5 More Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

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Though it doesn’t get much mainstream media coverage, indoor air pollution is a serious problem in the United States. In fact, about 97% of the homes tested by the EPA had at least one problem with their air quality.

Indoor air pollution can come from a variety of sources, many of which are seemingly harmless products. We have already covered five surprising sources of indoor air pollution – which included things such as cleaning products and candles – and we will now introduce five more.

#1: Paint

Lead paint was outlawed in the 1970s due to its toxicity, but it is still present in older homes. Even new paints still release volatile organic compounds as they dry. Make sure to buy low-VOC paint and always apply it in a well-ventilated area.

#2: Heating Equipment

The heating equipment in your home – such as your stove, furnace, and fireplace – all produce carbon monoxide as they operate. This colorless, odorless gas is fatal in high doses, so it is important to ensure it is properly vented to the outside.

#3: New Furniture & Pressed-Wood Products

Many brand new upholstered furniture and pressed wood products emit formaldehyde, a carcinogen with many negative health effects. This includes couches, chairs, cabinetry, wood flooring and wall paneling.

#4: HVAC Ducts

Pollutants such as dust, pollen, mold, and pet dander tend to accumulate in your air ducts. Once they are inside, they use these ducts as a transportation system to spread throughout your entire home.

#5: Pesticides

If you keep any pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides in your home, you are putting your health in danger. In fact, the suffix -cide means “to kill”. While these products are designed with the intention to kill fungus and pests, the effect they have on human health can be equally as dangerous.

If you live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, contact Devine Bros. for a free household air quality assessment. Our experts will come into your home, use professional testing devices to determine the quality of your air, and make expert recommendations based on their findings. Call (203) 866-4421 today to schedule your visit.

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How Does Humidity Affect Your Home?

Window Condensation

Humidity measures how much water vapor is present in the air. High humidity levels can not only make a hot summer day feel unbearable, but it can also have devastating effects on your home.

How does humidity affect your home?

  • Wood walls, flooring, and furniture. High humidity levels can wreak havoc on the wood in your home: including walls, flooring, beams, and furniture. The excess moisture in the air can penetrate the wood, causing it to warp, rot, split, and crack.

  • Increased workload on your cooling system. Part of the way that air conditioners work is by removing excess humidity from the air. When your humidity levels are high, your air conditioner has to work overtime to keep you comfortable. This extra wear-and-tear leads to higher energy bills and a shorter lifespan.

  • Mold growth. Mold can grow virtually anywhere, but damp areas are the most susceptible to the fungus. Long-term humidity problems almost always lead to mold growth, which can have a negative effect on the health of your family.

  • Comfort levels. If you have ever been outside on an extremely muggy day, you know that humidity can make you feel uncomfortable. The same is true inside your home. In addition to the unpleasant stuffy, sticky feeling, humidity can make the temperature feel significantly warmer than it actually is – compromising your family’s comfort.

Maintaining your home’s humidity level is key to staying comfortable during the summer months. Having a properly-sized air conditioner and dehumidification system is an important piece of the puzzle. Trust the heating and cooling experts at Devine Bros. to equip you with the central air system that is right for your home. If you live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

6 Ways to Save Energy at Home This Summer

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Are you sweating just thinking of the high energy costs this summer? Don’t worry – you won’t have to spend all of your hard-earned money to keep cool. Just follow these tips from Devine Bros. and you can beat the heat without breaking the bank.

Tip #1: Invest in a programmable thermostat.

Programmable thermostats allow you to preset the desired temperature of your home for different times of the day. This allows you to come home to a cool, comfy house after work without having to run the air conditioner for eight hours.

Tip #2: Add sources of shade.

If you are outside on an unbearably hot day, you might seek shelter under the shade of a tree. This same logic can apply to your home, too. Closing your curtains, installing an awning, and even planting trees can provide additional shade and keep your cooling bills down.

Tip #3: Try to dehumidify.

Humidity can make the temperature feel hotter than it actually is. Try to dehumidify your house before you reach for that thermostat.

Tip #4: Change your air filter.

