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.

 

How To Cut Costs in Your Small Business

When you own a business, it can feel like things get more and more expensive—from vendor prices to those gradually growing utility bills. And when it’s a small business you’re running, those rising bills cut directly into the business owner’s take-home pay.

We at BNG Heating and Cooling understand this because we experience it for ourselves every single day. We’ve been a family-owned small business since the Lewellyn family started with the company in 1946, and we’ve learned a few valuable tips about cost-cutting along the way. Here are the most important ones:

Don’t sacrifice quality

We understand the temptation to put a band-aid on a situation by buying the most affordable solution out there—we’ve been there. But there’s nothing worse than making an investment of any size then having that affordable solution break down within a year. Whether it’s a new printer or an entirely new HVAC unit, you’ll never regret choosing quality products!

Find partners, not just contractors

If you have any experience with business partnerships, you know that there are some “partners” that only see you as an invoice to send and others who genuinely look out for you and your customers’ best interests. These are the kinds of partners who will recommend the BEST products for YOU—not just the ones that will make them, as your vendor, the most money.

We pride ourselves on being this kind of trusted partner. We’ll assess your building’s conditions, then recommend the unit, maintenance package, or replacement plan that best suits your long-term goals and your budget. We want to be the kind of partner that you know you can trust, not just a contractor charging you more money than you’re wanting to spend.

Call our team at BNG Heating & Cooling to get started on your best partnership yet!

The Homeowner’s Springtime Checklist

After a long, hard winter, we’re finally seeing the sunlight at the end of the tunnel! We know you’re ready to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, but are you sure that your house is ready to make the transition from cold temperatures to warm?  

We want to make it easy for you to be sure that you’re taking the best care of your home that you possibly can, so we made this checklist of things that you should do before we’re in full springtime.

Check the Roof

Your roof has done a lot of work for you this winter—especially if you were one of the millions of Americans who experienced severe snowstorms early this year. Make sure that it didn’t lose any shingles along the way. You should also look out for unevenness among shingles, as that can be pointing to nail-pops and potential leak opportunities.

Check Your Gutters

It won’t be long before we’re gearing up for April showers! Be sure that your gutters are unclogged, cleared of leaves and debris, and are in good working order. Pro Tip: Look for water drips, especially around gutter downspouts, on your exterior walls. These marks point to a leaky gutter.

Windows and Doors

If you took our advice before winter and made sure to seal your openings, now is a good time to check those places to be sure that your sealing stayed in tact. If not, take the opportunity to seal them now, before your home is working to keep cool air in and warm, summer air out.  

HVAC Maintenance

It’s time to clear out the leaves and debris from your HVAC unit and get it ready for a hot summer! This is also the perfect time to schedule a routine maintenance check from your expert service provider. They will be able to spot signs of trouble after a long winter, and make repairs before hot spring and summer weather sets in.

If you have a maintenance plan with BNG Heating and Cooling, you’re already on our list of homes to check in on before spring. If not, you can schedule a consultation by calling one of our locations or by going online to schedule your consultation today.

Air Vents: When It’s Okay to Block Them

Our short and simple answer? Never.

Here’s why.

Increased Pressure

Your heating and cooling equipment was set up for your home’s specific square footage. When you close air vents or block them with furniture, the same amount of air is being pushed through your ventilation system but with increased pressure because of limited opportunities for air flow.

Not only does it force your HVAC system to work harder—shortening its lifespan—but it also results in frozen air conditioning coils, overheated furnaces, cracked heat exchangers, and leaks in duct systems. Those issues come with both danger to your home AND big price tags for repairs.

Mold and Mildew

Because of humidity, moisture will collect behind the blocked vent, causing mold and mildew to not only fester, but to infect the air blowing through your entire house. This is a terrible scenario for any homeowner, but it can be especially dire for allergy and asthma sufferers.

If you’re blocking the vents with upholstered furniture—say, the wall vent is right in the middle of the only wall suitable for your couch—you’re setting your couch up to be a mold and mildew nest. This possibility is not only limited to soft, upholstered furniture. Rugs are also a prime breeding ground for mold and mildew, as is wood furniture.

