October is Fire Prevention Month and Dapper Ducts wants to make sure you do some of the quick and easy things around your house that will keep you and your family safe.
Did you know that 3 out of every 5 deaths from home fires happened in homes with no working smoke alarms? I’m sure you’ve seen the reminders on highways signs that the two times we change the clocks each year are also the perfect reminders to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Now smoke and CO detectors are good for 10 years and that is definitely worth the peace of mind knowing you are protected.
Dryer vents are also a big source of home fires. Frequently, dryer vents aren’t cleaned on a regular basis (Dapper Ducts recommends annually) and if you run a few dryer cycles in a row, the buildup of lint and debris in the dryer vent duct can get hot enough that it may actually ignite and cause a fire. Always clean your lint trap, but you also need the duct that vents to the exterior of your home cleaned by a professional. We also frequently see that builders and contractors are not using the proper materials for dryer vent ductwork leading to increased likelihood of fires as well.
And of course we can’t talk about fire prevention if we don’t mention your chimney. If you regularly light a fire in your fireplace, creosote builds up on the walls of your chimney. Over time, this buildup can become the source of a fire as it is quite flammable.
We are not trying to scare you, just want you to take the steps within your power to prevent a fire. Definitely get your dryer vent and chimney cleaned once each year to be on the safe side. If you are not sure about the last time your dryer vent or chimney was cleaned, you should contact Dapper Ducts to schedule a service.
Often when we think of air quality, we think of the outdoor air and reports we hear on the TV or radio during warm weather for haze, smog, and days when more sensitive groups like children and older adults should remain indoors. However, what we often don’t think of when it comes to air quality is the fact that all the air we breathe in our homes, offices, hospitals, and schools comes from the outdoors. Indoor air quality is frequently just as bad if not worse than outdoor air quality. This is even more true doing the colder months. Why?
There are a lot of factors that impact the quality of indoor air, so I’ll give a few examples. During the winter, we usually aren’t opening our windows to let “fresh” air in. This means the same air is being circulated in each room, pulled back into your return vents, run through your air ducts (that may have years of dust and debris resting inside, let alone microbial growth), and then pushed back out your supply vents. YIKES, right? This makes changing the filter monthly essential and having your air ducts cleaned at least once every two years.
Then we’ve got the chimneys to think about. Cuddling up in front of the fire with hot cocoa and a movie or good book is the quintessential image of winter, and we support that. We just want to be sure you do it safely. Many people do not know how to properly start a fire, which leads to smoke kicking back into the home before the flue is warm enough to pull it up and out of the house. Please, have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year if you use it regularly. And don’t hesitate to ask Yani how to start a fire. Ain’t no shame in the learning game. You could always pick up a tip you didn’t know before (plus he loves playing with fire :).
Lastly, let’s talk about holiday decorations. Where do you store yours? Is it climate controlled? Are they out in the open in your basement or attic collecting dust? This can play a big role in introducing mold, mildew, dust and debris into your indoor air this time of year and then you’re breathing it the rest of the season.
If any of these situations ring true for you, have Dapper Ducts or another NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association) certified company perform air duct cleaning for your home, condo or apartment. Chimney cleaning and dryer vent cleaning is also important this time of year when house fires are more likely.
Call or email Dapper Ducts today for a quote. We always offer discounts when you bundle 2 or more services.
Well, it’s truly the dead of winter for us in the DC, Maryland and Virginia triangle. These are the days where just dragging yourself out of bed each morning in the dark feels like an accomplishment, let alone getting bundled up to go scrape off your car and make your way to the office.
We can commiserate on that for a few hours or we can chat about ways to save money and not make your HVAC system work constantly just to keep your home at a livable temperature.
Speaking of, what is a livable temperature? According to the Department of Energy, it’s advisable to set your thermostat at 68 degrees when you are home and 55 degrees when you are gone for the day. In our humble opinion, that’s insane. There was a time in my life where I was pretty broke living with three roommates and to save money we kept the house at 65 degrees. We literally wore hats and gloves while ‘relaxing’ in front of the TV at night (and you know there is nothing relaxing when your teeth are chattering and your body is shivering).
More realistic is probably 69-70 degrees while you’re home and maybe 64-66 degrees while you are out for the day. The take away message here is: Get a programmable thermostat so your system isn’t trying to maintain the same temperature all day. That’s just wasteful. According to the Washington Post, many of us don’t even have a programmable thermostat and those of us who do aren’t using them correctly.
Other than using your system settings more efficiently, Dapper Ducts would recommend a couple other options for reducing your energy costs and helping your HVAC system work less.
Feel free to call us anytime with your heating, cooling or indoor air quality questions. Our goal is education, not just booking the job. We want you to breather easier.
(This article continues the discussion of chimney cleaning in our previous post.)
Although you can experience hours of comfort and enjoyment relaxing in front of a fire in your fireplace, a fair amount of preventive maintenance is required to ensure the safety of your home, indoor air quality and your family members. There are several factors involved when determining the frequency of chimney cleaning. NOTE: There are no hard and fast rules as to how frequently your chimney should be cleaned. Maintenance needs vary a lot based on how frequently it is used, age, structure, etc.
When a chimney cleaning technician inspects your chimney, they will look at how much creosote accumulation has occurred over time. If there is little to no accumulation, a cleaning may not be required. However, if there is 1/4 of an inch or more, then they will most likely suggest that your chimney be cleaned thoroughly.
Another issue that chimney cleaning directly addresses are blockages that result from bird nesting as well as the accumulation of debris and leaves in the flue. There can also be structural issues that need to be addressed such as cracks in the flue, a damaged chimney cap and crown, and problems with the brickwork. Although structural issues are beyond the scope of a chimney sweep, the professional can identify these problems and recommend how to have them corrected so that you can have them corrected before more dangerous situations occur.
If you are living anywhere in the DC metropolitan area including Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland, Dapper Ducts can be of immediate assistance for your chimney sweep needs. Call us today.
Nothing is more soothing on a cold and wet wintry day than relaxing in the comfort and warmth of a glowing fire in your fireplace. However, if you cannot remember the last time that you had your fireplace and chimney cleaned and maintained by a professional chimney sweep, then it is probably time for a thorough cleaning. Lack of proper fireplace and chimney cleaning can transform the comfort and coziness of that relaxing fire into a potentially dangerous situation.
Why is chimney cleaning important? When you use your fireplace frequently throughout the year, soot accumulates in your chimney. In addition to this, debris and leaves can enter the chimney if there is no cap or guard installed, which can restrict the venting of smoke out of your home. Rather than the smoke from your cozy fire being vented out through the chimney, it could fill your home if the chimney is clogged.
Most importantly, regular chimney cleaning prevents the build-up of creosote, a flammable substance that can ignite and burn very quickly as well as causing a blockage and restricting air flow. A professional chimney sweep will ensure that this has been thoroughly removed from the chimney’s interior walls, thereby reducing the risk of a fire occurring. Finally, cleaning your chimney and fireplace can be very messy, so many people prefer to hire a professional to do the job.
Depending on how often you use your fireplace during the colder months in the DC metropolitan area, a thorough chimney cleaning is recommended no less than once every year. Regular cleaning will protect you and your family against the risk of a fire starting in the chimney and your indoor air quality from being compromised by smoke circulating throughout your home via your HVAC system.
Call Dapper Ducts today to have your chimney cleaned and keep enjoying those crackling, cozy fires.
The Dapper Ducts team wants you to know all about indoor air quality.