What type of heat do you have in your home? Does it fulfill all your needs and make it comfortable for your family no matter what the temperature is outside?
With winter just around the corner, now is the time to be sure your heating system is in proper working order. Make sure all the necessary maintenance checks have been completed and that you are ready for the colder temperatures that winter brings.
If you need to upgrade or replace your system, you could consider a heat pump. This type of system allows heat to be transferred throughout your home evenly and more efficiently. Heat pumps are air conditioners that can work in reverse to heat your home. They move heat from one point to another. During warmer months, heat pumps remove heat from inside the house and dispense it outside. During colder months, this process is reversed, and heat is moved from outside into your home.
Here are some pros and cons of a heat pump system: Pros
Most electric heat pumps are more energy-efficient compared to a gas-operated furnace. Normally, electricity rates are lower than natural gas rates, which means heat pumps could cost less to operate over the course of the year.
Heat pumps generally supply more heating and cooling volume than the amount of electricity it takes to use them.
Heat pump systems can be safer for you and your family because there is less risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. A gas leak from a furnace could result in a fire.
Many people prefer the warmth produced by heat pumps because heat is distributed evenly throughout the house. This way of heating reduces the number of cold spots in your home.
Heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling all in one unit and require only one maintenance plan, thus saving you money in the long run.
Heat pumps are less efficient in climates where temperatures fall below freezing on a regular basis. This type of system pulls heat in from outside and moves it to different areas of your home. It will use more energy in colder temperatures.
To keep your family at a particular comfort level, heat pump systems may require an additional heat source to produce enough warmth when temperatures fall below freezing.
Heat pumps not only cost more than furnaces to purchase, but they also cost more to install.
The heat produced by heat pumps isn’t as intense as the heat produced by a gas or oil-burning furnace.
The average lifespan of a heat pump system may only be 10-15 years, while other systems can last 15-20 years.
Do your research before purchasing equipment and make sure you choose a system that is most effective for your home and your family’s comfort level. Korrect, Inc. offers free quotes on new or replacement heat pumps. We can install, service, or repair your heat pump.
Many people are trying to become more health-conscious these days. They are thinking about what they eat, moving more, ‘going green’ and so on. If you’re among those thinking about the quality of your health, don’t forget about the quality of the air you are breathing in on a daily basis.
Air quality in a home is important to consider, especially with winter right around the corner. As colder temperatures begin to arrive, people close up their homes as much as possible and turn on the heat to combat the weather. Doing both reduces the amount of moisture in your home’s environment, and this makes it difficult to keep the indoor air quality of a home fresh and clean during this time.
Poor air quality can cause illness; improving the air quality in a home will allow you and your family to experience fewer health concerns all year long. For people who are sensitive to dust or suffer from allergies, the air quality in your home is even more important. The cleaner the air is, the better it is for your health.
Here are some reasons why a home could have poor indoor air quality:
Low-quality air filters
A home without a humidifier can lead to very dry air during the heating season
Old ductwork that hasn’t been cleaned
The location of the home – if you live outside the city, you could experience higher levels of pollen and other allergens
The way ducts are run in a home can influence how the air is distributed. This can lead to uneven temperatures between floors, especially in two-story homes.
Damp basements or crawl spaces can lead to mold and mildew spores in the air
Combustion from wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, water heaters, and dryers
Pet dander, fur and feathers can cause issues with allergies and asthma
Outdoor sources that can find their way inside include dust, radon, molds, pesticides, lead and building chemicals
What can people do to improve air quality in the winter months?
Consider having optional filtering equipment installed on your existing HVAC system
Humidifiers add moisture to dry air, making it better for breathing and for your skin
Ultra-violet lights kill bacteria and mold spores
Add plants throughout your home
Clean, dust and vacuum around the home on a regular basis
Perhaps the best thing you can do for your home is to invest in an air purifier that removes allergens, dust, pollen and mold from the air. An air purifier also protects your HVAC system’s indoor coil, improving its efficiency, keeping the blower clean for peak performance, and helping to extend the life of your HVAC system.
