Fight the Winter Cold and Flu

Fight the Winter Cold and Flu

Fight the Winter Cold and Flu with your Heating and Air Ventilation? Yes you can!

Winter is synonymous with the flu season, and the risk of catching a cold or flu is higher during this time, particularly this year. Are you prepared to navigate the epicenter of illness without succumbing to infection? Find out out how you can fight the winter cold and flu with HVAC solutions.

 

Fight the Winter Cold and Flu with HVAC Solutions

 

It’s Simple: Run Your HVAC System

While saving on heating bills is appealing, running your HVAC system consistently, whether hot or cold, is a key preventive measure. Stagnant indoor air increases the likelihood of airborne virus transmission, akin to crowded subway cars. Embrace the coziness of indoor living, but ensure your indoor air remains fresh and healthy.

Integrate a Whole-House Humidifier

Combat the prevalence of flu and cold viruses during winter by addressing the dry air issue. Research indicates that adding moisture to the air reduces the contagiousness of viruses. A whole-house humidifier, connected to your water line and mounted in the HVAC system, distributes moisture evenly. Say goodbye to cold symptoms like sore throat, post-nasal drip, congestion, and scratchy voice.

Maintain a Warm Home, Especially After Being Outdoors

Temperature alone doesn’t deter viruses; they thrive regardless. However, cold weather weakens your body’s natural defenses, making you more susceptible. Ensure your home is adequately heated, especially when returning from the cold, to support your body’s defenses against infections.

Air Purifiers: Elevate Your Indoor Air Quality

Transform your ventilation system into an air purification powerhouse with the use of air purifiers. These devices, designed to enhance indoor air quality, effectively eliminate airborne bacteria and viruses. Choose from a variety of air purifiers available in the market to suit your preferences and needs.

Embrace a Healthier Approach

While traditional practices like getting a flu shot and enjoying warm chicken soup are commendable, don’t overlook the air you breathe. Follow these guidelines to give your immune system the best chance of surviving the cold and flu season unscathed. Consider installing a Whole-Home air purifier, humidifier, or both for added protection.

Dangers of Blocking Air Vents

Dangers of Blocking Air Vents

Blocking air vents might not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually a silent troublemaker for homeowners. When you cover these vents, it messes up how air moves around your house, causing a bunch of problems. From making the air you breathe not so great to creating a perfect spot for mold to grow, it’s a lot more serious than it seems. It’s super important to pay attention to this warning because ignoring those vents can lead to a ton of issues that can mess up your home and even your health. Here’s why you should heed this warning and the dangers of blocking air vents.

 

Dangers of Blocking Air Vents

 

System Strain and Catastrophic Costs

Picture this: your HVAC system, gasping for air like a suffocating athlete. Blocking vents forces your system to push air through restricted pathways, jacking up the pressure. The result? An overworked system that’s on a crash course for disaster. Frozen coils, cracked heat exchangers, and leaky ducts become inevitable. Your once reliable system becomes a ticking time bomb for expensive repairs or even total breakdown.

 

A Hidden Horror: Mold and Mildew

Behind that innocuous blockage lies a moisture trap. Humidity gathers, creating a cozy haven for mold and mildew. These aren’t just creepy crawlies; they’re airborne intruders invading your sanctuary. Blocked vents turn your home into a breeding ground for these allergens, turning every breath into a potential health hazard.

The Most Terrifying Threat: Fire

Think blocking vents is a harmless offense? Think again. Overworking your system isn’t just a strain; it’s a fire hazard waiting to ignite. Your furnace, pushed beyond its limits, becomes a fiery risk. The last thing you want is your home turning into an inferno due to a blocked vent.

The Wake-Up Call

Never underestimate the repercussions of a seemingly innocent act. Blocking air vents is a ticking time bomb, threatening your home, health, and safety. Don’t wait for disaster to strike.

Take action now. Schedule a comprehensive inspection with experts like BNG Heating & Cooling to prevent the dangers of blocking air vents. Preventive measures today could save you from catastrophic consequences tomorrow.

