HVAC Safety: Carbon Monoxide

When people hear about carbon monoxide (CO), they immediately think about running vehicles in enclosed spaces. Actually, there’s been quite the buzz in the news lately, for it seems that owners of keyless cars are accidentally leaving their cars running in their garages. Even though car exhaust is the primary factor to CO poisoning, you may be at risk with your central heating and air units. Annual maintenance of your furnace, your water heater, and/or boiler is not only good for keeping your heating appliances in tip-top shape, it’s also essential for safety.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), an average of 400 Americans die from CO poisoning each year. Read below to see how your HVAC can be connected with carbon monoxide, and what steps you can take to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that can be fatal. That’s why this poisonous gas can be scary–you never know when it will rise. Essentially, CO displaces the oxygen in your body, depriving the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. Carbon monoxide basically suffocates you. It can happen in a matter of minutes.

Even the slightest exposure can cause headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. More significant doses can cause loss of consciousness, vomiting, and muscle weakness. Finally, too much CO exposure can be fatal. The most susceptible people include young children and the elderly. Also, living in higher altitudes, such as on the Western Slope, can make you even more likely to be impacted by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Primary Causes

As we mentioned, the primary cause of carbon monoxide poisoning is from car exhaust. Yet, CO hazards can stem from your heating and cooking appliances. In brief, carbon monoxide is the result of incomplete burning of natural gas or any flammable carbon. This includes fuel, gasoline, propane, coal, and wood. Check your home, do you use any of these methods to heat your household? If you checked ‘yes’ to any of the CO causing heat sources, then annual maintenance is your best line of defense against CO poisoning.

For the most part, your heating appliances are relatively safe when used properly. However, after a while, parts begin to break down. For water heaters, boilers, or furnaces, the heat exchange can wear down and cause carbon monoxide to leak through. Furthermore, closed vents or enclosed spaces significantly increase the exposure to CO gas. When using a cooking range, make sure that you have proper ventilation installed. If not, SAM’s Heating and Air Conditioning can help with that.

Prevention

Being heralded as “The Silent Killer,” the idea of carbon monoxide lurking in your vents can be terrifying. So, how can you protect your family from CO gas poisoning? First, you should install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector. This can be a quick and cheap step towards preventing illness from exposure to CO. Check the manufacturing label, but a carbon monoxide monitor should last between 5 to 7 years.

Secondly, hire SAM’s Heating and Air Conditioning to inspect and regularly service your heating appliances. Winter is right around the corner, and you’ll need your furnace or boiler checked anyway. When you’re bundled up on your couch with hot chocolate and the fireplace is blazing, you’ll not only be cozy, but you’ll be safe. Remember, annual furnace or boiler checks help keep your carbon monoxide concerns in check.

SAM’S Heating & Air Conditioning only has NATE-Certified Technicians, so you can trust that you will receive only the best service. Call us today for a free service call.

Swamp Cooler in Hot Water?

Montrose, Colorado, is located in the high desert, a geographical location known for warm, dry air.  If you look around, the majority of the residential homes on the Western Slope have evaporative coolers.  Not only are they cost effective and more energy efficient than standard central air units, they actually add moisture to your home.  Essentially, an evaporative cooler changes liquid water into water vapor, adding both moisturizer and cooler temperatures.  Even in the dog days of summer, an evaporative cooler may require a maintenance call.

Take it from experience, you don’t want your swamp cooler “in hot water.”  At SAM’s Heating & Air Conditioning, we have the skills to keep your swamp cooler running efficiently during the hotter months.  Read below to learn some of the restorative methods that Team SAM’s uses, as well as some tips on keeping you cool this summer.

Midsummer Maintenance

Hopefully, when you took the dusty cover off of your swamp cooler in the spring, you had a thorough inspection completed.  Now that summer is in full swing, conducting a midsummer maintenance routine could improve the longevity of your cooler, and boost your efficiency.  While you may be tempted to climb on your roof to inspect your own evaporative cooler, you may be breaching your cooler’s, or home’s, warranty.  Instead, save yourself the trouble and let the professionals at SAM’s Heating & Air Conditioning take care of it.  Here are a few items that we’ll look for:

  • Water in the panIt’s important to check if your water is at the proper level.  The water level should fall just below the top of the pan.
  • Shallow water–If the water is below the proper level, the float arm may need to be adjusted.
  • Comprehensive check-up–We’ll execute a routine examination on the pump, motor, and fan belt.  Moreover, we’ll inspect, and change, your cooler pads too.

Smell Fresh

Generally speaking, evaporative coolers create moisture, and moisture can lead to mildew and/or mold build-up.  If an unwanted smell is coming from your cooler vent, give SAM’s Heating & Air Conditioning a call.  We’ll run your swamp cooler for at least an hour, mostly to ensure that all the components are running properly.  Next, we’ll drain the existing water, and give the unit a good cleaning.  This, in itself, should rid the cooler from unwanted smells flowing through the water vapor.  Then again, it’s becoming more common to add essential oils to the water.  Tea Tree and Lavender oils both have antibacterial properties, while lemon oil can bring a fresh scent.  It’s important to note, that we do not provide the oils; however, we are happy to assist you with your desired smell while working on your unit.

Cool Runnings

In between routine maintenance inspections, you can take these simple steps to have your evaporative cooler running more efficiently.  Here are three, easy steps that will improve your temperature:

  • Is it warm enough?–Wait until the outside temperature is at least 85 degrees before running your cooler, you’ll save 50% water usage.
  • Pump it up–Turn on your pump at least five minutes before switching on the cooler. This will help circulate the water and help the vapor cool down.
  • Release the heat–Inside your home, have fans circulating in every room and leave some windows cracked. Perhaps it wouldn’t be wise to crack all of the windows, just certain ones in warmer spaces.  This allows the hot air out and the cool air to circulate.

While none of these maintenance steps are too difficult for the adventurous DIYer (do it yourself), we urge you to let the professionals at our heating and air conditioning company handle your evaporative cooler needs.  As an HVAC licensed and NATE certified company, we’ll meet your expectations with honesty and integrity.

Experience the difference today, and contact us today for a free service call

Why You Should Switch to a High-Efficiency Air Conditioner

The official first day of Summer season is right around the corner, and the outside temperatures have definitely made us aware of this. With the rising temperatures you may want to consider an air conditioning upgrade for your home. During the hottest days of Summer your air conditioning unit is going to be working hard to keep your home cool, and having a high-efficiency air conditioning unit will help you stay comfortable in your home. A high-efficiency air conditioning will do more than allow you to stay comfortable and cool in your home, keep reading to learn about the benefits that high-efficiency air conditioners have to offer you.

1.Saves On Energy Bills

One of the biggest benefits to having a high-efficiency air conditioning unit is that you will save dramatically on your energy bill. When you install a new high-efficiency air conditioner your SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) will increase. This means you will be consuming less energy during the peak seasons of Summer because a high-efficiency air conditioning unit uses less energy to produce superior cooling results, therefore, the amount you pay on your monthly energy utility bill will be much less compared to what you usually pay.

2.Overall Cooling

High-efficiency air conditioning units can provide you with improved cooling performance. Have you ever noticed that one or more of your rooms doesn’t get or stay as cool as some areas of the house? This is very common with units such as swamp coolers, if you have noticed this happening, it may be time to upgrade to a high-efficiency model. High-efficiency units will adequately deliver controlled air to every space in your house, you will also notice less occurrences in swings of temperature.

3.Longer Life

A big benefit to having a high-efficiency air conditioner is that it will be a great long term investment. High-efficiency air conditioners have longer overall lifespans than your typical unit. This is because high-efficiency units are designed to have less on and off cycling while operating. Along with saving money on your energy bill, you will be saving on repairs as well. High-efficiency units don’t tend to need many repairs because of the way they are built to operate (less turning on and off). The energy saving technology of a high-efficiency model will help your unit last for at least a decade, if not longer.

Get more information about high-efficiency air conditioning units from your heating and air conditioning specialists. Feel free to comment or email us with any questions.

Maintain Your Pets and Your HVAC System

If you have a pet it could be putting a strain on your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system. If you have pets, maintenance for your system is especially crucial in order to have good air quality, all that pet dander, and fur can really affect your system. The air quality in your home affects all members, including your four-legged friends. We have come up with some essential tips you can follow to extend the life of your system and create a comfortable environment in your home.

1.Groom Your Pets

Groom them often! Prevention is key when it comes to your HVAC system. Regular grooming of your pet is not only good for you pet, it will reduce the amount of airborne hair and fur that ends up bogging down your system. Another helpful thing you can do is frequently bath your bet. This again is good for your pet, and can help eliminate allergies because it will help eliminate the microscopic pet dander, dust and pollen, which are all leading causes of allergies.

2.Keep Your Air Filters Maintained

Pet hair and dander can clog your filters and reduce the airflow in your system. HVAC air filters should be cleaned or replaced as part of normal HVAC maintenance, but even more so if you have pets. It is recommended to change your air filters every three months, but the frequency of changing air filters depends on the size of your system, the filter being used and how much you need to filter from your air. If your system has smaller filters and you have multiple pets, you may want to change your filters more often. On the other hand if your system uses bigger filters you may be able to go the generally recommended three months.

3.Consider Upgrading Your Filter

If you  have allergies and own pets, changing your HVAC filter may not be enough, you may need to upgrade to a HEPA ( High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filter. These types of filters reduce allergens by 99 percent! They trap microscopic dander into the filter and prevent it from being re-released into the air. If you own pets and have allergies you can drastically improve the indoor air quality and extend the life of your HVAC system by using a HEPA filter.

4.Maintenance Your System Regularly

Regular HVAC maintenance is essential for your system, and you should consider the benefits of a maintenance plan with an HVAC expert to get the most out of your system, especially if you’re a pet owner. Most maintenance plans offer discounts on any repairs needed throughout the year and can even help save on energy bills. Many potential issues can be caught early, resulting in reduced repair bills and a healthier home.

With a little grooming and HVAC maintenance you can keep your pet-friendly home healthy and safe all year long, for all members of your family. If you need HVAC maintenance or are considering putting a preventative plan in place, we would be glad to help. Feel free to email us with any questions, or comment about any other tips you have for keeping your pet-friendly home healthy.

Cool Tips to Keep Your Home Cool

Spring has officially hit, and temperatures are starting to rise. You might have noticed the temperatures rising in your home as well. It’s a weird time of the year where it’s not quite hot enough to turn on the air conditioning, but you definitely don’t need the heat on, and you might not be exactly comfortable with the temperature in your home. If your home is already starting to feel a little warm but you aren’t wanting to turn the air conditioning on yet we are going to share some helpful tips with you. These tips will help keep your home a little cooler, cut the utility bill down, and benefit the environment, and you won’t feel the need to to turn the AC on just yet.

1.Adjust the Ceiling Fans

   

Between Fall and Spring you should be rotating the direction your ceiling fans turn. During the Fall and Winter, your fans should be rotating clockwise in order to pull cool air up. This gentle updraft will push the warm air, which naturally rises to the ceiling, down to help keep your home warmer. During the Spring and Summer, you want your fans to rotate counter clockwise in order to blow air straight down. This allows the cool air to be blown down, and the warmer air to rise. Keep in mind, the warmer it is, the higher the fan speed should be, and in cooler months your fan should run at a low speed in order to be the most effective.

2.Close Your Blinds

  

The sun can produce almost 30 percent of unwanted heat via your windows. During the day time, make the most of your window treatments. Whether you have blinds, curtains, window shades, or another type of covering, keep them closed the entire time the sun is up for the maximum effect. Keeping your window coverings down/closed during the day can help keep some of that unwanted heat and humidity out.

3.Shut Your Lights Off

When you aren’t home, turn your lights off. When you are home, turn off lights you aren’t using. Don’t bathe the room in light when you are only needing to use one area, and keep the lights off in other rooms that you aren’t utilizing. Only having lights on when and where you need them will help keep your home a little cooler, and will help you save on your utility bill at the same time.

5.Open Windows at Night

During the Spring, the night temperatures are still a little bit cool, utilize this. Of course, keep your windows closed during the day in order to keep that unwanted warm air out, but you can open them at night to utilize the cooler night air. You can create cross ventilation by opening windows at either end of the house, allowing the cool air to blow through your whole home. Another option is to put standing fans in the window sill to help push the cool air through the house at a faster pace.

6.Strategically Plant Trees

This is more of a long-term investment, but can be an effective way of helping cool down your home. Deciduous trees are great at defending your home from the sun, especially if they’re planted strategically. Plant these trees on the east or west side of your home and partially near a window. You could also plant them near areas that absorb a lot of heat such as air conditioning units and driveways in order to keep them cooler. Once these trees are grown, they will produce a lot of shade and help keep your home cooler.

We hope these tips will help keep your home a little bit cooler during the warm Spring months. Soon it will be too warm for these tips alone to keep your home cool, and you will need your air conditioning. If you need maintenance on your AC unit we recommend getting it done before the even warmer Summer temperatures hit. If you know of any more tips that help keep your home cool without having to turn the AC on, please feel free to comment or send us an email.

 

Cold Showers Actually Have Perks

Most people end up calling a repair man when their water heater isn’t working correctly, because who wants to take a cold shower? Although, taking a shower using cold water isn’t typically the way it’s done, some people actually do this on purpose. Taking a cold shower may not be as enjoyable as a hot one, but it does have benefits. Cold showers are known to benefit; health, skin, hair, and energy. If you think you can handle a cold shower first thing in the morning, we are going to let you know about some of the perks you’re in for.

1.Alertness

Many people use coffee in the morning to add some pep in their step, but there’s something better, a cold shower! Just a couple minutes under the cold water will wake you up more than your espresso. This is perfect if you don’t drink coffee, or if you’re needing something more to help you get going in the mornings. The shock of the cold water will snap you awake, but it’s not the only reason a cold shower gets you going. When you are under the cold water your body is going to respond in order to keep you warm. In cold temperatures your body will stimulate longer and deeper breathes so that you are able to take in more oxygen, and your heart rate will naturally increase in order to assist with blood flow. A cold shower may not feel the best, and the things your body is doing to warm you up probably won’t actually allow you to feel warmer, but it will definitely put some pep in your step.

2.Boosting Your Immune System

When your blood flow is increased due to the cold shower, your white blood cells will race through your body. Next time your’re feeling a little under the weather, a cold shower might be in your best interest. Your white blood cells are your natural disease fighting system, and having that little extra kick from them might help you fight your symptoms even faster. Getting your blood circulating like this also benefits your health because your heart is getting exercise while your arteries are getting cleared out, and your blood pressure is lowering.

3. Burning Fat

We talked about your body having to work hard to keep you warm in a cold shower and a couple of the benefits you get from that process, but there is another benefit! Cold showers might even help you lose weight. The fuel your body uses to keep you warm is fat, which gets burned during the process your body goes through to try and keep you warm. So if you want to get your metabolism moving, hop in the cold shower.

4. Beautiful Skin and Hair

I’m sure most of us agree that hot showers feel great, and are almost always preferred over a cold one, but they can dry out your skin. Cold showers can make your skin look great by tightening your pores. Tightening your pores is especially great for people with oily skin or acne. We can’t forget about the hair. Cold water can make your hair appear shinier, as well as strengthen hair follicles and overall scalp health. If you can bare through those cold showers you might end up with great looking skin and hair.

5.Soothing Muscle Pain

Many people take warm showers or baths when they have sore muscles, or are expecting to get them, but the truth is a cold shower is probably better for your muscles in this case. Cold water soothes tired muscles, and helps minimize the intensity of delayed muscle soreness. You see professional athletes take ice baths all the time for these very reasons. The next time you think your muscles might get sore, try taking a cold shower and see if you can tell the difference.

Cold showers might not be for everyone, but if you can handle them, there are many benefits for your body. Of course if you’re taking an unplanned cold shower, then you might need to call your local plumber for maintenance, repair, or replacement of your hot water heater. If you know about any other benefits to taking a cold shower please feel free to comment or email us.

SAM’S Heating  & Air Conditioning specializes in all HVAC-related services. Experience The Difference!

2726 Tender Drive, Montrose, CO
(970) 249-6790

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Areas We Service

Our NATE Certified Technicians are happy to serve Montrose, CO and our neighbors in Grand Junction, Clifton, Mesa, Whitewater,  Delta, Olathe, Crawford, Austin, Cedaredge, Fruita, Palisade, Hotchkiss, Paonia, Orchard City, Ridgway, Colona, Ouray, Cory, Eckert, and Lazear.