home 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.

Air Conditioning

AC Dangers: What You Should Never Do

Your HVAC is a sturdy piece of machinery, and is designed to withstand a lot of heavy use over the years. But it also should be handled with care, as certain practices will result in damage and expensive breakdowns. Some malfunctions that can occur with your HVAC can also lead to damage to your home, or danger to its occupants. Read on and learn about A/C dangers.

1. Neglect changing the air filter.

A dirty air filter will slow down air flow so that your system cannot cool properly. You will use more energy, and you may eventually cause a breakdown. Further, a dirty filter will not effectively filter the air going into your system, so that parts may become dirty (thus, burning hotter and causing friction), and also so that air won't be properly cleaned.

2. Turn the thermostat down so the A/C runs continuously.

This practice will put a lot of stress on your system, so that parts break down and you will need to do more frequent repairs.

3. Close off dampers in rooms.

Some homeowners think this practice saves money on energy by not air conditioning rooms, when in fact it creates negative pressure and makes the air conditioner run inefficiently. It can also stress the equipment so that you have more frequent breakdowns.

4. Open windows while the A/C is running.

Central air conditioners are designed to run with all windows and doors closed, and the home should be air sealed for maximum efficiency. Otherwise, you'll be wasting energy and causing the A/C to work harder than it should.

5. Neglect frayed electric wiring.

Always have your HVAC tech check the wiring during preventative maintenance visits. If frayed or old, it should be replaced, as bad wires can result in fires.

6. Neglect a plugged condensate drain.

When these drains get clogged (and they always do eventually), flooding in the home can result.

For more on A/C dangers, or to schedule maintenance, repairs or equipment installations, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow.

Insulation

Winter Attic Safety and Savings

Winter Attic Safety and Savings

Getting your attic sealed and insulated can boost your family's comfort and help you save energy both winter and summer. In our climate, temperatures in an unfinished attic can climb too high for safety many months of the year, so winter is the ideal time to have more insulating R-value added. Attic safety should still be a primary concern even when there's less risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration, so be sure to take these steps before you or a hired pro begin insulating:

Always Wear Protective Gear

Your attic can contain all sorts of injury hazards, so anyone going up there to work needs to wear proper protective gear. This means durable clothing that fully covers the arms and legs, and head protection such as a sturdy hat or helmet. Gloves and safety goggles to protect hands and eyes are needed too, and a respirator to prevent inhalation of insulation fibers.

Set Up Walking Paths

Creating walkways in your attic can make it safer and easier to access areas that need sealing and insulating. First, move any obstacles so you have clear paths to different areas, then lay down 1x4 boards to form a one-foot wide walkway. To keep the boards from slipping and wobbling, screw or nail the ends of each one to the attic floor joists.

Prevent Accidental Shocks

Do a detailed check of your attic to find any obvious or hidden electrical hazards that may cause shocks or electrocution. Check for loose wiring at floor level, gnawed or damaged wires, and open junction boxes. If you find any problems, have them fixed by an electrician before you insulate.

Light Up the Space

Good visibility is paramount for safely working in an attic. If yours only has one or two single-bulb lights, one option is to have your electrician install more. Alternately, you can put a couple of appropriately-rated extension cords and movable work-lights up there so there's plenty of illumination to safely air seal and insulate the entire attic.

For more advice about attic safety in your Broken Arrow home, contact us today 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 other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Service & Maintenance

Decoration Storage Do's and Don't's

Decoration Storage Do's and Don't's

Most homeowners have a collection of treasured decorations that help make the holiday season more festive. You may not realize it, but there's a direct correlation between protecting your decorations while they're in storage and keeping your home and family safe from harm. Here are some decoration storage do's and don't's that can help you accomplish both:

Don't Assume That Decorations Aren't Dangerous

You might mistakenly think you only have to worry about hazards like frayed electric holiday lights or placing a tree too close to your fireplace when your decorations are in use. However, some stored decorations can add fuel to a fire or produce noxious fumes when they melt, such as:

