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Stay Comfy Minnesota Blog

How to Combat Dry Air in Your Home

Posted by Kelly on Feb 2, 2016 2:40:03 PM

ZAP! We’ve all felt those little shocks you get as you move around your home or touch something on a dry winter day. They are annoying, but also a sure sign that you need to pay attention to the moisture levels in your home. In this case, if you are feeling those shocks – the LACK of moisture in your home. Here are some easy steps for combating that dry air. 

Seal Up From The Elements

Our resident expert, Minnesota Air technical support manager Keith Hill, says it’s really the outside air that dries out a home in winter, so it’s important to seal up the envelope of the home. That means you should be on the lookout for cracks in the foundation, gaps around windows or doors, and openings under your garage door.

“Cold air has little heat content, and it’s the heat energy that allows the air to hold water in a vapor form,” says Keith. “As the outside air enters the home through cracks and crevices (infiltration), it mixes with the indoor air and the humidity level drops.  Reducing those air leaks will help maintain the humidity in the home.”

Beware Of The Fireplace

You may be tempted to light a cozy fire on a cold winter day, and that’s fine, but just know that if you have a wood-burning fireplace, the chimney could be working as an exhaust flue – even when not in use.

“Homes that have wood fireplaces can be very dry, particularly if the fireplace does not have well-sealed glass doors,” says Keith. “Many think that wood heat is hotter and that dries the home. It’s actually the open fireplace allowing warm air into the chimney, which essentially becomes an exhaust device.”

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Topics: Home Maintenance

How Often Should I Get an Air Duct Cleaning in My Home?

Posted by Kelly on Jan 26, 2016 2:22:45 PM

Air duct cleaning is something you may have seen advertised in your local newspaper, through the mail, or even on a door-to-door salesman’s flyers. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Knowledge about air duct cleaning is in its early stages, so a blanket recommendation cannot be offered as to whether you should have your air ducts in your home cleaned.” However it is known to give people some peace of mind when it comes to efficiency, their health, and especially when it comes to treating or preventing mold. If you are in the market to get an air duct cleaning, these are some things you should know. 

When should I get it done?

The EPA suggests getting your air duct cleaned if:

  • You see mold growth inside the ducts.
  • There are excessive amounts of dust and debris.
  • You notice that you may have a pest infestation in your ducts (i.e. insects and rodents).

According to our resident expert, Keith Hill, technical support manager for Minnesota Air, a dirty furnace blower wheel and blower motor is also a good indicator that you’ll need a duct cleaning.

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Topics: Home Maintenance

Making the Switch to Geothermal Energy: Pros and Cons

Posted by Kelly on Jan 19, 2016 3:22:02 PM

If you are thinking about bigger ways to go green – geothermal energy may be on your list. Geothermal energy is when heat is gathered from below the earth’s surface, which can then be harnessed to heat or cool your home. It is one of the best ways to get clean, renewable energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But there are upsides and downsides to everything, so let’s take a look at the pros and cons of making the switch to geothermal energy.

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Topics: Home Maintenance

Understanding Radon Levels: What is Safe for My Home?

Posted by Kelly on Dec 1, 2015 2:39:37 PM

You may have heard of radon – a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that can seep up from the earth and into your home. It sounds scary, and it can be, but no need to panic yet. Radon vapor exists in nearly every home, because it occurs naturally as uranium breaks down in the soil. So how can it be dangerous and yet not dangerous? It’s all about the radon levels – in low amounts there is no need to worry, but if it’s concentrated in high levels in your home, that’s when it is dangerous. So how do you know what’s safe for your house? And what can you do to fix it?

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Topics: Home Maintenance

How to Find the Best Heating Repair Company

Posted by Brittany on Sep 25, 2015 1:24:36 PM

If only there were a magic ball to tell you the best choices to make for all your everyday decisions – what route to take to work, when you should trade in that old car for a new one, and who the best company is to hire to do work on your HVAC? Well, unfortunately, there’s not, but we’ve got a way for you to narrow down your choices when it comes to finding a good heating repair company that will work for you.

Heating Repair Company

Not All Companies Are Built The Same

First, it’s important to know that just as in any profession, there are a wide array of skills and specialties when it comes to heating repair companies. Keith Hill, technical support manager from Minnesota Air suggests thinking about levels of expertise in terms of medicine.

“A doctor specializing in dermatology may be knowledgeable on cardiovascular, but I would rather have the heart specialist helping me when I’m feeling chest pains,” says Keith. “And I’d rather have the one with training at the Mayo Clinic and ten years of experience instead of the recent medical school grad.”

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Topics: System Maintenance, Home Maintenance, Heating

5 Things to Try Before Calling an Air Conditioning Service

Posted by Brittany on Jul 21, 2015 5:37:21 PM

Is your air conditioner running? Well then, why don’t you catch it? Stupid jokes aside -- this is the time of year when the heat and humidity catch up with aging air conditioners, and the price of fixing them is no laughing matter! So if your AC isn’t running, is there anything you can do yourself to fix it? There are five things you should try before calling an air conditioning service. 

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Topics: Home Maintenance, Cooling, Summer

Best Simple Tips For Saving Money With Your AC

Posted by Brittany on Jun 18, 2015 12:14:00 PM

Minnesotans love summer, but we don’t love to see our energy bill after running our air conditioner non-stop during the heat. And we have a lot of company. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, two out of three homes in America have air conditioners, and it costs those homeowners $11 billion each year to power them – now that is a lot of cold hard cash being used to keep you cool! That’s why your happy helpers at Stay Comfy Minnesota want to help you beat the heat and pad your wallet in the process. So, here are some simple tips for saving money with your AC.

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Topics: Home Maintenance, Cooling, Energy Efficiency

Energy Saving Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

Posted by Kelly on Apr 16, 2015 3:24:00 PM

How Little Things Can Add Up To Big Energy Savings 

It’s the little things that can add up.

Most homeowners are familiar with that phrase. After all, small repairs, upkeep, maintenance work here and there, and even the tiniest of improvements can cost big bucks when you put them all together -- and the costs can spiral out of control if left unchecked.

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Topics: Home Maintenance

How Do Utility Companies Figure Out Your Electric Bills?

Posted by Kelly on Apr 7, 2015 11:53:00 AM

Understanding How Utility Bills Are Calculated 

Sometimes it feels like you need a doctorate in “utility charges” language just to figure out what’s on the electric bill. After all, there are fees for this, charges for that, and taxes on everything. So, if you’ve ever wondered how the utility companies figure out your electric bill, here’s a quick guide to help you make sense of it.

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Topics: Home Maintenance

Farmer's Almanac Forecasts For Summer 2015

Posted by Kelly on Apr 2, 2015 1:59:00 PM

What Kind of Summer Can We Expect in Minnesota? 

While the upper Midwest is just climbing out of a long winter of hibernating indoors and heading into what we hope will be a bright sunny spring, we say why not look ahead even further to see what summer has in store for us!  Will it be days of umbrellas and thunderstorms, air conditioning and ice cold beverages, or many mild afternoons spent outside? We can’t really know for sure, but we can turn to a couple of very popular publications for some early predictions – The Farmers’ Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

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Topics: Home Maintenance