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Did You Clean THERE? If Not, Your Bills May Be Suffering.

We know that we talk about your energy bills all the time, but it’s only because we know what a vital role your HVAC system, insulation, and maintenance plays in your home’s energy efficiency. Basically, it’s our responsibility to make sure that our customers are completely safeguarded against common energy-sucks.

Lately, we’ve told you how to manage your thermostat efficiency, how to tell if the air in your home is less-than-optimal, and how you might cool your home with no AC at all.

Today, we’re digging into the deepest corners of your house—the corners that you love to ignore but that have a massive impact on how hard you’re making your equipment work during the summer months. Be sure not to miss these unexpected places when you’re doing your deep cleans before summer:

Behind the Refrigerator

Those strange coils between the wall and the back of your refrigerator are a hot spot for dust, dirt, and maybe even rodents. Aside from those threats to your respiratory health (and hygiene!), the United States Department of Energy recommends keeping refrigerator coils clean because not doing so could result in a 30% increase in energy consumption.

Change Air-Conditioning Filters

It seems obvious, but this detail is often overlooked by first-time homeowners and long-time homeowners alike. You’ll feel a change in air quality and help your system run as efficiently as possible. This becomes especially important in the summer months, when you’re constantly tracking outdoor allergens into your home.

Get Rid of Air Leaks

Over time, cracks form in doors and windows, and, over time, those cracks let out the air that your AC is working to cool. In 2012, a study found that a third of the energy you buy probably leaks through these holes and cracks in your house. Identifying these holes is trickier than you’d think, so we advise calling your local experts to conduct a survey of your home for you.

The most important thing you can do is to be sure that you’re being proactive in caring for your home’s energy efficiency. That’s why BNG HVAC offers maintenance plans, so that you worry less and see better results on your monthly energy bill.

Ready to schedule your maintenance checkup? Call us today or go online to schedule an appointment with our incredible technicians!

Spring Cleaning: Your home maintenance to-do list!

Spring is finally here, and for many of us, that brings to mind booming flowers and sunny skies. Spring is also a great time to give your home a little TLC. From cleaning gutters and windows, to organizing your garage, our spring maintenance list will get your home in top shape so you can relax and enjoy the long, lazy summer ahead.

Outdoor spring cleaning

Spring is a great time to give your house a little facelift by cleaning out clogged and overflowing gutters, and washing away winter grime and mildew from siding and outdoor furniture. Additionally, grab a flashlight and inspect for termites or animal damage around your house exterior and air conditioning systems, and clear away brush and overgrown plants from in front of vents and grates.

Clean out the garage

The classic spring cleaning task! Take the time to clean out and organize your garage, first by recycling, donating, and disposing of anything you haven’t used lately. To improve the look and function of your garage, power wash it each spring and fall to remove any built up debris from the winter weather or summer adventures. If you’re looking to help keep your garage cool this summer, it might be worthwhile to install some insulation to keep the temperature more consistent. Give us a call for a quote!

Switch up your ceiling fan

Hot temperatures are coming, so it’s time to change the direction your paddle ceiling fans rotate. During spring and summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise when looking up at the fan. This creates a downdraft that makes you feel cooler when it blows on your skin, and is a great accompaniment to your air conditioner that can increase room comfort and save energy. To change the direction of your ceiling fan, turn the fan off, allow the blades to stop, then flip the switch on the fan housing.

Change your air filters

Replacing the air filter on your central heating and cooling system every one to three months will help it run more efficiently, and keep the air in your home cleaner. Changing frequently during the summer when pollen and allergens are higher is recommended by most medical professionals. Using a HEPA filter will help with allergies and pet dander. It’s easy to change the air filter by removing the cover on the air return, sliding out the old filter, and replacing it with a new one with the arrows on the filter pointing in the direction of airflow.

Give us a call for a recommendation of the best filter for your home and lifestyle!

Get your AC checked

Luckily, we can help you with this one! One of the most important ways you can prepare your home for the summer is to get your air conditioner served. Have a licensed heating and cooling technician inspect and clean the blower and motor, check the coolant, and test the switches. It’s also a good idea to have them inspect your ductwork for any leaks.

This is our essential to-do list for spring cleaning, but do you have any ideas of what we missed? Let us know when you call to schedule your air conditioner maintenance!

Filter Through Fall Allergies Indoors

We can’t wait for some relief from the summer heat, but with great seasonal change comes great allergen irritation for many people, some of whom may have never experienced allergy season before. Half of all allergy sufferers in the United States are diagnosed after age 18, and some will be diagnosed after contracting a bad cold or mono. If this is true for someone in your home, you may not know what to do to help relieve their suffering. Avoiding irritants and allergens is the best way to preventing fall allergy symptoms, and it’s easier than you think!

