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New Studies Reveal Every Homeowner’s Dream: You Can Dust Less and Have a Healthier, Cleaner Home

Have you ever felt that no matter how often you dust, the dust seems to reappear the next day? You’re not alone. The average six-room house collects 40 pounds of dust each year. Dust is in every home, no matter how clean it is. While dust in your home may be embarrassing when company stops by, what you really need to know is that it may be a health hazard. And, with people spending up to 90 percent of their time indoors, it’s more important than ever to have cleaner, healthier air in your home.

New studies show that the installation of Trane CleanEffects,TM a whole-house air cleaner, reduces dust accumulation in the home by more than 50 percent — meaning you can dust less and have a healthier, cleaner home environment.1

What’s in house dust?

Many items you don’t want to breathe in, including dust mite debris, mold and fungal spores, pollen, shed skin cells and pet dander.

Why is it important to remove dust?

It allows for a healthier, cleaner home. Reduced accumulation of dust in your home may lead to reduced exposure to allergens (such as fungal spores) and toxins (such as lead) present in surface dust, helping prevent allergy symptoms and asthma attacks.1

Are children more sensitive to dust?

Removing dust is especially important for children because they inhale and ingest more dust than adults. This is because children breathe faster and inhale 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults, making them more sensitive to the allergens and toxins that dust may contain. In fact, children ingest anywhere from 50 mg to 100 mg of dust per day, which is 100 times more than adults ingest.1 To put it in perspective, this amounts to about a teaspoon of dust every six weeks.

Tell me more about Trane CleanEffects.

Trane CleanEffects utilizes patented air cleaning technology to eliminate allergens and particles you don’t want in your home, such as dust, pollen, bacteria, pet dander, mold spores, smoke and the common flu virus. It even removes particles as small as .1 microns – 1/1,000th the diameter of a human hair – the size that eludes most air cleaners. Trane CleanEffects is 100 times more effective than the standard 1-inch filter found in most home central systems, removing up to 99.98 percent of airborne particles and more than 99 percent of the common flu virus from the filtered air.

Isn’t dusting less every homeowner’s dream?

Beyond providing your family with a healthier home environment, installing Trane CleanEffects may save you time cleaning because it greatly reduces dust accumulation.

1 According to the results of a health impact study completed by scientists at Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. and professors from the Harvard School of Public Health, “Settled Dust and Airborne Particulate Pilot Study of Trane CleanEffects.”

Heating Equipment: Should You Repair or Replace?
By: Oliver Marks

The decision to repair or replace heating equipment depends on its age, the cost of repair, and how much money a more efficient system will save you.

Consider replacement if the equipment is beyond three-quarters of its life expectancy and repairs will cost more than a third of replacement.

It happens eventually in every home. On a particularly frigid morning, you wake up and crank the thermostat just like usual, but there’s no response:  No comforting sound of the system firing up and no warmth rising from the air vents or radiators.  Hopefully it’s a simple problem that’s a quick and inexpensive fix, like a tripped circuit breaker or a clogged filter.  But occasionally the repair is so big and costly that it raises an age-old question that’s been asked about everything from station wagons to vacuum cleaners: Is it more cost effective to fix what you have or replace it?  Here’s how to decide.

Think safety first
If the problem presents a safety hazard, replacement is a no-brainer. For example, if your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger—the metal wall between the burning fuel and the air it’s heating—poisonous carbon monoxide gas could work its way into the household air supply, something you don’t want to risk. Other problems, like faulty electronics and stuck valves, can be repaired, which means you’ll need to do a cost-benefit analysis.

Consider the typical lifespan
A 2007 study by the National Association of Home Builders and Bank of America found that furnaces for forced-air systems last an average of 15 to 20 years; boilers for hot-water radiators and baseboards last 13 to 21 years. So start by dating your system. Some technicians write the year the equipment was installed directly on the unit. Otherwise, when the machine is off and cool, look for a metal identification plate, usually on the inside of chamber door. Record the model and serial numbers from the plate, then call the manufacturer’s customer service number to get the date of manufacture.

Keep in mind that a 25- or even 30-year-old system isn’t necessarily ready for the scrap heap. The published lifespans are averages, which means half of all systems are spent by that time, and the other half are still working well. Use these numbers as ballpark guidelines only, suggests Gopal Ahluwalia, the NAHB study’s lead researcher.
Assess the costs of repairing versus replacing

To decide your system’s fate, you need more data: the cost of your repair or replacement options, which your service provider can give you. Depending on the size of your house and the brand of new equipment you choose, a new hot-air furnace typically costs $1,500 to $4,000, while a boiler for a hot-water system might run $4,000 to $8,000.

As a general guideline, consider replacement if the equipment is beyond three-quarters of its life expectancy and repairs will cost more than a third of replacement, suggests Larry Howald of Broad Ripple Heating and Air Conditioning in Indianapolis. In other words, it’s probably not worth spending $700 to repair a 15-year-old furnace you could replace for $2,000.
Consider your heating plant’s efficiency

In these days of high fuel costs and concerns over our carbon footprints, you should also consider your heating plant’s efficiency. Its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency number (AFUE) measures the percentage of the fuel that’s converted to heat rather than being lost up the chimney or through other inefficiencies.

“If your system is 20 years old, its AFUE is probably about 70%,” says Greg Gill of Action Air Conditioning and Heating in San Marcos, California. Today’s minimum AFUE is 80%, which means you’ll burn 10% less fuel—and therefore spend 10% less money on your heating bills. You can go as high a 95% AFUE with new equipment, dropping your bills a whopping 25%. That kind of efficiency raises your equipment costs to $3,500 to $6,000 for a furnace and $8,000 to $10,000 for a boiler, but will also earn you a 30% tax credit (up to $1,500) from the federal government. And there are many local tax incentives and manufacturers’ rebates for super-efficient systems, too.

“It’s definitely worth doing the math to see if the high-efficiency model will pay for itself,” Gill says. According to Energy Star, upgrading to more efficient HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment can cut heating and cooling costs by about 20%, or $200 a year on average, which means you could recoup the extra investment in as little as five years.

A former carpenter and newspaper reporter, Oliver Marks has been writing about home improvements for 16 years. He’s currently restoring his second fixer-upper with a mix of big hired projects and small do-it-himself jobs.

Tagged as: furnace repair, furnace replace, replacing heating system

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