Safety

Safety

How to Babyproof Your Home and HVAC

Your home’s HVAC system is an important item to add to your babyproofing list. This equipment can cause injuries to curious children who get too close. Even if your baby is a newborn, it’s never too early to start making your Broken Arrow home safer with the following HVAC system babyproofing tips.

Check Your Metal Vents and Registers

The metal vents and registers around your home can be hazardous to kids due to their edges. Children can get cut on these edges if they come loose from the floor or wall. Check each metal vent and register in your home to see if any are loose, and secure them to the wall or floor. If you want to avoid having to worry about these metal edges, you can switch to plastic vents and registers instead. Plastic ones are easy to secure and don’t have any sharp parts.

Put Screens in Registers and Vents

Young kids can sometimes lose toys that fall through vent and register slats, but there’s an easy way to prevent this. Cut out a piece of vinyl window screening that matches the size of the register or vent, and attach it beneath the cover. This screening will catch any objects that fall into your registers and vents, so that they’re easy to retrieve. This will also prevent your child from getting fingers stuck in the slats trying to reach toys that fall in.

Enclose Your HVAC’s Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit of an HVAC system is among the biggest dangers for children. These units have wiring, blades that move when the system is running, and metal pieces with sharp edges. It’s important to make sure that your child isn’t able to access this outdoor unit at all. You can do this by putting up a fence all around your outdoor unit. This allows you to easily access it if needed while also keeping your child from being able to get near it.

If you’re looking for help with HVAC system babyproofing your home in the Broken Arrow area, please contact Air Assurance.

Safety

Safety Hazards of a Multi-Purpose Furnace Room 

Safety Hazards of a Multi-Purpose Furnace Room

Safety should always be a top priority in every household. Unfortunately, many homeowners make simple mistakes without considering what might happen. A great example is when families create storage in mechanical room areas of the home, primarily where their furnace is located. This results in a fire just waiting to happen.

People Own More Stuff

It's getting a little ridiculous at how much "stuff" exists that you can buy these days. Many households are full of boxes with everything from Christmas ornaments and legal documents to comic books and action figures. Much of what we buy will end up in a box somewhere, which necessitates the need for more storare areas around your home. So, why not use the furnace room, right? Wrong!

The Dangers of Using a Furnace Room for Storage

When you place storage items in an area that houses a source of heat, you're asking for trouble. If the furnace isn't operating properly or your personal belongings are too close to the furnace, a fire could ignite. This is especially true if you're storing items like half-empty paint cans, cleaning supplies, or solvents. Don't laugh - we've probably all put these items in places that weren't entirely safe.

What You Can Do to Prevent a Fire

The good news is that preventing a fire in the room where your furnace is stored is rather simple. Here are some quick rules that you can follow:

  • Remove any flammable materials such as storage boxes, cleaning materials, and other items discussed throughout this article.

  • Equip your home with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Have a fire extinguisher readily accessible in the kitchen and near the furnace area.

  • Hire a technician to perform an annual check of the system to keep it operating properly.

  • Never block the entrance or area around the furnace in case firefighters require access.

For more advice on safe storage in mechanical room areas, or if you have any other questions related to home comfort, reach out to the experts at Air Assurance. We've been serving the HVAC needs of Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas since 1985.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Safety

Surviving the Dog Days of Summer

Surviving the Dog Days of Summer

Keeping cool in the height of summer is important not only for your comfort but also your health. You can experience heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other heat-related illnesses when temperatures reach unbearably high levels.Here are some tips to help you stay cool in the dog days of summer.

Get a portable fan

A fan increases air circulation and makes you feel cooler. For an even greater cooling effect, place a tray or bowl of ice in front of the blowing fan. Melting ice will cool the air around you.

Wear cotton clothing 

Light-colored, loose-fitting cotton clothing will make you feel cooler than many synthetic fabrics.

Alter your outdoor workout routine

Schedule your outdoor workouts for late evenings or early mornings to avoid direct sunlight. This will help you maintain healthy internal temperature levels while exercising. If it isn't possible to alter your workout times, consider scaling down your exercises by reducing your exertion levels or minutes of activity.

Stay hydrated

Drink cold glasses of water along with sports drinks that are low in sugar but high on electrolytes throughout the day. This will help lower your body temperature. Alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate you, so it's best to avoid them in the dog days of summer.

