Indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental threats to human health. Considering that most Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, this is a major concern. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the levels of indoor air pollutants may be two to five times higher than the levels of pollutants outside. No wonder your eyes are itching!
Hidden Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Moldy Houseplants and Basements
Wet conditions can cause mold to grow anywhere; those with mold allergies should limit all sources of moisture in their homes.
With clutter comes dust, and with dust comes allergens. It is easier to clean a home if it is not cluttered with items where dirt, dust and dander can hide.
Perfumes and Cleaning Products
Candles, personal care products and laundry detergents smell nice, but they wreck havoc with your air quality. The chemicals in these items are readily absorbed into your skin and lungs.
During a 10-minute bath or shower, you can absorb 100 times more chlorine than you do drinking a gallon of the same water. Without a filter and ventilation, that toxic chlorine becomes airborne and gases throughout your home.
Stored Paint Cans
Paint cans, even sealed ones, often leak airway-annihilating volatile organic compounds, aka VOCs.
Furniture and Flooring
Glues and binders are the culprit here. Pressed wood materials and glues binding carpet and flooring cause VOCs to flood your living space.
Dust and dander collect in carpet fibers, triggering asthma and allergy attacks. Carpets also give off VOCs.
Easy Solutions to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Look for air filters that handle particulate matter, such as dust and dander, as well as chemical matter. Central air cleaners that operate when your furnace fan is on work well. The best kinds of filters for people with allergies are high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which are specially designed to remove allergens from the air.
Ionize Your Air
Ionic air cleaners generate an electrical charge (negative ions) that makes the pollutants in the air become ‘sticky’. The ions attach to airborne molecules, making them negatively charged and attractive to the positively charged particles nearby. Ionic air cleaners are particularly effective at removing odors. They are also quiet, energy efficient and don’t require replacement filters.
Ultra-violet (UV) lamps installed on your heating and cooling system are extremely effective at destroying pollutants like bacteria, mold and viruses. The UV rays “incinerate” particles as they pass through, making it easier to breathe for those with asthma, lung complications and allergies. The effectiveness of the UV lamps is based on molecule’s direct line of sight contact with the lamp and the proximity (closeness) the molecule has with the lamp.
Keep an Eye on Humidity
Dust mites and mold flourish in humid homes. A properly operating AC unit keep your home’s humidity at an optimal 40%-60% relative humidity level, so giving your AC unit a yearly tune up is important. Fixing leaky plumbing is critical, so moisture cannot escape from pipes and appliance hoses. Venting cooking smoke and clothes dryer exhaust is also important, to reduce humidity as well as particulates in the air.
Clean Your House, but with Environmentally Safe Products
To minimize the chemicals being released into your home, avoid cleaning products, beauty products, air fresheners and candles with synthetic chemicals and bleaches. Stick with fragrance-free/naturally-scented products, use mild cleaners, cut out aerosol sprays, open windows to let in fresh air, bring plants into your home (if you do not have mold allergies) and use lemons, beeswax candles and baking soda to create a fresh scent.
Secondhand smoke contains 4,000 chemicals that can cause cancer, asthma, respiratory infections and allergies. Smoke outside or not at all.
Test for Radon
Radon is a dangerous radioactive gas that is formed from the natural decay of uranium found in soil, and it enters your home through cracks in the foundation. There’s also a correlation between granite countertops and increased radon levels. Radon is colorless and odorless so you must use a radon testing kit to know if it has invaded your home.
Get a Filter on Your Shower
Your water probably contains chlorine to kill bacteria and viruses. But chlorine’s power to kill pathogens comes at a cost; it dries out your skin and hair, it’s potentially toxic and studies have linked it to chlorine in steamy showers to cancer. Chlorine filters can be added cheaply and easily to your shower fixture. But don’t forget to filter your drinking water, as drinking chlorine is as bad as breathing it.
Get rid of any weeds growing right next to your house; they are just another source of pollen and allergens. If you have pollen allergies, ask someone else to do the weeding. Also, avoid planting flowers that are relatives of ragweed—mums, sunflowers, dahlias, and zinnias.
