4 Tricks to Minimize Humidity in the Home

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Residents of Fairfield County, Connecticut are no strangers to humidity. Besides the uncomfortable, stuffy conditions it can cause, high humidity levels can also warp wood surfaces in your home and lead to mold. Here are four tips and tricks you can use to help keep your humidity levels in check.

Use Your Exhaust Fans

Many homes are equipped with exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom – two areas where high humidity levels are common. If you have these fans in your home, use them to your full advantage. Run your bathroom fan for 15 minutes after every shower, and use your kitchen fan while cooking on the stove top to remove excess moisture from the air.

Relocate Your House Plants

Many house plants release water vapor into the air. If you only have a few plants at home, this is no big deal. But if you have many, their role in your humidity levels could be significant. Place them outside or concentrate them in one room to minimize their impact.

Upgrade Your Insulation

Insulation, insulation, insulation. Upgrading yours can greatly reduce your humidity levels. Seal air leaks with weatherstripping or caulking, insulate your crawl space with a vapor barrier, install storm windows, and wrap your water heater and pipes with insulating foam – all of these small actions can go a long way.

Invest in a Dehumidifier

The most effective way to remove moisture from the air is through the use of a dehumidifier. Air conditioners also perform this function, but you can buy separate machines designed for this specific feature. Dehumidifiers can be purchased as standalone, supplemental units, or as a whole-home solution that attaches directly to your HVAC system.

If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, trust the HVAC experts at Devine Bros. to keep you comfortable all year long. We offer a variety of heating and cooling services to Fairfield County homes, and can also help you keep your humidity levels in check. Call us today at (203) 866-4421.

What’s Hiding In Your Home’s Air Ducts?

Inspecting a Home Air Vent for Maintenance

When was the last time you took a look inside your home’s air ducts? If it’s been a while (or never), here are a few things you might find hiding in them…

Dust

Did you know that the average three-bedroom home generates more than 40 pounds of dust per year? Some of this dust settles on your furniture, but a lot of it collects in your air ducts. This accumulation of dust can hinder air flow and reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Animal Dander

Not to be confused with pet hair (which can also collect in air ducts), dander is small flakes of skin. Virtually every animal sheds dander, including cats, dogs, birds, and rodents. Dander possesses a unique, jagged shape that allows it to stick onto our furniture, clothes, and inside our air ducts. It can even be found in homes without pets.

Pollen

If you suffer from spring allergies, you know that pollen is something you want to avoid at all costs. However, what you may not know is that this pollen could also make its way into your home via your air ducts. If your HVAC system has a fresh air intake pulling in air from the outside, it is giving pollen easy access to your house.

Mold

The combination of darkness, moisture, and food (read: dust and pollen) make your air ducts the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold isn’t just damaging to your house, it can also trigger allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and respiratory infections.

These are just a few examples of what you might find lurking in your air ducts. Once these pollutants make their way into your ductwork, they can use it as a transportation system to spread throughout entire your home and compromise your indoor air quality.

If you live in Fairfield County, have your home’s air tested by Devine Bros. today. Call us today to schedule an air quality consultation at (203) 866-4421.

A Quick Guide to Cleaning Your Brick Patio

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When it comes to your brick patio, a little bit of maintenance can go a long way. Taking the time to occasionally clean your patio will keep it looking like new for years to come. Here is a simple but effective patio-cleaning routine you should follow twice per year:

  • Clear your furniture off the patio. Take all of your outdoor furniture off your patio and set it to the side. You will want access to the full surface.

  • Remove any weeds growing in between the bricks. The best way to rid your patio of weeds is by pulling them from the base. If you don’t have access to the base of the plant, a chemical weed killer an effective alternative.

  • Sweep loose debris off the patio with a broom. Dirt, leaves, and grass aren’t just unsightly, they can cause uneven fading. Sweep them off of your patio with a push broom.

  • Use a stiff-bristled brush to remove stains. If you have any stains, use a one-part bleach to ten-parts water cleaning solution to scrub them away with a stiff-bristled brush.

  • Rinse the patio with a garden hose. Giving a quick wash down with your garden hose is a good way to remove stubborn debris.

  • Utilize stain remover if necessary. If there are still stains on your patio, you may need to purchase a specialty stain remover from your local hardware store.

  • Apply seal coat. A seal coat is a cheap way to preserve your brick patio by adding an extra layer of defense against water, stains, and UV rays.

  • Replace your furniture and enjoy. Once your patio is fully cleaned, put your furniture back and relax – your work here is done!

The key to a long-lasting patio is building it with durable materials. If you want the best materials for your next masonry project, you need Devine Bros. We have the largest variety of landscaping and masonry supplies in all of Fairfield County, Connecticut, and all of our materials are available for pickup or delivery. Visit our website to learn more, or give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

The Importance of Household Ventilation

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Armed with caulking guns and weatherstripping, homeowners everywhere are making it their mission to seal the air leaks in their home. While this can reduce heating and cooling costs, eliminating any and all ventilation actually does more harm than good.

The air quality experts from Devine Bros. break down why ventilation is important, and what you can do to improve yours.

Why ventilation is important

You may not know it, but the air in your home isn’t clean. In fact, it is likely that your home’s air quality is worse than even the most polluted of cities. Allergens, chemicals, and volatile organic compounds are found in abundance in most residential homes, and if your house is airtight, these pollutants have nowhere to escape.

