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Winter is in full swing here in Pittsburgh so it’s safe to say that all of our furnaces are currently being put to the test. But, did you know that your furnace could work more efficiently by maximizing the airflow in your home? As a homeowner, you know that heating your home costs a decent amount of money, especially if you have a big home to heat. To get the most out of your money this frigid winter season, you’ll want to make sure to maximize the airflow in your home. When the airflow in your home increases, your furnace operates more efficiently and effectively, thus reducing your bill and prolonging the life of the furnace. So, be sure to follow these five steps to maximize your airflow this season.

Clean/replace air filter – The number one way to maximize airflow this season is to keep your furnace filter clean. The cleaner it is, the more air can flow through it. Hair, dirt, dust and other debris get caught in the furnace filter over time. When the buildup of debris becomes too much, it significantly restricts airflow. Your furnace will not be able to reach the desired temperature of your home and will run longer and harder. Depending on the type of furnace filter you have, replace or clean your furnace filter at least once a month, especially if you have animals.

Secure windows – Airflow in your home doesn’t matter if your windows are not tightly secured. Be sure to enforce storm windows and use a caulking gun to seal any cracks around the windowsill. Otherwise, your warm air can escape your home, again causing the furnace to work harder.

Ceiling fans – During colder months you want to make sure the ceiling fan is running clockwise. Heat rises, so you don’t want all that heat going straight to the ceiling. Having the ceiling fan on a low setting moving clockwise will circulate the warm air in your home.

Doors – With central heating, it is best to leave all the doors in your home open. This will allow the heat in your home to move about freely and increase the airflow.

Vents clean and clear – You want to make sure all of your air vents are open and free from any obstructions. Move any furniture, curtains, bookshelves or anything else that could potentially block an air vent. During the winter, dust the opening of the air vent weekly to prevent the buildup of hair and dust – this is a simple and easy way to maximize airflow in your home this season.

If you’ve followed these steps and your furnace still doesn’t seem to be heating your home properly, feel free to give our technicians a call, we’ll be glad to help.

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There can be many reasons for power outages, but regardless of the reason, we can’t always prevent our home from being affected. When your home loses electricity, everything appears to seem quiet and peaceful – almost like nothing bad could ever happen.

Most people tend to think that the most dangerous thing that can happen when the power goes out is being out driving and having the traffic lights not work. However, there are some serious dangers that are caused by losing the power in your home.

If you or someone in your family requires electricity for health problems, you could be in some serious danger. Should your home lose power, you need to call for assistance immediately. Should the health of one of your family members depend on electricity, consider installing a residential backup generator to keep your loved one safe and healthy even if the power goes out.

Sometimes the power goes out when we’re away from home so we don’t pay any attention to it when we get home. We simply re-set our electric clocks and move on. If the power was off for several hours, then that means most of the food in your freezer and refrigerator reached an unsafe temperature. You could risk food poison or even E. coli by consuming the bad food in your refrigerator.

When the power does finally come back on, many times it causes a power surge in your home. A power surge has the potential to cause damage or ruin your appliances, air conditioning and heating unit and even your electronics that are plugged in. If you are home when you experience a power outage, take the time to unplug your kitchen appliances, window A/C and all of your electronics.

Do you want to avoid all of this damages that can be caused by an unexpected power surge? Consider calling a licensed and insured electrician to install a residential backup generator.

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A garbage disposal is a great household machine to make table scraps completely disappear. Instead of tossing food into the garbage to sit and stink up your entire home, you simply toss them in the sink and with a flip of a switch it’s gone! Although your home might be free from the garbage stench, a nasty odor can make its way out of the drain and into the kitchen.

To treat the nasty odor coming from your garbage disposal, follow the treatment below to freshen up your sink drain.

Treatment

Step 1

Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain with the garbage disposal on. While the garbage disposal is still running, empty 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain. This combination will eliminate any odors while also removing any minor or major clogs within your drain.

Step 2

Turn the garbage disposal on and toss a few ice cubes in the sink. The ice will remove any food particles still lingering in the drain while also sharpening the blades of your garbage disposal.

Step 3

Cut up one lemon, lime or orange and grind it up in the garbage disposal. This will leave your sink with a fresh citrus smell that will eliminate any nasty odors coming from your garbage disposal.

Prevention

The best cure for a smelly garbage disposal is avoiding the stench all together. Use these helpful tips to keep your garbage disposal from giving off a horrible odor.