Avoid large meals

Metabolic heat is required for the digestion of food. Your body will warm up as it processes large meals. Eating small meals frequently can help you stay cooler.

Keep curtains and blinds closed

Blocking out sunlight during the day prevents your rooms from overheating.

Shower frequently

Take frequent showers or baths with cool water. It can be challenging to stay cool and comfortable in the dog days of summer. The above-mentioned tips will help make the heat less aggravating. For more tips on how to stay comfortable in the summer, please contact Air Assurance. Broken Arrow homeowners have counted on us for all their home comfort and efficiency needs since 1985.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Safety

Tis the Season to Replace Detectors Around Your Home

Tis the Season to Replace Detectors Around Your Home

In wintertime, residential home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are of particular concern. Colder weather demands we turn on the heat, but our heating sources may be the cause of fires and poisoning. What's more, we introduce additional fire and CO hazards into our homes during holiday time, with candles, electric lights and extra cooking.Sound safety procedures that include well-maintained CO and smoke detectors are your first line of defense against fires and poison. But did you know your monitors need to be replaced now and then?Here's the lowdown on why you should replace detectors.

Detectors Have an Expiration Date

Your smoke and CO detectors, like everything else, have a lifespan. For CO detectors, it's five to seven years. For smoke detectors, it's 10 years.When it's time to replace your detectors, you should make sure you have enough of them to protect your home. Both types of detectors should go on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should go in every sleeping room, in the living room and near the stairway to an upper level. Smoke alarms should be mounted on the ceiling.Mount CO monitors from knee level to 5 feet from the floor, placing one on every level of the home. Place them in the living room/dining room, and in all bedrooms. Place them in any area where there is a fuel-burning appliance.

What Kind of Detectors?

Detectors may run on batteries, be plugged in or be wired into your home. Check batteries by testing the unit. Check wires for fraying or loose connections. It's a good idea to connect all your wired detectors so if one sounds off, they all sound off.When you replace your CO detectors, select replacements with digital readouts so you can tell what level of CO is being leaked. Also, look for one with an electro-chemical sensor. These are more sensitive than other models, and better able to detect CO leaks.

If you're planning to replace detectors in your Broken Arrow home, contact the experts at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about home safety and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Safety

Here's One Fire Hazard You May Never Have Thought About

Here's One Fire Hazard You May Never Have Thought About

While many household fire hazards are well-known, could you be missing one that’s less so? The clothes dryer in your laundry room could contain the makings of a damaging and even fatal house fire. In fact, these fires happen over 3,000 times a year in this country. Lint accumulation in a dryer and the dryer vent duct can ignite with catastrophic results. These tiny fibers from fabrics placed in the dryer are highly flammable and burn extremely hot once ignited by an overheated dryer.

Dryers can overheat from two principle causes: a clogged lint filter or an obstructed dryer vent.

  • When the lint filter isn’t regularly cleaned, proper dryer ventilation is reduced and the dryer may overheat. Lint residue accumulating on surfaces inside the dryer ignites and catches drying clothes and other fabrics on fire also.

  • When airflow through the dryer vent duct is insufficient, layers of lint may accumulate inside the duct, further blocking ventilation. Fire that originates in the under-ventilated, over-heated dryer will rapidly expand into lint accumulating in the vent duct and then spread into the house.

To reduce the fire hazard from a clothes dryer, take these steps:

  • Always clean the lint filter before each load goes into the dryer.

  • Check your dryer vent duct. To reduce the accumulation of lint inside, the vent duct should be as short as possible and should be routed with as few bends and joints as possible. Most dryers include specifications for the maximum safe length of the vent. The dryer vent should be metal or aluminum — plastic flex-vent will melt if fire erupts and easily spread flames to the structure of the house.

  • Have the dryer and vent duct inspected annually, including verifying that the dryer high-temperature cut-off switch is functional to reduce fire hazard. Professional duct cleaning services can blow out or vacuum the entire duct without dismantling it to ensure that all lint build-up is removed.

Ask the professionals at Air Assurance for more information about reducing the fire hazard from your clothes dryer.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about fire hazards and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “HypnoArt/Pixabay”

Featured, Safety

What to Know About Attic Safety

What to Know About Attic Safety

You already know how hot an attic can get in the average Broken Arrow summer, but that's not the only thing you should know about attic safety. Dim lighting, low rafters, and exposed wiring are a few of the other hazards you'll need to look out for if you or a technician will be working in the attic.