Poor indoor air quality is not only a concern for your family’s health, but also the health of your home. Low humidity levels can cause issues for any wood surfaces, since wood needs moisture to retain its form. Poor air quality can ruin hardwood flooring, furniture or musical instruments, and it can even cause paint or wallpaper to peel.
How many times a day do you use hot water? We take hot showers, hot baths, and wash our dishes and clothes in hot water – having hot water is an important part of our daily lives. But how often do you check on your home’s water heater? While it may not be something you think about every day, it’s important to keep your water heater maintained.
Water heaters are generally a reliable appliance and can last for many years, especially when properly maintained. Having a regular maintenance plan in place increases the lifespan of your system, adds to the safety of your home and lowers your energy bills. With proper care, water heaters usually last between 10 and 15 years. However, neglecting your water heater can lead to major issues.
Here are some of the problems that can occur when you neglect water heater maintenance, along with tips for keeping your heater healthy:
Internal parts can become corroded or encased in a buildup of minerals, causing a decline in efficiency. If you have hard water, calcium can build up in the tank. Annual flushing of the system is important to prevent any blockages. If you are hearing strange noises like knocking or booming from your water heater, it could mean that residue has built up inside. A buildup also means you will need additional gas or electric to heat the water, causing higher energy bills. Improve the water quality by installing a water softener.
In areas with a high mineral content in the water, draining the heater and flushing the tank once a year can help prevent a large amount of buildup. This works only if done consistently.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can become a problem, as most water heaters in the Dayton area use gas to heat water. Left alone, carbon monoxide gas can leak into the air and poison humans. Be sure your home has a carbon monoxide detector and perform annual maintenance to protect against gas leaks. Water heaters have important safety devices that should be checked annually.
Check the water heater’s temperature and pressure-release valve. If the valve is faulty, too much pressure can cause the tank to burst.
Check the unit every few months to make sure there isn’t water at the base. A leak is the most common sign of a failing water heater. If there is a leak, you will see water all around the tank, and you should to call in a professional immediately.
If it is a gas heater, keep the air intake vents at the bottom or sides of the unit clean and clear of objects.
Checking the pilot light is always a good idea if you have a gas water heater. Make sure the pilot light is lit. There could be burner issues, pilot light issues, or a problem with the thermocoupler.
Electricity is used to heat the water in an electric water heater, and this happens through a heavy-duty electrical circuit. Check the circuit, the elements and thermostats – any of these can cause problems.
Most water heater thermostats have a reset button. If the water heater is electric, the elements and thermostats may fail.
A family of six will use more hot water than a single or couple, so there is more wear-and-tear on the tank and its parts.
All manufacturers include a product guide with the water heater. It normally is attached to the unit in an envelope, and it should give simple things to check if you have trouble getting hot water. Most people call in a professional immediately when they have no hot water.
Water heaters are generally a dependable appliance and with proper care will run quietly and efficiently. Schedule a maintenance check with a professional. A professional can keep your system running efficiently.
Is water spilling out onto the floor when you wash a load of clothes in the washing machine? When things go wrong, a washer can make a big mess. A drain pipe overflow can send you to the cleaners in a hurry, and gallons of water that leak out of the machine can damage walls and floors.
The problem may not necessarily be with your washing machine, but possibly your washing machine outlet box, a clogged drain line, or a water line that has sprung a leak.
What is a washing machine outlet box or “washer box”?
These recessed areas are located behind and above your washer and contain the supply valves for the machine. They provide a quick and safe water supply shut-off access, come complete with a hot and cold faucet connection, and can include knockouts for waste and water lines. Typically installed 42” from the floor to the bottom of the box, or above the machine’s flood-level rim, the washer box usually includes a stand pipe hole for the drain.
As a washer does its job of washing clothes, dirty water is pumped out, making room for clean water to run through the rinse cycle. Dirty water is released through a rear-mounted outlet tube and drain hose. The hose allows the water to flow to a drain pipe connected to the main sewer line, as it is pumped through the washing machine.