Leave the machine running for five seconds longer than you typically think you need to, this will ensure that any food particles that may have gotten stuck come loose and go completely down the drain.

Avoid putting any of the following items down the garbage disposal to prevent bad odors:

  • Stringy/starchy foods – celery and potatoes
  • Liquids – grease and oil
  • Pasta and rice
  • Seeds
  • Fat and bones
  • Egg shells
  • Coffee grounds
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During the winter, we tend to spend most of our time in the comfort of our nice and cozy homes. With all this extra time spent indoors, it is important that the air quality of your home is clean and safe to breathe. So, don’t let these top hazards to indoor air quality cause health problems for you and your family this season.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is not only hazardous, but it is very deadly. Part of what makes it so dangerous is that it is colorless, odorless and produces flu-like symptoms. You can take action to protect your family by having your furnace inspected annually to ensure there is no risk of a deadly carbon monoxide leak. Installing a carbon monoxide detector will also keep you and your family safe from this deadly gas. It’s best to have one installed outside of each bedroom. If the bedrooms are next to each other, then a single detector should be sufficient.

Mold

Having mold in your home isn’t just gross, it can cause some serious health issues as well. These issues include sinus congestion, runny nose, respiratory problems, difficulty breathing and even chest tightness. For those with asthma or other respirtory problems, these symptoms can be even more pronounced and debilitating. Mold grows in wet damp places such as the bathroom and basement. Always run the exhaust fan while taking a shower and be sure to clean the exhaust fan semiregularly. If you think your basement is a bit humid, a dehumidifier can help decrease this problem – just be sure to empty the water daily. Mold and mildew resistant paint can also prove to be beneficial.

Home cleaning products

Household cleaning products contain many chemicals, even “green” labeled products have been known to cause some health problems.  Many home cleaners have the potential of causing respiratory problems and allergic reactions. To avoid this hazard to your indoor air quality, you can clean your home with many natural ingredients found in your kitchen. Often times these natural options are just as effective and do not carry any added health risks.

Artificial scents: Candles and incense

Although they make your home smell good, candles and incense release soot and other bad particles into the air causing asthma attacks and in some cases, allergic reactions. If you have anyone in your home who experiences difficulty breathing, you’ll want to avoid these as well. However, there are many great recipes online for creating different scents in your home using natural ingredients and boiling water on the stove.

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There’s nothing more puzzling than doing your business in the bathroom only to find ants crawling around on the floor. Yuck! It makes sense for there to be ants in the kitchen because there is actual food there – crumbs on the counter and food caught in the sink and drain that can attract them, but in the bathroom? There is no food so why should there be ants crawling around on the floor? That’s a great question and fortunately there is both an answer as well as way to eliminate them for good. Let’s explore.

Prevention

One of the most important things you need to know is that ants are drawn to standing water – something your bathroom often has. If your drains aren’t draining properly or extremely slowly, this could be drawing the ants in. Clear the drains and make sure there is no freestanding water to be found in the bathroom.

Similar to drain flies, ants can also lay eggs in dirty drains. Hair that has become caught in the drain makes for perfect nesting for ants to lay eggs. To avoid this or if you suspect that this is where the ants are coming from – clean and clear your drains. Clean them monthly to avoid the buildup of hair and other gunk to prevent ants that make their way into your home from laying eggs.

Where there is an opening in your homes, ants will find it. Use a caulking gun to seal off any cracks in the walls or around the window. With the weather growing colder, ants will be drawn in by the warmth.

Elimination

Now you know how to keep ants from coming into your bathroom, but how do you eliminate the ants that are already in your bathroom? If you have pets or small children, for safety you want to avoid using any chemicals altogether. Although they appear to be a quick fix, they are extremely harmful if consumed or ingested. To avoid this altogether, opt for a natural solution that will eliminate your ant infestation problem.

Fill a small spray bottle about halfway full with water, then add about 20 drops of tea tree oil and 20 drops of peppermint oil. Fill the rest of the bottle up with water and spray directly on ants and the trails in which you’ve seen them moving. Be sure to spray along the cracks between the wall and floor. If you have a severe infestation of ants, add some cayenne pepper to the water solution. This safe, natural solution will kill the ants once they come into contact with it. The solution also prevents ants from finding the trail they used to make their way into your bathroom as well.

Need help keeping your drains clean and clear? Gillece is here to help!

