Flame Blog

Saving water is good for the environment, and it is good for our wallets.  A cheaper water bill would make most people happy.  We have heard some of the typical ways to save water: take shorter showers and turn off the sink while brushing your teeth, but we figured there must be some more creative ways out there. So, after some research, here are unique ways to save water in your home:

  1. Water your plants with leftover drinking water (7 Weird Ways to Save Water, National Geographic Blogs). Do you have the problem in your home where, at the end of the day, there are half empty cups and bottles filled with water strewed all over the house?  Instead of dumping that water down the sink, use it to water your plants.
  2. Use Pandora to time your showers (7 Weird Ways to Save Water, National Geographic Blogs).  Make taking shorter showers a little more fun by timing them with music you like.
  3. Collect bath water in your cooking pots (9 Creative Ways to Save on Water, Don’t Waste the Crumbs) “Before you think I’ve gone crazy carrying pots all over my house, hear me out. Think about how often you cook on the stove with water… pretty often, right? And you typically fill up your pots with water from the sink, right?

    So what if you filled up your pots with water from the bathtub instead? I mean, you’re going to take a shower, right? And that water needs to go somewhere, right? So why not just skip a step and fill up a pot from the get go?”

  4. Turn off the hot water to the bathroom sinks (9 Creative Ways to Save on Water, Don’t Waste the Crumbs). You will take much less time and use much less water washing your face with cold water!
  5. Don’t use running water to thaw food. (100+ Ways to Conserve Water, Water Use It Wisely) “For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.”

One of the most important things you can do is keep up with your plumbing maintenance.  When leaks happen, get them fixed immediately.  Also, depending on the age of your plumbing, there may be more energy efficiency versions out there, such as low flow shower heads.  For more information about saving water or our residential plumbing services, contact Flame! Happy saving!

Spending days outside during the summer is wonderful, but when the temperatures are hot, those sun soaked days are no longer so enjoyable.  The easiest way to stay cool is to just stay at home in your air conditioning, but if you have young children on summer vacation, you know that’s not going to cut it.  Here are a three ways you can stay cool and have fun on those too hot days in metro Detroit.

Visit a Splash Pad-Splash pads are popping up everywhere!  These fun water playgrounds are great for kids that may not be strong swimmers yet, and even older kids enjoy darting in out of jet streams.  The Detroit Moms Blog has a list  of great splash pads throughout metro Detroit.  They list splash pads by country and include, Mt. Elliot Park in Detroit, Heritage Park Splash Pad in Farmington Hills, and City Square Park in Warren.  Click on the link below to see all of their recommendations as well as information about cost and hours. Metro Detroit Splash Pads.

Head to the Lake-If you have access to a boat to get out on Lake St. Clair- great!  There’s nothing like cannonballing into a cold lake when it is 95 degrees out.  If you don’t have a way to motor or paddle to the middle of the lake, we recommend the Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township.  This park is right along the shoreline of Lake St. Clair, and it includes a beach and pool. Lake St. Clair Metropark.

Catch a movie-Sitting in a cool movie theater while the temperatures blaze outside screams summer.  This is a great way to get out of the house but still enjoy to comforts of air conditioning.  MetroParent Daily has a list of some of the best movie theaters in Southeast Michigan:  Top Movie Theaters in Southeast Michigan.

When the days are really hot, staying cool isn’t just about comfort-it is also important for the safety of your family.  Young children are especially susceptible to heat.  If you are having trouble with your home’s cooling system, do not hesitate to contact Flame!

 

Did you know that natural gas doesn’t actually have a smell?  Most gas companies add a chemical to give it that rotten eggs type smell.  They do this because gas leaks are very serious, and they want you to be aware when one happens.  Most likely, in your home, you have at least one appliance that is connected to a natural gas line.  Your oven, grill, or hot water heater might be, and if you have a forced air furnace, it definitely is.  Natural gas leaks can be extremely dangerous, and they are considered to be an emergency situation.  That is why if you smell gas in your home it is important to follow these steps from DTE:

  1. Leave the area at once.  If inside, open doors and windows on the way out.
  2. Go to an outside location where you can no longer smell natural gas.
  3. Call our natural gas hotline at 800.947.5000 to report the situation. Or, call your gas provider’s natural gas hotline.

