Flame Blog

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!

 

The weather forecast is calling for some very hot weather in metro Detroit next week.  At Flame, we know that being cool isn’t just about being comfortable, being cool is also about being safe.  Exposure to high temperatures, especially for long periods of time can lead to serious heat related illnesses.

According to WebMD, if you have the following symptoms from high temperatures, it is important call 911:

During hot days, do your best to keep hydrated and stay in cool, air conditioned spaces in order to stay healthy.

Want some other tips for surviving the heat?  Close the blinds and shades in your home, hang out in the basement, take a cool shower or jump in the lake or pool, and drink icy drinks.

If your air conditioner stops working, do not hesitate to contact Flame as soon as possible.  Our goal is to keep you and your families cool, safe, and comfortable this summer.

Drip, drip, drip… The sound of a leaky faucet can be extremely annoying- especially if you are trying hard to focus!  But, those leaky faucets are just annoying right?  They aren’t really a big problem?  Nope, when it comes to leaking water, every little bit counts and all of the drips will add up over time.

You can use the Drip Calculator from the US Geological Survey’s Water Science School to find out just how big a deal a leaky faucet it.  For example, if you have 3 faucets in your home and each of them only leaks a little (once per minute), those little drops would add up to 1 liter each day and 104 gallons per year.

We will let you figure out what those numbers mean for your water bill.  As you can see, it is important to get that faucet fixed not just because the sound of the drips are annoying, but because those drips are wasting serious amounts of water and energy.  If you would like help having any of your faucets fixed, or, if you would like to learn about other ways to save water, please don’t hesitate to contact Flame!  Don’t forget to check some of our other residential plumbing services as well.

 

One of the most exciting things that has happened at Flame recently is that Flame is now a specialized dealer and installer of the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Like phones and televisions, thermostats are one of the latest gadgets to take on a new “Smart” persona.  The Nest is one of these smart thermostats, and its known for is its learning capabilities.  Unlike traditional programmable thermostats that need to be manually programmed, with the Nest, you simply live your life and  it will program itself to best suit your needs.

The one disadvantage of the Nest is that is does have a higher price tag than a manual or a typical programmable thermostat.  The question is, is it worth it?  We at Flame think so, but we want to allow you to hear from someone other than us.  We went to the internet in search of an answer.  This review from How-to Geek, an online tech magazine, gives you a look into life with the Nest Learning Thermostat: “Should You Buy Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat?

The author, Jason Fitzpatrick, determines that in most cases, the Nest Learning Thermostat is definitely worth it:

“Based on both our rough calculations and projected estimates from the Nest company, the thermostat should pay for itself within two years. We’ll be frank with you though, even if it didn’t pay for itself in twice that amount of time we’d probably still have gone ahead and installed it simply because its proven to be so convenient, so easy to use and, more importantly, it actually made us care about what was going on with our heating and cooling system. A product that not only reduces the friction of a previously unpleasant task but also makes you care about the task and want to interact with said product is definitely a product worth buying.”

If you would like to learn more about whether or not this is the best thermostat for your home, contact Flame!

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586-582-1700
888-234-2340

info@flamefurnace.com

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