VERY important Heating and Weather Information – Please Read!
Monday night through Thursday we all will experience temperatures and wind chills that our homes’ heating systems are NOT designed for. -20 to -30-degree temperatures with wind chills into -40 and up to -50+.
Newer homes will struggle to maintain temperature and older homes will NOT maintain temperature and the temperature WILL drop while the heating system is working at full capacity.
- Please raise the temperature in your home on Monday, 2 to 4 degrees above your normal setting.
- Take all programmable thermostats out of setback mode and set on a permanent HOLD.
- If you have a furnace; replace the filter.
- Keep garage doors closed.
- Limit opening exterior doors.
- Make sure air vents and radiators are not blocked or obstructed.
- If you have a 90%+ furnace and boiler: You must keep the intake and exhaust clear of ice and snow. During these cold temperatures, ice can build up. A 90%+ furnace and boiler have 2 white PVC pipes; an exhaust pipe and an intake pipe that are generally on the side or back of your home. In some instances, they are on your roof, do NOT go on your roof to clear the pipe.
If the temperature in your home is dropping and your radiators are HOT with boiler systems or you have HOT air coming out of your vents with furnaces DO NOT PANIC. Please make sure that your heating system continues to operate.
If the temperatures drop in your home, it will not be able to recover until temperatures rise and the windchill diminishes. Our heating systems cannot overcome temperatures -20 to -30 with wind chill up to -50+. They are sized to operate at 0 degrees outdoor. Put your thermostat on hold 70 degrees or higher.
To help minimize temperature loss you can boil water, make soup, or stews; they help introduce humidity and warmer temperatures into your home. DO NOT USE YOUR OVEN or a GRILL TO HEAT YOUR HOME. Please check on neighbors and elderly residents during these extreme temperatures. Stay warm and safe this week and share this email with any of your family and friends.
If your heat does stop operating please contact Unique Indoor Comfort for 24-hour Emergency Service at (847) 362-1910.
Whole Home Dehumidifiers
Do you have a musty smell in your home? Are hardwood floors buckling? Do you sweat easily while inside? Does it feel muggy and sticky inside your home? If you answered: Yes to any or all of the questions you may need a whole-home dehumidifier. Improve the comfort of your home and help prevent mold and mildew growth by installing a dehumidifier. Call us today to schedule a free in-home estimate. We install only the best whole-home dehumidifiers manufactured by Aprilaire and Santa Fe.
Effective January 1, 2018, ComEd will transition to ENERGY STAR® Certified Smart Thermostats
Starting January 1, 2018, smart thermostats must be ENERGY STAR® certified to be eligible for a ComEd rebate. All other eligibility requirements will remain the same.
All rebates for eligible smart thermostats purchased by December 31, 2017, must be submitted with 90 days of installation or by February 28, 2018, whichever comes first.
Most Americans are nothing if not passionate. They’re passionate about the work they do, the food they eat, what they stand for… and certainly where they live. New Yorkers, Californians, Texans—these residents have well-deserved reputations for being loud and proud. But it’s not just people on the Pacific Coast, or in the Northeast. People all over, from the Heartland to the Midwest, have strong opinions about where they’d like to live.
It turns out, those opinions change depending on the time of year. Where Midwesterners want to be in summer, for example, isn’t always where they want to be in winter—for obvious weather-related reasons.
Let’s start with the Midwest. As noted, Midwesterners aren’t so thrilled with being in the Midwest in winter. In fact, only nine percent of Midwesterners want to be “home for Christmas,” so to speak. Midwesterners, in total, were the most miserable region during wintertime. Wisconsinites, specifically, professed a longing for Hawaii—32 percent of Wisconsin residents would rather be wearing a luau than longjohns.
What about Hawaiians? Well, as part of the Pacific Coast region, most of Hawaiians are just fine at home. Seventy-five percent of Pacific Coasters want to be no place other than home, in either winter or summer. The Pacific Coast comprises residents of Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington state—in addition to Hawaii.
Residents of Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado comprise the Mountain region, and the people in this region are, generally, fine at home; 31 percent of them feel good about being Mountainers in the summertime. They feel even better, though, about being on the Pacific Coast—47 percent of Mountainers would rather go further west in the summer.
In winter? That’s a different story. Exactly half of Mountain residents would rather be on the Pacific Coast during the winter months. Incidentally, residents of the Southwest (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma) agree. Almost 40 percent of Southwesterners would rather be on the Pacific Coast come wintertime. That’s in spite of the great weather they already enjoy!
Northeasterners, believe it or not, also have a West Coast affinity (though they might deny it if you ask). In the wintertime, 38 percent of Northeast residents (Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Hampshire and Maine) would rather be on the Pacific Coast. In the summertime, though, a near majority of Northeasterners—almost half—are happy at home.
For more on Americans’ regional and seasonal living preferences, check out the full graphic.
What our Unique team members found during a service call on a furnace that was not heating in Gurnee, IL.
With winter knocking on everyone’s door this weekend; now is a great time to put away hoses and winterize your outdoor faucets/spigots.
Hoses left out to the elements can quickly freeze and bust. Outdoor faucets or commonly referred to as spigots can also freeze causing the supply water pipes to burst. A burst pipe can cause thousands of dollars in repairs and is easily preventable.
- Roll up – PRO TIP: Screw the male and female ends of the hose together after draining and rolling up to prevent any remaining water from leaking.
- Store out of the elements in a garage, shed, or basement.
Winterizing Outdoor Faucets:
- Close off the supply valve that provides water to your outdoor pipe supplying the outdoor faucet. (Most homes have a separate outdoor water supply valve close to the location of the outdoor pipe.)
- Drain the remaining water out of the outdoor pipe and outdoor faucet.
- Close the outdoor faucet valve.