DTE also offers a list of things you should NOT do if you suspect a gas leak:

  • Use matches or lighters. Avoid all open flames.
  • Use any electrical device, including appliances, doorbells and garage door openers.
  • Use any phones, including cellular phones.
  • Turn light switches on and off.
  • Try to locate the source of the natural gas leak.
  • Re-enter the building or return to the area until DTE Gas tells you it’s safe to (DTE)

According to Healthline, one of the dangers of a gas leak is that affects the amount of oxygen there is available to breathe.  Exposure to gas could leak to some of the following symptoms:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • eye and throat irritation
  • fatigue
  • breathing problems
  • pale skin or blisters, which only occur if skin comes in contact with compressed or liquid gas (Healthline, What Symptoms Can a Gas Leak Cause?)

If you suspect a gas leak in your own home or business, be sure to follow these steps without hesitating.  After a professional has come to handle the leak, it may be necessary to contact Flame to do a thorough inspection on your furnace or to complete necessary repairs.  For more information about

The 4th of July is a time for family, friends, fun outside, and yummy red, white, and blue desserts.  We all know that energy bills tend to skyrocket during the summer with cranked up air conditioners, and hosting a party can cost even more money.  Here are 4 tips to help you save energy this Independence Day:

Grill Outside

What says summer more than burgers and hot dogs on the grill?  Using a hot oven or stove heats up your home, which makes it harder and more expensive to cool.  Take your party cooking outside to help keep the inside of your home cooler.  Plus, now you can hang out with all of your guests outside while cooking the food too.

Keep Doors and Windows Closed

During parties, doors and windows tend to be kept open more than usual with people coming  in and out.  Be vigilant and keep your eye on these openings in your home.  You can even post a sign to nicely remind guests to shut the door behind them as a way to save energy.

Cool off with Water

Use water to keep cool instead of air conditioning.  Turn on the sprinkler, pull out the slip ‘n’ side, or even take the party down to the lake or the pool.  Fill up some water balloons and offer a water balloon fight as part of your party activities.

Keep the Lights Off

It stays so light in the summer- take advantage of it!  Use the natural light to shine on your gathering instead of racking up the electrical bill with household lights.  When the sun goes down, bring out the candles for some ambiance.

Would you like to learn more about saving energy?  Contact Flame! Have a very happy 4th of July and God Bless America!

 

 

Summer is here, and it is time to get out on the lake!  Nothing, however, can bring a day down faster than having something on your boat stop working.  It can be really frustrating if that thing is the boat’s air conditioner.  Proper maintenance can prevent problems and ensure that your marine a/c is running efficiently.  Here are three DIY tips for maintaining your boat’s air conditioning:

Keep your manual close.  Knowing your air conditioner and how it works will make you better able to ensure that it is working properly.  The owner’s manual can offer solutions to simple problems, and it can help you to navigate the system.

Clean the filter.  The filter is located behind the return air grille, and it helps to trap dust and dirt from re-circulating throughout your boat’s air.  When the filter gets too dirty and clogged, airflow is restricted, which means it will take much longer for your boat to cool down.  Follow your owner’s manual instructions for how to clean the filter.

Clean the sea strainer. Your boat’s air conditioner needs sufficient amount of water in order to run.  The water is used in the condenser to cool the refrigerant back to a liquid state.  That water comes from the lake or the ocean and runs through a sea strainer.  To make sure you have enough water, it is important to clean out the sea strainer at least once a month, or more in tropical water.  While your air conditioning is working properly, take a look at the raw water discharge to check if there is enough water coming out.