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Cool, wet, damp areas, such as your basement is the perfect place for mold to grow. Unfortunately, with mold it’s not an out of sight out of mind type of situation – you might be able to do that with dust but not mold, especially black mold. This type of mold can be extremely detrimental to your health and should be carefully removed as soon as possible. When getting rid of mold in your home, you must take proper precautions to avoid poisoning. In this article we’ll go over the health risks and walk you through safe removal procedures.

The Hidden Dangers of Black Mold

Black mold can affect everyone differently – some may experience negative side effects while others may experience no side effects at all. Black mold is very serious and can result in some difficult health problems. Make sure you’re aware of black mold exposure poisoning and know how to treat it.

For those who are sensitive to molds, they can experience nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, fatigue and headaches. Being exposed to black mold can be especially dangerous for those with asthma and any other respiratory problems. Whether you experience any of these symptoms or not, if you’ve been exposed to black mold, you should go see your doctor for instructions and a checkup.

How to Rid Your Home of Black Mold

When removing black mold, it’s important to wear a facemask that has been specifically rated for black mold spore protection. You also want to make sure your arms, hands and legs are covered to avoid directly touching the mold. This may seem like overkill, but for those with asthma and any respiratory problems this precaution should be taken very seriously and not skipped. Using a sponge, water and soap, use some elbow grease to remove the mold from all surfaces in your home.

How to Prevent Black Mold from Growing

Improve airflow in your home – Leave doors open throughout your home and utilize ceiling fans. When the weather is warm, keep the windows open as much as possible to improve the airflow in your home and prevent mold from growing.

Eliminate humidity in your home – In damp, wet areas in your home, invest in a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will eliminate moisture from the air which will help prevent an environment where mold can grow.

Follow these easy tips and you’ll be able to keep your family safe and healthy by preventing mold from growing in your home.

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The FBI says on average, 65 percent of home burglaries occur from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. That’s right, at 2 p.m. in the afternoon while you’re sipping on your afternoon coffee, someone could be climbing through your living room window and stealing all your expensive and most prized possessions.

Working from home or getting a guard dog might not be a possible solution for everyone out there. The good thing is we live in the day and age of technology where the protection of your home is literally at your fingertips regardless of how far from home you may be.

How it Works

A smart home wireless security system is connected to the Wi-Fi in your home. This means, you can access, control and monitor your home security from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. From a few window and door sensors to full blown surveillance cameras, lights, alarms and door locks – how much of your home security you want to be able to control from your device is up to you.

When it comes to home camera surveillance you can choose to receive notifications when movement is detected or pay more to have a company surveillance your home 24/7, providing ultimate peace of mind hassle free. This might be a better option if you don’t want to mess with installing window and door sensors around your home. Depending on the location and potential threat to your home, the decision is ultimately up to you and what you think is best for you, your family and your home.

Features and Benefits

One of the best features about a smart home wireless security system is having access to the lights, locks and garage door all from your smart phone or tablet. If you’re getting home late and you live alone, you can turn on your light from your desk when it begins to get dark, that way you’re coming home to a house that is lit and not in the dark. Having a panic attack while sitting in traffic all the way across town because you’re not sure if you locked the front door? There is no need to drive all the way home or call a neighbor to check, simply pull up the app on your phone and hit the lock button.

This feature also stems even beyond security, if you just forgot to turn off the lights when you left, with a simple tap of your finger you can turn them off while sitting in your 9 a.m. meeting. Saving energy and reducing your electric bills in the process. This feature is also beneficial for those who travel as you can turn your lights on and off, remotely, given the appearance that the home has not be left unattended.

From a simple motion alter notification to lights, sirens and an automatic call to the police, you can have a safer home and prevent a home burglary with a smart wireless security system.

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Every blog or article you read that has to do with the upkeep, efficiency, lifespan and effectiveness of your furnace tells you to change the filter frequently. At the time, this seems simple enough, but one trip to the hardware store and you’ll be left standing staring at the endless furnace filter options for hours.

Most articles don’t talk about MERV ratings or an MPR. What do these mean and what do they have to do with your furnace? You might be tempted to quickly just pick one in a panic, but depending on the health and furry residents in your home, you can use these helpful furnace filter ratings to your advantage.

MERVE (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value)
The MERVE rating of a filter informs you of its efficiency of trapping particles and pollutants. The MERVE rating functions on a scale rating from 1 to 16, the higher the MERVE rating number is, the more efficient it is at capturing and holding airborne particles. Depending on the MERVE scale, it will also determine how often the filter needs to be changed.

MPR (Micro-Particle Performance Rating)
This rates manufacturer’s filters and their efficiency in capturing airborne particles. This rating operates on a rating scale from 300 to 2200, again, the higher the rating, the smaller the airborne particles the filter is capable in trapping.

