Back to School: Ten ways to give your kids a healthy start

September 7, 2012

It’s that time of the year when long, leisurely summer days give way to the often too busy and chaotic routine of returning to the regular school schedule. Instead of fun in the sun and staying up late, it’s time to shop for school supplies, go to bed early and get ready to buckle down for long nights of homework. Talk about stressful! Here’s how to make sure your kids will get the most out of the new school year, with tips to give them a healthy start and improve opportunities for success both in and out of the classroom. 1) Encourage them to exercise Whether it’s in the morning, after school or even a late night routine, have your kids aim for 20 minutes a day of aerobic exercise at 60% of their estimated maximum heart rate. Studies show exercise can improve mental function by up to 10%. They also indicate improved performance on tests following aerobic exercise, due to its ability to increase attentiveness. 2) Take them for an annual checkup Routine exams and screenings help track your child’s development and identify any potential problems. Vision and hearing tests are essential: Check with your school to find out...

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Combating Dry Indoor Air

August 1, 2012

When winter’s chill strikes, cold air starts to seep into your home through cracks and crevices—while warm air flows out. Your first instinct may be to crank up the heat, but warmer temperatures rob indoor air of moisture, blanketing the inside of your home with a desert-like oasis of dry, stuffy air. With humidity levels at an all-time low, the overly dry air pulls moisture from everything it surrounds, causing a variety of issues affecting health, comfort and home. They include: Aggravated allergies or respiratory illnesses Scratchy, sore throat or excessive cough Dry, irritated nasal passages Dry, itchy skin Chapped lips Static shocks Cracked, peeling wallpaper Warped or cracked wood Damage to household furnishings The good news is, these problems can be resolved by keeping humidity levels in balance. Adding humidity to heated, dry air with an efficient, whole-home humidifier—like the Lennox Healthy Climate® Steam Humidifier—helps to restore the proper balance of moisture inside your home and eliminate problems associated with dry air. The Steam Humidifier heats water to produce steam, which is dispersed evenly throughout your home to make the air more comfortable. Plus, because humidified air feels warmer than dry air at the same temperature, you can lower...

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Is it time for a new home comfort system?

July 24, 2012

Replacing your home’s HVAC system may seem like a daunting task, but it’s easy if you know what features to look for. We’ve compiled the ultimate “things to consider” checklist to help you take the plunge: Some of your rooms are too hot or cold Duct problems, inadequate air sealing or insulation could be the cause. No matter how efficient your heating and cooling system is, if your home is not properly sealed and insulated against air leakage, you will not be as comfortable and your system will have to work harder. Your home has humidity problems and/or excessive dust Poorly operating or improperly sized equipment could be to blame. Leaky ductwork can also cause these problems, so having it sealed may be a solution. Monthly maintenance of your heating and cooling equipment’s filters may also help. Your cooling system is noisy Your duct system could be improperly sized or there may be a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment. Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up In addition to the rise in energy costs, the age and condition of your heating and cooling equipment may have caused it to become less...

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When to invest in a new HVAC system

July 20, 2012

Is it time to replace your home heating and cooling system? Read our comfort Q&A below to see if it’s time to take the leap: How old is your system? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests replacing your air conditioner or heat pump if it’s more than 12 years old, and your furnace or boiler if it’s more than 15 years old. New units—especially ENERGY STAR® qualified models—have much higher efficiency levels to help lower your utility bills, and are more reliable than older systems. Systems more than 10 years old use a lot more fuel than newer models. Review the SEER (efficiency) rating of your existing system and compare to newer models. The higher the SEER, the higher the savings you can expect. Lennox offers models rated up to 21 SEER.  How high are your repair bills? Frequent repairs costing hundreds of dollars mean your service costs can soon exceed the cost of a new system.  Is your home uncomfortable? If the rooms in your home are too hot or too cold, your current system may be too large or too small, or the system may have been poorly installed. Talk to a contractor about performing a load calculation...