Here are a few reasons why ventilation is important in the home:

  • Improves indoor air quality

  • Prevents mold by decreasing moisture levels

  • Minimizes odors from food and garbage

  • Removes heat generated from bodies and appliances

  • Brings fresh oxygen into the home

How to improve ventilation in your home

Improving the ventilation in your home is as easy as opening your windows when the weather permits, but here are a couple of other things you can try:

  • Keep the doors in between rooms open.

  • Use bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans when you shower or cook.

  • Utilize fans as much as possible to facilitate air flow.

  • Have a ventilation system installed.

If you live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, the experts at Devine Bros. can help you get your home’s ventilation up to par. Our HVAC system installations can improve air flow, while simultaneously heating or cooling your home. Call us at (203) 866-4421 to learn more.

How to Troubleshoot Your Air Conditioner

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Few things are more important than your air conditioner during the hot summer months. When you air conditioner isn’t working, life at home can get uncomfortable rather quickly. But don’t panic; use these troubleshooting tips from Devine Bros. to get your cooling system up and running in no time!

If your air conditioner is not running at all:

  • Check to see that it is plugged in. If you have a window unit, make sure it is securely connected to an electrical outlet.

  • Check your electrical panel to make sure it is receiving power. Whether you have a window unit or central air, your A/C might not be receiving power.

  • Lower the thermostat by 5 degrees. The thermostat may be set too high for your air conditioner to turn on.

If your air conditioner is running, but not cooling:

  • Check the thermostat settings. The thermostat may be set too high for your air conditioner to produce cold air.

  • Clean or replace the air filter. Your air filter should be cleaned or changed every month for optimal performance.

  • Remove any leaves, branches, or debris blocking the condenser. If you have an outdoor unit, make sure it has plenty of breathing room to prevent overheating.

  • Vacuum the condenser coils and fins. Dirty coils can make it nearly impossible for your unit to release excess heat.

  • Inspect the evaporator. The last step in the troubleshooting process is to take a look at the evaporator to see if it is dirty or frozen.

If your air conditioner is still not working after performing these steps, it’s time to call in the professionals. Residents of Fairfield County, Connecticut can count on Devine Bros. to keep them cool all summer long. If you are in need of air conditioner installation or repair, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

How to Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season

Emergency preparedness checklist and natural disaster supplies.

For residents of Fairfield County, Connecticut, hurricanes are a threat for half of the year. Many people think hurricane season only spans a couple of months, but it actually ranges from June 1st all the way through November 30th – according to the U.S. Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Labratory.

This means we are entering the heart of hurricane season. While there are currently no storms on the radar, that doesn’t mean we are safe. Hurricanes frequently appear with little to no warning, and we need to be ready when they do.

Use these tips from Devine Bros. to stay safe the next time a hurricane strikes your area:

Have a plan.

The first step in preparing for anything is formulating a plan. You should have a system for what actions to take before, during, and after a hurricane hits. Make sure to communicate with your family what to do in the event of separation, and research with your city’s evacuation routes in the event you need to retreat from the area.

Stock up on supplies.

Don’t wait until the day before a hurricane to stock up on supplies – by then, the stores will be hectic and most of the items will be gone. Instead, build your hurricane kit now, when everything is easily available. A good hurricane kit includes flashlights, a radio, plenty of spare batteries, a first aid kit, gallons of water, and at least three days’ worth of nonperishable foods for each family member.

Invest in a standby generator.

The best way to minimize a hurricane’s impact is by investing in an automatic standby generator. These devices can automatically detect power outages, and turn on within seconds to supply your home with electricity. They have enough energy to power your entire home, your appliances, and your electronic devices – meaning you won’t miss a beat.

If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, contact Devine Bros. for all of your power protection needs. Visit our website to learn more or give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

Debunking Common Myths About Air Conditioning

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With homeowners everywhere looking to cut their cooling costs, many people are turning to the internet for advice. Spoiler alert: everything you read on the internet isn’t true, and energy-saving tips are no exception.

Luckily for you, the home cooling experts from Devine Bros. are here to clear up some of the most common air conditioning myths circulating around the world wide web.

Myth: It costs less money to leave your air conditioner running around the clock.

This is a common myth that seems to be gaining more and more popularity in recent years. The thought is, if you constantly leave your air conditioner running, it consumes less energy because it will never have to cool down a hot room. This is completely false – running your cooling system 24/7 will use far more energy than using it on an “as needed” basis.

Myth: Ceiling fans can lower the temperature of a room.

This myth has some substance behind it, but it is still false. While it’s true that ceiling fans can make a room feel colder, it does not actually affect the temperature. Setting your fan blades to rotate counterclockwise forces air down into the room and creates a windchill effect, so only utilize them when the room is occupied. Remember this rule for future reference: fans cool people, not rooms.

Myth: An Energy Star cooling system will automatically lower my bills

Purchasing an Energy Star air conditioner is a good first step to saving energy, but it is not all that is required. Your new cooling system must be properly sized and professionally installed in order to reap the energy saving benefits. Failure to do this could actually result in increased energy consumption.

Devine Bros. offers home heating and cooling solutions to Fairfield County, Connecticut. Some of our services include air conditioner installation, repair, and maintenance work. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, call us today to schedule your appointment at (203) 866-4421.