  • Boxes and egg cartons used for ornament storage

  • Fabric holiday stockings and tree skirts

  • Components of wreaths, garlands and artificial trees

  • Holiday candles

  • Plastic totes and storage containers

Don't Use the Furnace Room for Decoration Storage

If you have some extra space around your furnace, you might be tempted to use it to store your holiday decorations. The truth is, having any of the above items close to a combustion device like your furnace (or water heater) is a serious safety hazard. Other flammable and combustible items that shouldn't be stored near your furnace are fuels like gasoline, paint and paint thinners, aerosol sprays, cleaning and laundry products, wood products, paper goods, cat litter and fabric/textile materials.

Do Choose a Safe Spot for Storing Decorations

After you've carefully packed up your holiday decorations to keep them safe while in storage, here are some potential storage location where they're unlikely to cause any danger:

  • The attic. A well-lit attic can be a good spot to store seasonal holiday decor, just don't include items like paraffin candles that may melt.

  • Your garage. A dedicated shelving unit in the garage can make a great location for storing decorations during the off-season.

  • A bedroom closet. An empty closet in a seldom-used bedroom can give you easy access to stored boxes of holiday decorations.

To learn more safe decoration storage ideas for your Broken Arrow home, contact us today 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 other HVAC topics, us at 918-217-8273.

HVAC system

Yard Maintenance: Outdoor Unit Safety

Yard Maintenance: Outdoor Unit Safety

You probably know that the outdoor component of your air conditioner, the condenser/compressor, is built to be sturdy and withstand the elements. More than likely, you give it little thought, expecting that the strong metal housing that surrounds it is sufficient protection against anything that can happen. Under most circumstances, this would be true. But condensers are damaged more often than you might think -- principally from careless practice during yard maintenance.Read on and learn how to improve your HVAC outdoor unit safety.

Tips for Maintaining Condenser Safety

Maintain a 2-foot clearing around the condenser.

Remove all grass, weeds and shrubbery within a 2-foot area so that the condenser can maintain good air flow. Trim back any overhanging limbs that might fall on the unit during a storm.

Create a weed-free layer of pebble rocks or stones around the concrete base of the condenser.

Add a plastic layer under the rocks or stones to inhibit weed growth. If weeds do take root, don't use a weed whacker to remove them, as these appliances can throw rocks into the fins hard enough to make a hole and even damage the coils. The purpose of the rock or stone bed is to inhibit the growth of weeds or grass around the condenser so that you don't have to mow or whack them, and so that the clippings don't end up in the fins or coils.

Point the mower away from the condenser.

Make sure that grass clippings are blown away from the condenser, as they can clog the fins or coils and affect air flow.

Don't cover the condenser.

Some homeowners cover the condensers to protect them from storms or flying debris, but sometimes, these covers cause more problems than they solve. A covered condenser can make a comfy home for vermin, and also may promote the growth of mold. If you're concerned about hail, it's best to erect a sturdy box or barrier around the unit that allows adequate air flow.

For more on HVAC outdoor unit safety, contact Air Assurance of 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). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

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.

Preventative Maintenance

Spring Storm Preparation for Your HVAC

Spring Storm Preparation for Your HVAC

Here in Tornado Alley, spring weather can be wild and woolly. That's why we need to have a plan in case damaging storms come our way. Included in spring storm preparation should be some consideration for your HVAC system. Following are some ways Broken Arrow's spring weather can affect your HVAC system.

Lightning

Strong thunderstorms are a fact of life in Oklahoma during the spring. One of the best things you can do prior to a storm where lightning is expected is to turn off your HVAC system. This way, you have a better chance of avoiding power surges that may damage your unit. Also, unplug electronic appliances till the storm passes.If your home gets hit by lightning, you have two major concerns: possible fires (which may break out behind walls in locations you can't see) and storm surge. Call the fire department to report the strike; also, you may need to call an electrician to assess damage to your wiring.