Plan Ahead

Well before work begins, check the attic's structural integrity. Make sure the floor is strong enough to walk on safely. If the floor is weak or damaged, consider using plywood or planks to provide a safe walking surface. A little cleanup also improves attic safety. Remove clutter such as stored scrap lumber and drywall. To reduce risk of injury, hammer down exposed nails, tie up loose wires and cables, and mark low-hanging beams with strips of brightly colored plastic or fabric.Bring an electrician's drop light into the attic to ensure there's plenty of light to work by. Have all your tools and supplies together ready to take up to the attic to minimize the number of times you have to risk a fall by climbing up and down the attic access ladder.

Choose the Right Clothing and Equipment

Wear clothes that will protect your skin from dirt, insulation fibers, and rough surfaces. Your clothes should be loose enough to let you move freely, but not so loose they'll get caught on anything. For optimal protection, wear a disposable coverall, hair cover, shoe covers, and gloves. These protect your skin and, because they can be thrown away after use, they prevent you from tracking insulation, mold spores, and pest droppings into the rest of your house.Use an OSHA-approved dust mask or particulate respirator to keep airborne pollutants out of your lungs. You may also need fall protection equipment, such as a body harness properly anchored to a roof beam. Bring along a flashlight in case your drop light fails. In warm temperatures, take plenty of water.

For more help improving your attic safety, contact us at Air Assurance in the Broken Arrow area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “David Papazian/Shutterstock”

Featured, HVAC system, Safety

Secure Your HVAC System this Spring

Secure Your HVAC System this Spring

In Broken Arrow's hot summers, the last thing you need is for your air conditioner to stop working because of vandalism. Take steps to protect your HVAC system and you can enjoy reliable comfort and avoid high repair bills.

Scare Them Off

Your cooling system's outdoor condenser unit contains copper tubing. The valuable copper attracts thieves who remove the tubing to sell to scrap metal dealers. The refrigerant the tubing contains draws addicts who use the fluid for a quick high. Either one can severely damage your HVAC system. A motion detector light directed at your outdoor unit can scare off thieves simply by attracting attention to their activity and making it harder to hide. For an additional deterrent, install an A/C alarm. These devices sound an alarm when they detect interrupted electrical power, a drop in refrigerant charge or other signs of tampering.

Avoid using landscaping features such as tall shrubs and fences that make your outdoor unit harder to see from the street. These give thieves a convenient place to hide while they cut your refrigerant lines.

By spray painting your copper refrigerant lines a bright orange or green, you can make them less appealing to copper thieves. The paint raises the suspicions of scrap dealers who may refuse to buy the copper or attempt to trace the owner.

Lock Them Out

Some thieves are determined enough to steal the entire outdoor unit quickly despite motion detector lights coming on and an alarm sounding. Addicts won't care if your lines are painted. To stop thieves like this, surround your outdoor unit with a locked fence or cage. Steel-framed A/C security cages are designed to keep out thieves, but allow easy access for maintenance and repairs.

These cages are especially useful if you live in a remote area where there are few neighbors to notice your motion detector lights and alarm. As an added benefit, security cages also protect your outdoor unit from damage by animals and storm debris.

For help securing your HVAC system, contact us at Air Assurance anywhere around Broken Arrow.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Berents/Shutterstock”

Featured, Power Outage, Safety

Power Outage Preparation Tips

Power Outage Preparation Tips

While you can’t prevent a power outage, you can lessen the discomfort and damage it may cause by preparing ahead. It doesn’t take long or require an investment to protect your home and family and ensure a greater degree of comfort.

  • Sign up for text or email alerts when outages occur, especially if you’re away from home on a routine basis.

  • Have an adequate supply of candles and matches, as well as fresh batteries for flashlights and radios.

  • Invest in a phone charger for your car if you rely on a cell phone for communication. You can charge a low battery by driving or idling your car in the driveway.

  • Prepare a list of emergency numbers, especially if you or family members have any health issues.

  • Keep extra canned food in the pantry that’s easy to heat to avoid opening the freezer or refrigerator. Never bring a gas or charcoal barbecue into the garage or home to cook or provide heat. Both emit dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO).

  • Have a professional inspect your fireplace annually. It can provide heat during a power outage but must be clean to prevent chimney fires or deadly CO from entering your home.

  • Test your CO detectors monthly and replace any weak batteries. Smoke detector batteries should be checked at least once a year.

