Month: October 2019

4 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality & Breathe Easier

Indoor Air Quality - Happy Family

Did you know that the average American spends 90% of his or her time indoors, but that many studies have indicated that indoor air quality is generally poor? In fact, indoor air is two to five times more heavily polluted than outdoor air.

Poor indoor air can cause and aggravate several health conditions, so finding a way to purify indoor air is important for your overall health. The populations who are most at risk from indoor pollutants are children, the elderly, and the chronically ill because their lungs aren’t as sturdy as other groups.

In this article, we’ll examine some of the causes of indoor pollution and share some affordable ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality.

 

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Historically, a major source of indoor air pollution was soot produced by the fuels that we burned to heat our homes. Although most US homes no longer rely on wood or coal for heat, many still burn wood for warmth and ambiance in the winter. Even scented candles add measurable soot to a home’s air.

Many other sources of pollution are a byproduct of ordinary life. For example, cooking adds smoke and oil particles to your home’s air, especially if your stove does not have a vented hood. The scented room sprays, perfumes, and hairsprays that we use every day can linger in the air and irritate sensitive respiratory systems. Indoor tobacco use is another significant contributor to poor air quality.

 

Symptoms of Poor Air Quality

Persistent itchy, watery eyes, irritation in your nose and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue are all signs that you’ve been breathing polluted air. Poor air quality can also aggravate existing conditions like allergies, asthma, and respiratory diseases.

How can you tell if your symptoms are the results of your home’s air? If your irritation seems to wane when you’re away from home and return when you come back, it could be due to your air quality.

 

How to Improve Air Quality

There are several steps that you can take to improve your indoor air quality, many of which are entirely free.

 

1. Eliminate Pollutants

An excellent place to begin your clean air journey is to end behaviors that add toxins to the air. If you smoke inside, commit to smoking only outdoors. Dust and vacuum regularly. Choose LED candles over flame candles. Use gentle household cleaners rather than those with potent, toxic chemicals.

Instead of covering bad odors with scented candles or spray, track down the source and take it outside. If the weather is particularly windy, if you’re grilling, or if someone nearby is having a backyard bonfire, close your windows to keep the pollutants out.

When you shower, run the overhead fan to reduce moisture and prevent mold and mildew growth. Lastly, don’t idle your car in an attached garage, as the fumes can seep into your home.

 

2. Ventilate Your Home

Since outdoor air contains fewer pollutants than indoor air, an easy (and free!) way to reduce contaminants in your home is to ventilate with fresh outdoor air. When the weather permits, bring in as much fresh air as possible.

Open a window in your kitchen when you cook if your stove does not have a vented hood. If you’re painting, cleaning, sanding, or doing any other periodic activity that puts scents and particulates in the air, open your windows and doors.

 

3. Purify Your Air

Air purification is, essentially, a process of drawing contaminants out of your air. One effective way to do this is by changing your HVAC filter regularly. The frequency at which you change it depends on several factors, such as your home and family size, whether you have pets, and whether you have allergy-sufferers in your home.

A second strategy for purifying the air is to install an air purification system, either a whole-home or portable unit. Air purifiers draw particles, allergens, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, bacteria, and other contaminants out of the air. The most effective units will have high air circulation and an efficient collector to purify the maximum amount of air. We recommend whole-home air purifiers from Aprilaire.

 

4. Manage Your Humidity

Homes that are too humid can produce mold, mildew, and attract dust mites. Your home’s humidity should not be above 50%. Homes in cold climates may need to keep their humidity under 40% to prevent condensation on windows and walls. If you’re struggling to keep your home’s humidity down, consider running a dehumidifier.

However, homes that are too dry can aggravate respiratory infections, allergies, and asthma. Using a humidifier to maintain a healthy level of humidity can also help keep hardwood floors, cabinetry, and wooden furniture in good shape. If your home is too dry, you should run a humidifier.

Balancing your home’s humidity takes patience and may need adjustment as the seasons change.

 

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality with Guin

Guin Service is passionate about providing ways for people to breathe clean air. Partner with Guin to assess your home’s air quality and choose a solution tailored to your family’s unique needs. With over 50 years of experience, Guin professionals can install high-quality indoor air products in your home that will improve your family’s health.