What causes a washing machine to overflow?
There can be several reasons for an overflow. Check for any leaks in or around the washer box. Check the hoses to make sure they are attached properly and inspect them for cracks or worn spots. In many cases, an overflow occurs because of a clogged drain pipe from lint, dirt, small pieces of fabric from clothes, or anything that detaches from clothing.
Other issues include old pipes, a kinked hose, a main sewer line blockage, improperly-sized drain pipes, an overload of clothes in the washer, a defective water valve, or even low water pressure. Drainage from the washing machine can fill the drain hose with debris and cause a backup. You can pull the washer away from the wall and disconnect hoses to check for proper flow.
What can you do when an overflow occurs?
When a washer does overflow, turn it off. You also may want to turn power off to the machine at the circuit breaker or fuse box, in case the outlet plug was dampened with water. Next, clear the space of water as quickly as possible to limit damage to walls, floors and any electrical areas. Using a fan or dehumidifier to dry out the area is also recommended.
Always check the owner’s manual for manufacturer suggestions on clearing possible clogs in the pipes or drains. In some cases, installing a lint trap can help eliminate many issues. Consult a plumber if problems persist. If water has done an excessive amount of damage requiring professional clean up, you may also need to call your home owner’s insurance agent to find out if your plan covers it.
Insulation is a very important part of heating and cooling your home — it acts as a barrier to heat loss and gain and adds to energy-efficiency. It helps regulate a home’s temperature and can be made with many different materials these days, as manufacturers are working to make homes more efficient.
Home insulation is made up of different materials. Fiberglass insulation is the most common and is used in most areas of a home. Other options include blown-in or loose-fill fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam. Blown-in or loose-fill fiberglass is typically used for unfinished attic floors, finished walls, or hard-to-reach places. Cellulose is insulation consisting of recycled newspaper, paperboard stock or wood and is chemically treated to make it fire resistant. The foam insulation is usually sprayed into walls and attics and over rafters. In addition to helping your home maintain more comfortable temperatures, insulation also can act as a sound barrier.
While insulation can work in different ways, the goal is to find the best materials possible that can trap air in pockets. By dividing the space in our walls, floors or ceilings, these tiny pockets work together to insulate our homes. Each pocket is warmed individually as heat tries to move through the material, slowing the transfer of heat throughout your home to make it more energy efficient and comfortable at the same time. Adding insulation to any home, whether it be older or newer, allows for the maximum use of natural resources.
How do you know if your home needs more insulation? Simply do a touch test. Do interior walls, ceilings or floors feel cold? They should feel close to the temperature of the room if there is an adequate amount of insulation.
Does your home feel cold, drafty or damp? Do some areas feel cold in the winter and hot in the summer? When these are common occurrences in your home, it’s time to add insulation, replace old single-pane windows, and repair and seal leaks. Make sure that any unheated or uncooled area in your house has enough insulation, and that ductwork extends into the basement, attic, and other drafty places.
You can determine what places need more insulation by doing a home energy audit — an inspection of your house to determine where there is energy loss. A large amount of energy loss can lead to a loss of money. An inspection is often the first step in making your home more efficient, thus saving you money.
The results of the audit can help you find the problems and work to find the best solutions. Call in a professional – or an energy auditor – to conduct the audit, often called an energy assessment. It will determine how much energy your home consumes. Oftentimes, simple and inexpensive measures can be taken to help save energy and money. Then, call in the pros to insulate problem areas of your home.
How much insulation should you have? The Department of Energy recommends levels of insulation needed for homes. Older homes built under earlier code enforcement laws need an increased amount of insulation to meet current recommendations. Homes built more recently are required to follow current levels. Therefore, depending on the age of your home, you may need to add more insulation to walls, ceilings, and attics, and to the lower levels of your home. It’s always a good idea to add insulation to an attic space, where much of the heat is lost during colder months. Bonus: adding insulation to any home can make an HVAC system run more efficiently.