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Spring Clean Your Air

July 9, 2012

According to the EPA, the air inside your home may be up to five times more polluted than the air outside. So when you’re doing the annual clean-sweep, don’t forget to add it to your list. Spring clean your air Spring sprucing can have your home looking great in no time. But what about the mess you can’t see? Invisible particles, like bacteria, chemicals, pet dander, and viruses—along with dust, mold and mildew—can pollute your indoor air, affecting your home, health and comfort. And since most people spend 90% of their time indoors, keeping the air clean is just as important as cleaning the surfaces you can see. Here’s a spring sprucing checklist that will help keep things tidy while helping to improve indoor air quality (IAQ): (cut down pollutants and combat poor indoor air quality). Ban the use of chemicals in your home Scented fragrances—like laundry detergents, floor cleaners and air fresheners —may smell fresh, but chances are, they’re polluting your indoor air. These products can emit dozens of different chemicals into the air, causing respiratory irritation. To combat synthetic fragrances, purchase naturally scented or fragrant-free products, use mild cleaners without artificial ingredients and discontinue use of aerosol sprays....

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Get comfortable with a home energy audit

July 5, 2012

How can you identify and prioritize home upgrades that will also reduce your energy bill and make your home more comfortable? With a do-it-yourself home energy audit! Like the home energy audits offered by many utility companies, the DIY audit starts with a simple walk-through of your home to assess energy wasters and improvements to eliminate them. Here are three important places to start: 1. Inspect your cooling/heating system Heating and cooling accounts for nearly half your home’s energy usage. Improving efficiency here can make a noticeable difference on your monthly energy bill. Your HVAC system should be inspected at least once a year. Your Lennox dealer can check and clean your equipment to help control energy usage. If you have a central heating and cooling system, the filters should be checked monthly – especially during high-usage seasons – and replaced as needed (at least once every three months) to keep the system working efficiently. Check ductwork for streaks of dirt that indicate air leaks. These should be sealed with duct mastic. Insulate ducts or pipes that extend through unheated spaces. If any HVAC unit is more than 15 years old, a newer system can greatly reduce your energy usage...

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Playing it cool: 7 ways to beat the heat

June 29, 2012

So the temps are skyrocketing, and you’re sweating buckets. Not exactly the plan you had for chilling out this summer. Not to worry: We’ve gathered seven tips to help you stay cool in the rising heat: 1. Drink plenty of water In summer, your body loses a maximum amount of water through perspiration. Replenish several times a day (drink at least 2 more glasses than usual), and add more juices and fruit—watermelon, grapefruit, pineapple, pears and citrus fruits are not only cooling, but contain high water content. 2. Slather on the sunblock Not only will it keep you protected from the sun’s harmful rays and help to prevent sunburn, it will also keep you looking younger over time. Bonus: By keeping the burn at bay, your skin will stay cooler. Use an entire ounce (about the size of a golf ball) for optimum protection. 3. Lighten up Your plate, that is. Research shows heavy foods take longer to digest, interfering with the body’s cooling process. Think salads, sandwiches and soup broths…you’ll stay trim while gaining energy for outdoor activities. 4. Go with the flow Dressing in breezy, lightweight fabrics that offer plenty of movement—cotton, linen and gauze—are the best bet...

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Seal Your Home, Pay Less In Energy Costs — It’s That Simple

June 7, 2012

When you seal your home, you reduce the amount of air coming inside and going out. Those leaks cost you money summer and winter because they make your HVAC equipment work harder. Sealing the leaks isn’t a difficult process once you know where they are. Find the Leaks You can conduct your own test with just a few common household items. First, draw a simple sketch of your home’s layout and close the windows and exterior doors. Extinguish any gas-burning appliances and turn on the exhaust fans. Walk through the house with lighted incense, covering the entire perimeter of your home, including the attic and basement. Note on the floor plan where the smoke wavers. The moving smoke indicates air coming inside. Typical places for air leaks include window frames, exterior doors, electrical outlets and switches, and places where the cables and pipes enter or leave. Seal the Leaks Seal exterior door leaks with fresh weather-stripping, available at home improvement stores. You can add a door sweep to the exterior doors to block drafts coming in or going out. These sweeps are available at home centers. If you need one, measure your door before going to help you buy the right...

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