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Saturday, 03 November 2018 23:05

Preventing Damage From Low Humidity

Colorado's high altitude air can make keeping home humidity levels healthy a challenging. As the temperature outside begins to drop, the air inside our homes will become drier. When the heat is turned on the humidity level can drop to desert-like levels, leading to a host of potential problems.

Whole Home Humidifiers Grand Lake

Health Problems From Low Humidity

Dry skin, itchy eyes and respiratory irritation are some of the most common conditions caused by low humidity in the home. With dry mucous membranes your body becomes more susceptible to infections and you're more likely to catch a cold or the flu. Dry, flaky skin can aggravate existing skin problems and make for uncomfortable winter days and nights.

Damage From Low Humidity

Wood furniture, floors and other wood products are most susceptible to low humidity levels.  If humidity levels fluctuate widely wood can swell and shrink as moisture is absorbed and lost. Musical instruments, paintings and electronic equipment can also be harmed be overly dry conditions.

Use a Whole-Home Humidifier to Increase Humidity

The solution to low humidity levels in the home is a whole-home humidifier. By working in conjunction with your home's HVAC system a humidifier will provide consistent, healthy humidity levels throughout your home. A humidity level of 40-60 percent during the winter months is best for most homes.

Have questions about maintaining healthy humidity levels in your home? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating, we can help you maintain comfortable, healthy air all winter long.
Published in Heating Tips
According to the EPA, indoor air pollutants ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. Because we spend around 90% of our time indoors, where the air can be 2 to 5 times as polluted as outdoor air, it's important to take steps to reduce the harmful health effects of pollutants like dust mites, mold, chemicals, radon, pet dander and more.

Here are 10 steps you can take to create a healthier indoor environment.

1. Vacuum Carpets and Dust Your Home Every Week

Although they can't be seen with the naked eye, dust mites are common in most homes. Dust mites can aggravate allergies and asthma, leading to respiratory irritation. A vacuum with a HEPA filter is the best way to reduce the number of dust mites in the bedroom and throughout the home.

2. Change Your Furnace Filter Every Month

A dirty furnace air filter not only makes your central heating and cooling system operate less efficiently, it can cause dirt to build build up inside your air ducts, creating an ideal environment for dust mites, mold and mildew.

3. Wash Bedding Every Week In Hot Water

Using a washable dust cover on mattresses can also reduce reduce allergens like dust mites.

4. Ensure that Kitchen and Bathrooms are Well Ventilated

Proper ventilation of cooking fumes and stale, humid air is critical to reducing the growth of mold and mildew.

5. Maintain Humidity Levels Between 30–50%

When the air is too dry in the winter, it can lead to cracked, dry skin and respiratory irritation. If the air is too humid it can lead to harmful mold growth.

If the humidity levels are difficult to control in your home, consider installing a whole house humidifier or dehumidifier that works in conjunction with your home's central heating and cooling system to maintain healthy humidity levels.

6. Test For Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium. Exposure to radon can cause lung cancer. Buy a radon test kit and if the radon levels are unhealthy, take steps to reduce the entry to your home by sealing cracks inside the walls and on floors.

7. Install a Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of combustion. In high enough concentrations, carbon monoxide can cause sickness or death. Because it is odorless and colorless, a carbon monoxide detector is needed to know if it is present in the air. Install carbon monoxide alarms near every bedroom and on every level of your home and test them regularly.

8. Let Fresh Air Inside

Whenever possible, increase ventilation by opening windows to let fresh air inside the home.

9. Buy Air Cleaning Houseplants

Years ago NASA conducted study on the effectiveness of different houseplants in removing harmful chemicals from the air. They found many houseplants are effective at removing chemical pollution. By choosing house plants like Boston Fern and English Ivy, you can reduce chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia in the air.

10. Consider Installing a Whole House Air Filtration System

If someone in the household has allergies or asthma, consider installing a whole home air filtration system. With features like UV light and advanced, multistage filtration, advanced home air cleaners can remove almost any type of indoor pollution.

11. Have Your Air Ducts Professionally Cleaned

Over time, dust and dirt can build up inside air ducts, providing an ideal environment for dust mites, mold, bacteria and other harmful pollutants to thrive. Regular duct cleaning will ensure that the air blowing through your air ducts is not spreading pollution throughout your home.
Published in Heating Tips
As the temperature in Grand Lake begins to drop, the mountain air will become drier. When the heat is turned on the humidity level can drop to desert-like levels, leading to a host of potential problems.

Health Problems From Low Humidity

Dry skin, itchy eyes and respiratory irritation are some of the most common conditions caused by low humidity in the home. With dry mucous membranes your body becomes more susceptible to infections and you're more likely to catch a cold or the flu.

Damage From Low Humidity

Wood furniture, floors and other woodworks are most susceptible to low humidity levels. If humidity levels fluctuate widely wood can swell and shrink as moisture is absorbed and lost. Musical instruments, paintings and electronic equipment can also be harmed be overly dry conditions.