The vast majority of air conditioner breakdowns are caused by dirt and dust entering the unit. Routinely cleaning or replacing the air filter can prevent these costly breakdowns and keep your system running efficiently.

Tip #5: Minimize heating sources.

The sun isn’t the only heat source that can warm up your home. Your stove, oven, and even incandescent light bulbs could all be forcing your cooling system to work harder.

Tip #6: Tune up your cooling system.

Scheduling an annual tune up for your air conditioner can improve its operating efficiency and extend its lifespan. In fact, many manufacturers will void their warranty if their systems are not properly maintained by a licensed professional.

If you live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, trust Devine Bros. to help you chill out this summer. We offer a variety of home cooling services including air conditioner installations, repairs, and tune ups. If you live in Westport, Norwalk, or New Canaan, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

4 Tips to Help Maintain Your Home Air Conditioner

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Staying cool is a top priority during the warmer months, and the best way to do it is with the help of an air conditioner. Unfortunately, due to the intense workload placed on these units when it’s hot out, many of them do not last the whole season.

Use these five tips from Devine Bros. to keep your A/C running all summer long…

Change the air filter.

The vast majority of air conditioner breakdowns are caused by dirty air filters. It is important to regularly clean or replace your filter in order to keep dirt and dust out of your system. Refer to your owner’s manual for instructions specific to your unit.

Give it room to breathe.

If you have a central air system, keep the outdoor unit clear of leaves, trees, and shrubs. Your cooling system produces heat as it operates – if the surrounding area is not clear, it can not sufficiently release this heat. This leads to increased wear-and-tear, higher energy bills, and more frequent breakdowns.

Have your air ducts cleaned.

The air ducts in your home should be professionally cleaned every 3-5 years in order to maximize the efficiency of your cooling system. Over time, dust accumulates in these vents, which limits the airflow and cooling capacity of your A/C.

Schedule a tune up with a professional technician.

An annual tune up is a staple in any cooling system’s maintenance routine. A professional technician will be able to do things that you can’t, such as check refrigerant levels, clean and lubricate parts, and inspect various components for signs of potential failure.

Residents of Fairfield County, Connecticut can count on Devine Bros. to help them beat the heat this summer. We offer a variety of home cooling services, including air conditioner installations, tune ups, and repairs. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

How Indoor Air Pollution Affects Your Health

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What you don’t see can hurt you, especially when it comes to indoor air pollution. Despite the serious health problems it can cause, this major problem has been flying under-the-radar of most Americans for decades. Read below to discover how indoor air pollution can affect your health, in both the short- and long-term.

Short-Term Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution

If you are exposed to indoor pollutants, you can begin to feel the side effects almost immediately. The short-term effects of indoor air pollution are often confused with allergies – sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, sore throat, headaches, fatigue, etc.

The severity of these symptoms can vary based on age, gender, medical conditions, individual sensitivity, and the type and strength of pollutant you are being exposed to. In order to distinguish indoor air pollution from allergies, it is important to pay attention to the time and place they occur. The best way to treat short-term symptoms is by either removing the source of pollution, or removing yourself from the environment.

Long-Term Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution can affect your health in the long run, too. Years of exposure to these toxins can lead to debilitating and even fatal side effects down the road, including respiratory infections, heart disease, and cancer. Further research is still needed to come to conclusions about specifics, such as what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce health problems. Still, one thing is for certain – cleaning up your air quality is important in living a long, healthy life.

How is the air quality in your home? If you live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, contact the indoor air quality experts at Devine Bros. for a free consultation. We proudly serve Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, and the surrounding areas. Give us a call today at (203) 866-4421.

6 Tips for Mowing Your Lawn

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Mowing your lawn isn’t as simple as mowing your lawn. Believe it or not, there is a science behind cutting your grass – if you want a healthy, green lawn anyways. Follow these six tips next time you mow to make your yard the talk of the neighborhood.

Don’t Cut it Close

Many people prefer to cut their lawns shorter so they don’t have to mow it as often. Truth is, cutting it too low will leave it vulnerable to diseases and weed infestation. Keep your grass at 2-3 inches for best results.