 

For more guidance on winter safety tips during the winter season, reach out to us at Boonville Natural Gas.

Indoor Air Quality During Ozone Alerts

Indoor air quality during ozone alerts.

Indoor air quality is essential for our health and comfort, and our HVAC systems play a crucial role in maintaining it. However, during ozone alerts, when outdoor ozone levels reach unhealthy levels, protecting indoor air quality becomes even more critical. In this post, we’ll explore how your HVAC system impacts indoor air quality during ozone alerts and offer tips for protecting your health.

Ozone Alerts and Indoor Air Quality

Alerts are issued when outdoor ozone levels reach unhealthy levels. Ozone is a gas that can cause respiratory problems, particularly for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions. During an ozone alert, it’s crucial to protect your health and your home’s indoor air quality. Here are some tips for reducing exposure to outdoor air pollutants and maintaining indoor air quality:

  1. Keep windows and doors closed: During an ozone alert, keep your windows and doors closed to reduce exposure to outdoor air pollutants.
  2. Use air conditioning: Use air conditioning instead of opening windows for ventilation during an ozone alert.
  3. Maintain your HVAC system: Regular maintenance of your HVAC system, including changing filters, can help improve indoor air quality.
  4. Use air purifiers: Air purifiers can help remove pollutants from the air and improve indoor air quality.

ozone layer view from outer space

Understanding Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is affected by pollutants, temperature, humidity, and ventilation. Poor indoor air quality can cause respiratory issues, allergies, headaches, and fatigue. To maintain good indoor air quality, it’s essential to keep your HVAC system well-maintained and make upgrades as necessary.

The Role of HVAC Systems in Indoor Air Quality

Your HVAC system helps regulate temperature, humidity, and ventilation to ensure that your home’s air is clean and comfortable. However, HVAC-related issues, such as dirty air filters, improper ventilation, and mold growth, can contribute to poor indoor air quality. To maintain and improve indoor air quality, it’s crucial to keep your HVAC system well-maintained and make upgrades as necessary.

Indoor air quality is a crucial aspect of our health and comfort, and during ozone alerts, protecting indoor air quality becomes even more important. By maintaining and upgrading your HVAC system and following these tips, you can help protect your health and your home’s indoor air quality during high pollution days. Don’t hesitate to consult with one of our professional HVAC technicians to ensure that your system is functioning properly and efficiently.

Fireman gives heating safety tips for winter.

Five Heating Safety Tips for Winter

Each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, the month of January sees a spike in residential fires caused by heating equipment. After cooking, heating is the second greatest cause of house fires. We’ve put together this handy list of heating safety tips for the winter to keep families safe. Any homeowner can keep their family safe and warm throughout the heating season with a little planning and a few simple procedures.

Heating Safety Tips for Winter

  1. Keep combustible goods away from furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and space heaters by at least three feet.
  2. Never heat your home with an oven or stovetop. Kitchen ovens were never intended to heat homes, only to cook food.
  3. Have your heating system inspected and cleaned by a skilled technician every year. Examine the area around your furnace or boiler for any signs of damage. Keeping combustible items and substances too close to the furnace causes many heating equipment fires. Garbage, paint, and other flammable objects should be kept away from your heating system.
  4. Never leave a space heater unattended or keep it running overnight while you sleep. Space heaters should be plugged into a wall. An extension cord or power strip should not be used since they can overheat and cause a fire.
  5. Once a month, test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke alarms that are powered by your home’s electrical service may not work during a power outage during a winter storm. Install a new battery in your smoke alarm at least once a year if it uses a backup battery.

Schedule a service appointment if you’re utilizing space heaters to warm areas in your house. Uneven heating is one of the most prevalent problems we hear from homeowners, and our knowledgeable repair specialists are eager to figure out what’s causing it.

How Viruses Spread and Why Air Purifiers Can Help

What Air Filtration Systems Can Do To Reduce Virus Particles

Most viruses spread via person-to-person contact, and most often through the air (coughs, sneezes, etc.), according to the CDC. Water vapor attached to the virus particles are carried in small droplets that move in a fine mist. The main symptom of most respiratory viruses is coughing, which just further adds to the chances that the air could be contaminated with virus particles.

