Detecting a Deadly Killer: January is National Radon Action Month

Today VanKleef HVAC takes a break from talking about furnace issues, and reminds you that January is Nation Radon Action Month. Radon can kill you with its deadly poison, but you may never see it. It can destroy your health rapidly, but you may never detect it. In fact, it has recently been ranked by Harvard University as the number one in-home hazard.

Louisville heating and coolingRadon is by definition radiation. It is an odorless, radioactive, invisible gas that occurs due to a breakdown and decay of uranium in our soil. Countless Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. Sadly, it is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. It also has caused more deaths than carbon monoxide and fires combined.

Because it is considered a national health problem, awareness of this issue is being spotlighted in January and homeowners are being encouraged to take action.

It is estimated that 1 in 15 homes will contain high levels of radon in their home. While one home may contain extra high levels of this dangerous gas, the home right next door may be completely radon free. Radon has been detected in homes all over the United States in every kind of climate and community. Its presence is unpredictable. That’s why evaluation, detection and removal are critical.

If you have a basement in your home, especially if your HVAC is located in the basement, you are at greater risk for spreading this deadly gas. Hire a radon specialist who will use an electronic monitor to detect radon particles in detail. After you have been tested initially, contact EPA online to find out what free, low-cost tests are available in your area. These tests are simple to use and offer an easy remedy to the problem. These radon reducers can lower the amount of radon up to 99% in 90 days.

After you’ve zoned in your radar on radon detection, be sure and have your home tested every two years to prevent the dangers of this deadly gas.

Warming Up to Wood Floors: Dispelling the Myths of Carpeting

Louisville heating and coolingWith winter creeping in, you may be kicking yourself for choosing hardwood floors for your house. Maybe you visualize the warmth of a cozy shag rug underneath your fuzzy knee socks. While those are comforting thoughts, the belief that carpeting keeps your house warmer is not always accurate. Most people believe that carpeting holds heat in, but it actually reduces the flow of energy and forces your furnace to work harder to push heat through your carpets and warm your house.

The fact is, carpet is an insulator and wood is a conductor. So, in simpler terms, the carpet will stop heat from moving fluidly and wood absorbs heat and allows it to circulate freely. Wood improves heat circulation and maintains heat longer than carpet.

Wood and all solid material reduces temperature fluctuation because it absorbs and stores heat while carpet fibers become a barrier. Ceramic, tile, and laminate also function in the same way that wood does.

Besides the appeal of the wood floor appearance, homeowners receive the bonus of saving money on utilities because the temperature stays more consistent and the furnace doesn’t have to work so hard to maintain consistent heat or cool temperatures.

Of course, adding an area rug to your hardwood floors for the winter may make the room more cozy, but it won’t necessarily save you money on your utility bill. Hardwood floors are a solid purchase for saving money on utilities and keeping you warmer this season.

Save Money on Your Heating Bill

Louisville heatingAs Jeffersonville Indiana and Louisville KY areas begin prepping for the winter months, VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning provides you with a list of ways you can save money on your Duke, REMC, and Vectern heating bill. Weather your house is heated with gas or electric, winter is usually the most expensive time of year for utility costs. Here are a few things we suggest to cut down on those hefty bills:

  1. Seal leaks. Check the weather stripping around your doors.  Do you feel a draft coming through? One easy way to test if the weather stripping needs to be replaced, is to try to stick a dollar bill through the seam of the door. If it goes through, then you know that’s where your money is going right out the door.
  2. Caulk windows. When windows are drafty, your furnace works double time to keep the temperature in the home acceptable. Caulk is inexpensive, but just might be the tool you need to keep your heating costs down.
  3. Open your curtains during the day. This allows the sun in to help heat your home. At sundown close the curtains to help trap heat the heat.
  4. Manually turn your thermostat down 5 to 10 degrees when you are leaving for the day and at night when you are going to bed.

VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning  services and repairs Louisville and southern Indiana HVAC systems and performs routine maintenance to ensure your furnace is working at its best. Contact our office 812-280-0510.  We’d be happy to serve you.

Heating and Cooling Tips: Ways to Reduce Static Electricity

Louisville airAs colder weather rolls around, the dryness in the air increases our possibility for that predictable little shock we get as we exit the car, walk across the carpet, or change clothes. A shock from static electricity is not a true electric shock, but a pain of hot sparks jumping to or from our fingers to our other body parts.