High & Dry

Cutting your grass while it is dry is just as important as keeping it at the right height. Cutting wet grass can result in an uneven cut, or even worse – wheel ruts.

Stay Sharp

A sharp blade cuts grass cleanly, while a dull blade tears it and creates an uneven edge. It is recommended to sharpen your mower blades at least twice per year.

Take Your Time

Haste makes waste, especially when it comes to your lawn. Running with the mower can cause uneven shearing and leaves behind clumps of clippings.

Early Bird Gets the Worm

The best time to mow your lawn is mid-morning, just after the dew has dried. If you can’t mow at this time, wait until the late afternoon. Avoid mowing in the early morning or evening.

Bag the Bag

Don’t bag your clippings after mowing – let them lay on your lawn instead. Known as grasscycling, these clippings provide your grass with extra nutrients to help keep it green and lush.

For more advice on mowing your lawn, check out this article from DIY Network.

Nobody knows landscaping better than Devine Bros.! Located in Norwalk, Connecticut, we are home to Fairfield County’s largest supply of landscaping and masonry supplies. All products are available for pickup or delivery. Browse through our online inventory or give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

3 Improvements to Make Your Home Smarter

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Turning your house into a smart home doesn’t require robots or a multi-million dollar budget. Here are three affordable, easy-to-install gadgets that can help make your life easier and bring your home into the 21st century.

Home Security Systems

Security systems have long been available for homes, but the models on today’s market are more technologically advanced than ever. Smaller cameras are more easily hidden, and some even offer two-way microphone communication. Plus, many newer systems connect to your smartphone, allowing you to keep tabs on your home from across the world.

Digital Deadbolts

Keys are a thing of the past with the variety of electronic locks available. Some of these smart locks come fully-equipped with features such as numerical code unlock, bluetooth unlock via phone, auto-unlock when you get close to the door, and timed access to guests through temporary email codes.

Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats don’t just make your home more comfortable, they save you money while doing so. Running the air conditioner while everyone is at work wastes money, but nobody wants to come home to a hot house. A programmable thermostat lets you have the best of both worlds – your A/C won’t run all day, but you can set it to turn on an hour before you come home, giving it enough time to make sure you arrive to a cool, comfortable house.

Devine Bros. provides heating and cooling services to homes in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Pair your programmable thermostat with one of our energy-efficient HVAC systems to see just how much money you can save on your heating and cooling bills. Visit our website for more information, or call us at (203) 866-4421.

How to Fix a Malfunctioning Air Conditioner

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With the weather warming up around Fairfield County, Connecticut, people will be relying on their air conditioners to keep cool. If yours breaks down, don’t panic – just use these tips from Devine Bros. to fix the problem yourself.

Air Conditioner is Loud

If your air conditioner is making loud, rattling noises, this likely signifies that something needs to be tightened or oiled. Fasten all screws and lubricate all moving parts and see if the noise subsides.

Air Isn’t Cold Enough

If you have a central air system that is blowing out warm air, you could be facing one of two problems. The best case scenario is that your refrigerant lines need to be insulated – this is a quick DIY job that can be done for as little as $10. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to get your unit recharged by a professional.

Air Conditioner is Leaking

As your air conditioner operates, it produces moisture in the form of condensation. When everything is running properly, this water discretely drains through a tube into a drip pan where it evaporates. A small clog or kink in the tube could cause this water to “leak” out of your air conditioner.

Compressor is Cycling On and Off

If your cooling system is constantly cycling on and off, it could be a problem with the thermostat – more specifically, the location. Make sure your thermostat is placed in a central location away from windows, air vents, and heat-generating appliances (such as your stove or clothes dryer) that may cause it to have a false reading.

For more air conditioner repair tips, check out this article from House Logic.

If these DIY tips don’t work, it’s time to call in the pros. If you live in Westport, Norwalk, or New Canaan, trust the experts at Devine Bros. to help you beat the heat this summer. Call us for all of your air conditioner repair needs at (203) 866-4421.