Even though the summer heat and humidity are still hanging around, fall soon will be upon us, along with the cooler nights that will have you contemplating the need to turn on your furnace. The last thing you need on a cold night is to turn on the heat, only to discover it isn’t working properly.
The best time to have your heating system checked is while the weather is still warm enough not to need heat. Before the heating season starts, here are a few things you should do:
Change your furnace air filter. (You should be doing this every month, anyway.) Having a dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment.
Clean any dust or debris away from the furnace unit. Make sure there is no clutter around it, too. Improper airflow can result in decreased performance and potential system breakdowns.
Ensure that all the vents and air returns in your home are open and free from obstructions.
Once the temperatures are cool enough, switch your thermostat over to heat and see if the furnace fires properly. You might detect a bit of a “burning” smell when it first turns on, but this is normal.
An important HVAC safety measure is to make sure your home consists of working fire and carbon monoxide detectors. These can provide peace of mind that your HVAC system is not a hazard.
It’s always a good idea to hire a professional to inspect and perform maintenance on your system every spring for the air conditioner and every fall for the heating unit. A professional can inspect and clean the unit, and is the best option for resolving the more challenging maintenance work that the average homeowner should not attempt on their own.
Here are some things a professional will do during a fall furnace checkup:
A professional will clean, inspect and check. This means they will make sure all the major components are cleaned and are running properly. They will inspect the venting system. They will check the entire system for leaks.
A professional will make sure to tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. They will lubricate all moving parts when necessary.
Are the system’s controls operating properly? If you test your thermostat and the system fails to complete a heating cycle, be sure to let your technician know. A professional will check for any faulty switches, gas or oil connections, gas pressure, combustion, and heat exchanger. If any of these mechanisms are not running properly, it can cause inefficiencies and fire hazards.
If you have an older HVAC system, the technician may need to relight the pilot. Newer systems have electronic ignitors – the tech can ensure it’s working properly.
Oil furnaces require specific maintenance, such as replacing the filter, cleaning the burner nozzle, and a thorough cleaning of the heat exchanger. Oil doesn’t burn as cleanly as gas, which regular cleanings even more vital to the operation of the system.
Doing regular maintenance checks can save you money and energy, while prolonging the lifespan of your system. Proper maintenance will help ensure the unit can heat and cool your home efficiently. It will not only keep your system running smoothly, but it will also save you money in lower energy bills and fewer catastrophic breakdowns.
When plumbing problems arise in your home, it’s not always easy to pinpoint exactly what where the problem exists. Some plumbing issues have obvious signs, while others do not.
The need for a sewer line repair usually makes itself readily apparent. Slow drains, gurgling noises coming from your bathtub, sewage smells, and sewer water backing up into the tub when flushing the toilet are all warning signs that you have a clog or serious problem in the main drain line for your home. When this happens, it’s best to take care of the problem immediately, as sewage can spread illness, disease, and in some cases, even death.
Sewage line backups can cause many problems in your home and cost a lot of money in repairs for the damages. A sewer backup is certainly no fun, but it can easily happen to anyone because it’s common for plumbing fixtures in a bathroom to empty or feed into the same main sewer line. Therefore, if there’s a blockage, sewer water can emerge from these main drains.
How do you know when there is a problem with the sewer line? The most common red flags are:
Smells or unusual odors coming from the ground, a bathroom, or a basement
Water backing up out of a drain or the toilet plumbing
A gurgling sound coming from the drains
Water leaking around the toilet, due to pressure from the backup breaking the seal
Experiencing low water levels in toilets
Cracks in the foundation, walls, floors, or the ceiling
Mold or mildew growing throughout the house
If you’re experiencing one or more of these signs, call in a professional plumber to check and service your main line. It is rare that an entire system would need to be replaced by excavating. Korrect is able to camera-verify and locate most problems, but we also recommend that you obtain three estimates for any repair job. Make sure all permits are pulled as needed, and never pay for all of the work upfront.