One of the main reliable ways to remove these virus particles from the air is to circulate all of the air in a room or enclosed space, and to do this multiple times per hour. This increases the likelihood that a filter can catch the virus particles and remove them from the total volume of the air.

Air Filtration Is Just One Part of Prevention

Air purifiers aren’t the only preventive measure you can take to lower the chances of catching a virus. Keeping distance from someone thought to have a virus is necessary to lower the chances of breathing in virus particles. Also, keeping your hands clean and surfaces clean is an important part of keeping yourself safe from catching a virus. Taking one, or more of these preventive measures can drastically decrease your chances of catching an airborne virus.

Official Preventative Guidelines Given By The CDC

According to the CDC, here are the top seven ways to protect yourself from viruses every day:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If you are interested in installing an Air Purifier in your home, please contact us on our website or give us a call.

The Difference Between Regular and Emergency Furnace Repair

Furnaces typically work without any issues, especially if they are less than 3 years old.  Regular maintenance decreases the likeliness of running into a trouble with your furnace as well.  However, there may be times where a furnace just isn’t working right, so it is important to understand the difference between a regular furnace repair need and an emergency repair need.

If you live in the Tri-state, you understand what kind of emergencies can occur in the dead of winter.  There are instances in which you may be in need of emergency furnace repair or system replacement.  With some general investigation, you should be able to determine whether your furnace only needs some minor attention, or if it will take a licensed expert to solve the problem.

How To Know If You Should Call In A Professional

1. The Problem Seems to be With the Electrical Components

Electrical components play a vital role in how your entire home functions.  You are reliant on the electrical system in your home to provide power you need to continuously run your heating or cooling systems.

If your lights flicker when your system is running, it may be a good indicator that it is time to call a professional to come diagnose your unit.  A solid understanding of even the basics of your electrical system can provide you with the knowledge you need to spot potential hazards, but you should still consult a professional.

View the video below if you’d like to see some basic information about every home’s electrical system and also basic electrical system safety.

ESFI.org – Electrical Safety Foundation International, Home Electrical Safety, via Youtube

If you are uncertain about exactly what is the problem with the electrical system, do not try and repair the system yourself.  Electrical systems can be dangerous to tamper without the proper knowledge and training.

2. The Furnace System is Making Loud or/and Unusual Noises

Even when a furnace appears to be running without any issues, they can start making loud or unusual noises, seemingly out of the blue.  If you are certain the noise is coming through the ductwork, you may need to insulate your ductwork in order to bring down the noise.  If the furnace itself is to blame for the noise, it could be one of several things:

  • Pilot light is improperly adjusted
  • The blower motor lubrication ports need oiling

Sometimes, the nature of the noise can hint at what the underlying problem is.

a. Popping/Pinging Noise: This could perhaps be due to thermal expansion.  That is, the ductwork is expanding or contracting due to the change in temperature.

b. Squealing Noise: Perhaps a belt that connects the fan to the motor is slipping or may need replacement.

c. Rattling Noise: There may be loose panels that should be tightened.

d. Grinding Noise: Possibly motor bearings in need of repair.  Definitely call a service professional if this is happening to you.

3. The HVAC System is Repeatedly Turning Itself Off and On

If your issue with your furnace seems to be that it continuously turns itself off and then on, you may have a worn out air filter.  Try remember when the last time you had your air filters replaced, as that could hint at whether it actually is an air filter or not.

If the filter is new and the problem is still occurring, it may mean that your system has a more serious underlying issue.  It is recommended to call a service professional at this point, as continued use without addressing the issue could stress the compressor and lead to a mechanical failure.

 

The Benefits of Managing Your Home’s Air Quality

how is the air quality in your home

Would you say that you take your home’s air quality seriously enough?  With so much on your plate it’s easy to neglect or flat out forget to take care of your home’s air quality.  Traces of particle allergens, chemical pollutants, mold, harmful bacteria, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide can be lingering in your home.  It’s actually not very difficult to take the proper steps to ensure that the air quality in your home is both clean and safe for you and your family.  We’ll show you the downside of not monitoring your home’s air quality and the benefits of being proactive with your air quality.  We’ll also show you what you can do in order to make sure the air in your home is as comfortable, healthy, and safe as it it can be.