Fire Hazard

Perhaps the most obvious (and most dangerous) result of a blocked vent is that it will cause a fire. How? When you’re forcing your system to overwork, as mentioned in our first point, you put your furnace at high risk of setting on fire.

Worried that you’ve been overworking your system?

Call your friends at BNG Heating & Cooling to schedule an inspection or maintenance checkup. We’ll be able to spot any signs of trouble before they become expensive mistakes

Is Your Home Too Humid?

Are you making sure that your home maintains appropriate levels of moisture? This crucial detail is often overlooked by homeowners, so we’ve boiled it down to some simple steps for you.

1: Understand what your home SHOULD feel like.

If you’ve never paid attention to home humidity before, you may not have a clue as to what different humidity levels feel like. The basic rule is that, in the summer, your home’s air should have about 50% humidity, and in the winter your home humidity should be around 40%.

2: Learn how to measure home humidity.

All you need is a hygrometer! These can be found online or at your local home improvement store and are an important addition to any homeowner’s repertoire. What you’re looking for is relative humidity, which indicates how moist the air around you feels.

3: Identify the areas of your home causing high humidity.  

While every home is different, depending on size, age, and climate, there are some factors that commonly contribute to high moisture in most houses. It seems like a no-brainer, but you need to have vent fans in the kitchen and bathroom, where steam can build up and sometimes get trapped.

4: Act fast to fix the problem areas!

If you don’t, you’re allowing mold, mildew, and other moisture-loving offenders to make their way into your home. Some people are severely allergic to mold and mildew, and it can be especially threatening to people who suffer with asthma. And, as if the health risks aren’t severe enough, you could also be risking the integrity of your home by allowing moisture to deteriorate your insulation, rot lumber, and soil furniture and appliances.

5: Prevent humidity levels from becoming uneven in the future.

Do this by following the advice we gave in 1 – 4, and go an extra step further by investing in your health with a home de-humidifier. There is absolutely no better way to regulate your home’s humidity than to install one of these. It takes the guesswork out of managing humidity and can save you thousands in repairs that would have to be made if moisture got out of control.

Want expert advice specific to YOUR home? BNG can install a de-humidifier on your home’s furnace along with a humidistat to continually measure the humidity and regulate the output of the humidifier automatically. Give us a call or go online to schedule your consultation—we have the tools you need to make your home as comfortable as possible!

Are You REALLY Prepared for an Outage?

Where do you start?

Before you find yourself in an outage, the smartest thing you can do is to prepare an emergency kit. Your kit should have the basics, like first aid supplies, flashlights, enough non-perishable food and water to provide for each member of your family, and backup charge supplies for your electronic devices. But you’ll also want to include things that you normally live without, like printed maps, dust masks, moist towelettes, and a whistle.

You and your family will be thankful that you thought through every possible circumstance if they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation!

Generators to the Rescue

If you’re the owner of a generator, you’ll be able to provide power to your home in the face of a serious situation OR during a simple electricity outage, when you’d simply be inconvenienced by a lack of power.

When you’re in what seems to be a temporary outage, your generator should provide enough power to easily sustain your home comfort and safety. If you’re in a more serious outage, however, you’ll want to get creative with your resources so that you can conserve the generator’s energy.

For example, if you’re able to cook with a portable butane stove, your generator will have more energy to dedicate to sustaining your home heating – or cooling during those summer months!

Proper Insulation Is Essential

If your insulation is properly installed, your home will make the best use of that generator’s energy, just as it does when your HVAC is working properly. Being sure that you haven’t neglected your home’s insulation maintenance should be one of the first steps you take to ensuring your preparedness for power outages.

Learn How to Preserve Energy

It is essential that you understand concepts like energy conservation, the risk of unsafe foods, and equipment safety. If you’re the only member of your family that is educated on all these points, your family will be unsafe if something happens to you.

We recommend writing a how-to that you leave with your emergency kit, so that everyone in your family will know what to do in the event of an unexpected power outage. If you have access to the internet right now, there’s no reason that you should ever be unprepared!

There are too many tips and too many ready-made kits available to you.

BNG is available 24/7 for HVAC emergencies, and we carry the absolute best in generators. Let us be your resource now, so that you’ll be prepared when you least expect disaster to strike. Call BNG today!

