Fight Fires With Safety Facts

Some things are too hot to handle, and home fires are one of them.  They pose a very real threat to homeowners – yet, like many things, fire safety isn’t thought about until it’s too late.  Since statistics show that over 3,500 Americans die each year in fires, that’s a dangerous mentality.

So what can you do to keep your family safe in the event of a home fire?

Have an evacuation plan.  No, this is not a “Hey, let’s just meet somewhere outside in case of a fire” plan.  Have a real plan, where you have contingencies for each room in case of a blocked exit.  Every member of the family should be aware of the plan and know what to do in case of a fire.

Leave the possessions behind.  We know that there are important items in your home that you would want to save, but is that so important that you would sacrifice your life for them?  The number one priority in case of a fire is to get out of the house as safely and as quickly as possible.

Stay low to avoid the smoke.  Also, never open a door that is hot to the touch.  Use your hand to feel the doorknob or gap between the door and door frame.  If it is hot, use your secondary escape route.

Designate a meeting place.  Creating a specific place to meet after your escape is essential to a fire safety plan.  Everyone knows where to go and it will be easier to see who has made it out of the house safely.

Once out, stay out.  Once you have made it to the meeting area, call 911.  As much as you many want to go in and snag your favorite Snuggie, leave it to the professionals.  The firemen are much better equipped to go into the house and save someone/something than you are.

Detectors save lives.  Check your smoke detector at least once a month for dead batteries.  Placing a smoke detector on every floor of your house dramatically increases your chances of survival.

Furnace and Air Conditioner Rebates

Here at J & R Heating we often have customer ask us what we offer for rebates.  Our response is always “it depends”.  Rebates differ in prices for many different reasons and some of them include brand, EnergyStar ratings, and furnace and air conditioner accessories (example: filtration system).  As you can see there are many different variables that may affect the rebates you receive.  For those that want to do their own homework before investing in a new heating and cooling equipment, I’ve compiled a list of websites that will simplify your research.

http://www.lennox.com/promotions/ – This is a (lennox) brand website displaying possible rebates and financing offers for that particular brand.

http://dsireusa.org/ – Allows you to click on your state and find out what incentives and policies support renewables and energy efficiency in your area.

http://www.energystar.gov/ – Once you get to this website click on tax credits, then click on Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning (HVAC).  This website will provide you with the approximate amount you will receive from your tax credits depending on what equipment you’re buying.

If these sites were not able to give you enough information don’t forget that your local HVAC dealer is an invaluable resource.

Allergy Prevention

Allergy season is coming up and there are some simple things you can do to avoid allergy triggers at home, work school, outside and when you travel. 

When You’re At Home.

  • Prevent mold spores. Mold spores grow in moist areas. If you reduce the moisture in the bathroom and kitchen, you will reduce the mold. Fix any leaks inside and outside of your home and clean moldy surfaces. Plants can carry pollen and mold too, so limit the number of houseplants. Dehumidifiers will also help reduce mold.
  • Dust to control mites. By dusting surfaces and washing bedding often, you can control the amount of dust mites in your home.
  • Use air conditioners. Use home and auto air conditioners to keep out molds and pollens. Add special HEPA air filters to air conditioners to reduce allergens. You can also use individual HEPA cleaners in bedrooms. Follow manufacturer directions in cleaning filters (http://health.howstuffworks.com).
  • Vacuum like a germaphobe. Although cleaning can sometimes trigger allergic reactions, with dust in the air, vacuuming once or twice a week will reduce the surface dust mites. Wear a mask when doing housework and consider leaving for a few hours after you clean to avoid allergens in the air. You can also make sure your vacuum has an air filter to capture dust.
  • Reduce pet dander. If you have allergies, you should avoid pets with feathers or fur like birds, dogs and cats. Animal saliva and dead skin, or pet dander , can cause allergic reactions. If you can’t bear to part with your pet, you should at least keep it out of the bedroom.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals, fumes, tobacco smoke, air pollution, etc. These irritants can trigger nasal congestion and make your allergic reaction worse (http://health.howstuffworks.com).
  • Shut out pollen. When you clean your windows, do you see a film of pollen on the frame or sill? One easy way to prevent pollen from entering your home is to keep windows and doors closed. Use an air filter and clean it regularly or run the air conditioner and change the filter often.

When You’re At Work.

Allergies at home and work are similar and affect millions of people each year.  Allergy symptoms, like sneezing, nasal congestion and headache, may make it difficult to concentrate.  Every work environment will have specific allergy problems so talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about how you can prevent allergies at your specific workplace.

When You’re At School.

Children may face allergens in the classroom and playground. In fact, children in the United States miss approximately two million school days each year because of allergy symptoms. Parents, teachers and health care providers can work together to help prevent and treat childhood allergies. Monitor the classroom for plants, pets or other items that may carry allergens. Encourage your child to wash his/her hands after playing outside. Many of the allergens in the home will also be found at school. Although it may not be an option to vacuum or dust the classroom, there may be treatment options to help a child manage his/her symptoms during the school day.

When You’re Outside.

There are certain times during the year when plants and trees release pollen into the air. The timing of these pollen seasons depends on your geographic location. Different regions have different types of plants that pollinate at different times. Depending on where you live, allergy seasons may be mild or severe.  Experts estimate that 35 million Americans suffer from allergies because of airborne pollen!

Tiny particles that are released from trees, weeds and grasses are known as pollen. These particles are carried by the wind from tall treetops all the way to your nose.  But before you shrug off fancy flowers in fear of sniffles, remember that the types of pollen that most commonly cause your allergies are from plain-looking plants, such as trees, grasses and weeds. These plants produce small and light pollen, perfect for catching a ride on a gentle breeze.

Similar to pollen, mold spores are a seasonal pest. If you are sensitive to mold spores, you may have symptoms from spring to late fall. Yet, even after the first frost of winter, some mold spores can continue to grow in freezing temperatures. The severity of your mold spore allergies can depend on the climate that you live in. In the warmest areas of the United States, mold spores grow all year! But before you move to Antarctica, remember that mold spores also grow indoors, making it a year-round problem.

When You’re Traveling.

We are all on the go and there are a few things to keep in mind to prevent outdoor allergies during peak season, when the pollen count is high.

  • Stay inside during peak pollen times, usually between 10:00 a.m. and
    4:00 p.m.
  • Keep your car windows closed when traveling
  • Stay indoors when humidity is high and on days with high wind, when dust and pollen are more likely to be in the air
  • Shower after spending time outside to wash away pollen that collects on your skin and hair

If you suffer from allergies, there may be other concerns when you travel.  The allergy climate may be different than the one where you live. When you travel by car, bus or train, you may find dust mites, mold spores and pollen bothersome. Turn on the air conditioner or heater before getting in your car and travel with the windows closed to avoid allergens from outside. Travel early in the morning or late in the evening when the air quality is better. 

When flying to your favorite vacation spot, be prepared.  Remember that air quality and dryness on planes can affect you if you have allergies. If a cruise is your next vacation, be aware of the season and temperature at your destination(s). In tropical, damp climates there are allergens like dust mites, mold spores and pollen. In cold, damp climates, you may be exposed to dust mites and mold spores. Once you arrive at your hotel, there may be dust mites and mold spores lurking. If you are staying with family or friends, the same types of allergens that you find at home may be present.

Information is from http://www.aafa.org unless stated otherwise.