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Protect Your HVAC System and Your Health from Uninvited Pests

While some tolerate unwanted visitors better than others, 99.8 percent of residents are not eager to see rodents, ants, bed bugs, mosquitoes, termites,, cockroaches, or even snakes, all common Pennsylvania state intruders, inside their home.

But what do any of these creatures have to do with your HVAC system? Unfortunately, plenty.

Although the cleanliness of a home can be influential, it is far from the only trait that attracts pests. Put simply, in order for your HVAC system to work properly, there needs to be some connection of outdoor and indoor air inside your home. While most of us cannot live without the effects of our heating and cooling system, we must recognize that uninvited guests only need gaps sometimes easily missed by the naked eye in order to make their way inside.

Not only can insects and rodents affect the quality of our foods and plants, invisible dander or other products they leave can serve as a major catalyst for allergy and asthma problems. Other larger creatures may even take out wires or create homes in essential parts of your HVAC systems.

Recent research found that Philadelphia was one of the top cities in the nation for rat infestation. With rats, as with insects, finding  one may seem gross but like little to be concerned over. However, most of these types of creatures live and travel in groups. Where there’s one in plain sight, you may find hundreds of others hidden nearby.

So what do you do? Shut off all ventilation to your home? No! That’s far more dangerous than any creatures who might make their way inside. But there are some extra precautions you Cana take to protect both your hvac system and your home.

Naturally, keeping clean spaces and having regular pests sprayings and inspections are two of the best ways to protect your residence. Granted, sometimes they simply are not enough. Here are a few other steps you can try.

Keep Trash Away from your Home

Trash can be an insects or critters best friend. Attempting to keep nasty smells out of your kitchen or elsewhere is understandable, However, when you place trash outside, take it all the way out to the trash can and make sure the lid is tightly closed. Otherwise, you might just be waving a welcome sign to invaders.

Control Moisture

Like humans, insects and rodents require water to survive. Considering this it’s important to control the water near your residence, especially the AC condenser. In areas with leakage or that tend to be moist, invest in a dehumidifier. It might save you from some serious pest control and resulting allergies later on.

Seal of Entry Points

They may not be brilliant, but mice can enter your home using a gap as small as a dime. It’s beneficial to make sure all cracks and ducts are sealed off, including those in doors or windows.

Going a step further and covering flues and vents improves the effects of seals.

Weeds and Vegetation

Weeds, vegetation and holes near your home all attract certain types of critters. Maintaining weeds helps make your landscaping look nice and it keeps insect and snakes  away from your home.

A Word on Snakes

While experts note that only about two types of area snakes are venomous, snakes are very common in Pennsylvania and you probably still are not looking to invite them in for dinner.

Since snakes are cold-blooded, any decrease in temperature may encourage snakes to look for warm shelter. But their entrance into your home or HVAC system isn’t your only problem. Snakes also like to breed in these areas, creating a slippery, slithering problem for you that just might take you by surprise one day.

You own your home and your HVAC system is for you. Don’t let rodents, snakes or insects gain control of what’s rightfully yours. If you have a concern about your system’s vulnerability, have us come out for an inspection.

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How to Use Your AC to Reduce Allergy Season Flare Ups

With spring comes wildflowers, sunshine, new life…..and you guessed it — allergies.

Springtime activities such as hiking, swimming or tending a garden are treats some people look forward to all year. Reality is, sometimes allergens can put a major kink in some of our favorite seasonal pursuits. As it is, most of the state of Pennsylvania is already facing medium to medium-high pollen threats, and we’ve only now turned the official corner into spring.

Understandably so, when the allergens in the air make the season feel more like a nightmare for the respiratory system than another day in paradise, many retreat to the “safe” indoors.

While seeking haven inside your air-conditioned home may help you avoid allergens landing on your skin and clothing, if you don’t have the right air filters or you aren’t changing your filters regularly, the benefit of staying indoors might not be worth the Vitamin D sacrifice.

Contrary to popular belief, typical air filters do not prevent allergens from traveling indoors. Average filters are intended to cut down on dust build up in AC equipment in order to keep the system running flawlessly. Unfortunately, most of them do just that and only that, leaving allergen haunted residents feeling just as miserable while indoors.

Changing the Air Filters

Experts recommend changing your air filters once every three months, at the very least. For allergies, this means the air coming into your home will be cleaner. If you leave your normal air filters in for lengthy periods, such as a year or more, you’re probably punishing your lungs. Dust builds up in the filter over time, as it should, and eventually, the filter contains so much dust and that’s what anyone indoors will inhale. Among the worst cases, you might actually be safer outdoors than inside with things like pet dander adding even more to your issues.

In addition to helping prevent allergy symptoms, properly kept up filters can increase the efficiency of your AC system, saving you some serious cash.