  • Turn off your heating system at the circuit breaker when the power goes out, even for a short period. As utility workers restore the power, power surges are common that can damage your equipment. You can also add a surge protector to its circuit to automatically shut it off to prevent serious damage.If you have a heat pump, ask your HVAC contractor how to start it if there's been an extended outage. The heat pump needs to warm its lubricants before starting the heating cycle, whose length varies depending on the heat pump’s size.

The pros at Air Assurance can help you protect your home and HVAC system during a power outage. We've provided top-notch HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners for more than 30 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Vectors. 1/Shutterstock”

Safety

Your Winter Vacation Checklist: Set the Thermostat for Maximum Efficiency, and Other Tips

Your Winter Vacation Checklist: Set the Thermostat for Maximum Efficiency, and Other Tips

Home efficiency and security are daily routines for many homeowners, such as turning back the thermostat during working hours and locking doors. If you are taking a vacation from the daily routine and grind this winter, make sure you put in place proper home efficiency, prevention and security measures while you are away. To make it easy, you can use this handy winter vacation checklist:

Winter Vacation Checklist

Thermostat settings are important for comfort and efficiency any time of year. When you are away on vacation, there are specific settings which, rather than completely turning off the heating system, you can use in order to save energy and prevent damage to home systems. Consider these recommended thermostat settings, and other helpful tips for combustion appliances:

  • Set the heating thermostat to 62 degrees. You don’t want plumbing issues (pipes freezing/bursting) by turning off the heat completely.

  • Put your combustion water heater on "vacation" setting (i.e., continuous pilot). If your system does not have a vacation setting, lower the thermostat to 70 degrees.

  • Turn off electric water heaters at the circuit panel.

  • Turn off the water main to the home. Run the water from an indoor fixture for a minute to relieve pressure.

  • For older appliances with a standing pilot light, turn the gas valve off.

Home Security

It’s normal to be concerned about your home when you are away. Use these tips so you may rest a little easier on your vacation:

  • Place your mail and newspaper delivery on hold, or have a neighbor retrieve it daily.

  • Use timers for lights, TV and radio to make your home appear occupied.

  • Consider placing valuables, such as jewelry, in a safety deposit box or safe.

  • Take out the garbage before you leave.

  • Unplug electronics.

  • Close window coverings at the rear of the home.

  • Make sure your homeowner’s insurance is up to date.

  • Leave emergency contact numbers -- including the number of your HVAC professional -- with your neighbor or house-sitter, and have a great time on your vacation!

For more winter vacation checklist tips, contact Air Assurance. We serve homeowners in Broken Arrow and the greater Tulsa area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Safety

Getting-Away Plans? Plan to Safeguard Your Home Too

Getting-Away Plans? Plan to Safeguard Your Home Too

Getting-Away Plans? Plan to Safeguard Your Home Too

When putting together the list of things to do before you head off for a vacation, make sure that the getting-away plans include your cooling system and other major appliances. These tips can help you keep your home safe while you're away, along with discouraging would-be intruders.Cooling systemLeaving your cooling system on while you're away will give the impression that someone is at home because the outdoor condenser makes noise when it runs. Keeping the system on is critical if you have plants indoors or plan to leave pets behind. Cleaning or changing the air filter for the air handler before you leave will help the system run more efficiently and avoid any problems that could arise from the reduced airflow a dirty filter creates.Have your cooling system professionally serviced before you go. The HVAC expert will clean and adjust the components and spot small issues that could become problems during your absence. He or she will measure the refrigerant, lubricate the parts and clean the electrical connections to improve efficiency. It's also a good idea to give the person watching your home the name and number of the HVAC contractor in the event something happens.Other home appliances

  • As you make your getting-away plans, don't forget to put the garage door opener on the must-do list. Unplug it just before you leave and lock the door between your home and the garage.

  • Turn the water heater down or off, depending on how long you'll be away.

  • If you don't turn the water valve to your home off, turn off the water to your clothes washer.

  • Unplug your smaller appliances like the microwave, coffee maker, toaster, hair dryers, computers and televisions. Not only does it cut energy use, it also keeps them safer during thunderstorms.

  • Check the smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries.

  • Put a few lights on timers along with a radio to make noise indoors occasionally.

For more information about getting-away plans and your cooling system, contact Air Assurance. We've provided top-notch HVAC services for the Broken Arrow area for more than 30 years.Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  Image courtesy of Shutterstock