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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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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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Green & Clean Air Conditioning

  In the past, air conditioning has been accused of being the bad guy. Now, with one ear tuned to customers’ concerns, the industry is making air conditioners so much more efficient that you can save money by investing in a new one.There are a couple of guidelines to keep in mind. First, buy one

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Five Reasons to Go With Ductless Mini split

For some reason, the United States has never completely embraced the idea of zoned heating. If you visit Germany, you will notice that the kitchen and the living room are warm and cozy. But the bedrooms are kept at a sleep-comfortable 50 degrees. Since the Germans are among the world’s most rational and technologically savvy

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5 Myths About Heat Pumps

Heat pumps have been slow to catch on in the United States, but they are selling like hot cakes now. Even with the recent plunge in energy prices, homeowners are looking to a future where gas & oil prices— not to mention electricity— keep rising. There are still doubters out there. One builder announced recently

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Should You Buy an Extended Warranty for New HVAC?

You’re buying a new furnace, or an air conditioner. You’ve signed a contract with a local HVAC guy (we’ll call him Harry’s Plumbing & Heating) who’s got a good reputation and was recommended by your father-in-law. Then he pops the question, ‘Do you want an extended warranty on this thing?’ Obviously, Harry’s not going to

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Is the Ionizer Safe? Is It Effective?

If you want cleaner fresher air in your home, you’ve got some work to do. Not in terms of installing a new gadget or retrofitting the air conditioner, but homework. It’s difficult to balance the glowing reports of certain ozone generators, negative ion generators, ionization laundry systems . . . with more skeptical comments from

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