your system inspected and serviced by a professional. Doing so can improve the overall safety and efficiency of the unit and help prevent unexpected breakdowns that often result in more expensive emergency repairs later. And, the older your unit is, the more important regular maintenance is.
Just like your car, your heating unit is comprised of many electrical components, moveable parts, filters and connections that all need regular attention. During the off-season, the unit is susceptible to collecting dust and grime that can impede proper function. In some homes, evidence of this can not only be seen, but smelled as dust is burning off the combustion chamber when the furnace is first turned on for the season. Professional HVAC technicians are trained to effectively clean and tune-up your unit to help ensure peak performance and comfort.
Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned
In addition to having your heating unit inspected, you should consider a thorough duct cleaning. Just like in the heating unit, dust, debris, dead bugs and other matter can collect inside your air ducts. Clean air ducts help to improve the quality of air you breathe and keep your heating unit running more efficiently. Many house fires could be prevented, if homeowners realized how important it is to keep their clothes dryer vent clean too. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 15,000 clothes dryer fires occur annually. These fires account for an average of 10 deaths, 310 injuries, and more than $84.4 million in property damage. Pippin Brothers can ensure safe operation of your clothes dryer with a dryer vent cleaning or duct replacement if the duct is not up to code or deemed unsafe.
Consider UV Germicidal Lamps
Studies done by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claim the air inside your home is more polluted than the outside air - even if you live in a highly industrialized area! With the windows closed and the colder temperatures keeping more of us indoors, it's important to do what you can to improve your indoor air quality and avoid the spread of germs. Installing a UV germicidal lamp can help. Ultra violet rays are known to destroy many airborne pathogens and other microorganisms, and installing the lamps in your ductwork helps sanitize the air as it passes through.
Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Your furnace and fireplace are two common culprits for carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is very deadly. Even if you consider your home to be well ventilated, you should have a low-level carbon monoxide detector installed near your furnace, fireplace, and sleeping areas to help ensure safety.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
For many families the heating season is not just about staying warm and comfortable, it's about saving money. A great way to help regulate the way you heat your home is to install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats allow you to automate how you control your comfort based on set times of the day or week. Reducing the demand on your heater cuts down on energy costs and helps to extend the life of the unit.
Install a Whole House Central Humidifier
Staying warm, comfortable and saving energy are three things most homeowners want to make sure they do when it comes to heating season. Installing a whole house central humidifier can help improve personal comfort since adding moisture to the air as it is heated slows the evaporation of moisture off your skin (a process that makes you feel cooler), which will give you a sensation of warmth. This can in turn allow you to lower your thermostat setting by about 3 degrees and saving your energy dollars. Additionally, dry air is a cause for itchy, watery eyes, dry nose and sinuses, some nosebleeds, dry throat, dry skin, dry hair fly-aways, and static electricity and static shocks. Property damage such as warped hardwood floors, cracks in drywall and plaster, crown molding pulling away from the ceiling, pianos and other woodwind instruments getting out of tune or damaged, electronic issues, doors that stick, etc. Central humidifiers are better than room humidifiers since they can add the proper amount of humidity to the whole house instead of just one room and are regulated by temperature and humidity settings whereas room humidifiers typically over hydrate the air causing condensation on windows and possibly between the wall and outside siding, which can lead to undetectable mold and mildew growth and its associated health issues. Speaking of health issues, it has been determined that a lack of humidity can result in headaches, bacteria and virus growth, and a higher occurrence of respiratory infections, allergic rhinitis and asthma as well as ozone production (an irritant to many people).