Contact a Professional to Tune Up Your AC, Check Your Plumbing, and Install Air Cleaners
While there is a lot you can do by yourself to improve your home’s indoor air quality, it is best to contact HVAC professionals to keep AC units in top working order, and to install whole house air cleaners and UV lamps. Contact us for advice and free estimates on systems and services that fit your budget and needs.
When preparing to leave your home for extended spring and summer vacations, one of the smartest things a homeowner can add to their prep list is installation of an indoor flood and water damage prevention system. Indoor water damage is one of the most common reasons people make claims on their home insurance, and repairing the leak and then the damage to walls, floors and furniture is a complicated and time-consuming process. The best way to address indoor flooding is to avoid it altogether.
Indoor Floods Can Happen Many Ways
Reasons for indoor floods vary from sump pump failure, water heater leaks, failed washing machine hoses, dishwasher fill valve and gasket leaks, freezing pipes bursting, sewer drain back-ups, and plumbing leaks around tubs, sinks and toilets. Installing a water leak detection and flood prevention system to your home is an easy and affordable way to ensure that floods do not happen while you are home or away.
Repairing Indoor Water Damage is Costly and Time-Consuming
Fixing the damage caused by an indoor flood is a complicated and time-consuming process. Besides the actual repair to the leak, several steps must be taken before and after the repair to get your home back to normal. Before the repair can take place, the main water supply will have to be turned off to put a halt to the flooding. Then all electrical items in the vicinity of the flood will have to be unplugged, and if they cannot be accessed safely, the main electrical supply will have to be shut off. Water is the perfect conductor for electricity and exposure could be lethal. Then a water extraction service may have to be contracted to remove standing water before repairs to the pipe or appliance can be started by a plumber.
After the water leak is fixed, water damage to floors, walls and household items must be repaired. Flooring, furniture and electronics that cannot be repaired will have to be replaced, and irreplaceable keepsakes that are damaged may be lost forever. Then the moisture remaining even after the standing water has been removed must be eradicated, by opening windows, running fans and setting up dehumidifiers. Finally, homes must be tested for mold and mildew growth that the invasive water may have caused. Treatment using disinfectants, deodorizers and replacement of drywall and insulation might be needed to stop the spread of mold and mildew throughout the home and to protect your family from toxins.
Indoor Flood Prevention Systems Prevent Water Damage before it Starts
The best way to address indoor flooding is to avoid it altogether. Flood prevention systems detect leaks before damage to your home is caused, either by shutting off your water automatically, or by allowing you to do it remotely or on site when you receive alerts on your phone. Flood prevention systems incorporate water sensors, cellular based remote access hubs and automatic water shut off valves to keep your home safe.
Even the savviest homeowner cannot anticipate all instances of flooding. That is why insurance companies recommend installing water damage prevention products and alert systems to protect your home and valuables. These systems are affordable and quick to install by Anthony Plumbing Heating and Cooling technicians. They can also be integrated into your existing home automation system, giving you complete control over your home environment while away.
Water Guardian is a Dependable Flood Prevention Solution
Anthony Plumbing, Heating and Cooling’s Water Guardian flood prevention solution gives you peace of mind knowing that you are protected from water damage in your home. Contact us for a free estimate at (913) 353-8444.
Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is honored to have been voted as a “Neighborhood Favorite” in more than 175 Kansas City metro neighborhoods by users of the App Nextdoor!
Residents in the cities of Overland Park, Roeland Park, Shawnee, Stilwell, Fairway, Kansas City, Mission, Leawood, Mission Hills, Raymore, Olathe, and Lenexa voted Anthony PHC as their preferred plumbing, heating & cooling service provider in a recent survey. Neighbors across the country have made over 17 million recommendations for their favorite local businesses on Nextdoor.
“We are very grateful that our customers feel compelled to share their great experiences with their neighbors on Nextdoor. We truly believe that customer testimonials are the most powerful form of advertising”, Steve Burbridge, Owner said. “Being a Neighborhood favorite is validation of our mission to provide the best customer experience every hour of every day.”
Today, neighbors in more than 160,000 neighborhoods use Nextdoor to get to know one another, exchange local advice and share recommendations. Recommendations for local businesses are one of the most popular topics on Nextdoor, accounting for more than 25 percent of all neighborhood conversations. Neighborhood Favorites now makes it even easier for neighbors to find, recommend, and support the best local businesses in their neighborhoods.