Are Tankless Water Heaters Really Worth the Hype?

Bathtub with Hot Water from Tankless Heater

How do you know when it’s the right time to upgrade to a tankless water heater? One sure sign is if your current tank water heater is leaking. Another is that it’s no longer heating the water as it should. Maybe everything is still working perfectly, but your tank water heater is simply not meeting your capacity needs.

Many people upgrade to a tankless water heater when they get tired of waiting for the water to heat back up. Doing  laundry, running the dishwasher, and trying to bathe all of your kids is easier with endless hot water.

Access to unlimited hot water is a great reason to upgrade your water heater, but there are several other benefits that you may not realize. In this article, we’ll share the top reasons why upgrading to a tankless water heater could be a smart decision for your home.

 

Tank vs. Tankless: Which Type of Water Heater is Better?

While there may not be a definite winner in the debate of which type of water heater is better, there are certain situations in which one has the upper hand.

 

Purchase Price

If your current water heater is beyond repair, but your budget for a new heater is limited, a traditional tank-style is probably the right choice. Initially, tankless water heaters are more expensive than conventional tank heaters.

 

Energy Consumption

Tankless heaters use less energy, so they usually end up costing less over time. Tank heaters consume electricity at all times to keep their large tanks ready for use. Tankless heaters, on the other hand, only consume energy when you use hot water.

A tankless water heater could help keep your energy bill low in a vacation home. You could also save money if you travel often, or just don’t consume a lot of hot water. If you use less than 40 gallons of water per day, installing a tankless heater can be 24%- 34% more energy efficient. Only heating water on demand can lead to significant energy savings.

 

Meeting Hot Water Demand

Homes that require two tank water heaters to meet a family’s water demand can fulfill the same water capacity with a single tankless heater. If you have a large home or family, you might really appreciate having an endless supply of hot water. Your teens can take long showers, and you can keep up on laundry and dishes with no downtime.

One downside of tankless water heaters is that they can only heat a specific capacity of water at a time. If, for example, two people are showering and you’re running the dishwasher, you may experience a decline in water volume. The water will still be hot, but the volume has to stretch between multiple areas.

Many homeowners choose to install a large tankless heater in a central area of the home and then add a smaller tankless heater in the master bath. While this isn’t necessary to supply an entire house with endless hot water, it does help homeowners maintain their desired volume of water in the master bathroom.

 

Maintaining Your Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters generally have a long lifespan of 20 years or more (compared to 10 – 15 for tank water heaters). When you sign up for regularly scheduled maintenance appointments with GuinGuard, we’ll flush your tankless heater yearly. Flushing helps prevent scale buildup that can reduce your water heater’s energy efficiency and shorten its life.

Another way to improve your water heater’s energy efficiency and extend its life is to install a water softener. Hard water is full of minerals that build up inside appliances and on surfaces. Especially if you live in an area with very hard water, a water softener may be a smart investment for all of your appliances.

Give us a call to learn more about water softeners and to schedule your installation by a Guin Service technician.

 

Tankless Water Heater Accessories

Tankless heaters never run out of hot water, but it can take a few minutes to get the hot water from the heater to your shower or faucet. If you want instantaneous, endless hot water, ask a Guin professional about a recirculating pump.

A recirculating loop runs once every 30 – 60 minutes to move hot water through your pipes so that you have hot water immediately. The circulators do draw energy each time they activate, but the overall energy consumption is still much less than a traditional tank water heater.

If you already have a tankless water heater in your home, Guin professionals can retrofit your water system with a recirculating pump. If you’re upgrading from a conventional tank water heater, several tankless heaters already have a built-in circulator.

A second helpful accessory is a water sensor. The most common way to discover a problem with a water heater is to find a leak. A digital water sensor can send an alert to your phone so that you can address the leak before it causes major damage. Some water sensors have a valve that can automatically cut the water supply when they sense a leak to prevent damage

You can use water sensors for any plumbing in your home, not just water heaters. Some homeowner’s insurance policies will even reimburse the cost of installing a water sensor or give credits off insurance premiums.

 

Are You Ready to Upgrade?

If you’re interested in endless hot water and reducing your monthly energy consumption, contact Guin Service today. We’ll answer any remaining questions that you have and schedule your installation appointment.