- If you do not have a separate outdoor water supply valve that you can shut off. Cover the faucet and exposed pipe with an insulating material, cover with plastic, then secure in place with duct tape.
- Make sure the interior and outdoor pipes are thoroughly insulated.
- If you are unable to insulate the outdoor faucet with insulating material; your local hardware store sells insulated faucet protectors that encapsulate the entire outdoor faucet.
Maintenance and Safety Inspections on heating equipment and water heaters are a necessity and a potentially life-saving service call.
During a recent safety inspection in Winnetka, IL – Scott a Unique Indoor Comfort Heating & Cooling team member found the base of a chimney plugged with concrete and debris as a result of a chimney repair and rebuild completed by a masonry contractor earlier this summer. The plugged chimney had been causing the hazardous flue gases from the water heater and boiler to vent directly into the basement and living space of the home. The improper venting of the hazardous flue gases precipitated a serious health risk and the possibility of death for the entire family. Five – (5) Gallon buckets of concrete and debris were removed and the chimney was correctly repaired and now is venting properly.
- Having functioning carbon monoxide detectors are required by law in Illinois since 2007.
- Every “dwelling unit” – i.e.: home, condo, townhouse, apartment must be equipped with at least one operable carbon monoxide alarm within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.
- Carbon monoxide detectors HAVE an expiration date; usually 3 to 5 years depending on the manufacturer.
- Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors batteries should be replaced on an annual basis or per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Contact your local fire department or Unique Indoor Comfort Heating & Cooling for any questions and more information on carbon monoxide detectors.
Unique Indoor Comfort Heating & Cooling is an authorized Nest Pro Installer on installing Nest Protect Smoke and CO Alarms. Check out Nest Protect!
You’ll Be Shocked to Learn These Cities Have Bad Air
It doesn’t take much thought to cite a few major cities with bad air. Los Angeles? Definitely. New York City? Of course. Pittsburgh? Sure. But there are also some unexpected cities that rank poorly for air quality, and the reasons they suffer may surprise you!
Click on the infographic below for a larger image that opens in a new tab:
When you think of Denver, chances are you envision the nearby Rocky Mountains, clean urban spaces, and an active, outdoor lifestyle. Air pollution’s probably not on your radar, right? Surprisingly, Denver has bad air. Colorado’s most populous city ranked No. 8 of the metropolitan areas evaluated for high ozone days and No. 37 for 24-hour particle pollution. A single day of air exposure in Denver is equivalent to spending 19 minutes in a car with a smoker. Sources of pollution include the oil and gas industry, and traffic volume.
Getting away from big cities isn’t a guarantee of fresh air, either. Missoula, Montana, impresses when it comes to low ozone levels, ranking best in the nation. However, forest fires, prescribed burning, and residential and commercial wood stoves leave a lot of smoke hovering over the valley. Missoula is No. 10 for 24-hour particle pollution and No. 39 for annual particle pollution.
Fairbanks, Alaska, also has issues with bad air. Like Missoula, the problem stems from smoke. In the case of Fairbanks, wood and coal used for heat cause problems, pushing Fairbanks to the No. 5 spot on the list of worst cities for 24-hour particle pollution and to No. 23 for annual particle pollution.
Desert life also has its challenges. Phoenix is No. 5 in the nation for high ozone days, No. 21 for 24-hour particle pollution and No. 26 for annual particle pollution. Heat, drought, wildfires and dust storms, combined with climate, geography and traffic, lead to bad air in the Phoenix area.
Some of the worst air in the nation is in California, but it’s not in the major cities, where you might think. Bakersfield and Fresno tie for worst in the nation in terms of 24-hour particle pollution and annual particle pollution, and tie for second for high ozone days. Among the issues leading to these poor rankings: geography, agriculture, climate, oil industry and traffic.
There are a number of ways to manage living in a city with less-than-ideal air conditions. For starters, become aware of the daily levels and limit outdoor activity to earlier in the day, when air tends to be cleaner. Keeping air conditioners well maintained and replacing filters can also make a big difference.
Weird noises. Strange sputters. Leaks. Wheezes. Hums. Squeaks. This is the soundtrack to home improvement, from the furnaces to the refrigerators. It’s the chorus with which our appliances lovingly serenade our homes. The worst part is, tickets to this musical are rarely free.
You need a way to keep your front row seat to the kitchen quintet from bankrupting your household. You know everything from the air conditioner to the oven are gonna have problems, that’s just their nature. The key is fixing those problems without setting your wallet on fire.
Doing so is easier said than done. You’d like to fix the problem yourself, and save some money, but how do you even know what the problem is? Or where to look? Maybe you should replace the appliance, but then you risk giving up on a machine that could still be pretty useful—if only you knew the right buttons to push.
Furthermore, what if you’re convinced repairs are in order? How do you proceed? How do you know when to call a professional? And how do you know that they know what they’re talking about? We’ve all been to the mechanic before and been worried if we’re getting a raw deal. The same worries apply here.
All these questions demand answers. But for most of us, there’s no ready-made blueprint for finding, diagnosing and fixing what ails our homes’ critical machines. Our washers’ hoses may be loose, our dryers’ belts may be broken, our dishwashers’ valves may be faulty. But how would we know? And how would we fix any of it?
In this infographic, we’ve given some handy tips to solve the many repair-or-replace dilemmas you’ll have over the course of your appliances’ lives. For example, if your appliance is still under warranty, you should go the repair route. But if it’s over 8 years old—or if the repairs are more than double the cost of a new one—then it’s time to replace.
YouTube is another valuable resource in solving these dilemmas. We’ve identified what to search for when you’re stumped, along with specific steps to take to verify whether those connections are shaky or that burner is busted. Check out the full infographic for the whole scoop.