Friday, September 14, 2012

Avoid Water Damaged Ceiling and Property!

  Do you have or have you seen unsightly water spots or bulges in your ceiling? This damage may be caused by a roof leak, plumbing issue, or your air conditioning indoor unit. My air conditioner, really?!

If you have a split system--central air conditioner or heat pump with the indoor unit located in your attic space, you may have serious water issues just lurking. A split system is a heating and cooling system that has two separate cabinets. The unit located outside in your yard is called the condenser unit and the unit located inside your house (in an attic, knee wall space, or in a closet) is called your air handler or furnace and coil.

On a hot humid day, your air condenser can remove up to 20 gallons of water. This water is called condensate and drips off your indoor air handler refrigerant coil into a pan which takes the condensate water outside of your home by a PVC pipe system. This is fine and dandy and how it is supposed to work and it does work perfect most of the time. 20 gallons of water is a lot of water folks and your AC/Heat Pump system removes it every day.

The problem begins when a condensate drain line clogs up and the condensate water can not drain outside like it is designed to do. The water is going to continue to accumulate until you shut off your AC/Heat Pump which is not likely when it is 95 degrees outside. Where does the water go since it can no longer drain outside of your house because the drain pipe is clogged?

It goes to the place of least resistance! This is either your emergency pan (if you have one) or your ceiling or floor! If it is your ceiling, you may get lucky and notice it dripping before the weight of the water caves in the ceiling and you have a tragic mess of drywall, insulation, and water destroying your belongings. Not a good day to say the least!

This disaster can easily be avoided by having a condensate shut-off device installed in the coil drain pipe and one in the emergency drain pan. The devices will shut off the power to your system so the AC/Heat Pump can not operate and therefore, can not produce any more water. It stops the water before damage happens. You will notice your AC/Heat Pump not operating because it will be getting warmer in the house. You can call your local and favorite HVAC service company (All Seasons Heating and Cooling Service Company at 421-9790) to come out and clear your drain pipes or you can try it yourself with a wet/dry shop vac. Simply go outside where the pipes drain and hook the shop vac hose to the pipe and suck out the clog. When the clog is free and the water flows out of the pipe, the device will automatically reset and your AC will come back on. 

You can get twice the protection (a device in the main drain line and one in the emergency backup pan) and peace-of–mind knowing that your AC/Heat Pump system will not cause the water damage in the future. Our devices are inexpensive and only take minutes to install.  

Think of all the damage 20 gallons of water can do in your home.  Are you protected?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide will cause death or serious brain damage to more than 500 victims this year—don’t let a family member be one of them! What exactly is it? Carbon monoxide (CO) is a byproduct from burning various fuels and can come from a variety of common, everyday home appliances… and it’s poisonous to breathe in. Have you ever heard that you should never start your car or lawn mower with the garage door closed? That’s why. It’s a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas, making it a difficult opponent. Make sure your family doesn’t fall victim to this silent killer by knowing the facts. Homes are most at risk during fall, when people are starting up their furnace, boiler, or other seasonal combustion appliances for the first time in months.

Normally the toxic gases from fuel combustion are expelled from the home, but processes called the “stack effect” and “backdraft” trap them inside. The stack effect is when faulty appliances create a negative air pressure inside the home by ventilating too much air out of the home. The building will then “backdraft” to compensate for the air pressure imbalance by sucking air—including toxic gases—back inside.

This is usually caused by loose vent pipes, cracked metal, or corrosion.
Your home could also have internal equipment damage, malfunctioning components, or hidden blockage or damage in the vent or chimney. But how do you know?

We can clean and tune-up the central heating system, check for cracked heat exchangers, and improperly installed or loose vent pipes. Make sure your family knows the warning signs and what to do to prevent a CO nightmare.

Because it’s indiscernible by our senses, carbon monoxide can really sneak up on you—and your home’s CO detector! Because air can stratify, low-level leaks are difficult to identify, you should have at least one CO alarm on each floor of your home, and make sure it has a battery backup if it is hard-wired or plug-in.

What to do if your alarm goes off:
*Turn off combustion appliances, open all doors and windows, leave the home, and seek medical attention for a blood check.
*CO exposure is so dangerous because it interferes with the way your body absorbs oxygen, and can result in death or serious brain damage.

Symptoms of CO exposure include dizziness, nausea, headache, and shortness of breath—unfortunately, those are also symptoms for dozens of other illnesses, so it’s best to stay on the safe side and just get your home checked!

·                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        moisture inside your windows
·                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        loose or disconnected vent pipes
·                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        loose or missing furnace panels
·                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        soot or debris in or around your furnace
·                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        rust or water streaks on your furnace vent or chimney.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Study Tips

As summer break comes to an end and school starts up again, it may be difficult for your kids to adjust back to a routine of good study habits. Follow these tips to ensure that they get the homework time they need.

Determine a designated study space.
Avoid distractions and draw a clear line between play time and study time by setting up a study area in a quiet, well-lit place. It should be well-stocked with school supplies, have access to a computer with internet, and plenty of work space.

Make a plan.
How much homework does your child have? Does your child need to study on their own in addition to assigned homework? Which subject does your child struggle the most with? Help your child to prioritize, set goals, and practice time management by keeping track of assignments. Make use of a planner or wall calendar with important deadlines.

Form a study group.
Your child will likely show more interest in completing homework assignments and projects if they can bounce ideas off a friend. Choose a day of the week to invite some of your child’s classmates over so they can help each other out and make studying fun.

Develop a parent-teacher conversation
Your child shouldn’t be playing middleman between you and the teacher. Schedule a periodic meeting with the teacher after hours so you can stay up-to-date on your child’s progress and behavior, and understand more clearly what the main course objectives are. Figure out what topics are most important, what your child should focus on during
at-home study time, and what resources are available for extra help.

Encourage learning
Education begins at home. If your child shows interest in a particular topic, fuel it. Have plenty of books, word games, videos, and other resources available if your child shows a special talent or aptitude. Don’t force anything, but let your child know it’s ok to like
school—learning can be interesting!

Give guidance, not answers
When your kids ask for homework help, give them the tools they need to find the answer, which will be much more helpful for them in the long-run. Direct your child to online homework help sites like the following: