Anthony Expert Advice

annual air conditioning tune-upYour AC and furnace systems need to be in good working order as they are responsible for keeping your home cool and warm year-round.  A well-maintained AC and furnace also provide you with cleaner indoor air, lower energy bills, and a safe home.  How much maintenance do your AC and furnace need, and what should that maintenance entail?

How Often Should You Tune Up Your AC and Furnace?

Your AC and furnace systems need maintenance to keep their components clean and working properly.  Over time, dirt builds up in the coils, fans, filters, and other components causing your AC and furnace to work harder.  An AC and furnace system that is working harder has a shorter lifespan and uses more energy.  Annual maintenance can extend their life by several years, as well as save you up to 15 percent a month on your energy bills.

What happens if you skip a year of AC and furnace maintenance?  By delaying your annual AC and furnace tune-up, you are taking a risk that saving money in the short run will not cause your system to need costly repairs or premature replacement.  Worse yet, you risk the possibility that your system may stop working during the hottest or coldest days of the year when they work the hardest.

The Top Four Reasons Annual Tune-Ups are Recommended

  • Save on electricity and gas usage to lower energy bills and reduce environmental impact.

    • When you do not maintain your HVAC system’s health, it will run less efficiently, meaning your cooling or heating (electric or gas) bills will be higher than they should be. Excessive energy consumption places an unnecessary burden on the environment.
  • By paying a little now you can keep warranties intact and prevent spending more later.

    • According to Consumer Reports, a heating and cooling system lasts about 10 to 15 years. You shorten the lifespan and possibly void warranties if you do not maintain your system annually.  Over time, air conditioner coils become dirty, which makes them less efficient. In addition, this will cause the AC to run longer, resulting in increased energy cost and reduced lifespan of the equipment.
    • Most air conditioner and furnace manufacturers require regular maintenance to fulfill their warranties. They may also require documented annual maintenance by a professional HVAC technician.
  • Avoid having your air conditioner or furnace break down at the worst time.

    • Neglecting to maintain your air conditioner and furnace is like neglecting to take care of your car. The longer you wait, the more likely something is to break, costing you more in the long run. For example, not changing your filter can cause the air in your home not to be clean. It puts strain on the system and can lead to costly repairs like a blower motor failure.
    • Faulty electrical connections. Over time, electrical connections can loosen and cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
  • Keep your family safe from fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Many homeowners do not realize the proactive steps that can be taken to keep their systems running at optimum capacity and avoid breakdowns at inconvenient times.  Scheduling preventative maintenance on your HVAC system is essential and many do not realize the vast benefits.  Some feel that calling a technician to examine your system when nothing seems wrong is a waste of time and money.  However, waiting until you experience problems is the least efficient way to maintain your system and often ends in more costly repairs and wasted time.

What Should be Included in an AC and Furnace Maintenance Tune-Up Visit?

During your preventative maintenance visit with Anthony PHCE, the technician will ask questions about how the system has been running and anything you want them to pay special attention to during the tune-up.  When performing an air conditioning tune-up, they will conduct a 360-degree evaluation, focusing on 16 efficiency and safety items.  They will ensure the system is operating efficiently and advise you of any current or potential issues.

Some of the important tune-up tasks customers may not see or overlook:

  1. Waxing the air conditioner. This will make it look new year after year and prevent the finish from oxidizing.
  2. Inspecting condensate water pipe/hoses. Replacing hoses is critical; mold often grows in them and a blockage can occur, causing water to spill into the furnace electronics.
  3. Testing the start assist component. This electronic component fails when it gets hot outside.  It can be tested to tell if it is starting to go out before it fails on a hot day.
  4. Adjusting duct balancing dampers. The technician will make any adjustments needed to force cold air to the rooms that need it the most.
  5. Cleaning the outdoor coil. The technician will wash the coil from the inside out.  Removing leaves, grass, and other debris from the inside of the coil extends the system’s life and saves money.
  6. Replacing air filters. Standard throw-away filters are provided free of charge or can be replaced with high-efficiency media filters.

Service Agreement Plans Can Save Money and Add Convenience

Service agreement plans like Anthony PHCE’s Anthony Service Agreement Program (A.S.A.P.) are a great way to save money on annual tune-ups.  Homeowners receive reminders when service is due, making scheduling routine maintenance more convenient.  Your A.S.A.P. membership includes four visits a year for one low price:

The professionals at Anthony PHCE are here to save you money and make your life easier.  You may contact us anytime via chat or email from our website.  Also, schedule service or request estimates through our Schedule Now button at the top of this page.  We are always happy to talk to you on the phone as well, at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816).

generator protecting home during lightning stormAs power grids and homes strain under increasingly erratic weather they were not designed to withstand, consumers are looking for alternative sources of power generation.  Whole-home standby generators provide a reliable source of electricity for homeowners, and consumers know this.  Unprecedented demand for these generators has caused a nationwide shortage leaving manufacturers still struggling to catch up.

Power outages affect us all year round.  Lightning, high winds, ice storms, heavy snows, and grid failures can leave us feeling vulnerable.  The strain on the Southwest Power Pool utility grid caused by unprecedented cold threatened to shut down the entire Midwest electrical supply, forcing rolling power outages in Kansas City to ration electricity.  Texas experienced a complete breakdown of their electricity, gas, and water systems from the same weather pattern, leaving them without electricity for days.

Losing Power Costs Money

Losing power is a costly proposition, not just in inconvenience and time lost, but in money.  Those who lose cooling or heating must seek shelter.  Those who lose power face water damage caused by frozen pipes, sump pump failures, and additional costs associated with spoiled refrigerated foods.  Those who have well water or sewage pumps lose water and the ability to flush their waste.  And if you are older or have special needs, these challenges may cause you to reconsider your living arrangement altogether.

Portable Generators vs. Whole-Home Standby Generators vs. Solar Panels

While analyzing their realized and potential future losses from power outages, consumers evaluate their options going forward.  Will widespread power grid failures happen again?  Worsening weather may cause even more frequent power outages.  According to energy.gov, power outages have increased by over 400% since the year 2000, so the question homeowners are facing is not should I get an alternative energy source, but which alternative energy choice should I choose.

The most widely available options to homeowners are whole-home standby generators, portable generators, and solar panels.  Whole-home standby generators are widely considered the most reliable choice because they go to work automatically when power is lost and are not dependent upon sunshine or electrical grids.  Solar panels conversely need sunlight to work and require that the region’s electrical grid is still functioning unless a costly battery storage system is purchased.  Portable generators require manual setup when a power outage occurs, and do not power the entire house.  Whole-home standby generators run off natural gas or propane, and power the whole house automatically with no effort or thought when electricity is lost.

How Do I Choose the Best Generator for My Home?

There are a lot of choices, both in generators and in generator installers.  Installing a generator is a major investment, so it is wise to choose manufacturers and installation companies who have been around for a long time and can stand by their work.

There are several things to consider when choosing a standby generator and an installation company:

  1. Guaranteed installation workmanship and equipment warranties.
  2. The quietness of the generator motor.
  3. Smooth, undistorted electricity supply to protect sensitive electronics and appliances.
  4. Option to add a mobile link for remote monitoring.
  5. 24/7 availability for questions or assistance.

What is Involved with a Generator Installation?

Installing a whole-home standby generator requires skill in electricity, gas, small motors, electronics, and ground preparation.  It is highly recommended that you choose a company that employs electricians with generator installation experience who have plumbers on hand skilled in gas fuel line supplies.  You also need an installer who is knowledgeable of the different generator options and how to choose the proper size for your home.

There are five main steps in generator installation:

  1. Site location away from windows, on well-drained soil, with space surrounding the unit for maintenance access.
  2. Installation on a concrete slab on pea gravel on a pre-leveled area.
  3. Connection of the fuel line and installation of the transfer switch next to the electrical panel.
  4. Breaking in the engine through lubrication, adding oil, running for an hour, then changing the oil.
  5. Outage simulation testing and programming of weekly self-test.

Is a Whole-Home Standby Generator Right for Me?

There are whole-home standby generators that work for every home and circumstance.  Anthony PHCE generator experts can walk you through the process of deciding if a generator is right for you and can explain all the options available in choosing the right model for your home.  Contact us today at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816) to schedule your free in-home consultation.

electrical trends for 2021The top electrical product trend in 2021 is smart products.  These Wi-Fi-enabled devices that talk to your cell phone remotely now include thermostats, doorbells, smoke detectors, lights, and cameras.  Enter the era of whole-home automation systems like Anthony MyHome, in which you can monitor your entire home remotely, including your outlets, garage door, front door lock, sump pump and even your water.  Many smart items also contain voice activation, allowing for voice commands with these devices.

Smarter Smart Speakers

Google, Alexa, or Siri?  Yes!  Most people have used a voice-activated “smart” speaker, allowing you the convenience of searching the internet through voice commands, such as “Hey Google, what is the score of the football game,” as well as to give commands to other smart devices, such as “Alexa, unlock the door.”  But something to note, Google, Alexa and Siri devices will not talk to each other, only to their own family.  For example, Google will only talk to Google devices and so forth.  In a world of competing voice activation platforms, there are finally smart speakers that work with multiple versions.  And they make smart soundbars too, to match your smart TV.  Now isn’t that smart?

Electric Car Chargers

Electric vehicle supply equipment, or “EVSE,” is the proper term for what is commonly called electric car chargers or charging stations.  The actual charging equipment is built into electric vehicles; the EVSE provides a safe supply of electricity to the vehicle using your home’s electricity.  Most electric cars come with a Level 1 charging cord, which plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet, but the drawback can be a slow charging process.  Therefore, purchasing a Level 2 charging cord which plugs into a 240-volt electrical supply is recommended.  Level 2 charging stations typically deliver anywhere from 16 amps to 80 amps of power.  If you plan to eventually upgrade your electric cars at a later date, it is recommended that you have a charging device that can provide you with the most amperage.  And in case you were wondering, electric vehicle supply equipment also comes in smart versions, which you can talk to remotely with your phone.

Smart Recessed Lighting

smart recessed ceiling lightRecessed ceiling lights, loved for their modern look and even lighting, are now smart too!  These “smart” lights can be activated via voice, app or even the clap of your hands.  They can dim from soft light to bright, from warm light to cool, and can morph into hundreds of different colors.  They can even pulse and change colors to the beat of music or gaming sounds.  And multiple lights can be configured into complex scenes to match holiday decor or to provide a specific ambience.

More and more decorative indoor and outdoor lighting solutions are becoming “smart.”  Check with your Anthony PHCE electrician to see what smart options are available before you purchase lighting for your home.

Smart Ceiling Fanssmart ceiling fan

Smart ceiling fans can be connected to your thermostat and be programmed to turn on and off, optimizing the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.  Some also have reversible motors for bi-directional blade movement, which means no more teetering on a ladder to switch the fan direction each season.  And many have lights which are smart as well.

Electric Meter Remote Usage Monitor

remote power usage monitorElectricity meter usage monitors are the newest way to monitor your electricity usage, and therefore saving money on electricity bills.  Do you know which of your appliances use the most electricity in your home right now?  Usage monitors attached to your electrical panel sit discretely within your panel box and send usage data to your phone.  These monitors can detect power outages, and sniff out any energy hogs in your home, allowing you to unplug or replace these offenders.

Your Appliances are Surfing the Web

The internet is everywhere, even in your appliances.  Your refrigerator, stove, washer, and dryer now have computers which send and receive updates, data and communicate to and from your mobile devices.  This type of technology is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Surge Protection – It’s Smart Too!

As you fill your home with smart items that are Wi-Fi-enabled and equipped with their own computers, it becomes necessary to consider a whole-home point-of-entry surge protector to keep your devices safe from power surges.  Which begs the question, are there smart surge protectors?  There certainly are.

Curious about Smart Products?  We Can Help

Anthony PHCE electricians can install any smart products that your home desires.  Call our “smart” electricians today at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816) and we will get you plugged into to these exciting new electrical products.

 

electrical panel assessment

The main function of an electrical panel is to shut off power when connections get too hot.  A lot of heat runs through your electrical connections, and that heat can cause connections to fail and arcing which causes fires.  There are 3 main reasons to replace or upgrade your electrical panel:  age, type and increased electrical needs of your home.

Age Matters:  Electrical Panels Do Not Last Forever

Electrical panels do not last forever.  Heat runs through the connections all day and night, causing them to wear out over time.  If your electrical panel is more than 20 years old, it could be a fire hazard that can threaten the safety of your home and family.  Older panels have breakers that fail over time and will not trip as needed.

One of the most common causes of residential fires are worn out electrical panels. According to the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Fires involving electrical failures or malfunctions accounted for the highest share of civilian deaths (18%) and direct property damage (20%).
  • Nearly two of five fires (39%) involving electrical failure or malfunction occurred in the cold weather months from November through February.
  • Arcing was the heat source in approximately three of five home fires involving an electrical failure or malfunction.

Arc flashes commonly occur in electrical panels. Arcing occurs when one of an electrical panel’s many circuits becomes overloaded and overheats. Once damaged, a circuit breaker can malfunction and continue to let electricity through, potentially causing arcing and the possibility of a fire.

Codes Change for a Reason:  Get Rid of Outdated Panels

Older homes are more likely to have outdated electrical panels that are extremely unsafe and no longer meet codes for residential safety.  If you own home built before 1990, you might have one of these outdated main electric panels boxes in your home.  These unsafe panels include:

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Panels – FPE panels are most common in homes built between 1950 and 1980. Federal Pacific Electric will likely be written on the cover of your breaker box. Inside, look for the name Stab-Loc (the brand name of the circuit breakers).  FPE electric panels’ circuit breakers fail to trip when they should, leading to thousands of fires in the United States.  FPE is the only manufacturer to be forced into bankruptcy due to liability associated with home fires.

Zinsco Panels – Zinsco or GTE-Sylvania panels were popular electrical panels installed in homes throughout the 1970s.  The circuit breakers inside many Zinsco panels melt to the main bus bar. This means the breaker won’t ever trip, even when there’s a short or overloaded circuit. So, if there ever is a short, or other problems, the surge of power melts wires and starts a fire in your home.

Split-Bus Electrical Panels – Split-bus breakers are divided into 2 groups with no single disconnect breaker.  Because these panels have not been used for over 40 years, they are unsafe because of their age.

Fuse-Box – Screw-in Fuse boxes are old electrical panels that use fuses instead of switches.  These boxes typically use too few circuits, so circuits are tripped often, causing homeowners to replace fuses with larger amped fuses, or worse yet, a metal object like a penny.

Room to Grow:  Home Improvements Require Larger Electrical Panels

So you finally installed those extra outdoor outlets, a new ceiling fan in the guest room, and a freezer in the garage to store your extra food… and now you are saving up money to install that hot tub outside.  Stop right there; the more appliances, outlets and fixtures you have in your home, the bigger the electrical panel you need.

Electrical panels come in different amp loads, and the more your electrical needs, the bigger the amp load you need.  Plus, the more appliances, fixtures, and outlets you have, the more switches you need to hold them.  If your electrical panel is full, it will get hotter and be more of a fire risk.  Replace full panels with larger ones that can better handle your current load plus your home’s future electrical needs.

Don’t DIY on This One – Call us Today

While we encourage you to learn as much about your electrical system as possible, electricity is not a good candidate for a DIY project. DIY wiring is not only dangerous, it seldom meets codes and can be far more costly to repair in the future.  Anthony PHCE’s licensed and trained electricians provide you with the best service, electrical solutions and advice.  Call our Anthony PHCE electricians today at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816).

 

lightning striking a home

Imagine you are at home during a thunderstorm. You and your family working are working away on your respective computers, and zap, a nearby lightning strike causes a power surge to flow through your home’s electrical wiring and ethernet cables.  Computers go down, data is lost, the television stops working and your home’s smart appliances go on the blink.  A whole-home surge protector could have saved you a whole lot of trouble.

Do You Need a Whole-Home Surge Protector or Are Power Strips Enough?

Most people know enough to plug their computers into high voltage surge protectors with backup batteries.  But what about the computers in your TV and your smart appliances like your refrigerator and washing machine?  Many new appliances come with their own computers that talk to the internet; this new technology is called internet of things (IoT).  Electrical surges can damage or destroy these expensive devices.  Whole-home surge protectors can protect all of the electronics and appliances in your home, including those items hard-wired into your electrical systems that cannot be protected on power strips.

What Causes Power Surges?

What are the causes of power surges?  Several things can cause power surges that can damage your home’s electrical systems:

  1. Lightning strikes near your home
  2. Compressors that turn on and off in appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators
  3. Power surges originating from your electric utility company during power grid switching

Large increases in voltage above an appliance’s normal operating voltage can cause an arc of electrical current within the appliance, and the heat generated in the arc can damage electronic circuit boards and other electrical components.

Smaller, repeated power surges can cause damage, too, and could be the reason your TV or cordless phone mysteriously stops working. These smaller surges can cause damage slowly, so your computer or TV may continue to function until the integrity of the electronic components finally erodes. This shortens the life span of appliances and electronics.

What is the Best Type of Surge Protector?

whole home surge protectorThere are two types of surge protection; point-of-use and service entrance.  Point-of-use surge protectors includes devices such as power strips with surge protectors that protect the devices plugged into them.  Service entrance surge suppression devices, also known as whole-home surge protectors, mount on your main electrical panel or at the base of your electric meter.

Whole-home surge protectors protect all of your home electronics and all of the items on your electrical system, including lights, motors, outlets, light switches.  They protect the items that are hard-wired into your electrical system, like your oven and CO/smoke detectors that cannot be placed on point-of-use surge protectors.  Whole-home surge protectors also provide a second tier of protection to devices on point-of-use surge protectors.

There are many types of whole-home surge protection options and depending upon your home you may need more than one.  Installation of these devices is not for novices. Working on high-capacity power circuits can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, and many manufacturers recommend hiring an electrician to perform the installation.  Our Anthony PHCE electricians will assess the best protection for you home and install it for you, so you know it is working correctly.

Call a Qualified Anthony PHCE Electrician

Today’s homeowners possess a sizeable investment in home electronics and appliances.  Whole-home surge protection is a smart investment to prevent damage to, and extend the life of, the electrical items and systems in your home.  Call our Anthony PHCE electricians today at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816).

 

Your sump pump system is your main line of defense against indoor flooding, but only if it is working! If you have a finished basement, or if you are storing valuables in an unfinished basement, you should take regular steps to ensure that your sump pump system is working.

To be well protected against the devastating financial losses associated with indoor flooding, you need to do the following:

  • Test your sump pump now, before the torrential rains and power outages do it for you, AND
  • Invest in a Battery Back Up Sump Pump if you don’t already have one.

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Defect of electrical distribution panel with circuit breaker is the cause of a fire in the apartment. Electrical failures and malfunctions are a factor in the Ignition of fires at home.

One of the most frequent places residential fires start is in electrical panels. Homeowners insurance may cover damage caused by fires that start in electrical panels. Coverage eligibility is contingent on the type of your electrical panel, its age, the residential codes in your area, and annual electrical inspections.  

Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover Electrical Panel Fires?

If there is a problem with your home’s electrical wiring, you may not find out until it is too late. Three out of five electrical fires are caused by arcing which happens when an electrical panel breaker fails to trip. Electrical fires are one of the top causes of residential fires and cause an estimated 500 deaths and $1.3 billion in property damage each year.

If electrical panels can be such a fire risk, then it is important to make sure that damage caused by fires originating in electrical panels is covered by homeowners insurance. Unfortunately, coverage eligibility usually depends upon the following:

  1. the type of electrical panel
  2. the age of the panel
  3. regional code requirements
  4. annual inspections by qualified electricians.

Your insurance company will cover some types of panel boxes in certain circumstances but may deny you coverage if your panel boxes are older, outdated, or proven to be significantly risky.

How Can I Make Sure My Electrical Panel is Covered?

Bad wiring is a home’s most dangerous fire risk, especially if it derives from a faulty electrical panel. Insurance companies will deny coverage on some panels because of the risk of fires they pose for the homeowner. To make sure your panel is covered, check what type it is and have it examined annually by a qualified electrician for safety and code compliance.

The Types of Panels Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance

If you have one of the following panels, they are probably not covered by homeowners insurance.  The following panels have been deemed unsafe to have in your home:

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Panels – FPE panels are most common in homes built between 1950 and 1980. Federal Pacific Electric will likely be written on the cover of your breaker box. Inside, look for the name Stab-Loc (the brand name of the circuit breakers).

Zinsco Panels – Zinsco or GTE-Sylvania panels were popular electrical panels installed in homes throughout the 1970s.

Split-Bus Electrical Panels – Split-bus breakers are divided into 2 groups with no single disconnect breaker. These panels have not been installed for over 40 years.

Fuse-Box – Screw-in fuse boxes are old electrical panels that use fuses instead of switches.

If your home was built before 1990, you may have one of these outdated panels in your home.  These panels are unsafe and no longer meet code requirements for residential safety.

Do I Need Annual Electrical Inspections to Maintain Coverage?

Annual electrical inspections by a qualified electrician or certified electrical inspector may be needed to maintain coverage on your electrical panel, especially if the wiring or panel is older. Electrical panels do not last forever. Heat runs through the connections all day and night, causing them to wear out over time. If your electrical panel is more than 20 years old, it could be a fire hazard.  Having the wiring to your electrical panel inspected annually can help with claims should you need to contact homeowners insurance.

When Should I Replace My Electrical Panel?

There are certain instances when homeowners should consider panel replacement:

Your Panel is Over 20 Years Old

If your panel is getting older, replacement is the best way to limit your financial risk. Panels over 20 years of age should be replaced with newer models. Older style panels like those listed above should be upgraded to panels that comply with current residential codes.

You Want to Sell Your Home

If you are planning on selling your home, your panel will need to meet current residential codes to pass inspection.

If Your Electrical Usage Has Increased

Increased electrical load is another reason to replace your panel. Electrical panels come in different amp loads, and the higher your electrical usage, the bigger the amp load you need. As we add appliances, fixtures and outlets to our home, more switches are needed to hold them. If your electrical panel is full, it will get hotter and be more of a fire risk.

Home Additions May Be in Your Future

If you foresee major home improvements or home additions in your future, replacing your electrical panel with an upgraded version may be necessary. The addition of hot tubs, garage heaters, car chargers, and extra rooms to your home may necessitate an upgrade to a larger panel or multiple panels.

Get an Electrical Inspection

Electrical inspections are a smart precaution you can take to protect your home, your insurance coverage, and your family’s safety. An Anthony PHCE electrical inspection provides you with a comprehensive assessment of your electrical panel and wiring system and detects fire hazards before your safety is impacted. Anthony PHCE’s licensed and trained electricians are available to provide you with the best service, electrical solutions, and advice. Call our Anthony PHCE electricians today at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816).

Also learn how to Prevent Frozen Pipes and What to Do if it’s Too Late

shivering woman checks the thermostat

During extended bouts of frigid weather, our furnaces run non-stop.  Is this normal?  And if it gets below zero outside, will my furnace be able to maintain a 70 degree temperature inside?  And what can I do to keep my family warm and prevent my pipes from freezing?

The following is information about heating systems and tips to keep you warm as you hunker down in artic weather.

  1. Properly selected and installed furnaces in Kansas City can maintain at least 70 degrees inside even when it is 0 degrees outside; a 70-degree temperature difference.  Most furnaces (whether electric or gas) are oversized, meaning they could maintain an above 70 degree temperature difference.
  2. When the outside temperature is in single digits your heating system will run close to 60 minutes per hour – it will not shut off or shut off for a short time period and then come back on for long cycles.  This is normal, and it is okay.
  3. Even when temperatures plunge below zero outside, the structure of a home has “thermal mass,” which resists temperature change, so in below-zero weather the heating system will often still be able to keep the desired temperature inside.
  4. If desired, a homeowner can “over heat” their home by bumping up the inside temperature before the sub zero cold period and this will help keep a home warm.
  5. A homeowner could use a supplemental electric heater (but not near the main system thermostat) to add additional heat in the colder areas of their home.
  6. It is not recommended to have a fire in the fireplace for supplemental heat. A fireplace will draw a lot of heated air out of the house when it operates. There may be some benefit of radiant heat from the fire if you were near it, but it should only be used as temporary heat if the furnace does not operate.  Fireplace flue dampers should be shut (when not having a fire) as a tremendous amount of cold air will come in thru the fireplace.
  7. It is not recommended that an oven or stove is used for supplemental heat.
  8. People with electric homes will have heat pumps and they will run as normal. The homeowner does not need to switch to emergency heat at the thermostat for the backup heat to come on. Operating the heat pump is more efficient than the electric furnace.
  9. People with heat pumps and a gas furnace for a back up should switch to emergency heat (a better term is auxiliary heat but the thermostat will say emergency heat).  It is cheaper to heat a home with gas than electricity if gas is available. Switching to emergency heat will lock out the heat pump. This would be normal winter operations regardless of how cold it is outside.
  10. People that have water piping in suspect areas – attics, crawl spaces, garages and rim joist areas above basement foundation walls should take precaution to insulate the pipes or put electric heat tape on them. Vanity doors and kitchen sink cabinet doors can be left open to allow room air to circulate near the water piping. Portable electric heaters can be used near areas where water piping has frozen in the past. Faucets can be left on (both hot and cold) with slow drips which will help prevent pipes from freezing. Our Auto Ray infrared garage heaters are an excellent way to keep pipes from freezing anywhere near a garage.

If you have concerns about your furnace, call our expert technicians right away.  We get very busy during extended periods of frigid temperatures, so don’t wait.  Call us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816) or click here:  https://www.anthonyphc.com/schedule-service/.

 

humidity protects against COVID-19

What can the public do to defend against COVID-19?  One simple answer is to ramp up your home’s humidity.  Increasing humidity can protect against COVID-19 in two ways – by supporting your respiratory tract’s immune response, and by causing airborne coronavirus to become unstable and less infectious quicker.

Increasing Humidity Can Cause Coronavirus to Die Off Quicker

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can float around your home in the air.  It only has a limited amount of time before heat, light and humidity dissolves its “spikes” that it needs to latch onto your cells.  This is called airborne decay.  These viruses, like all viruses, are more subject to this airborne decay when these environmental conditions increase:

  1. UV Light
  2. Temperature
  3. Humidity

Numerous studies have shown that flu viruses, including the coronavirus, thrive in cold dry conditions, which causes them to become more of a problem during the winter cold and flu season.  The estimated airborne decay of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 occurs much more quickly in heat, humidity and UV light.

How Can I Increase the UV Light, Temperature and Relative Humidity in My Home?

It is easy to increase the temperature in your home by raising the set point on your thermostat, but doing so can lower your home’s humidity level quickly, so it is important that you use humidification devices to keep the humidity levels in your home high during the heating season.  Whole-home humidifiers on your HVAC system work the best – make sure they are working effectively by turning them on “winter” mode, and by turning the humidistat up above 40%.  Also make sure you have your whole-home humidifier serviced annually to remove mineral build up.

Another option is adding UV light.  The best option is to install a UV lamp in your HVAC system.  The circulating air will cause viruses to pass by the UV lamp and become inert before they can enter the air you breathe.  An even better solution is to install an Air Scrubber indoor air quality system.  Air Scrubbers not only kill viruses when they pass by its UV light, but they also eradicate them through the non-toxic hydrogen vapor that it releases into your home’s air and surfaces.

Humidity Helps Your Respiratory System’s Immune Response Work Better

Increasing humidity in your home during the winter months can help your body defend against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  The more humidity in your home, the more ability your body has to use its natural mucous defense to eliminate viruses in your respiratory tract.  The human respiratory tract has a natural immune response against airborne viruses and other particulates called the cilia.  These tiny hair-like projections move mucous up your windpipe so you can cough it, and the contaminants it contains, up and out of your lungs.  The dryer the air in your home, the thicker is this mucous, and the less effective it is in extricating viruses out of our lungs.

How Much Humidity is Enough?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the majority of adverse health effects caused by relative humidity would be minimized by maintaining indoor levels between 40 and 60%. And the more humidity you have in your home, the quicker viruses become unstable and unable to infect you.  However, too much humidity can cause unwelcome effects as well, such as warped wood floors and furniture, and the growth of mold, bacteria and mites.  A humidity level of 50% is generally recommended as the sweet spot to prevent viral growth and keep our respiratory system’s immune response strong, while at the same time protecting your home from damage and protect your body from allergic reactions to increased mold and mites.  The age and type of construction has a bearing on whether your home can handle a 50% humidity level.

humidity health chart

 

How Can I Measure My Home’s Humidity Level?

When your skin, lips and nasal passages start to itch or crack, or you start shocking your family and pets when you touch them, that is a sure sign that your home’s relative humidity is too low.  But how do you know exactly what your home’s humidity level is?

One convenient way to track your home’s humidity is through a thermostat with an integrated humidistat.  Humidistats measure the relative humidity of the air surrounding their sensors.

nest thermostat

Battling Mineral Buildup in Humidifiers

As you battle the dry air in your home, you may also find yourself battling mineral buildup. Humidification usually involves using warm air from a furnace blown through a saturated panel.  When the untreated water from municipal water sources comes into contact with the components of humidifiers (and also water heaters, coffee makers and dishwashers), the minerals that exist in this hard water build up on their surfaces and eventually prohibit them from working or reduce their effectiveness.  That is why yearly maintenance is critical for whole-home humidifiers.  A water softening system in your home will help your humidifier operate all heating season.  Water softening systems also prevent buildup in your home’s plumbing and plumbing fixtures, causing both to last longer and to help prevent clogs.  Your Anthony PHCE technician can provide suggestions based on your home’s current system.

Contact Anthony PHCE for Humidification and Indoor Air Quality Solutions

If you need humidification, indoor air quality or water softening solutions for your home, our expert technicians and plumbers at Anthony Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric are here to help.  Contact us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816) or chat with us on our website at www.AnthonyPHCE.com.

 

 

smart toilet with voice activation and wifiVoice activation, motion sensing and WiFi connectivity are some of the hottest technology to be found in plumbing this year.  Some of the slickest plumbing technology utilizes low-tech design ingenuity invented by a local Kansas City company.  Your family should consider installing these trendy new plumbing technologies in your home this year.

Outdoor Hot & Cold Water Hydrants

hot and cold outdoor faucetHot water should not be limited to indoor use only.  Finally, outdoor hydrants are available that bring hot and cold water to your outdoor activities, thanks to a Kansas City based company.  With a simple twist of the center knob, you can adjust the temperature of water used outside, just like in the house.  These hydrants are also frost-free, which means water will no longer be syphoned into your interior water pipes causing freezing, bursting and flooded basements.

Quarter-Turn Frost Free Outdoor Hydrants

Quarter-turn frost free outdoor hydrants are another way to provide protection against frozen pipes using the same technology as the hot and cold water hydrant.  These quarter-turn outdoor hydrants are also convenient and comfortable to use, with soft grips and a reduced turning radius needed to turn water on and off.

Water Guardian Leak Prevention System

water guardian leak prevention alert systemWater leaks can happen in multiple places in your home.  Water reclamation, damage mitigation and mold prevention after a flood is expensive, and some items such as photos, paperwork and keepsakes cannot be repaired or replaced.  Anthony PHCE’s Water Guardian flood sensors can be placed near all devices or areas subject to the possibility of flooding and alert you through your smart phone when water is detected well in advance of the occurrence of expensive water damage.

WiFi Sump Pump with Battery Back-Up Pump

wifi sump pump with battery back up pumpHomeowners can now access real-time primary and back-up pump status, water level, and battery level from anywhere using an app on their phone.  WiFi sump pump and battery back-up sump pump combos can be easily installed in your existing sump pit.  Innovative technology transmits data to your phone app even during power outages, for connectivity when your Wi-Fi router is down.

Smart Toilets with Personalized Presets via Phone App

smart toilet with wifi and voice activationSmart toilets are all the rage for 2021, and worth the cost if you consider the multitude of features they include.  Now with the push of a button on your phone, or with just your voice, your toilet can adjust to your personalized seat warmth, water cleansing temperature, ambient light color choice and level of air freshening.  Smart toilets also include UV sanitation, automatic touchless flushing and hands free seat closing to make them extra safe and sanitary.  And of course, they are a comfortable height with an elongated bowl for ADA compliance.

Toilet Lids with Motion Sensing LED Lights

When visiting the toilet in the middle of the night you have two options; awakening yourself by turning on a light, or risk missing your mark in the dark.  Enter one of the smartest new features in toilet technology – a seat that lights up when it sees you coming.  There are now a variety of motion sensing, energy efficient LED light toilet seats that come in customizable color schemes, so you can handle your business, and get back to sleep.

Singing in the Shower with Bluetooth Shower Heads

Send your favorite tunes, news or sports broadcasts to your shower the smart way, through a shower head with a Bluetooth speaker built into it.  These speakers are easily removable for recharging, or for moving them to your tub for company during a long soak.

Talk to Your Faucet, or Just Wave Hello

touch free bathroom faucetTouchfree faucets have become ubiquitous in public spaces, but now there is a wide variety of beautiful versions designed for your home kitchen and bathrooms.  Touchfree faucets stay cleaner longer, and are great when you have your hands full of slippery grooming or cooking products.  Touchfree faucets come in both motion sensing and voice activated versions, and are more sanitary than traditional faucets.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters save energy, save space, and provide instant and continuous hot water for all your family’s needs.  Anyone with a soaking tub should consider a tankless water heater, as well as families with multiple bodies taking showers in multiple bathrooms.  Tankless water heaters last twice as long as traditional water heaters, too.  Consider this water and energy saving green technology to increase your home’s resale value as well.

Technology to Keep Your Body, and Your Pipes, Healthy

One of the essential health choices consumers can make is to purify the water they take into bodies and breathe in while they shower.  A whole-home filtration system can remove the deadly chlorine and other harmful chemicals from your drinking water and shower steam, and make the water healthier for your cooking, your pets and your plants as well.  Whereas filtration is essential for your physical health, water softening is essential for the health of your plumbing and appliances.  Mineral build-up from hard water clogs and corrodes your pipes, fixtures and water-using appliances like dishwashers, causing them to fail sooner.  Now there are filtration and softening combination systems that can soften and filter your water at the same time, for the best of both worlds in the smallest possible footprint.

What is the Best Plumbing Technology for My Home?

Anthony PHCE expert plumbers are here to advise you on the best technology solutions for your home and family.  Give us a call at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816) or email your questions to service@anthonyphce.com.

 

indoor air quality systems help you breathe easyAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the levels of indoor air pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally 100 times, higher than the levels of pollutants outside. Considering that most Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, this is a major concern.  Considering the increases in wildfires and viral pandemics, indoor air quality is becoming an even greater worry.

Fortunately, homeowners have a great deal of control over the air quality in their homes.  By choosing the right whole-home indoor air quality systems, you can make your home a sanctuary of clean, healthy, odor-free air.

What Type of Whole-Home Indoor Air Quality System is Best?

Depending upon your home, your location and of your family’s individual needs, you may want to consider one, or a combination of, indoor air quality systems.  Whole-home indoor air quality systems trap, kill or eliminate the following types of indoor pollutants:

particulates (dust, cooking, fireplaces, candles, smoking, aerosol sprays)

chemical fumes (lead, pesticides, formaldehyde from furnishings, cleaning products)

biological (viruses, bacteria, mold, insect droppings, animal fur and dander)

allergens and odors (posed by all of the above)

Following are three types of indoor air quality systems and how each of them work to remove these harmful substances from your home.

Ionizers, Ozone Generators and Electrostatic Media

What is the difference between ionizers, ozone generators and polarizers?  All three remove particles from the air by altering oxygen molecules which makes them adhere to particulates.  Each produces some ozone, which is safe in small amounts.

Ionizers

Ionizers work by adding an electron to oxygen molecules creating negative ions.  These negative ions add a charge to particulates in the air, making them sticky and causing them to be attracted back to the ionizer.  Ionizers work best at removing small particles, but sometimes fall short with odors, gases, and larger particles such as pollen or dust.  Ionizers do produce a small amount of ozone, which can irritate the lungs in large quantities.  Negative ions have no smell and no harmful effects.

Ozone Generators

Ozone generators produce ozone, which is made up of three oxygen molecules, which makes it unstable and also sticky.  Ozone is better as removing smaller particulates, gases, and odors from the air.  However, ozone in large amounts can be dangerous.  Ozone generators work best if used in a large area or used only while pets and humans are not home.

Electrostatic Media

Electrostatic media are electronic air filters placed in your furnace in place of regular filters.  These filters use electricity to alter the electrical field of atoms causing them to be polarized and stick to the media as air is pulled through your system.  This offers an effective way to remove a large variety of particulates from the air in your home.

UV Light Technology

UV Light has been proven to kill viruses, mold, and bacteria on contact, which is where other indoor air quality systems fall short.  Viruses, mold, and bacteria are too small to be collected by ionizers or air filtration media.  Although prolonged exposure to UV can be harmful to humans, UV lamps in your AC coil and ductwork eliminate that threat by directing UV light to pathogens as they are drawn through your ventilation system.  But these pathogens must come within a few inches of the UV lamp to be killed.

The Air Scrubber by Aerus® is a special kind of UV lamp that changes water molecules in the air into negatively charged vapor through a process called ActivePure®.  These negatively charged molecules leave the UV lamp and actively enter your home’s air and make contact with the surfaces in your home to kill viruses.

Arrestors

Arrestors are filters placed in your ventilation system which trap particulates and prevent them from being circulated back into your air.  Arrestors range in effectiveness from the standard one inch filter to high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, to thick five inch media filters such as the Anthony Clean Machine.  Filters are made of tightly woven mesh that traps particulates as they pass through.  They are especially good at removing larger contaminants such as dust, pollen, pet dander and dust mites, making them great for people with allergies.

Do You Need a Whole-Home Indoor Air Quality System?

Indoor air can pose health hazards, especially during the closed-window seasons of summer and winter when outdoor air is not allowed to circulate through your home to eliminate the pollutants in your home.  Some individuals resist opening their windows even during pleasant temperature due to the allergens and pollutants in the outdoor air where they live.

Everyone can benefit from indoor air quality systems, and the most effective of these are whole-home systems that are installed in your ductwork and facilitated by the air pushed through your AC and furnace system.  Individuals with the following conditions can benefit most from whole-home systems:

cardio/pulmonary conditions

allergies

sensitivity to chemicals or smells

young age or advanced age

compromised immune systems

If your home has any of the following conditions, you should also consider a whole-home indoor air quality system:

new furnishings or carpeting or remodeling

constant use such as cooking or indoor hobbies involving chemicals

mold or recent flooding

pet odors

location near car exhaust, industrial areas, wildfires

location in climates where windows remain closed most of the year

An unintended result of today’s tighter homes is heightened levels of indoor air pollution. Dangerous particles, as well as chemicals, are being trapped in your home. Illness-causing micro-organism infestation, allergens, and bad odors are all problems which affect the well-being and comfort of everyone in your home.  Call our indoor air quality experts to learn which whole-home indoor air quality solutions are best for you at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816).

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