Use a Whole-Home Humidifier to Increase Humidity

The solution to low humidity levels in the home is a whole-home humidifier. By working in conjunction with your home's HVAC system a humidifier will provide consistent, healthy humidity levels throughout your home. A humidity level of 40-60 percent during the winter months is best for most homes.

Have questions about maintaining healthy humidity levels in your home? Call Grand Lake Plumbing, we can help.
Published in Heating Tips
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 21:35

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

Even if your home looks clean and the air smells fresh, there can be harmful pollutants lurking inside that can be harmful to your health. In fact, the EPA reports that the air inside can be 2 to 5 times as polluted as the air outside. The problem gets worse in newer homes that are well sealed and insulated. Because most of us spend more than 90 percent of our time indoors, it's important to understand the types of indoor pollution that exist in most homes and how to reduce their impact on your health.

Here are some of the most common sources of indoor pollution:

1. Dust Mites - Furniture, carpet and bedding provides an ideal environment for dust mites to thrive. Wash or vacuum carpets and wash bedding weekly in hot water. Change your furnace air filter at least once a month and have your ducts professional cleaned when needed.

2. Mold and Mildew - Damp bathrooms and basements can harbor mold and mildew that can reduce air quality. Ensure that there is good ventilation in bathrooms in the form of windows or vent fans. Aim to keep humidity levels in the home between 30-50%.

3. Carbon Monoxide - Gas appliances can emit odorless, deadly carbon monoxide. Install carbon monoxide detectors near every bedroom and test them regularly.

4. Smoke and Pet Dander – If there are pets or smoking in the home, consider limiting smoking to outside and installing a whole home air cleaner.

5. Radon - Radon a invisible, odorless form of radiation that can enter the home from the ground and increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Purchase a radon detection kit and follow the instructions for testing radon in your home. If problems are found, proper radon mitigation techniques should be performed to reduce exposure to safe levels.
Published in Heating Tips
Tuesday, 08 August 2017 00:14

Choosing the Right Furnace Filter

It's important to understand that a furnace filter's main job is to keep dirt and debris out of the furnace. The filter's second function is to filter the air circulating throughout your home to reduce dust and allergens that can be harmful to your health. There are many filter designs and rating systems. Basic filters remove larger, heaver particles from the air but allow smaller dirt particles to pass through. Large particles include airborne lint, pollen, and mold spores. Medium particles include dust and animal dander. The smallest particles include smoke and smog that can be under 0.3 microns. By comparison, a human hair ranges from 3 to 200 microns.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers has a rating system for filters. They use numerical values ranging from 1 to 12, with the higher number capturing more of the dust.
lungs Furnace filters remove particles from the air that can affect the lungs.

Manufacturers often use uses the Filter Performance Rating (FPR), which is based on the ability of the filter to capture particles from 0.3 to 1.0 microns. These sub-micron particles are most likely to be inhaled, where they can cause problems in the lungs. This rates filters in a range from 300 to 1600.

Types Of Filters

Fiberglass or cellulose pad - usually held in a cardboard frame capable of protecting the equipment; catches most of the larger dust particles which tend to block the heating and cooling coils; low cost but least effective in removing small particles.

Washable/reusable filter - uses a flat plastic or metal foil pad; can be washed with a hose and reinstalled; some can be sprayed with a tacky coating material to increase their ability to catch small particles; should be washed monthly; may last 3 to 5 years.

Pleated polyester filter - provides more filtering capacity than a flat filter; many are made with electrostaticallycharged fibers that attract small particles; lasts up to 3 months.

Deep-pleated, high-efficiency air filter - about the same size as the ordinary filter but 4 to 6 inches thick; do not fit in standard filter holders and require a special box in the duct system; electrostatically charged fibers can be used in the filtering media.

Electronic air filter - about the same size as the box for a deep-pleated filter; requires electricity to operate; air is directed through a high-voltage grid which applies a positive charge on particles in the air stream; particles are attracted to a negatively charged element; should be washed monthly; removes small smoke particles; high initial cost and maintenance are disadvantages as is the cost of repair if the power unit fails.

How effective are furnace filters?

The effectiveness of various filter types in removing sub-micron particles is:
  • Fiberglass up to 2%
  • Washable/reusable up to 6%
  • Thin pleated up to 11%
  • Deep pleated up to 25%
  • Pleated electrostatic up to 49%
  • Electronic up to 94%
House pets are one factor that affects the lifespan of a furnace filter. Air filters capture many of the allergens that aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms. Pollen, molds, and dust are common in any household and can be reduced by using a furnace filter. The filter will also keep your heating or air conditioning system coils cleaner, which can save up to 15 percent on your energy bills.