Air Conditioning Tips for Hosting a Big Party

Have you ever heard that you’re supposed to turn down the temperature in your home a few hours before you host a party? If not, this weekend is definitely time to learn about the common practice, as homes across the country will be filling with football fans—and with non-football fans—to watch the Super Bowl together!

Why do it?

Because people generate heat, and when grouped together, that heat multiplies. It’s estimated that just one person produces heat at a rate equivalent with a 100 Watt bulb per hour. So, when you look at your living room filled with 25 of your closest football fan friends, imagine it filled with 25 light bulbs, burning bright for at least 4 hours.

And, if the game is especially exciting, you can imagine those light bulbs burning even more brightly! When they’re jumping off the couch or yelling at the referees, your guests’ body temperatures will spike, contributing to even more heat released into the air of your house.

Some of the heat may also come from sources other than your guests, since having guests usually goes along with cooking up a storm for them! Having all your ovens and stoves blazing throughout the day will certainly contribute to the temperature of the room, so consider making some party dishes that don’t require heat from all your large appliances.

A Little Prep Goes a Long Way

We know—altering your Sunday menu to avoid excess heat, especially at the beginning of February, sounds a little dramatic. But we’re HVAC experts and truly believe that every little effort counts in the game of energy efficiency.

It may take a while for the actual temperature to rise in the room, and if you’ve forgotten to set the temperature lower before the party began, your system will have to work harder to get the air back down to a comfortable temperature. This will take some time, during which your guests will be suffering just about as much as your energy bills.

So, be smart! Go ahead and prepare your home for the loud and exciting party that we’ve come to expect from Super Bowl Sunday.
And if you’re planning to host and your air already isn’t working with complete efficiency, don’t hesitate to call the experts at BNG Heating & Cooling for an expert inspection.

We’re open 24/7 for emergencies—so you can give us a call to have your home ready for guests ASAP

Winter Tips for Your Home’s HVAC System

Winter can be scary for homeowners. There are so many items on your list to check off before you can be sure that you’ve done all you can to protect it from the cold, damp, and sometimes icy weather that can seriously compromise both your home’s comfort AND its safety.

We know a thing or two about maintaining your home’s comfort—even in the toughest conditions! Follow this list, and you can rest easy this winter!

Insulation, Insulation, Insulation.

Without proper insulation, your home can’t retain any of the heat your HVAC system is producing. And, yes, insulation CAN deteriorate over time!

Insulation in your attic will be especially important in the winter, as heat tries to escape through your roof. Beyond the obvious areas, however, you should pay special attention to areas that are hidden, like your crawlspace,​ because they can make a huge difference in your home’s ability to retain heat.

Maintenance.

If you haven’t had your furnaces checked and your HVAC winterized, then you can’t expect them to work efficiently – even without a major storm! You can call in the professionals to fully clean and prepare these units, but there are small steps you can take that make a big difference in HVAC efficiency!

Start by cleaning out all the autumn leaves and other sediment that may have collected in and around your HVAC unit and furnace. Doing this in addition to changing out all your filters will go a long way when your home faces the fiercest winter conditions this year. You know what we always say: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Check your pipes.

If you’re leaving town for the holidays, you should turn off your water supply, so that water won’t freeze and crack your pipes while you’re away.

And if you don’t leave home, you need to adjust your faucets so that just a little bit of water trickles out. This keeps water from freezing in the pipes and from building up water pressure, both of which could cause your pipes to burst!

Monitor Your System.

You may not be able to tell that heat is escaping your walls and that your HVAC system is having to work overtime to keep your house warm. Keep an eye on your energy bills to see if you’re spending way more than you think you should or way more than what you paid last year.

If you have a wifi-enabled thermostat, you’ll be able to monitor your home’s temperature even if you’re away on holiday. You’ll be able to notice anything gone awry if you’ve been paying attention all year – getting the most out of your programmable thermostat!

Most important: BE PROACTIVE!

If you’d like an expert inspection on your home’s winterization before the winter storms REALLY hit, call BNG Heating & Cooling. We can pinpoint the areas of your home that are the biggest threats to both your comfort and your energy bills, and provide solutions that will keep your home energy-efficient all year long!