While you can be sure to avoid pets if you are allergic to pet dander, most fall allergy sufferers are allergic to ragweed, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Ragweed is most commonly found in the East and Midwest, but the pollen is so small it can travel thousands of miles in the wind making it a common allergen all over the country. You can’t filter the entire world, especially a world with pollen as pervasive as ragweed, but you can filter the air that comes into your home, which will provide just the relief millions of allergy sufferers need.

Fortunately, you probably don’t have to replace your entire HVAC system to get the relief you deserve. There are smaller fixes that can add up to a comfortable, allergy-free fall.

Your Toolbox

When creating your healthiest home environment, BNG recommends first taking care of all necessary maintenance to your overall HVAC system, since it controls the airflow in and out of your home.

High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters, or HEPA Filters

These bad boys can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns (which is the equivalent of 1/1000 of a millimeter), which means pollen, mold spores, animal dander, and fumes don’t stand a chance.

Dehumidifier

Dust mites, a common year-round indoor allergy trigger, thrive in high-humidity environments, so a nice summer breeze blowing through your living room is like Disney World for these microscopic pests. A dehumidifier is just the thing to ensure your home is ready for a mite-free fall. Make sure to keep your dehumidifier clean, though, because allowing any mold to grow defeats the purpose entirely.

Your existing AC system

Did you know your AC system can act as a great dehumidifier during warmer months? Filters in your AC system are critical for preventing many indoor allergens, and your existing central AC or heating systems can be fitting with electrostatic filters, which trap smaller particles than the average filter, although they don’t work as well as HEPA filters. If you have one family member that particularly suffers from fall allergies, consider separating units for their bedroom or most frequented areas. Since filters work the best within a specific square-foot range, targeting one area with a HEPA filter or dehumidifier will be the best for reducing allergens.

If you’re ready to upgrade your filters and find a little relief this allergy season, give BNG a call. You can also read our post on why we always recommend preventive maintenance for your existing HVAC systems before making any major changes. We have locations in Boonville, Newburgh, Evansville, and Richland.

Pure Air At Last (Part 2)

Last time we talked about solar death rays fighting off hordes of bacteria, mold and viruses. This time lets discuss smells; all the bad ones that slowly build up in your home. Smells are powerful. Research has shown that smells are the sense that is most strongly tied to memory. Do you want your home to be remembered because it had an odd odor? We didn’t think so. The second technology used by the APCO In-duct Air Purifier system is…(drum roll)… carbon. Activated carbon has several uses, but in the APCO it removes odors.

Activated carbon is used for all kinds of things: cleaning water, filtering chemical solutions for analysis, treating overdoses and poisonings, and as in the APCO removing chemicals from air. Now, brace yourself, incoming chemistry. Ready? Here we go. Activated carbon is full of micro pores. These tiny holes give 1 gram of activated carbon over 500 m^2 of surface area. More surface area means that there is more area for chemicals to react to. And carbon is very good at reacting with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When the VOCs react with the carbon in the APCO they get stuck and removed from the air. Since the VOCs cause the smells, and the VOCs are stuck in the carbon; the smells are gone. Whew…chemistry over. Did you make it? Glad to hear it. Next time we’ll talk about why the carbon can keep catching the VOCs.

Cold Weather Safety

Brrrr! Cold and wind in Boonville, Newburgh, Rockport, and Evansville this winter will cause all of us to feel the pinch in our wallets as it will cost more to keep our homes and businesses warm. Certainly all the energy-saving tips you have learned over the years are still valid: turn your thermostat down when you are away from home, insulate your walls and attic, seal up all the cracks in your windows and doors, change out your older inefficient furnace for a new more energy-efficient one, and of course, wear warm clothes and blankets!

But while you are trying to stay warm, don’t neglect safety! Make sure that your heating system has been professionally cleaned and tuned-up so that it is running at its best. Regular maintenance by a professional heating & air conditioning technician can prevent breakdowns at inconvenient times–like weekends, the middle of the night, and on the coldest and windiest days of the winter! You sure don’t want to be without heat when those cold winds are blowing! Maintenance of your heating system is money well-spent, because your technician can spot issues that can affect your family’s safety, too, such as the potential for Carbon Monoxide production from a poorly-maintained or defective furnace.

Make sure Kidde CO detectoryou have a working Carbon Monoxide detector on every level of your home, especially in sleeping areas. The ones sold in the big box stores give you some very basic protection, but the higher quality models, such as the Kidde model sold by BNG Heating & Cooling, gives you a digital readout of the Carbon Monoxide level in your home, and detects it at a much lower concentration than the basic models. This means your family is better protected from this dangerous,  odorless gas.

BNG also provides and installs smoke detectors that fit INSIDE the ductwork of your heating system, detecting smoke at very low levels and shutting down your HVAC system to keep the deadly smoke from spreading throughout your home. Ask your technician about it!