Poor Air Quality Increases Your Chance of Allergies

A major source of what causes allergies stems from dust and pollen in the air.  Studies show that the effects of dust and pollen are even more prominent in children.  It’s especially important that children four and under breathe clean air.  They have the highest chance of developing asthma because of harmful air pollutants.

Poor Air Quality Can Increase the Chance of Spreading Poisonous Mold in Your Home

If mold is found in the air, it can cause serious illness and even fatalities in some cases.  If ignored, the problem only gets worse and continue to spread.  Being proactive in monitoring and managing your home’s air quality helps to reduce the chances of mold repopulating.

Poor Air Quality Can Cause Expensive Problems

Issues due to poor air quality can become costly over time.  Excess pollen and dust means your HVAC system filters tend to need to be replaced more often.  In some instances, clogged filters made worse by poor air quality can force your HVAC system to overwork because of the dust, which can mean that its lifespan is reduced drastically.

A Solution…?

You may be wondering what you can do to monitor and prevent any of these problem from occurring due to lackluster air quality.  The first step is to get an air quality test.  We recommend an AirAdvice Indoor Air Quality Home Test.  These tests check for and detail any problems your home might have with humidity, heating/cooling, carbon dioxide levels, carbon monoxide, etc.  They only take around 30 minutes and are well worth the price, which is typically very reasonable (~$199).  The report you receive from the test will detail the health, comfort, and safety levels in your home, and provide solutions to improve your environment.  You can always contact us to get tested – Our number is (812) 858-4000 or schedule an appointment here.

 

The Single Piece of Equipment that Saves You Thousands

Do you know what a surge protector is? No, not the outlet strips that get tangled behind the television! Those are designed to manage small variations in voltage that your many household electrical items may require.

What we’re talking about are surge protectors that are more robust! Our devices affix to your HVAC unit to make sure that, if lightning strikes or there’s a sudden electrical event in your home, your unit will be protected from being damaged or destroyed. They’re important to have, because the small price you pay to protect your unit could save you thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs.

We’re often asked: “If you’re at risk for lightning striking, wouldn’t you want your entire home protected?” If this is a major concern for your home, it may be worth the investment to have a whole-house surge protector installed. These, however, are incredibly expensive and not a viable option for many of us.

The surge protectors we offer are simple to install and affordable. They’re a simple way to protect one of the most vital components of your home.

The only catch? Once these surge protectors have done their job and successfully absorbed the electric shock headed towards your unit, they have to be replaced. That’s why recommend getting yours checked for replacement at your maintenance visits. Yours may have already protected you without you even knowing it!

Make the smart move and take advantage of our June offer! This month only, you can get $10 off up to three units. Stock up!

Have more questions about the products or services we offer? Go ahead and give us a call so that we can help you today!

Can Dirty Air Filters Cause A House Fire?

The simple answer? Yes.

It’s one of the main reasons that we constantly remind our customers to change their air filters. Dirty air filters not only negatively impact your home’s air quality, but they also inhibit your system’s ability to perform. If you’ve allowed your air filters to get severely clogged, you could be blocking air flow completely. This will result in your furnace working too hard—yes, even in the spring and summer months, your furnace works hard to keep your air cool—and can eventually cause system failure.

Even worse than system failure—which could cost you thousands in either repair or replacement costs—is an overheated motor. An overheated motor can start a domino effect of bad reactions. Does your furnace have faulty wiring? If so, the overheated motor (or a rise in voltage) could spark a fire. Are there flammable objects around your furnace? Those could also catch fire. Trust us—there are lots of opportunities for things to go terribly wrong, but that’s what our experts look out for on our regular maintenance visits.