FPR (Filter Performance Rating)
Some manufacturers use a color and number scale from 4 to 10 that is similar to the MERVE value, to be safe, stick with a 7 red or a 10 blue.

Which rating is best for your home?
A home that is not used often such as a winter or summer home will have a much different rating than a home with four children and a dog. Follow the chart below to help pick the best filter for your home.

MERVE VALUE MPR (FPR) Efficiency Change frequency Recommended
1-4  N/A Lint, pollen, household dust, spray paint dust and carpet fibers 30 Days Winter/hunting cabins and summer homes
5-8 300-600 (5 Green) Mold spores, hair spray, fabric protector, cement dust 30-90 Days Single person home, no allergies
9-12 700-1100

(7 Red)

Lead dust, auto emissions, smoke, pet dander, sneeze particles 90 Days Allergies, pets and mild Asthma
13-16 15-2200

(10 Blue)

Bacteria, most tobacco smoke, odors, virus carriers and bacteria 90 Days Serve allergies, homes with infants, elderly, pets and people with respiratory problems.
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Your electric wall heater should be cleaned at least twice a year, if not more. If you have pets or live on a dirt road, you should consider cleaning it more often as hair and dust will collect in your heater – keeping it from working efficiently or in extreme cases even damaging the unit.

Step 1

To properly clean your electric wall heater, the first thing you’ll need to do is turn off the unit. You’ll also need to turn off the breaker that is directly connected to the heater. This is extremely important for safety reasons. You don’t want any electricity running into the unit while you’re working on it.

Step 2

Before removing the grill, you’ll need to remove the thermostat knob if you have one that’s on your heater. Once you carefully get the thermostat knob off, remove the grill and place it into a tub full of soap water if you can. This will clean any dirt and dust that has collected on the grill.

Step 3

You will need goggles or safety glasses for this next step. Using an air compressor, vacuum blower or hair dryer, blow all hair, dust, dirt and other debris that have collected out of the heater. To avoid damaging the motor, try not to move the fan at all with the air. Naturally, this is going to spread dust, so it’ll be best to clean the entire room once complete. Minimizing dust in the home, means less dust that can collect on the heater.

Step 4

Give the grill a good scrubbing. If you were able to allow it to soak right when you removed it, all you should have to do is give it a rinse. Next, be sure to thoroughly dry the grill, you do not want any water to drip into the unit. Wipe it down and blow dry if necessary.

Step 5

Once the grill is completely dry you can reinstall it and the thermostat knob. Now your unit is clean and can be turned back on.

If you require professional assistance, feel free to Call Gillece!

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We’ve had quite a rainy year here in Pittsburgh. multiple areas of our city have not only experienced heavy rain and flash flooding, but power outages as well throughout the summer. Although you can’t control the rain or flooding from happening, you can control your power from both flickering and going off for several hours by installing a backup generator.

You would think that the best time for the power to go out would be during the summer. If your home is heated by electric, there’s no need to worry about freezing through the night or bumping into things in your home because it’s already dark after 6 p.m.

Having a power outage in the middle of July is just as inconvenient and detrimental for your home as it is any other month of the year. In most cases, a power outage typically happens during a storm for various reasons; a lightning bolt strikes an electric pole or a tree branch falls on an electric wire – cutting all the power source to your home. If this happens when it’s raining heavily in your home and you have an electric sump pump, this can be a major problem. Water is filling up the hole in your basement and the pump is unable to pump the water out. This will flood your home and cause serious damage to your foundation and home..

Although you won’t sweat to death, you will be extremely uncomfortable not having access to your air conditioning unit for a few extended hours in the middle of the hot and humid summer. Not having cool air flowing through your home will ruin the dinner you’ve planned to make cooking over a hot stove or baking in the oven.

A residential backup generator will prevent any and all of these inconveniences from happening to you, your family and your home. Although purchasing and installing a residential backup generator can be a bit costly, it will keep your sump pump working so your home won’t flood saving you money in the long run, it’ll also keep your air conditioning unit working and give power to the electric stove.

During a power outage, there are dangerous voltage fluctuations and surges that can occur that has the potential of damaging any electronics that are plugged in, your air conditioning and heating unit and major appliances. These household necessities can be expensive to replace, but with a residential backup generator, all of these appliances and accessories will be protected.

So, never worry again and make power-outages a thing of the past by having a backup generator installed today.

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