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The Rinaldi's Blog

by Scott Hudson, Vice-President

A/C Camping Essentials

Don’t let the overwhelming heat of a southeastern summer keep you from enjoying the great outdoors. There is now a good selection of HVAC essentials to keep you cool inside your tent. Several types of air conditioning systems are suitable for cooling tents. One is a dedicated air conditioner/heater designed especially for tents and campers and the other is the common window air conditioner, set up for tent use. Minus this equipment, you can use solar panels to charge batteries or power fans. Instead of waiting for cooler weather, you can venture out this summer to your favorite places. What You’ll Need All air conditioners require electricity to run so you’ll have to select campgrounds where you’ll have easy access to power at your campsite. You’ll also need an extension cord long rated for the amps that the air conditioner pulls. Minus electrical hookups at the campsite, you can use a generator to power the HVAC essentials if the campground allows it in the tent camping area. The air conditioner/heater designed for tent camping can sit on the ground and hooks up easily to a tent. A window air conditioner can also be adapted to use in a tent by placing it on a stand next to a window. Both will dehumidify the air to some degree. Minus a source of enough power to run an air conditioner, you can use solar or battery-powered fans to move the air inside the tent. Although portable solar panels don’t have the capacity to power a small A/C, they are large enough to help power your home’s central A/C system. Lennox offers... read more

Babysitter 101: HVAC Recommendations to Leave

Whether you’re leaving your home in the care of someone watching the house itself, your child, or a pet, you need to leave behind a few home comfort and energy savings instructions so that your utility costs don’t get out of control. To help you out, here are a few tips that we would suggest you add to your sitter checklist: Instructions for the Thermostat If the sitter isn’t familiar with how your thermostat works, then he or she could inadvertently turn the heat or cold up too much, thereby costing you big bucks. Leave behind basic instructions, and try not to be too restrictive in case the temperature of your home becomes uncomfortable. Provide Fans to Stay Cool Since it’s summertime, your sitter will probably want to stay cool throughout the day or evening. You can save energy by providing fans that can be used to stay cool. Portable fans can be even better. Medical Information While your house won’t succumb to any injuries, per se, something could happen to your children or pets when you leave them behind. If medicine needs to be administered, make sure instructions are left behind. And don’t forget emergency contact numbers! Set a Schedule Any tasks that need to be done, including putting your children to bed or administering medicine to the family pet, should be placed on the list. Allow the sitter to be a little flexible, but make sure that he or she knows that stickingly to the schedule will be appreciated. Don’t Forget Your Contact Information Although you might be having a night on the town and don’t want... read more

Ventilation Needs for Bathrooms

Most residential building codes for new homes now mandate adequate bathroom ventilation by a powered exhaust fan. However, if your house was built before 2003, a bathroom window that could be opened by hand may have been the only venting requirement. There are good reasons behind changes in the code. Why Is Ventilation Important? Bathrooms are ground zero for growth of toxic mold and mildew. The combination of high levels of water vapor in the air due to bathing and showering with warm temperatures concentrated within a relatively small, enclosed room make the typical bathroom a perfect environment for fungal growth and bacteria. Repeatedly exposed to steam produced by hot water, drywall also deteriorates, doors and drawers warp and paint and wallpaper peel. Over the long term, water vapor permeating the ceiling and walls can cause wooden structural components to decompose, too. How Much Ventilation Is Enough? The general formula is one cubic foot per minute (CFM) of exhaust fan ventilation per square foot of bathroom floor. The minimum amount is 50 CFM for bathrooms of 50 square feet or less. For a 10’ x 10’ bathroom (100 square feet), for example, the fan should be rated for 100 CFM. A powered bathroom fan must connect to a vent duct that extends to the exterior of the house and exhausts into outdoor air. Fans must not exhaust into interior spaces such as the attic or the crawl space where discharged moisture will trigger mold contamination and damage structural components. Fans should be controllable by a switch or by some automatic method. Ideally, a bathroom fan should run at least... read more

