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Stay Comfy Minnesota Blog

Winter Preparation: What You Need to Know About Home Insulation

Posted by Gregg on Sep 26, 2017 9:27:08 AM

As winter approaches, it just makes sense to prepare your home for the colder months ahead. That’s especially true if you’ve experienced drafting issues in the past. Fall is a really good time to make sure your home's insulation is adequate for the bitter cold, especially if you're hoping to get a second opinion from a professional. It’s a slower time for the pros and you’ll find it easier to book an appointment now, rather than later in the season. Here’s some information on home insulation to help get you started.

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Topics: Home Maintenance, Heating, Inspections

Homeowner Tips: How to Winterize Your 3 Season Porch

Posted by Gregg on Sep 21, 2017 1:50:46 PM

Minnesotans love their porches and sun rooms, so they're certainly missed in the cooler months as temperatures begin to plummet during late fall and winter. Not to mention they’re a common source of heat loss from our homes. So winterizing your three-season porch is a good idea as cold weather approaches. How far you take that process depends on your goals for using that room. Here are some ideas for what will work best to winterize your 3 season porch.

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Topics: Home Maintenance, Heating, Zone Heating and Cooling

Should I Invest in an Air Conditioner Cover for the Winter Months?

Posted by Gregg on Sep 7, 2017 11:54:44 AM

With fall weather approaching, it won’t be long before it’s time to turn off the AC for the season. Homeowners often ask if it’s worth it to cover their outside unit for the winter months. While many HVAC pros say it’s not absolutely necessary, it's worth a discussion. Here are some of the reasons both for and against investing in an air conditioner cover.

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Topics: Home Maintenance, air conditioning

Should I Clean Air Ducts? Here's What The Pros Suggest.

Posted by Gregg on Jul 27, 2017 11:11:42 AM

While air duct cleaning isn't required (like changing your filters), there are definite benefits to having your air ducts cleaned occasionally. Clean air ducts can mean fresher indoor air; more efficient heating and cooling; and removal of contaminants that can aggravate allergies or asthma.

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Topics: Home Maintenance, Air quality

The Most Common Air Conditioner Problems You May Encounter

Posted by Gregg on Sep 1, 2016 10:54:44 AM

Air conditioners today have better efficiency and higher quality parts than air conditioners from 10 years ago – even the top-of-the-line ACs from 10 years ago. That’s just the advancement of technology, and with advancement comes more reliability too. Nevertheless, just like everything else we buy, there is a certain life expectancy to each product.  It's common sense: the better you take care of something, the longer it will last  and that’s no different with ACs. So, we turned to our resident expert, Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air, for some of the most common air conditioner problems you may run into as it ages or if it needs a little maintenance.

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Topics: Home Maintenance

The Importance of Thermostat Placement for Your Home

Posted by Kelly on Apr 19, 2016 2:37:45 PM

A place for everything and everything in its place — or so the saying goes. We’re not sure if the person who first said that was referring to thermostat placement in your home, but we sure are. If you own a home in a cold climate like Minnesota, there’s no doubt you’ve been acquainted with your thermostat. But, did you know that there are optimal places to mount it? We’re turning up the dial on the importance of thermostat placement with the hopes that you’ll walk away with a few tips and a better understanding of how the command center for your HVAC systems works.

What Does A Thermostat Do?

“A thermostat is the ‘user interface’ to your HVAC system,” says Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air. “It is the temperature sensor for the home. It’s supposed to be monitoring the air temperature in the general area.”

Think of it as the command center – it tells your furnace or air conditioner when to kick on to get your home to the optimal temperature setting, and, in turn, tells it when to turn off once it’s reached that optimal temperature. Keith says that if you have zone heating – or a heating system that lets you set different areas of the home at different temperatures – you would have multiple thermostats or temperature sensors for each area or zone. 

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Topics: Home Maintenance

Are Electronic Air Cleaners Worth The Investment?

Posted by Kelly on Mar 24, 2016 9:17:50 AM

Do you want to improve the quality of the air inside you home? If you are looking to bring in clean air and eliminate germs, then an electronic air cleaner may be the answer. So what is an electronic air cleaner and is it really worth the investment? Here are some facts about EACs. 

What Are EACs?

Electronic air cleaners, also known as EACs, are electrically powered air filters, says Keith Hill, manager of technical support at Minnesota Air. 

“They use electricity to generate a static charge in the airstream as it enters the filter. Any particles in the air, regardless of size, become positively charged. As they near the collector side of the air cleaner, which is negatively charged, the particles move to the collector and cling just like blond pet hair on black slacks,” he says. “But with the amplification of the static charge with some electricity, the results are a much stronger attraction and a much stronger ‘cling.’ The particles will stick to the collector until it’s cleaned or replaced.”

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Topics: Home Maintenance

6 Common Indoor Air Pollutants and How to Remove Them

Posted by Kelly on Mar 17, 2016 2:52:19 PM

When first thinking about pollution, issues like smog, car emissions, and litter may first pop into your head. However, you also need to be aware of the air pollutants that can get into your home. It’s one of the reasons why homes have HVAC systems to help filter and get rid of dangerous pollutants inside. Here are some of the most common air pollutants and how you can remove them from your home. 

Pollutants Found Inside

Our resident expert Keith Hill, technical support manager from Minnesota Air, says that particles and vapors are the two categories of pollutants that can enter your home.

“Particles like dust, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, mildew, bacteria and viruses, and smoke particles from tobacco, candles, and wood burning are all common contaminants in a home,” says Keith. Vapors include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, VOCS and radon gas.

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Topics: Home Maintenance

3 Smart Ways To Increase Chimney Efficiency In Your Home

Posted by Kelly on Mar 15, 2016 4:20:18 PM

A fireplace can be cozy and warm or a heat-loss magnet and a health hazard depending, on how you look at it – and take care of it. If you want to improve the efficiency of your chimney, we’ve got three smart ways to help you home. 

Make Sure The Chimney Is Clean 

The very first thing to make sure your chimney is the beacon of efficiency is to make sure it’s clean and free of obstructions. “Have it inspected along with your furnace or water heater during routine maintenance,” says our resident heating and cooling expert, Keith Hill from Minnesota Air. “Wood burning and oil burning appliance chimneys should be inspected annually.”

Keith says that cleaning may be required, as those types of fuels tend to burn “dirty” and give off soot during their normal combustion process.

“Soot will eventually accumulate to the point of blockage – and the soot is flammable. The primary cause of chimney fires is burning soot,” he says.  

The key is keeping the air flowing safely.

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Topics: Home Maintenance

5 Ways To Reduce The Radon Levels In Your Home

Posted by Kelly on Mar 11, 2016 4:09:46 PM

Radon may be something that occurs naturally in the world, but that doesn’t mean you want the radioactive gas getting into your home. It can be dangerous at high levels, even leading to cancer, according to the Minnesota Dept. of Health (MDH).

The frightening part is that radon is found at some level in nearly every home, because it gets created as uranium breaks down in the soil. So what can you do to reduce radon levels? We’ve got 5 ways to start.

Perform Radon Testing

Before you do anything, make sure to test your home for radon first. There’s no need to be scared, because although there are no safe levels of radon, the risk for cancer only really increases if found at high, concentrated levels and you have long-term exposure.

“A test should be performed in the lowest occupied level, typically basement bedrooms or other low-level areas that are occupied for extended periods of time,” says Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air.

There are two types of tests you can do. The first is a short-term test that takes 3-7 days and is accurate enough to let you know if you need to take further action. The second test takes three months to a year, and is a very accurate predictor if your home has a radon problem.

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Topics: Home Maintenance