7 Tips to Prevent the Flu

January 2, 2013

Aaaaaaaaaa-Choooooooo! The dreaded flu season is upon us. Fortunately, the old adage is true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We’re gathered a few tips to help you protect your family from the flu this winter: Wash your hands, surfaces and even cleaning supplies. Often. Just 15-20 seconds of hand washing with soap and warm water—or alcohol-based rub—can help protect you from germs. Since human influenza viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours, kitchen and bath fixtures should also be scrubbed down regularly. Sterilize cellulose sponges in the dishwasher. Down your vitamin C. Good sources include citrus fruit, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, nuts and kiwi. Supplements can also help shorten the duration of the virus following its onset. Drink plenty of fluids. Proper hydration is essential to a strong immune system and overall health. Water and herbal or flavored teas are the best choice. Avoid alcohol, which may decrease your resistance to viruses. Practice good health daily. Exercise, manage stress, eat healthy food and get plenty of rest. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough. But be sure to use a tissue; touching your eyes, nose and mouth can help germs...

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Prepare your HVAC for winter with preventive maintenance

October 18, 2012

While the changing season provides a great opportunity for homeowners to save on HVAC costs by opening windows and temporarily powering down units, it will soon be time to turn on the heat. Will your system be ready to handle this year’s chill? Regular preventive maintenance, performed twice a year, can help your system keep up with seasonal temperature swings. Plus, it can increase HVAC performance and help you avoid costly emergency repairs—because no one wants to be left without heat in the middle of a snowstorm. While most newer heating systems require little maintenance, a quick tune-up can greatly extend the life of your HVAC equipment, ensuring it always runs at peak efficiency. As always, major furnace maintenance should be handled by a licensed HVAC technician. But there are some steps you can take on your own that can result in a more comfortable winter: Power Down Turn off all power to the unit before performing any maintenance; wait for the blower to stop. Replace Filters Replace air filters at least once every three months. Dirty filters can cause your system to work harder, resulting in lower efficiency. Run a Sound Check Turn your unit on, and check for...

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Give your space the home field advantage

September 24, 2012

The big game’s coming up fast, and you’ve invited a house full. Now it’s time to make sure guests are comfortable, your space is inviting and there’s plenty of food on deck so everyone—including you—can relax and have a good time. We’ve gathered a few pointers to help you jazz up your entertaining space while ensuring every guest is comfortable. Square away the details Make sure your television can be seen from all angles, without any glare from windows. Before sending out invites, check to ensure the game you’re watching is on a channel your television provider airs. If you’re planning on serving pizza during a big game, call ahead and ask how far in advance you will need to order so guests don’t wind up waiting on food when they’re hungry. Finally, stock your freezer with plenty of bags of ice, keep enough cups and plates on hand for food and beverages and buy all food ingredients a few days ahead to avoid last-minute trips to the store. Simplify your party plan Your guests are coming for the party, not because they want to see how clean you keep your home. Choose a signature drink to avoid overbuying beverages,...

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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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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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