Have home heating and air quality questions? Call Grand Lake Heating & Plumbing. We're here to help.
Published in Heating Tips
As the cold, dry winter air arrives in Colorado, a whole house humidifier can make the air in your home healthier and more comfortable. However, an unmaintained humidifier can have the opposite effect, making the air less healthy. Here's how to ensure your whole house humidifier is ready for winter.
  1. Check the Drain Line – Ensure it is clean and free of obstructions. Over time minerals and algae can buildup and clog the line.
  2. Replace the Media Panel - The media panel, or water panel, works by mixing water with the flow of air from the furnace or fan. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the water panel at least twice a season. If you allow the media panel to stay in the humidifier for too long, it will reduce the performance of the unit and potentially harbor unhealthy mold and bacteria.
  3. Clean the Humidifier Fan. Also clean off the fan’s intake vent and enclosure.
  4. Solenoid Valve – When turned on, the solenoid valve allows water to flow through to the humidifier. Turn the unit on a high setting and ensure the the valve is opening and that water is flowing.
In the spring, turn off the humidifier and discard the used media panel. Need help with your home's heating and indoor air quality system? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating, we're here to help.
Published in Heating Tips
Thursday, 28 April 2016 14:57

Tips to Reduce Allergens in the Home

As the spring arrives in the Grand Lake area and trees, grass and plant pollen fill the air, many allergy sufferers will spend more time inside their home than outside. While the pollen levels are lower indoors, overall air quality can actually be worse indoors. The reason is our homes are tightly sealed, trapping allergens like dust, pet dander, mold, cooking fumes and household chemicals. Dirty air ducts and furnace filters can make the air even unhealthier.

To keep the air in your home as clean and healthy as possible, Grand Lake Plumbing recommends taking the following steps:
  • Have your carpets and window coverings professionally cleaned at least once a year
  • Change your furnace air filter at least once every month
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filtration system
  • Keep windows closed during the day if possible, this is when airborne pollen levels tend to be highest
  • Maintain proper humidity levels using a humidifier or dehumidifier to manage moisture levels if needed
If their are family members with severe allergies or respiratory problems, consider installing a high efficiency air cleaner. Whole-home air cleaners works with your central heating and cooling system, employing a sophisticated media filter to capture and remove dust, pet dander, mold spores, dust mites, viruses, pollen, bacteria, smoke, odors and more. The key to effective air filtration is the use of a polarized-Media electronic air cleaners. As microscopic sub-micron particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) enter the filter, they become polarized. The polarized particles get larger as they join together with other polarized particles and collect on a disposable low-static polarized media pad with an activated charcoal center screen.

This allergy season start enjoying the cleanest air possible, with a whole house air filtration system installed by Grand Lake Plumbing. Call today for an in home consultation.
Published in Heating Tips
Wednesday, 10 March 2021 20:57

Furnace Air Filter Tips

Furnace Air Filter Tips

Most of us don't think about our furnace air filter very often, but it's an important part of your home's heating and ventilation system. While the furnace air filter's primary job is to keep your furnace clean to protect sensitive electronic components, it also helps keep your air ducts clean to some degree.

How Often Should I Replace My Air Filter?

Filter replacement frequency varies by filter type, by the size of your home and the overall air quality. A furnace in a larger home will move more air and clog the filter faster. If you have pets you’ll probably need to change your filter twice as often. Not only are pet dander and hair a leading cause of allergens, they also clog air filters quickly! Start with every two months for a pleated 1” filter and double the frequency if you have a large home or if you have pets.

Costlier filters may claim to last 90 days, but, in our experience, these filters are so restrictive that they should be changed monthly. Your furnace and air conditioner will breathe easier and so will you!

Choosing an Air Filter

If you’re really interested in cleaning the air in your home, we can install a whole-house air cleaner in place of your furnace filter. These filters clean the air better that any of the standard filters and they often only need changed annually. Buy your air filters by the case (usually 6 to 12) and keep them near your furnace. This will lessen the tendency to procrastinate about your air filter change. Buying by the case can also reduce the cost of each filter change.

Never run your system with an incorrectly sized filter. An poor-fitting furnace filter will allow dust and other contaminates to sneak around the filter and into your home. This is also the primary cause of clogged air conditioner coils. Clogged a/c coils reduce efficiency and compressor life, and can cause expensive problems down the road. Always turn off your furnace at the breaker panel or disconnect (not just the thermostat) before replacing your filter. Some furnaces have electrical wiring close to the filter location which could shock you if the power is not disconnected first.

If you're uncertain about where your furnace filter goes, what direction to install it, or what size or type to use, give us a call. We're always happy to help. For improved filtration and healthier indoor air quality, we offer whole-house air cleaners and other Indoor Air Quality systems. Our technicians can recommend the best solution based on your needs and your home.
Published in Heating Tips
  • "Thank you for the service. I want to let you know the technician Sawyer was professional, thorough and fixed our problem in less than 1 hour. I will recommend GL Plumbing to others."
    – L.M. 10/25/16
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