There are also some routine maintenance items that should be done by professionals.  For example, using a weak acid solution to flush out the cooling system.  This should be done every few years because scale and marine growth can clog up the coil.

Taking care of your boat’s air conditioner pays off because it can have a lifespan of 15-20 years.

Flame services marine air conditioning units, and we are happy to help you with your questions, routine maintenance, and any problems that come your way.  Contact Flame for more information!  Also, check out this article, where this info came from, for more information (How to Troubleshoot Your Boat’s Air Conditioning System, Power & Motor Yacht).

 

 

Are you thinking of re-doing your hardwood floors?  Maybe you want a different stain, or maybe your floors have just been through quite a bit of use with children and pets.  Either way, you are ready for a fresh clean start with your floors.  When it comes to projects such as re-doing hardwood floors, it is really important to keep in mind your home’s indoor air quality. Here are some HVAC tips to ensure clean breathing during your home improvement project.

  1. Turn off the furnace or air conditioner during the process of re-doing your hardwood floors. Why? Because this is going to be a VERY dusty project.  Furnaces and air conditioners tend to suck in your air and re-circulate it, which means that they would suck in all of that dust and blow it back out- even in rooms you weren’t working in!
  2. Ventilate with open windows and fans. Staining projects, such as Glitsa, often produce odors and vapors that can cause nausea or headaches.  Therefore, it is very important to properly ventilate your home.  Since the furnace or air conditioner can’t be used, ventilation should be done with open windows and fans.

Older homes are more likely to have cracks and leaks that allow for “bad” air to go out and “good” air to come back in.  Though these cracks and leaks mean that the home is less efficient, in this case, it is a good thing.  If you have an older home, some of the necessary ventilation may happen naturally.

Good luck with your project, and we hope the result turns out beautifully. For more information about keeping your home’s air clean, contact Flame!

 

An easy way to save energy is by purchasing products with the Energy Star label.  You may be wondering what the label means and if you can really trust it.  In order to put your mind at ease, we did a little research into the Energy Star label.

According to the Energy Star website:

“ENERGY STAR is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.”

In order for a product to earn that level, they must comply with the Energy Star standards that are set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Here are the guiding principals the EPA follows when setting its standards:

  • Product categories must contribute significant energy savings nationwide.
  • Certified products must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency.
  • If the certified product costs more than a conventional, less-efficient counterpart, purchasers will recover their investment in increased energy efficiency through utility bill savings, within a reasonable period of time.
  • Energy efficiency can be achieved through broadly available, non-proprietary technologies offered by more than one manufacturer.
  • Product energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing.
  • Labeling would effectively differentiate products and be visible for purchasers. (How a Product Earns the Energy Star Label)

Flame offers a variety of products that have an Energy Star label: furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters etc…  This is just one way that help you to conserve energy in your home.  If you would like to learn more about these products, or more way to save energy, contact Flame!

What are some things that you do every year?  Celebrate your birthday, go on a vacation, and visit your doctor for a physical?  Most likely you probably aren’t draining your water heater annually.  Well, you should be.  Here is why you should drain your hot water heater:  Emptying out your hot water tank every year is important because over time sediment builds up in the bottom of the tank.  When there is a sediment on the bottom of the tank, the tank spends time and energy heating that sediment before it heats the water for your home.  This is a waste of energy and money!

Don’t worry, it is not hard to drain your hot water heater- all you need is a garden hose.  Just follow these step by step instructions:

Step 1:

Look at the bottom of the tank and you will find a spigot.

Step 2:

Hook up your hose to the spigot. make sure the opposite end of the hose is being run to a floor drain, or to the outside if possible, or you’ll end up with a wet mess!

Step 3:

When the water first starts to drain, it may be brown or black.  No need to be alarmed-that is the sediment draining out of the tank. Let the water run into the drain until it runs clear.  Once the water turns clear, your water heater has been drained and is ready to use again!  If the water tank has been completely empty, it may take a little while to heat the water-so wait before hopping into the shower.