Flooding

If your home is built in a flood-prone area, you may need to move your air conditioner condenser (the unit located outdoors) to higher ground. This can be expensive, involving hiring a contractor to raise or move the concrete base on which the unit sits.If flooding threatens to swamp your HVAC system, make sure it's turned off. Turn off switches and breakers and shut off gas valves.Flooding may also impact your interior HVAC equipment. If it's on the ground floor, you may have to move it to the attic, which can involve expensive rerouting of the ductwork. You may want to wait to move both sides of the A/C when you're ready to replace the equipment.If your equipment gets flooded, have it inspected both by an electrician and an HVAC consultant before you turn it back on.

High Winds

Prevent wind damage to your condenser by battening down all loose items in the yard. Trim overhanging limbs back so they don't fall on the unit.

For more about spring storm preparation, contact Air Assurance of 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). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Featured

Do You Need Additional Insurance for Your HVAC Unit?

Do You Need Additional Insurance for Your HVAC Unit?

Your HVAC system contains some of your home's most essential and expensive equipment, so you need to have the assurance that it's fully protected against damage. HVAC insurance can provide this peace of mind, but it's vital to know if your equipment has adequate coverage now under your existing policies, or if you need to purchase additional insurance. Here's a look at the various ways your HVAC can be protected:

Typical HVAC Equipment Coverage Under Homeowners' Insurance

If damage occurs to your HVAC equipment from one of the named perils listed in your homeowner's policy, it's most likely covered. These types of events can include:

  • Accidental fires

  • Hail, wind or similar storm damage

  • Vandalism and theft

  • Power surges and lightning strikes

  • Impact from falling objects, like a tree limb

  • Floods caused by ruptured pipes

Exceptions to Homeowners' Insurance Coverage

If your HVAC system components are damaged accidentally, your homeowner's policy likely won't cover you for repairs or a replacement. Equipment breakdowns and failures due to normal wear, old age or maintenance issues aren't covered either. Plus, HVAC damage caused by flooding that occurs during a natural disaster isn't typically covered under standard homeowner's insurance, unless you have a separate flood insurance policy.

Major Appliance or Home Warranty Insurance

There are companies that offer supplemental warranties that act as insurance coverage against breakdowns/failures and the repair or replacement of major appliances and household equipment, such as your HVAC components. The cost of these policies can vary greatly, as well as the exact coverage and terms.

HVAC Contractor Service Plans

Reputable local HVAC contractors usually offer service plans for household heating and cooling systems. This kind of coverage focuses on preventive maintenance, so it's rather like a hedge against equipment breakdowns and failures. A good service plan should give you a variety of benefits that include twice-yearly maintenance visits, savings on parts, labor and after-hour service, extended warranties on new equipment, and priority service.To learn more about HVAC insurance or how our extended service plans can protect the comfort equipment in your Broken Arrow home, contact us today 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 other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

HVAC system

How to Eliminate Odors in Your HVAC System

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 TOPIC and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Name”

The air that flows from your HVAC registers should make your home more comfortable. When certain conditions exist, though, that airflow can also spread bad odors throughout the house. Eliminating odors wafting from your HVAC system air vents is not only crucial for your comfort, but it can help you avoid possible health and safety risks as well.

Why Do Unpleasant HVAC Odors Occur?

Your conditioned air can carry various kinds of disagreeable scents for a number of reasons. Here are some common types of HVAC odors and where they typically originate, as well as advice on the best way to eliminate them.

  • Chemical fumes. Off-gassing VOCs and hazardous vapors from common household chemical can stay trapped in your indoor air supply if your home is tightly constructed and well-sealed for efficiency. To achieve a fresher, healthier indoor air quality, talk to your HVAC pro about effective solutions like installing a ventilator or adding a whole-house air cleaner to your HVAC system.