Dryer Ventilation and Your Safety

When it comes to home safety, dryer ventilation is often overlooked because it’s largely out of sight. Giving it the attention it requires all but eliminates problems associated with drying clothes and the risks that this appliance poses. What Dryers Require Dryers need to be vented to the outdoors, even if they’re electric. They produce plenty of hot, moist air that’s full of lint from fabrics. Operating it without a vent hose will let the lint collect behind and around it. The hot, moist air will raise cooling bills in the summer and increase the risk of mold growing in the laundry area in the winter. Gas dryers need venting because their exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde, all products of natural gas combustion. The exhaust that gas dryers produce is also more humid, since water vapor is a byproduct of burning natural gas. Besides the ventilation hose that the dryers need, each has a lint trap that needs to be cleaned after each load. Besides being highly combustible, a thick covering of lint will slow the air flowing through the dryer and overheat the contents. Basic Maintenance for Dryers Clean the lint screen after each load. If you use dryer sheets, scrub it with soap and water periodically. These sheets leave a deposit on the screen that blocks dryer ventilation through it and can cause a dryer fire. Pull the dryer away from the wall and clean beneath it. Lint tends to build beneath dryers that can cause a fire. Remove the dryer vent hose from the back of the dryer. If it’s made from... read more

Keep Children Safe: HVAC Safety Tips

Childproofing homes usually involves covering outlets, keeping household cleaners out of reach and taking other steps to keep children as safe as possible. One area that you might overlook is your HVAC system and its components. Find out how to reduce the risk of injuries with the following HVAC safety tips. Prevent Access to the Outdoor Unit When your children are playing outside, they might get too close to your outdoor HVAC unit and get hurt. Your outdoor unit has a few hazards to be aware of, such as wiring and sharp edges. Children can also get hurt if they surface of the outdoor unit is hot from being in the sun. Put a fence around your outdoor unit, or plant shrubs around it to keep children from being able to get near it. Keep in mind Check Floor Vents If the vents in your home are in the floor or close to it, make sure that they’re securely in place. Children can cut themselves on vent edges that are sticking out, or they can pull the vents off if they’re loose. Check each vent to ensure that it’s in place as securely as possible. Keep Thermostats Out of Reach Your thermostats should be installed high enough to prevent your children from playing with them. Turning your thermostat up or down too much can end up damaging your HVAC system and making your home uncomfortably hot or cold. If you have a smart or wi-fi thermostat, make sure that your children are unable to access the controls for it on your mobile device. Consider Switching to Plastic Registers with... read more

Independent and Cool: Staying Cool on July Fourth

It’s that time of year once again when people all across the country will wave their American flags, grill burgers outdoors, and watch fireworks with family and friends. Since the sun will probably be beating down for most of the summer, here are a few cooling tips that you can implement for July Fourth and the rest of the season: Hire an HVAC Technician for a Check-up If you haven’t already scheduled an inspection of your HVAC equipment this year, then now is the perfect time. Annual checkups will keep your system running at maximum efficiency and prolong its operational lifespan. Install a Zoned System Traditional cooling systems aren’t very efficient because they cool the entire house no matter which rooms are occupied. A zoned system allows you to concentrate your cooling efforts on only certain areas of the home, which will cut down your energy costs and keep you more comfortable. Keep Yourself and Your Guests Hydrated As a general rule, you need to drink at least eight full glasses of water each day. Over July Fourth and the rest of the summer, you should drink even more. Also make sure that you keep any guests hydrated, especially children and elderly adults. Switch to Cooking Outside By cooking outdoors on July Fourth and other days of the year, you won’t be using the stove or oven in your kitchen. This means that the heat from those appliances won’t be increasing the temperature of your home and forcing your air conditioning unit to run longer and harder. Close the Blinds A simple way to lower the temperature in a... read more
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