Allergy-Preventing Filters

Typical filters may serve as a gatekeeper for dust and minimal allergens, but they won’t be saving the day by any means. Irritants such as pollen and bacteria still find their way into the air you’re breathing in while indoors.

If you want to battle the major allergens, look into more specialized filters, frequently referred to as HEPA filters. Even the smallest particles have a difficult time getting through these, with some HEPA filters blocking up to 99 percent of air contaminants. If even one of these filters isn’t helping, call a professional for a cleaning. It’ll be worth not missing any additional work or school.
Do your research and make sure to get this taken care of early on before the summer humidity brings the potential for  additional challenges, like mold.

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Stay Warmer and Cut Costs with Humidifiers

During the summer, we tend to take humidity for granted and even resent it. It’s hot, it’s uncomfortable, it’s sticky. During winter months, however, humidity is very much missed. Heaters produce dry air that can have negative impacts on air quality, health, and heating bills. Let’s take a look at couple advantages a humidifier can add to your home during winter.

Feel Warmer and Save Money

Experts recommend 68 degrees as a good temperature to set your thermostat at if you are interested in cutting heating cost while still staying warm. However, how the temperature of your home actually feels depends on a lot of factors. A thermostat set at 68 degrees can feel chilly or nice and toasty.

Air humidity is one of the most important factors. If the air inside your home is dry, your sweat will evaporate more quickly and make the room feel colder than it is. An air temperature of 75 degrees can feel like 69 degrees in 0% humidity or 80 degrees in 100% humidity. That’s quite a difference!

Improve Comfort, Health and Air Quality

Using a humidifier provides the important benefit of reducing the chance of spreading or contracting infectious diseases. Dry air dehydrates the moist protective coat that surrounds bacteria and viruses. This makes them more contagious when they come into contact with people. When you also factor in dry throat and sinuses, which naturally filter the air we breathe, you have a recipe for a long cold and flu season.

Humidifiers also help reduce the circulation of dust and other irritants. Additionally, it will finally put an end to the chapped lips and dry skin that plague so many in the cold months.

As an added bonus, humidifiers can help preserve your wood furniture and finishes by stopping the expanding and contracting that occurs when humidity levels change. It will even help electronics by reducing the amount of static charge in a room!

Choosing the Right Humidifier

Humidifiers come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from small room humidifiers that will fit on a table to whole-house humidifiers that are built directly into your heating system. Feel free to contact the MBI BTU gurus with any questions you have at: 610.821.9555

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Heating and Cooling Through PAs Four Distinct Seasons

Dynamic seasons engulf Pennsylvanians in deep natural beauty and an array of adventurous activities available each calendar year.

Enticing as those characteristics may be, the biting winter cold and harsh summer humidity can make you think twice about how “great” having four distinct seasons actually is, especially when your heater dies on a frostbitten winter night or the AC checks out after a summer run. Even if you can endure being physically uncomfortable until the repair crew can fit you in, the costs of an unexpected full-unit repair might be enough to push you over the edge.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right information, you can significantly decrease both your health and financial risk. Follow the simple maintenance and money-saving steps for each season we’ve suggested below, and you can help ensure your HVAC equipment will continue working efficiently long term.

Winter

As we wrap up the current season, there’s no doubt snow and cold, strong winds dominate the Pennsylvania winter. Temperatures are known for reaching below zero, something heating systems just aren’t built to function under.

Tips

For the remainder of the winter, keep this in mind and be careful to account for the cold’s impact on equipment durability. Below are a few tips on saving money and increasing the longevity of life for your heating system this winter.

  • Increase area humidityIn the summer this sounds like a nightmare, but for cold winter days a boiling hot pot on the stove can increase a home’s humidity, creating a seemingly warmer environment.
  • Pull out the space heaters
      • Not only can the correct space heaters help save you in electricity bills, they also emit heat to a direct area. These are perfect for families who have a wide range of heating preferences
  • Turn down the heat at night.
      • Granted, it’s not worth inciting a marital crisis, but if you can try turning the heater down a few degrees at night, it will work less and save you some funds. In fact, since most people are covered in blankets and comforters at night, the change often goes unnoticed.
  • If your heater seems like it’s not working, don’t push it harder
    • Turning up the heater further won’t improve its condition. Don’t do it. You’ll end up with a larger bill and harder worked heater, but no improved heat.

Spring

With temperatures generally ranging from 60-80 degrees, springtime is beautiful in our area. It may not be the primary season we worry about our heating and cooling, but it’s wise to approach the spring proactively, taking steps to prepare your home for the inevitable summer soon to follow.

Tips

Making a point to complete the following tasks during the spring season will help your AC stay in prime shape for the summer battle.

-Switch out those dirty filters for new ones

-It’s recommended that you change your filter every 90 days, but if you don’t, make sure you at least make the switch prior to high usage seasons, like summer.

-Cut away bushes and other greenery

-Springtime brings eye-catching blooms. Unfortunately, when branches or shrubs fall into the air conditioning unit, they can get stuck and cause it to not function properly.