“The best businesses are the ones recommended by neighbors,” said Nirav Tolia, Co-Founder and CEO of Nextdoor. “From the local coffee shop that knows your order to the dry cleaner who has your pick-up ready when you arrive, every neighbor has local businesses they love.
Anthony PHC is grateful to have been selected as a 2017 Neighborhood Favorite!
HVAC Myths: Busted
Whether it’s a hot and humid summer afternoon or windy and cold winter morning in Kansas City your HVAC system is working hard to keep you comfortable. There are many misconceptions when it comes to your air conditioner and furnace and what certain do’s and don’ts that relate to them. Here are five misconceptions or myths that we will bust for you!
1.) Moving the thermostat all the way down will cool your home faster.
BUSTED: Thermostats send information to your system that tells it when to turn on and off based off of the temperature you want to maintain. Turning it all the way down will not cool your home any faster.
2.) Closing the vents in empty rooms increases energy efficiency.
BUSTED: Closing the vents can increase the air flow and pressure in the ducts causing leaks at the vent seams. If you have hot and cold spots in your home a zoning system is recommended.
3.) I only need to change my filter once a year.
BUSTED: It is recommended that you change your filter every other month and more frequently if you have a full house and pets. However, you can save yourself the hassle of changing your filter by installing an Air Purifier that only requires you to change the filter once a year.
4.) Routine maintenance is not important.
BUSTED: Your HVAC system is a complex mechanical machine that needs annual tune-ups much like your car. There are many moving parts that need checked, oiled, and lubed. Calculations are needed to insure your system is running at peak performance. It is recommended that your AC and furnace are tuned up once a year. Having your system tuned up annually can save you from costly repairs down the road.
5.) The bigger the HVAC system the better.
BUSTED: A system that is too large for your home will consistently cycle on and off which will cost you more money to operate and will shorten the lifespan of your unit. When it is time for you to replace your HVAC system an Anthony Comfort Advisor will measure your home room by room and offer you a system with the exact specifications you need to ensure you receive the most energy efficient system available.
Whether you live in Overland Park and need help with a new wifi thermostat of you live in Lee’s Summit and need a new AC unit we are at your service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Give us a call or schedule service online today.
To Buy or not to Buy a Home Warranty?
Many homes are sold with a home warranty which gives the seller a feeling of protection in case something happens during the first year the buyer owns the home. The theory being the buyer will look to the home warranty company for remedy and not come back on the seller. Of course this is not always true and the buyer may very well come back on the seller.
Buyers feel some degree of protection purchasing a home with a home warranty and they are not directly paying for it so they gladly accept it. They may or may not use it. There are many cases that the home warranty is never used the first year. The sellers have just prepared the home for sale and a home inspection has been performed so items that may have fallen in the “covered items” area of the policy have been addressed prior to closing.
The real dilemma for the buyer is whether to renew the home warranty after the first year. Some will renew even though they can’t find the policy but they like the thought of having “protection.” Many that don’t renew actually used the policy during the first year and they recall the bad taste of that experience.
All home warranties have a “deductible” which is in place to prevent nuisance calls and to keep the warranty as cheap as possible. Typically the deductible which in essence is a service call fee ranges from $80 to $100 depending on the home warranty company.
Language in home warranty policies states that they will do whatever they can to keep the old appliance working. In regards to air conditioning systems and heating systems, this is seldom in the homeowner’s best interest. If the air conditioning system uses ozone depleting Freon (which is being phased out) and the system is an energy hog, it would not be in the best interest of the homeowner for the home warranty technicians to keep it going. “Keeping it going” is less expense for the home warranty company but a much higher expense for the homeowner. In essence the homeowner is paying for a higher efficiency system (thru higher utility bills) they just aren’t getting the benefits of having one.
The service companies that work for home warranty companies have been known to install used parts with the thinking since the homeowner is not directly paying for it (except the deductible fee every time the technician shows up) who cares? There is no in-person quality check after they perform the service. These service companies typically service all kinds of appliances as well as heating and cooling systems and it is a challenge to be proficient in all areas. They may not be available when you need them but homeowners will wait because they have that false sense of protection – the Home Warranty!