  • “Burnt” electrical odors. A burnt-wiring smell is usually a telltale warning that an electrical component like a fan motor or circuit board is overheating. To avert the danger of a fire, shut off the HVAC system via its breaker in the main electrical panel, then contact your HVAC professional for help.

  • Acetone-like vapors. If your conditioned air carries an odor that reminds you of nail polish remover, there's likely a refrigerant leak somewhere in the system. Your HVAC technician will need to locate and fix the leak, then top off the system's refrigerant level to prevent damage to key components like the compressor.

  • “Dirty-sock” or musty smells. These kinds of pungent odors are especially unpleasant, and they're the result of algae, bacteria, mold or mildew growth within your HVAC system. The underlying cause may be debris/dampness in the ducts, a clogged cooling coil or air filter, or a blockage in the condensate drain lines. A trained technician can pinpoint the source and clean the component to eliminate the odor.

For more advice or help eliminating odors in your Broken Arrow home's HVAC system, contact us at Air Assurance.

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.

Featured

Painting Effects on Air Quality

Painting Effects on Air Quality

Unless you choose a paint that’s low on VOCs (volatile organic compounds) for your next hobby or home improvement project, it could have long-lasting effects on air quality indoors. Many paints and finishes contain harmful compounds that evaporate as they dry. The paint may dry, but the compounds will hang in the air for a year and longer.VOCs are a class of chemicals used in paints that are known carcinogens, and kidney, liver and nervous system disrupters. At their least harmful, they irritate the respiratory system and are eye irritants. Besides paints and finishes, VOCs are found in many other common products, including anything perfumed, makeup and most cleaning supplies.

Reducing VOCs When Painting

Even if you use a paint that’s low in VOCs, make sure you have plenty of fresh air ventilation in your home when you paint. Fall and spring are the best times to complete home improvement projects, including painting. The windows and doors can be open and extreme temperatures won’t interfere with curing or drying of any materials you use.Turn on the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and open several windows to pull the air out of your home. You can also boost the ventilation by putting a fan in an open window when the exhaust fans are running.

What to Look For

When choosing paints and finishes, check the can’s label. It should state the volume of VOCs in it, or that it’s low in VOCs. Look for products with less than 250 grams per liter. Better yet, look for products that have no VOCs at all.The products with which you prep the walls may also have VOCs, like acrylic caulk, primer and adhesives. Flooring products also emit VOCs, including carpeting, laminates and vinyl flooring. Before making your selections, look for the low VOC designation.

Avoiding the bad effects on air quality paints is possible by choosing low VOC products and using adequate ventilation. For more information about improving your home’s air quality, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

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 indoor air quality and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

HVAC system

How to Protect Your A/C in a Natural Disaster

How to Protect Your A/C in a Natural Disaster

Reading about natural disasters can make us anxious, as we compare our circumstances and ask, "Could that happen here?" Certainly, Oklahoma has gotten a lot of publicity for our frequent, deadly and disastrous tornadoes. Such weather keeps us on our toes in terms of emergency planning.As you think about emergency planning for a tornado -- although it could also easily be a flood, an earthquake or wildfire -- have you ever thought about protecting your HVAC system? Once the power's on and things are returning to normal, you'll want to be sure your air conditioning and heating are back on as soon as possible. So here are some valuable tips on HVAC protection:

Protecting the HVAC

Depending on the kind of disaster that strikes, you may be able to protect your HVAC system to a degree. If it's in a flood-prone area, you could raise it or move it. If you're worried about hail or flying debris from a storm, you could build a temporary protective structure to put in place, bolting it down to the ground. Also, remove tree limbs that might fall on it, as well as any garden structures that might be hurled into the fins.While your homeowner's policy probably covers storm or fire damage, it might also be a good idea to look into separate policies for flood or earthquake insurance, as your homeowner's policy may cover neither.Your A/C condenser can likely survive brief periods in a few inches of flood water, but if the water rises too high, you will probably need to replace the HVAC system. Regardless, do not turn it back on after the storm until you can get a technician to inspect it.