Another way a fire could start? When your furnace is working hard to pull air through, the dirty air filter could eventually get sucked back into the system. When this happens, air flow is compromised and you’re at serious risk of a fire starting at the furnace level. And, bad news, the smoke from the fire will travel through your ventilation system quite easily.

We don’t mean to scare you. We only mean to remind you that your home is running on a sophisticated system, and that system needs to be maintained regularly. The cheapest and easiest way you can do that is to keep those air filters clean!

If you’d like a thorough inspection of your home’s unit, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re ready to send one of our technicians to your house today!

Carbon Monoxide Poisioning Prevention and Safety

The awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) causes and hazards is slowly growing, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate 430 people in the U.S. die each year from accidental poisoning. The worst part is that this tragedy is totally preventable, as long as you know what to look out for. In this post, we’re going to cover exactly what CO is, the symptoms of CO2 poisoning to look out for, and what you can do to prevent it from happening in your home.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. It’s created in small quantities in the natural world, but most commonly, it’s created when there isn’t enough oxygen to form carbon dioxide (CO2), like when fuel isn’t completely burned. Incomplete fuel burning usually happens when operating a stove or appliances that rely on internal combustion, like a generator, a car’s engine, or a furnace, in an enclosed area.

While the hazards of heat sources, like potential fire and burns are well-known, the hazards of CO are less well-known. People who are unaware of CO’s dangers may use appliances that produce fumes in an enclosed space, which can cause poisoning. These people are not necessarily negligent with their use of application, and many are related to usages necessitated by natural disaster. According to the CDC, outages due to weather cause an increase in generator use, which when used incorrectly, can lead to poisoning. After Hurricane Katrina, an estimated 47 deaths occurred due to improper generator use.

What does CO poisoning look like?

Indoor pollution is a huge cause of CO poisoning, and if you suspect someone has been poisoned, there are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • headache
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

These symptoms can be especially dangerous if someone is sleeping or intoxicated, because they can appear to be related to those two conditions, rather than CO. If the development of these symptoms is sudden and seemingly unrelated to something else, seek fresh air and help immediately.

How can I prevent CO poisoning?

First, if you suspect someone has been poisoned, call 911 and the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1 (800) 222-1222.

One of the first steps to preventing CO poisoning is to be aware of this condition, and know what to look for should you suspect it’s occurrence. Luckily, prevention of CO buildup is easy and completely within your control. CO detectors function like your smoke detectors, and will alert you to the presence of toxic levels of CO in your home. Make sure to regularly test your CO detectors. If you’re installing them, place one near each sleeping area, and at least one on each level of your home. Connect them all, so if one detector goes off, they will all go off, and each member of your family will be alerted to the presence of CO.

Although CO detectors are widely available at many retail stores, BNG recommends the Kidde CO detector, which detects CO and warns you at a much lower CO level than discount store models. It also has a digital read-out so you can see what the level is and what the highest recorded level has been, even if it is within “Safe” limits. This robust unit uses AC power and has a ten-year life on the backup battery and a 10 year warranty. At just $99 (or less than $10 per year) it provides great peace-of-mind that you won’t be unaware if dangerous CO is present in your home.

If your CO detectors go off, get outdoors or to an area where you can access fresh air, like a door or window. Once you’re sure each member of your family is present, call for help. Stay near the fresh air area.

If you must use a generator, heater, grill, lantern, or fireplace, use it only in a well-ventilated area. Never use a grill or generator indoors.

During snowy weather, make sure your dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace vents are clear of snow, which can trap smoke and fumes.

Get your furnace checked annually by a technician trained to spot areas of leakage or combustion chamber corrosion! Many people forget the fact that their furnace creates heat through a combustion chamber. Over time, the chamber can corrode, and the exhaust flue, which moves CO outside of the home, can leak or have holes. A trained HVAC technician, like those at BNG, can spot these potential hazards and make repairs to prevent the spread of CO into your home. The best solution here is prevention, so schedule your furnace maintenance annually, and ideally, before we get into heavy-use furnace season.

For more information on CO safety, you can visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website. For annual furnace inspection and maintenance, you can call BNG at 812.858.4000 to schedule an appointment.