Home Equity Allows for Easy Financing with Kansas City, Missouri HERO Program
A new program, recently only available to west coast homeowners has come to Jackson County, MO. What makes the HERO Program so unique is that it provides the homeowner an opportunity to pay for an energy-efficient heating and cooling system through property tax financing. HERO offers flexible terms of 5-20 years, and the interest may be tax deductible. This program was established to help homeowners better afford to replace their old heating and cooling system with a higher efficiency system. Credit history is not the deciding factor. More homeowners qualify for HERO financing because approval is based on home equity and not credit score. Contact a HERO registered contractor who can answer all your questions. The HERO Program is brand new in Jackson County and not yet available in other counties in the Kansas City metro area. Anthony Plumbing Heating & Cooling is a HERO registered contractor. If you live in the following cities you are eligible for the HERO program; Blue Springs, Buckner, Grandview, Grain Valley, Greenwood, Independence, Kansas City, Lake Lotawana, Lake Tapawingo, Lee’s Summit, Levasy, Lone Jack, Oak Grove, Pleasant Hill, Raytown, River Bend, Sibley, Sugar Creek, and Unity Village.
Field Building Permit Required
A permit is more than a piece of paper. It has everything to do with safety and a job done right. The HVAC industry reports that 90% of heating and cooling systems are installed improperly. Many offenders are minor but some are downright deadly. These installations involve electricity, natural gas, and vent gases (potential CO dangers). Some contractors skip the permit to save costs.
Only a licensed, insured, and bonded contractor can obtain a permit; something to think about if a contractor tells you the permit is not important. And permits are required by every county on both side of state line in Kansas City. A permit assures a second look by a city inspector who is trained to look for and recognize any faulty, shoddy, and dangerous installation shortcuts.
Whether you are in Kansas or Missouri, and you want your heating and cooling system installed properly, safely, and to code, make sure you have that piece of paper.
You’ve probably heard of a furnace and air conditioner tune-up, but many Anthony Plumbing, Heating and Cooling customers are not familiar with a plumbing system tune-up. Just what is it? What does it include? What can you expect?
You Don’t Have to Live with Bad Plumbing
A plumbing tune-up is a great way to keep the plumbing system in your entire house running smoothly. Most homeowners don’t think about their plumbing until something breaks, but I’ll bet you can think of a sink that drains too slowly or a shower head that has a partially clogged sprayer or a faucet that drips in your home. It’s very rare that a home’s entire plumbing system is in perfect working order. That’s why homeowners really like our Anthony plumbing tune-ups.
What to Expect with a Plumbing Tune-Up
When Anthony comes to your home to perform a plumbing tune-up, we check the entire house from outdoor water faucets to washing machine hoses. We make sure everything is working properly and let you know if any items require repairs to avoid possible future disaster. We tell you upfront if we need to repair or replace anything so there’s never a sticker shock. Here are a few of the services we perform:
- Sinks, Faucets, and Drains – we make sure all faucets are running freely and the water is draining rapidly.
- Toilet, Tubs, and Showers – we make sure all toilets are flushing and filling properly and shower heads are spraying freely with no leaks.
- Washer, Dishwasher, Sump Pump – we check for small leaks that are hard to see behind appliances and under cabinets. We perform a sump pump test to make sure it is operating properly.
- 10-Point Water Heater Tune-Up – over time, your water heater builds up with sediment that insulates the heating element making it less effective. With a water heater tune-up, we will drain your water heater and remove any sediment and check to make sure it is working properly, there are no leaks and the temperature is set where no one will accidentally scald themselves, especially small children.
Benefits of a Plumbing System Tune-Up
Plumbing tune-ups lower future repair costs – and can prevent major damage by catching small problems before they become costly surprises. They also find leaks and keep you from wasting water and paying a higher usage bill. You may notice an increase in water pressure once your pipes are all working the way they were designed to work. From sump pumps to garbage disposers, every home could benefit from a plumbing system tune-up. Give Anthony PHC a call and we’ll come to your home for a plumbing inspection. Call (913) 384-4440 or (816) 285-4440 today.