Survival Tips

Survival after a storm requires some common sense. Think carefully about what you would need to survive at least three days to a week: water for drinking and washing, bleach for disinfecting, medications, non-perishable food and possibly a generator to power appliances till the power comes back on.

To learn more about HVAC protection, contact Air Assurance. We serve Broken Arrow and the surrounding 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). For more information about HVAC protection and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

HVAC system

5 Ways to Babyproof Your HVAC System

5 Ways to Babyproof Your HVAC System

As a new parent, you're no doubt anticipating the day when your baby begins crawling and walking, so you're busy taking safety measures around the house to ensure that it's a baby-friendly environment. It's easy to miss potentially-harmful household elements, though, so here are five helpful suggestions on how to babyproof your HVAC system:

Secure Any Metal HVAC Vent Covers

Babies are attracted to shiny metal HVAC registers that are down near the floor. If you have metal registers, their sharp edges can quickly cut your baby's curious fingers. If the cover comes off, there's also the danger of bruises, bumps or serious eye injuries. You can make the covers less dangerous by screwing them down securely in place.

Switch To Plastic Registers

Another way to babyproof your HVAC vents is to replace your metal ones with the plastic type that don't have sharp edges. You don't have to screw plastic covers down either, so it's easy to keep the registers and duct boots dusted and vacuumed.

Add Screening to Toy-Proof Your Ducts

Babies love to drop toys down into small spaces, but you can keep them out of your ductwork by trimming vinyl window screening to size and securing it underneath each register cover.

Put HVAC Remotes Safely Away

Just like other remote controls, your thermostat and mini-split remotes contain batteries that can cause serious internal burns if they're swallowed. Since babies learn about taste and texture by putting everything in their mouths, for safety, store all your remotes in a secure drawer or on a high shelf.

Take Precautions With The Outdoor Unit

Your outdoor HVAC unit presents a lot of potential dangers for your mobile little one, with its live electrical components, sharp condenser fins and rapidly-rotating fan blades. Whether it's located in your backyard or along the side of the house, you'll have greater peace of mind if you babyproof your HVAC unit by installing a fence around it, or enclosing it in a locked security cage.

For more suggestions on how to babyproof your HVAC system components in your Broken Arrow home, contact us 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. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “FeeLoona/Pixabay”

HVAC system

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Your HVAC?

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Your HVAC?

You probably have homeowner's insurance, but have you ever sat down and carefully gone over what's covered and not covered under your policy?

For instance, your home insurance likely will cover water damage to your HVAC system if the damage occurs from burst pipes or an overflowing condensate drain in the house. But if the outside unit of the air conditioner gets flooded by rising water from a nearby stream or a major storm, you could be out of luck unless you have separate flood insurance.

So what else should you know regarding what home insurance covers and doesn't cover?

Likely Covered

Here are some scenarios where home insurance is likely to pay for your claim to replace or repair your HVAC system:

Storms

Although homeowners' insurance won't cover outdoor flooding, it will usually cover damages from storms, such as a tornado or hailstorm. Also, a windstorm that hurls a tree limb into your outdoor condenser and damages it would be covered, as would an ice storm that harms the parts inside the air conditioning unit.

Theft or Vandalism

Your homeowners' insurance should cover the cost of replacement or repair if your condenser is stolen or vandalized.

Fire

In the case of a fire - from natural causes, electrical problems or from a fireplace or furnace - the homeowners' insurance policy should pay for replacing or repairing the HVAC system.

Not Covered

Here are some scenarios when your homeowner's insurance probably won't pay:

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are become more frequent in Oklahoma, and more homeowners are becoming concerned about earthquake damage to the home. Be advised your policy likely won't cover damages to the home from an earthquake, including damages to your HVAC system. You should obtain a separate policy if you are concerned about earthquake damage.

