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.
Get a $125 ComEd Rebate
By having Libertyville Unique Indoor Comfort Install a:
nest or ecobee3 Smart Thermostat
Contractor-installed smart thermostat rebate requirements: Rebate is limited to the ecobee3 and Nest Learning Thermostat.
Installation requirements apply. Follow these requirements to ensure you qualify for the rebate:
- Customer must be a ComEd residential delivery service customer.
- Customer must purchase a qualifying product and use a professional contractor to perform the installation of the product between July 6, 2015 and May 31, 2016. Customers may not install the smart thermostat themselves and receive this rebate.
- Customers may purchase their smart thermostats wherever the qualifying products are sold, but a professional contractor must complete the installation. Customers will need to submit copies of their purchase receipts and installation invoices with applications.
- Smart thermostat must be installed on a compatible central air conditioner, heat pump and/or electric heating system.
- Limit of two smart thermostat rebates per ComEd customer account.
- Smart thermostat must be connected to the internet via a Wi-Fi connection prior to submitting the rebate application.
We are often asked:
Should I use my furnace or air conditioner during construction?
Unique Indoor Comfort’s answer is always the same:
No, you should not use your furnace or air conditioner during construction. Equipment operation during construction can void manufacturer warranties.
Construction dust and especially the dust from drywall and hardwood floor refinishing can cause havoc to your HVAC equipment. The dust can damage many components and can result in expensive repair that could have been avoided.
The picture on the right is of a blower wheel from a furnace that was running during construction. Our service technician found the entire furnace packed with drywall dust. The built-up dust caused the blower wheel to become out of balance, subsequently causing damage to the variable speed motor, that caused the variable speed motor’s ECM control to short out. This was a very expensive repair to three year old furnace; in addition to the costs of cleaning the furnace, evaporator coil, and the duct work.
How Much Do You Know About Air Quality?
- The Environmental Protection Agency ranks poor indoor air quality among the top 5 environmental risks to public health. Interestingly, 5 out of 10 Americans are not aware of this fact.
- Levels of air pollution inside the home can be 7 to 10 times higher (and occasionally 100 times higher) than outdoor levels.
- 81 million Americans live in areas with unhealthful short-term levels of particle pollution and 66 million live in areas with chronically unhealthful levels of particle pollution.
- Air pollution contributes to lung disease, which claims close to 341,500 lives in America every year and is the 3rd – leading cause of death in the U.S., ranking only behind heart disease and cancer.
- Asthma can be triggered by either indoor or outdoor air pollution.
- Nearly 75% of Americans live with someone who has allergies, asthma, emphysema or another respiratory illness.
- More than 70% of Americans have forced air heating and/or central in their homes. Yet nearly 50% do not change the filter in their HVAC units as recommended. And 10% have never replaced their filter in their HVAC unit.
- More than 50% of Americans are not aware that forced air heating & air conditioning units should be inspected annually by a professional.
- Only 27% of Americans have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.
All information sourced directly from the: EPA, American Lung Association, & American Medical Association
Illinois Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act
Effective January 1, 2007, every dwelling unit will be required to have at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm in an operating condition within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes. Alarms can be battery powered, plug-in with battery back-up or wired into the AC power line with a secondary battery back-up. The alarm can be combined with smoke detecting devices if the combined unit complies with specific standards and the alarm differentiates the hazard.
The Illinois General Assembly has passed and the Governor has signed the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act (Public Act 094-0741). This new law, effective January 1, 2007, requires homeowners and landlords to install carbon monoxide detectors in all buildings containing bedrooms and sleeping facilities.
The primary features of the law are:
- Every “dwelling unit” must be equipped with at least one operable carbon monoxide alarm within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.
- The alarm may be combined with smoke detecting devices provided the unit complies with respective standards and the alarm differentiates the hazard.
- A “dwelling unit” means a room or suite of rooms used for human habitation, and includes single family residences, multiple family residences, and mixed use buildings.
- If a structure contains more than one “dwelling unit,” an alarm must be installed within 15 feet of every sleeping room in each “dwelling unit.”
- The owner must supply and install all required alarms. A landlord must ensure that the alarms are operable on the date of initiation of a lease. The tenant is responsible for testing and maintaining the alarm after the lease commences.
- A landlord is required to furnish one tenant per dwelling unit with written information regarding alarm testing and maintenance.
- Willful failure to install or maintain in operating condition any alarm is a Class B criminal misdemeanor.
The Act does exempt certain residential units from the requirement. Those residential units in building that (i) does not rely on combustion of fossil fuel for heat, ventilation or hot water; (ii) is not connected to a garage; and (iii) is not sufficiently close to any ventilated source of carbon monoxide to receive carbon monoxide from that source OR a residential unit that is not sufficiently close to any source of carbon monoxide so as to be at risk of receiving carbon monoxide from that source, as determined by the local building commissioner shall NOT require carbon monoxide detectors.
What is carbon monoxide and who is at risk?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless deadly gas. Because you can’t see, taste or smell it, carbon monoxide can kill you before you know it’s there. Everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Medical experts believe, however, that individuals with greater oxygen requirements such as unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with coronary or respiratory problems are at greater risk.
Why is carbon monoxide so dangerous?
The great danger of carbon monoxide is its attraction to hemoglobin in the bloodstream. When breathed in, carbon monoxide bonds with hemoglobin in the blood, displacing the oxygen which cells need to function. When CO is present in the air, it rapidly accumulates in the blood, forming a toxic compound known as carboxyhemoglobin (COHb). Carboxyhemoglobin causes symptoms similar to the flu, such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizzy spells, confusion and irritability. As levels of COHb increase, vomiting, loss of consciousness and eventually brain damage or death can result.
Where does carbon monoxide come from?
Carbon monoxide is a by-product of incomplete combustion, present whenever fuel is burned. It is produced by common home appliances, such as gas or oil furnaces, clothes dryers, ranges, ovens, water heaters or unvented space heaters, fireplaces, charcoal grills and wood burning stoves. Fumes from automobiles also contain carbon monoxide and can enter a home through walls or doorways if a car is left running in an attached garage. All of these sources can contribute to a CO problem in the home. If a home is vented properly and is free from appliance malfunctions, air pressure fluctuations or airway, venting or chimney blockages, carbon monoxide will most likely be safely vented to the outside. But energy -efficient insulation meant to keep warm air in during winter months and cool air in during summer months could cause carbon monoxide to be trapped inside. Furnace heat exchangers can crack, vents and chimneys can become blocked, disconnected or corroded; inadequate air supply for combustion appliances can cause conditions knows as down-drafting or reverse stacking, which force CO contaminated air back into the home.
Please call or email us if you have any questions or would like to purchase a carbon monoxide detector.