Saturday, February 13, 2010

Safe use of gas range and ovens

Gas Range and Ovens Carbon Monoxide Risk

A typical gas oven will produce high amounts of carbon monoxide (CO). This is normal and allowable by design. But what homeowners miss is you need to run a vented rangehood while cooking. When I say vented hood I mean one that actually vents outside. Not the style that just suck the air up and blow it back into the home.

A gas oven will commonly produce 200-300 PPM of CO. According to Iowa State University they are allowed to produce upto 800 PPM. When testing gas ovens in homes I have found this to be true. Homeowners commonly do not understand this and will cook with out turning on the rangehood vent. There are many homes that don't even have a vented rangehood.

This is one of the many reasons you can not use an oven to heat your home. Long use of the oven can over come the home with high levels of CO which can be very dangerous.

It is very important that any home with a gas range has a low level Carbon Monoxide Monitor. Not just a carbon monoxide alarm. Some states like Minnesota require CO alarms in homes, but not CO Monitors. A CO Monitor will alarm you with levels as low as 5 PPM in your home. A Carbon Monoxide alarm from your hardware store will not notify you until levels as high as 75 PPM in the home.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tap Water Scalds: Safety Alert

The temperature a water heater should be has multiple answers. Below is a document from the "U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission". 120 degrees has been a common answer. Homeowners that have electric off peak water heaters commonly need to keep water warmer. There has also been studies that say you need water to be 140-145 degrees to prevent bacteria growth. When you do set your water heater higher than 120 degrees you need to add a mixing valve. A mixing valve will allow you to have the tank temperature 140 degrees, but it will mix cold water with the outlet water lowering it to 120 degrees or what ever you set it at. Mixing valves are also called Anti-scald valves.

Document #5098

Each year, approximately 3,800 injuries and 34 deaths occur in the home due to scalding from excessively hot tap water. The majority of these accidents involve the elderly and children under the age of five. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges all users to lower their water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to preventing accidents, this decrease in temperature will conserve energy and save money.

Most adults will suffer third-degree burns if exposed to 150 degree water for two seconds. Burns will also occur with a six-second exposure to 140 degree water or with a thirty second exposure to 130 degree water. Even if the temperature is 120 degrees, a five minute exposure could result in third-degree burns.

Various procedures for lowering water temperature in the home exist, depending on the method of heating. Here are some suggestions:

Electric water heaters. Call your local electric company to adjust the thermostat. Some companies offer this service at no-charge. Hot water should not be used for at least two hours prior to setting. To make the adjustment yourself, start by shutting off current to the water heater, then turn off the circuit breaker to the heater or remove the fuse that serves the heater. Most electric water heaters have two thermostats, both of which must be set to a common temperature for proper operation. To reach these thermostats you must remove the upper and lower access panels. Adjust the thermostat following the instructions provided with the appliance. Hold a candy or meat thermometer under the faucet to check water temperature.

Gas water heaters. Because thermostats differ, call your local gas company for instructions. Where precise temperatures are not given, hold a candy or meat thermometer under faucet for most accurate reading first thing in the morning or at least two hours after water use. If reading is too high, adjust thermostat on heater, according to manufacturers instructions, and check again with thermometer.

Furnace heater. If you do not have an electric, gas, or oil-fired water heater, you probably have an on-line hot water system. Contact your fuel supplier to have the temperature lowered. If you live in an apartment, contact the building manager to discuss possible options for lowering your tap water temperature. Reducing water temperature will not affect the heating capacity of the furnace.

The CPSC notes that a thermostat setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) may be necessary for residential water heaters to reduce or eliminate the risk of most tap water scald injuries. Consumers should consider lowering the thermostat to the lowest settings that will satisfy hot water needs for all clothing and dish washing machines.
Never take hot water temperature for granted. Always hand-test before using, especially when bathing children and infants. Leaving a child unsupervised in the bathroom, even if only for a second, could cause serious injuries. Your presence at all times is the best defense against accidents and scaldings to infants and young children.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Minnesota Energy Saver Rebate Program

The State of Minnesota started a new energy rebate program for homeowners to make improvements to there home. The short version is you can make your home more energy efficient by upgrading heating system, air conditioning, windows, insulation, light fixtures, and a few other items.

The state's advantage is trying to help American become more energy independent.

The homeowners advantage is you get a very large rebate for items that can drastically lower you monthly gas and electric bills. If you look at long term what it cost to heat and cool your home it is amazing. Average Minnesota home cost $1,000/year for natural gas and $1,200/year in electricity. That is $2,200 per year or $22,000 over 10 Years. And if gas and electric rates keep going up as they have it will cost even more.

The heating and cooling system upgrade has been a great thing for homeowners. There never has been a time you could install a new 95% Efficient Gas furnace and cooling system for so little money. You can use federal tax credit up to $1500, local utility gas rebates, utility electric rebates, plus get another 35% rebate from the state. The state rebate is 35% of the total installed cost with a maximum rebate of $10,000 per home from the State of Minnesota.

One requirement is you must finance the installation, but you get a great 5.9% interest rate.


-Must be owner occupied
-Decent credit history
-Current maximum household income of $96,500 (updated annually)
-Single family homes, duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes, and a unit of a condominium or town home (no common areas)

You can learn more about this loan at

Or contact Comfort Matters Heating and Cooling at 763-493-2665 or and you can get more details or have an information package sent to you with details.

You can find participating banks at