Age-Related Breakdown or General Wear

Homeowners' insurance will not cover regular wearing out of parts or breakdown as the HVAC ages and parts start to fail.

Contact your insurance provider to ensure your HVAC unit is covered in your home insurance policy. For other HVAC needs, contact Air Assurance of 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). For more information about HVAC and home insurance and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Landscaping

Yard Work and How it Can Affect Your HVAC System

Yard Work and How it Can Affect Your HVAC System

You might think that yard work is just necessary to keep your lawn and landscaping looking good. However, it also affects your home's HVAC, because key components of the system are located outdoors, including the compressor and condenser coil. If you're not taking steps to protect the HVAC unit, you'll see the effects in various ways, including higher energy bills, costly repairs or a premature component replacement.

Here's what you can do to safeguard the unit during yard care activities:

  • Shut the unit down at the breaker, then take off the protective metal shield so you can access inside to remove debris like clumps of grass, rodent nesting materials, cobwebs and dead leaves. Doing this periodically helps preserve vital airflow and the coil's heat transfer capabilities.

  • When you mow, keep the discharge aimed away from the unit, so cut grass doesn't get blown into it and clog the coil.

  • Once you're done mowing, give the condenser unit a light rinse with the garden hose to remove any clinging debris so it doesn't impede air movement through the coil.

  • Trim back any vegetation or shrubs around the unit so there's at least two feet of clearance on all sides. Gather up and dispose of the clippings afterwards so they don't accumulate on the coil.

  • Take care using yard equipment like the weed trimmer around the outdoor unit. If you're not careful, you might accidentally bend the coil fins, damage the tubing and cause a refrigerant leak, or cut the control wires.

  • If the area around the unit is bare soil, mud can splash up on the coil and fan when it rains heavily and make heat transfer less effective. To prevent this, lay out landscape fabric topped with decorative stones or mulch in a two-foot radius.

  • Invest in a protective filter for the outdoor unit to keep fine bits of debris away from the coil and fan. These filters are inexpensive, easy to install and don't block essential airflow.

To learn more about how yard work can affect the HVAC system in your Broken Arrow home, contact us 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 yard work 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”

HVAC system

Potential Gas Leak Signs and How What to Fix Them

Potential Gas Leak Signs and How What to Fix Them

Each year, incidents involving natural gas leaks cause 68 injuries, 17 deaths and an average of $133 million in property damage. Given its potential suffocation and explosion risk, a natural gas leak can be dangerous for everyone in your home. This is why it’s important to understand the following gas leak signs and what to do if you encounter a gas leak.

  • Rotten egg smell - The sudden odor of rotten eggs is one of several gas leak signs to look out for. If you smell this odor, there may be a gas leak somewhere within or near your home.

  • Hissing sound - If you hear a hissing sound coming from one of your gas lines, you may have a large-scale gas leak on your hands. Keep in mind that a leaking A/C line can also produce this sound.

  • White fog - The appearance of white fog, clouds or mist around your home could signal the presence of a ruptured gas line.

  • Dead vegetation - You may see a large patch of dead grass surrounded by green foliage, signaling an underground gas leak.

  • Sudden increase in gas bill - If your gas bill increases for little to no reason, it may be due to an undetected gas leak.

If you’ve detected any of the above natural gas leak signs, here’s what you’ll want to do next:

  • Get some fresh air - Open all of the windows and doors in your home and leave them open to disperse the gas.

  • Get outside - Get yourself and all other occupants out of the house and outdoors.

  • Call your gas company - Contact your local natural gas provider immediately.