-Run it

-It may not be too warm yet, but take your AC for a test run. If it turns out there’s a problem, you’ll have plenty of time to have a professional out to fix it before the busy season, when many people wait weeks.

-Destroy the dirt

-Dried on dirt and other elements from the long winter can decrease the impact of your AC. Make sure this gets cleaned off before the temperature starts to rise.

-Move the condenser cover to storage

If you use a winter condenser cover or other protections, now is the time to take them off and put them away until next year.

Summer

Sweat. Stick and more sweat. The vitamin D from the sun is appreciated but mid to upper 90s with a full helping of humidity leaves everyone ready to feel the refreshing breeze of the AC when they walk in the door.

 

Tips

Since your AC must work harder during this season, you should employ a few best practices to keep it in tip-top condition and keep your energy bill at a minimum.

-Keep an extra fan around In case of emergencies

-It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Ideally, you should replace your unit early on if you know it’s on its last leg. However, if finances are an issue or you simply don’t think it’s time, always have extra cooling options on hand in case it does break down on that hottest day of summer.

-Get a dehumidifier

-Humidity feels like heat. A dehumidifier will help reduce that humidity. They’re also useful for preventing mold and eliminating odors.

-Choose your curtains wisely

-The hotter your home, the more your AC must work. That also means the larger your bill. Simple choices, such as blackout curtains, can help you avoid the addition of unwelcomed heat.

Fall

Lush blankets of burgundy, yellow and orange leaves cover the ground, as warm summer temperatures begin to drop and turn into a breeze announcing the Pennsylvania fall season.

Like springtime, fall is not typically a season where your heating or AC is your top priority. However, following steps to ensure machine cleanliness and effectiveness during the fall will provide a healthy heater you can count on to last all winter long and an AC that won’t return with scary surprises next spring.

TIps

Clearing out the leaves from Central AC compressor fan

-Our leaves are iconic, but they can be dangerous for your AC too. When the leaves fall for the season, check your AC and clean out any debris.

-Consider purchasing a condenser cover

-If you don’t currently own a cover, now would be the time to invest. Protect your AC from the potentially harsh winter ahead.

-Have a professional out for a tune up

Don’t wait until you’re shivering and searching the Internet for last-minute hotel deals after the heater breaks before you pay it some attention. Having a professional out for a tune-up costs far less than a full repair. Think about it like preventative medicine.

Employ these tips and let your AC, heater and lower bills enjoy the changing seasons, too.

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How to Lower Your Heating Bill During The Valley’s Coldest Months

January andold window in winter February are the coldest months of the year in Lehigh Valley and with them comes the highest heating bills. Not to worry though, with these simple tips you that can lower your heating by 20% or more.

Seal Your Windows:

Windows are a major drain on your heating bill accounting for about 30% of heat lost in a home. Fortunately, you can reclaim some of that heat using plastic film window kits, which generally cost between $5-$20 and are easy to install. Try using an extra layer of bubble wrap between the window and the film for even more savings.

Seal Your Doors:

If you can see light coming through your doors, you are losing heat through them. Some doors have adjustable thresholds that let you lower your heating bill with a turn of a screw— keep adjusting until you no longer see light coming through. If you can’t adjust your threshold, weather strips are another great way to prevent heat loss. Just make sure to periodically check and replace old or worn weather strips.

Plug Holes in Exterior Walls:

Throughout the home, there may be holes in the exterior wall to allow pipes and wires to pass through. Even small holes let a lot of cold air through (not to mention insects and mice), so it’s a good idea to plug them up using expanding foam rather than caulk, as caulk will eventually crack and peal.

Use foam gaskets to insulate electric boxes on exterior walls, otherwise they are a big hole leading straight outside. Gaskets cost about $1, will save you money for as long as you live in the house, and are easy to install using only a screwdriver. Be safe, turn off the circuit before starting work!

Insulate Your Attic:

A well-insulated attic is crucial to creating an energy efficient home and doesn’t require an expert to pull off. While the initial start up cost generally runs between $1.50 and $3.50 per square foot you will save money year after year with a heating bill that is 10-50% lower. Don’t forget to insulate the attic door. Use an adhesive to attach insulation to the attic side of the door and make sure it’s nice and snug to save even more.

 

Taking these steps will allow you to lower your heating bill and stay comfortable even through the coldest months of the year. Contact the BTU Gurus at MBI Home Comfort to learn more about our heating services or to schedule your HVAC system tune-up anytime at: 610-816-6026.

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Welcome to the MBI HVAC Knowledge Center!

Thank you for taking the time to visit our site. We hope to earn your business by providing service and information that goes above and beyond your expectations.

This area will be dedicated to articles, videos, and images which help explain the services we provide. We’ll also share updates, tips, tricks, and other useful info that we think will improve your home comfort.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 610-821-9555.

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