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When the Furnace Quits in Winter

By the time you read this, the recent cold wave will be history and the heavy snows will have melted in Washington DC. But the spate of extreme weather may have got you wondering. Should you trust this old system to make it through the season? After all, the folk wisdom says buy your furnace

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Ranking Thermostats by I.Q.

Nest, owned by Google, generated quite a bit of publicity this winter— the hard way. Due to a software bug introduced in its latest upgrade, Nest thermostats quit on some customers. The company hastened to fix the problem with its nine-step re-programming instructions, and they even sent an electrician if the customer could not spend

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Home Office Calls for Ductless Heat Pump

Americans are bringing their work home. It’s not enough to work 50-plus hours, but more and more of us have an office in our home where we catch up on extra work after dinner and on weekends. Or maybe that’s our fulltime work space. The Census Bureau found that millions of Americans joined the home-based

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Lose the Space Heater, Gain a Heat Pump

  If you’re like most Americans, you have a space heater around the house somewhere. How careful are you while it’s in use? Did you know that space heaters are responsible for one-third of all heating-related deaths in an average year? Firefighters say they are often used carelessly. People turn them on in bedrooms and

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Asthma Needs Control of Indoor Air Quality

It’s not your imagination: Asthma is on the rise. There are probably a whole host of reasons why an estimated 5 million people were added to the asthma rolls over the past 10 years alone. That makes 25 million of us wheezing and struggling to breathe. Not a pretty picture. If you have an asthmatic

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New Year Res: Change AC Filter!

  Somehow, changing the filter in your AC never rises to the top of the honey-do list. But you know that the condition of the AC filter affects how well your system is performing, right? There are actually two issues: air flow and efficiency. Air being forced through a clogged filter will actually trap more

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In the Zone— Make That Zones!!!!!!!!!!!!!— With Ductless HVAC

  Central heat and air are gradually starting to seem like the old coal furnace. Back in the day, it was state-of-the-art: A large blasting furnace in the basement or garage with tubing and piping and registers to move air through the home. No air conditioning, of course. That would come later in the 20th

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Should You Buy a Whole-House Ventilator?

  Our friend and customer, Robb,  just moved into his beautiful new home in Louisiana. It’s on a quiet bayou and it’s the dream house he and his wife have wanted for years. In winters, it can get clammy there, but the house is tight and well-insulated so he stays warm. In summers, the air

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How to Heat a New Addition to the Home

As we turn from the muggy heat of summer to a cooler season, we may need to reassess our indoor air quality. At our house, we decided that it was time, finally, to do something about the room where we’ve started to spend most evenings. Once a screened-in porch, we weatherized it last year. Now it’s

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Humidity and the Comfortable Home

Yeah, yeah. We know. It’s not the heat, it’s the ____. Trouble is, humidity works both ways. In hot weather, it makes us feel damp and miserable. In cold weather, it adds to the chill factor. Humidity is not a bad thing, of course. You wouldn’t want to live on a high peak in the

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