The best way to deal with any above ground or underground gas leak is to have a certified professional take care of the problem. For all your other heating and cooling needs, contact us at Air Assurance. We proudly serve Broken Arrow and the surrounding 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). For more information about gas leaks and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “paulracko/Pixabay”

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

How Volatile Organic Compounds Can Affect Indoor Air Quality

How Volatile Organic Compounds Can Affect Indoor Air Quality

You may not know it, but your home is host to a wide variety of airborne particulates that can cause physical distress, from allergies to headaches, nausea and more. Among the worst of these particles are volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. VOCs are organic chemicals that turn to vapor at room temperature.Both manmade and naturally occurring, they are everywhere, and while you can't get rid of them totally, you can do a lot to control them and improve your indoor air quality.

Sources of VOCs

One of the best ways to control VOCs is to keep them from entering your home. So here are some of the sources for VOCs, which you may want to think about eliminating or containing in your home.

  • paint

  • adhesives and glue

  • carpets and textiles

  • dry cleaned clothing

  • cleaners

  • pesticides

  • stored fuels

  • disinfectants

  • aerosols

  • perfume

  • pressed wood products

Putting the Lid on VOCs

Here are some ways to contain or keep VOCs out of your home.

  1. Cap all chemicals tightly. Store them in cabinets, or better, away from the living space, in the garage.

  2. Air out carpets, textiles, drapes, pressed-wood products and dry-cleaned clothing for a few hours or longer before bringing these items into your home.

  3. Buy natural products whenever possible. Avoid pressed wood or particle board, as they give off formaldehyde. You can also look for alternative items with low VOC emissions.

  4. Open windows when working with cleaners and other chemicals.

  5. Install a dedicated ventilation system. Most homes are airtight these days, so it's sometimes challenging to get as much fresh air as you need. We can't always open the windows in Broken Arrow, due to dust and cold winds, so to add fresh air to your home, you may want to install a dedicated ventilation system.

  6. An air purifier with an activated carbon filter can do wonders to absorb not only odors but some VOCs in your home.

Curious about other tips on controlling volatile organic compounds in your home? Contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow. We have been providing quality service 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 VOCs and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Stephanie Lirette/Shutterstock”

Featured, HVAC system

Winter Season Home Safety Precautions

Winter Season Home Safety Precautions

Winter is coming to Oklahoma, and that means practicing winter home safety. Some types of heating systems represent greater hazards than others, so be sure to be up on how to operate yours safely.

Furnace Checkup

At the start of the heating season, perform a few basic tasks, such as checking the furnace filter. A clean filter will help the furnace run more efficiently, promoting good airflow. Also make sure that there are no obstructions around the vents so that heated air can flow without hindrance and warm the room properly.It's always recommended to schedule a furnace checkup by a professional as you start the heating season. Your technician should perform several critical tasks, including these:

  • Check thermostat and controls, adjusting if needed.

  • Clean and adjust burners and pilot assembly.

  • Clean and adjust burners for most efficient operation.

  • Check for gas leaks.

  • Adjust tension in belts if needed.

  • Lubricate moving parts, particularly in the blower.

  • Inspect draft pipe and draft diverter.

  • Test manifold pressure.

  • Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks that might emit carbon monoxide, an odorless, tasteless, invisible byproduct of the combustion process.

Electrical Heating

With all types of electrical heating systems, make sure electrical connections are tight and frayed wires replaced. With heat pumps, make sure refrigerant levels are properly charged and that there are no obstructions on the outdoor compressor.

Fireplace

Check fireplace flues and chimneys, ensuring they are clean and clear of obstructions. Keep flammable objects well away from the fireplace. Place a screen cover in front of the flame so that no sparks fly out and start a fire in the living space.

Space Heaters

Keep space heaters a safe distance from furniture, bedding or any other objects that might catch fire. Make sure electrical connections are tight and that cords are not frayed.

Carbon Monoxide Monitors

Install carbon monoxide monitors in your home if you have any combustion-powered appliances. Install them on every floor at least 5 feet from the ground.To learn more about winter home safety, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow and Tulsa at 918-894-5760.

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 winter home safety and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “openclipart-vectors/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”