It’s very important to call in a professional for cleanup if you think sewage has come in contact with your home’s forced or central air-conditioning system. It is also vital to maintain adequate homeowner’s insurance, including sewer backup coverage in the event of damage from a sewer backup. For most insurers, sewer backup coverage is affordable.
A main line helps transport waste water from the home to underground sewer mains. A clog can lead to a raw sewage backup coming out of the drains, causing significant damage and resulting in an expensive sewer line repair or replacement. Water damage and health conditions can occur if the issue is not addressed. Understanding how to respond to the warning signs can save you time and money.
Fall is just around the corner, and with the change of the season comes a change in allergens. Approximately 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, and while over-the-counter medicines may help, there are other ways to aid in air quality in your home.
Despite being indoors, our homes are filled with items that can elevate symptoms – like fabric-covered furniture and pillows, carpet, tightly sealed windows, and warm, damp spaces. A home with poor indoor air quality can put us at risk for a number of ailments, including allergies, asthma, and respiratory issues, and using an air purifier can help create cleaner, healthier air.
Humidifier versus air purifier
What’s the difference between a humidifier and an air purifier? Why should you purchase a purifier if you already have a humidifier?
An air purification system can remove dust, smoke, and other allergens from the air, while humidifiers add water into the air. Both systems can help your home. You can replace the moisture in the air and improve the quality of air in your home by adding a whole-house humidifier and checking furnace filters more often. Purchasing a high-quality dehumidifier will help prevent mold that can form after hard rains and higher temperatures. Many viruses thrive in low-humidity environments, and living in an overly dry environment can make people prone to infection. Putting humidity back into your home can reduce the number of health concerns.
Living with very dry air irritates asthma and allergy symptoms and leads to dry noses, sore throats and other health concerns. You can replace the moisture in the air by adding a whole-house humidifier to your home.
How does a whole-house air purifier help your home?
Indoor air quality is important for comfort and health reasons. Allergies come from “stuff” in the air, and an air purification system can help eliminate allergy-causing particles from the air. These systems contain air cleaners or a thicker filter to pull more allergens from the air. If you suffer from allergies, choose an air purification system designed to combat them.
The type of purifier you choose depends on your allergies. Most purifiers come with a HEPA filter, which helps eliminate pollen, dust, dust mites, mold spores, ragweed, and pet dander from the air. There are simple pleated ones to catch smaller particles, and air purifiers with larger pleats to pull larger particles from the air.
An indoor purifier should be placed in rooms you spend the most time in. There are portable purifiers you can move from room to room. It’s best to keep a purifier in your bedroom at night during sleep times for easier breathing.
If you suffer from asthma, consider an asthma air purifier or an odor and chemical purifier, since these contain added filtration systems to aid in the removal of particles in the air. Also available on the market are smoke purifiers, designed to remove smoke, fireplace soot, and other fumes associated with fire. HEPA air purification systems are the best choice for those with pets. There are also all-purpose purifiers on the market to improve indoor air quality and make your home a healthier one.
For HVAC systems, dust can build up in the duct work. You can invest in a whole-house air purifier, HEPA vacuum or filter, electronic air filter or cleaner, and ultra-violet (UV) lighting. Having an air cleaner or UV lighting will help catch the allergens in the air. UV lights also kill bacterial and mold spores.
A garbage disposal is a relatively simple machine that generally operates problem-free for many years. When running properly, a garbage disposal is a handy appliance to have because it makes cleaning up after a meal easy, reduces the amount of trash in a landfill, and can keep your sink clean.
However, when it’s not working properly, it can cause quite a stink. When it leaks, stinks too much or its motor burns up, it may be time to look into replacing it. You will know when there is a problem with a disposal, and most of the time, it’s because food has caused a jam or clog.
Over time, food, grease and other debris will build up in a garbage disposal. Normally, this buildup is caused by not using enough water while running the disposal. Throughout the years, food and grease build up, no matter how well you clean a disposal.
Here are a few tips on how to care for your garbage disposal properly:
Consult your owner’s manual for proper care. Make sure you know the proper way to take care of a disposal and which foods should not be thrown into it. Also know that clogs do happen, even when you’re careful about the foods you place in it.
