Parker County Today January 2018 - Page 94

our opinions: ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT In The Comfort Zone Have a Healthier Home in the New Year Brett Hobson BY BRETT HOBSON Happy New Year everyone! This is a great time of year to start think- ing about both your home and your health as the days are cooler and we are spending more time indoors. Here are seven smart ideas for a healthier home: 1. Keep Cold Out, Warm In Keep cold air out of your home by insulating your attic and crawlspace, if you have one. But, do it the smart way by choosing insulation material s like cellulose that don’t put off gas-volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may be harmful to your family’s health. Consider blown-in insulation or batting with the highest thermal resistance or R-value — the higher the R-value, the greater the insu- lating effectiveness. The R-value depends on the type of insulation, its thickness, and its density. Dollars spent on insulation will equate to dollars saved on your heating and cooling bills. 2. Schedule a system checkup Make sure your home heating system is running efficiently and safely. It’s best to call a Comfort Expert for a tune-up and any necessary repairs. 92 3. Change your HVAC System’s Filter Keep your furnace running efficiently to make sure you and your family can breathe easier knowing you having a fresh filter in place. You may consider having a perma- nent filter installed. Then just clean the filter once a month throughout the season of heavy furnace use. If you suffer from allergies, wear a breathing mask while you tackle this chore. If you have more than one system in your home, each system has a separate filter. 4. Have Your Ductwork Cleaned Having dust, pet hair, and mold removed from your duct- work is always a good idea, especially just before the harshest months of winter. This keeps your HVAC system from circulating unhealthy contaminants. 5. Maintain Your Chimney Clean your flue of debris, like creosote, before you start using your fireplace or wood stove this winter. It’s healthi- er and safer (think fire hazards) and it helps safeguard your indoor air quality. When you’re not using the chimney, stop icy drafts with any one of the devices like a chimney sheep that blocks the flue and keeps out cold air. 6. Improve your indoor air quality. With your home sealed up tight in winter, indoor air qual- ity is likely to suffer, unless you take measures to ventilate your home. A heat recovery ventilation system can be a very practical tool to winterize your home in colder climates; it is designed to admit fresh air and exhaust stale indoor air without wasting heat. 7. Install a smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm. These simple, but affordable items are must-have safety for any home, especially in winter. If you already have them installed, good for you. If you have a gas heating system, there is no excuse not to have a C02 detector and alarm. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and you won’t know you have a problem until it’s too late. Don’t forget to check the batteries regularly, or choose a system that is hard-wired into your electrical system. These are just a few of the ways to get your home winter ready, and keep your family healthy and safe. Best wishes to all for a safe, happy and successful 2018 from all of us at the Comfort Experts. Brett Hobson