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.

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.


How to Choose a Furnace that Best Suits Your Needs

Louisville furnaceYou may be looking to replace a sluggish furnace in your existing home or you may be ready to install one in a new home for the first time. Either way, there are some important facts that can help you decide which furnace may be the best fit for your home. Let’s start by examining the two major types of furnaces.

The Two-Stage Furnace

Based on its name, the two-stage furnace is geared to operate the major elements of the furnace in two different ways. First, this type of furnace will change the burn rate of natural gas, or BTUs (British Thermal Units, a unit of energy) generated. Most of these systems will also change the speed at which the blower fan blows, lowering the speed during the first stage and raising it during the second stage.

The two-stage furnace actually runs on a lower amount of BTUs and runs longer in order to keep your home more comfortable by decreasing the temperature swings when the system shuts off and turns back on.

The advantage most people see in this system is in a more consistent temperature while the system is running. Energy savings is not a real advantage to this type of furnace.

Modulating Furnace

This type of High Efficiency furnace operates with more intensity and also reduces the temperature fluctuations, produces a more consistent indoor temperature, is quiet in operation, and utilizes annual fuel consumption up to 98%. Because fuel is used more efficiently, energy use is reduced and so is cost.

This type of gas furnace combines a modular gas valve with a variable speed blower and is able to adjust automatically, continuously regulating the amount of fuel burned based on the thermostat setting. These systems can maintain a temperature within a half-degree of the thermostat set point.  Standard systems can swing between 4-6 degrees.

Because of its variable speed blower, the temperature slowly ramps up and down providing quiet and efficient air distribution while reducing overall utility consumption.

Being informed can help you choose the furnace that can best accommodate your home’s needs and keep you toasty warm this winter season. Contact VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. with any questions you have about your furnace. We are here to help.

image courtesy of York