If you have any questions about draining your hot water heater, or if you would like to learn more about other residential services, please feel free to contact Flame!

 

First, second, or even third-time parent?  No matter how many babies you have brought home from the hospital, having a new baby on the way brings about a lot of questions and preparations.  You may have thought about nursery colors and strollers, and you may have researched which car seats are the safest, but have you thought about the air your son or daughter will be breathing in his or her room?

The bad news is, for most of us, our home’s indoor air quality is not great and baby nurseries can have many air quality dangers from the new furniture and paint job.  When “Good Morning America” tested out the indoor air quality of a new nursery they found over 300 chemicals in the air (Toxic indoor air pollution in your baby’s nursery).

A blog from IndoorDoctor lists “10 Ways Parents Can Improve the Air Quality in Their Baby’s Bedroom

1. Only use No VOC and No odor paints

2. Avoid thick pile carpeting

3. Purchase natural, chemical-free furniture

4.  Replace the window air conditioner or regular change furnace filter

5.  Control the humidity

6. Use a HEPA filter vacuum

7. Avoid any remodeling prior to or after the birth of your baby

8. Use a quality air purifier in the nursery

9. Clean the windowsills

10. Have your home’s indoor air quality tested

Your furnace filters should be changed every 3 months to maintain their quality and efficiency.  Also, please note that if your air conditioner uses the same duct work as your furnace, then the same filters are used, so do not forget to clean or change them in the summer months as well.  UV germicidal lights and air purifiers can also be installed to help keep the air clean.

Would you like to to learn more about controlling your home’s humidity through a whole home humidifier? Or, would you like you to learn more indoor air quality? contact Flame!  

 

We all know the saying: you have to spend money to make money, right?  Well sometimes, that saying can be changed to: you have to spend money to save money. Many of us do that all the time.  For example, we buy memberships to stores, such as Costco, that offer items at discount prices.  Investing in a generator is another way to be saving money.

A power outage can be inconvenient, unsafe, and expensive.  An automatic stand by generator means you do not have to deal with the inconveniences of losing power.  With hot temperatures and thunderstorms on the horizon in metro Detroit, we gathered up some approximate information about how much money can be lost during a power outage:

  • Food (estimated loss: $500-$800). This number depends on how well stocked your refrigerator or freezer are.  But, on a 90 day degree day, the food will spoil fairly quickly no matter how hard you try to keep the fridge closed and the cool air in.
  • Computer (estimated loss: around $1,000). Many of us have our documents and photos backed up on to a hard drive or in the ‘Cloud,’ so losing those isn’t as much of a threat as it once was.  However, depending when the outage happens any unsaved data can easily be lost.  Plus, power surges can occur when the power comes back on and these can fry out your computer.
  • Flooding (estimated loss: $500- $3,000 and memories) Sump pumps rely on power to run.  If the power outage happens because of a big storm, then you could be in a big trouble if you do not have a back up.  A basement flood can ruin appliances, pictures, furnitures, electronics and they can be very expensive to clean up.
  • Misc… batteries, candles (estimated loss: $30) Without power you will be using lots of flashlights and candles!

Total Loss:  $4,830

This number can vary depending on your home, the extent of any damage, and how long the power outage lasts.  But, we can all agree that not losing power is a way to save this money.  An automatic generator will turn on as soon it sense a power outage, which is almost immediate.

When the temperatures are in the 90s, what is even more important than saving money is staying safe.  Elderly people and young children are more likely to be impacted by heat related illnesses (CDC).  An automatic generator ensures that your home will remain cool and will help your family to avoid a heat related illness.

Contact Flame for more Information about our Generators and Generator Services!

 

2200 East 11 Mile Road Warren, MI 48091

586-582-1700
888-234-2340

info@flamefurnace.com

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