There are several ways to reduce or eliminate the risk of static electricity this season, some of which may surprise you. The air is naturally drier this time of year, which increases the frequency and severity of shocks, so increasing moisture is key.

In Your Home

  • Add a humidifier- this adds moisture to the air and decreases static electricity.
  • Walk barefoot – or better yet, cover your shoes with aluminum foil. Either of these decrease static build up and our chances for getting shocked.
  • Moisturize your skin – anti-static hand lotion can be rubbed all over the skin to reduce that unforeseen shock that starts with the hands.

In Your Clothing

  • Natural fibers – again wearing natural fibers such as cotton, greatly decrease your risk of walking across the floor and being shocked.
  • Wear a thimble on your finger or carry a coin to reduce the static build up in your finger tips when you touch something.
  • Use dryer sheets – add dryer sheets to your laundry drying cycle or rub on top of your clothes to minimize the static in them. Rubbing the dryer sheet on your hair can also eliminate the static that occurs when you brush it and it begins to stand straight up. Dryer sheets neutralize the charge that can cause static cling or unruliness.
  • Hairspray can also eliminate or reduce static cling in clothes you have already put on for the day.
  • Wire hangers – glide the long side of the wire hanger across your clothing before putting them on to neutralize the static effect.

In Your Car

  • Rub the metal handle of the car door before exiting or touch the keys to the to the metal handle to transfer the shock away from you.
  • Dryer sheets also work if rubbed on a car seat to reduce static electricity.

These remedies will greatly help your chances of static build up and shock when heating your  home this fall and winter.


Cracked furnace heat exchangers

Annual heating and furnace tuneups are key to maintaining  your system in peak operation conditions. They also find potential safety issues.

Furnace Heat Exchanger with Crimp Rings

Have you ever noticed flames rolling backwards from the center burner. If so, you need to call a service man for inspection.

If the crimp rings are inserted into the eyelets and used to hold the heat exchanger together. You can see the eyelets in the heat exchanger in this picture. When the crimp rings fail, you typically see cracks surrounding the eyelets. You can see the cracks on either side of the upper ring here.

These cracks are caused by expansion and contraction of the metal over the years of operation. These failures are accelerated by lack of maintenance and improper airflow.

Heat exchangers with cracks should never by operated. They are a fire and carbon monoxide danger. Simple stated, cracks don’t get smaller. They only grow in size.

If your system has been diagnosed with a heat exchanger failure or crack, give us a call 812-280-0510 today. We’ll be more than happy to provide you with a proposal for a new furnace or replacement heat exchanger.

HVAC Fall Maintenance

Temperatures are falling in Southern Indiana/Louisville area. It’s time to wake the furnace in the basement. When was the last time you looked at the filter? What’s the chance it looks like this?

neglected hvac air filter

Dirty filters and neglected equipment leads to early failures. All furnace manufacturers recommend an annual tuneup and inspection. Even Energy Star recommends it! We’re scheduling furnace and heat pump tuneups now.

Call VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning at  812-280-0510 today to schedule your professional furnace tuneup.

Furnace Tune-Up, But It’s Still Hot Out?

Louisville furnace repairIt is the perfect time to get your furnace tune-up now before we hit the cooler fall months, or have a cold snap that takes you by surprise. Manufacturers recommend annual maintenance on your heating and cooling products because it will extend the overall life of your system. We have had some beautiful days this week and hopefully the 90 and 100 degree days will be a memory for us. So as the cool down of fall is inching closer, here are a few reasons you should get your system tuned-up now.

  • Extended system life
  • Avoid health risks
  • Save money
  • Avoid potential larger system problems

Annual maintenance will extend the life of your furnace. A huge benefit you get from annual tune-ups is helping your system run at the highest level of efficiency possible. Higher efficiency will always lead to less energy use. Less energy use always leads to lower energy bills and that is usually reason enough. When you have a professional tune-up to your furnace, you are also getting the added benefit of making sure there are no carbon monoxide leaks or fire risks. Another benefit is having small repairs done that could turn into larger and more costly repairs or replacements. Annual tune-ups give us the opportunity to diagnose those and in essence perform much-needed preventative measures so you do not have larger problems down the road.

Be sure to contact us by phone to schedule your furnace tune-up. A little prevention and regular attention to your furnace now will give you many benefits going forward. We look forward to serving you soon.