Before doing any work, make sure the disposal is turned off and unplugged. Figure out where the breaker for the garbage disposal is located, then turn the power off at the breaker before attempting to clean or unclog a disposal.
Clean inside the disposal, but don’t put your hands in it. It’s always a good idea to wear heavy-duty work gloves when working on a disposal.
Avoid disposing hard or fibrous foods down a disposal.
Use plenty of water. Every time you run your disposal, turn on the cold water while the food is being chopped up.
Use cold water. Hot water won’t damage the parts, but cold water is better.
Use crushed ice to clean your disposal or even clear a minor clog. Ice sharpens the blades and breaks up any grease build-up. Bleach and cut-up apples also work well to clean and deodorize your disposal.
Here are the top seven items NOT to put in a garbage disposal:
Vegetable peels and skins
Many vegetables can be too stringy or fibrous to be mashed up and can cause a clogged drain. Meat scraps are a bad idea because they can contain bone and be too fibrous as well, causing parts to wrap around the blades of the disposal.
Garbage disposals can last between five and 10 years, depending on the quality of the appliance and the amount of time it gets used. When a disposal is not operated or maintained properly, it can easily break down or clog and become a plumbing nightmare for a homeowner.
Follow the above tips for simple maintenance, but if these solutions don’t work, then it may be time to call a professional.
Between time at the pool, more yard work, and generally sweaty weather, summer is often the time when we have a tendency to take more showers. If your shower is getting more than its share of use, it’s a good idea to make sure all its parts are performing properly.
Mineral deposits are caused by water passing through a shower head, then drying up. Over time, these mineral deposits can build up and cause nozzles to push out water in numerous directions. This misdirected water can cause damage to floors, walls, or surfaces near the shower costing you time and money. The deposits also can cause a reduction in water flow, which frustrates the bather.
Hard water is water that has a high mineral content, formed when water percolates through deposits of limestone and chalk, which are largely made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates. The more calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water, the harder the water becomes. For this reason, certain cities and counties within the same state can have varying degrees of water hardness. It is common for homes that have a well as the water source, but in some cities and townships, water can remain hard even after it is treated at a water treatment plant.
In order for water to flow freely, you need to maintain a clean shower head. Here are some tips to keep yours in top condition:
1. Clean the nozzles – Mineral buildup can accumulate on a nozzle. You can try clearing buildup with a rag, gently clean the nozzle with a scrubber, or by using a toothbrush.
2. Use vinegar to clean the shower head – You can either leave the shower head attached to the pipe or take the shower head apart to soak it in vinegar. When leaving it attached, fill a small plastic bag with vinegar and wrap it around the shower head with a rubber band. Keep the bag on it for a few hours for cleaning to persist. Take the bag off and run water to clear away the vinegar. Taking the shower head apart is sometimes easier and allows for a more thorough cleaning. Once apart, soak all the pieces in vinegar for several hours, then re-attach it and run water through it to clear away the vinegar. Chemicals or other harsh liquids are not recommended for cleaning a shower head or any of its parts.
3. Check gaskets for leaks and lime buildup – Well water or hard water can cause clogs and leaks in a shower head and also leave brown spots on glass or ceramic surfaces. Rinse these areas with a half-water/half-vinegar solution, and clear off areas of buildup.
4. Check the filter screen for dirt and other debris – The filter screen is located where the pipe attaches to the shower head. Once you detach the shower head, remove the screen with tweezers or needle-nose pliers. Run the filter under water to remove any debris or mineral buildup. You may need to soak it in vinegar for a few minutes or use a toothbrush to clear away buildup or debris.
5. Switch to a more efficient shower head to prevent buildup and clogging – Changing from a 2.5 gallons-per-minute shower head to a 1.5 gallons-per-minute head could save 10 gallons of water for each 10-minute shower. For the average family of four, this saves 1,200 gallons of heated water per month and will be a great savings by the end of the year