Four Fun Fireplace Activities for the Holidays

holiday activities, fireplace funLate fall and early winter are when households make use of the fireplace. Both outdoor firepits and indoor fire stoves make for great gathering spots. Here are some fun fireplace activities to partake in during the Christmas holidays.

1. Game Night

We recommend holiday activities that involve a lot of interaction, such as Pictionary or Cranium. If this is an adult-only event, then adding some red wine to the mix adds to the fun. If this is a family gathering with kids, then serve eggnog and apple cider.

2. Shish Kabob Party

Prepare various ingredients, such as organic meats and vegetables. Cooking shish kabobs is ideal if you have an outdoor firepit and a grill or smoker for preparing the food. Once you prepare everything, set the food next to the firepit and allow guests to create their own kabobs. You can end the night by breaking out the makings for smores and using leftover skewers for roasting marshmallows. Continue Reading →

Four Tips for an Outdoor Thanksgiving

outdoor thanksgivingYour Thanksgiving celebration does not necessarily have to take place in the dining room. Have you considered hosting an outdoor Thanksgiving? This is a nice way of making optimal use of your outdoor living accessories. We’ll show you how to make this event a blast for your guests.

1. Keep the Food Warm

The food can quickly get cold outside. One option is to serve the food indoors and have the guests bring their plates to the patio. Alternatively, you can keep the food inside chafing dishes. This setup is also perfect for a buffet-style meal.

2. Prepare for the Weather

Autumn weather in Mukilteo can be quite chilly, especially once the sun sets. If you have an outdoor fire pit or fireplace, this is the ideal time to put it to use. This creates a lounge-like setting, which really sets the mood for socializing and enjoying a warm meal. We also recommend an awning of some type or patio curtains to shield the guests and food from high winds. Continue Reading →

Considerations for a Generator Pad

generator padDoes your company have plans to add a generator? The considerations go beyond installation. You also have to consider other factors as well, such as airflow, exhaust flow, fuel availability, etc. Before installing a generator, you will need to install a generator pad.

What Is a Generator Pad?

A generator pad is simply a platform that the generator sits on. You can’t simply place a generator on an exterior asphalt surface or an indoor tile floor. The bulky generator requires a pad. The same holds true of backup generators, air and water heating units, and some HVAC systems.

Despite its name, generator pads do not consist of soft or cushioned surfaces. They are made from pre-cast concrete. In some brands, the generator comes with the pad pre-installed. Continue Reading →

Know the Air Conditioning Calculation Load Before AC Installation

air conditioning calculation load, AC calculation load, AC loadWhether you’re a homeowner or a facility manager, you need to know the air conditioning calculation load before an AC or HVAC installation. Of course, the installer will make the calculation, but you should have a baseline understanding of why the load matters.

Air Conditioning Calculation Load Explained

No two homes or facilities are exactly alike. When installing an AC unit or system, you need to factor in building size, insulation, number of windows, and various other considerations. The calculation load helps you determine the best AC unit and the best parameters for your home or facility type.

You can’t simply purchase and install the largest AC system for the maximum cooling effect. This is not how it works. An oversized system can produce higher output than necessary, leading to higher energy costs. Oversized systems may also not properly dehumidify a room and lead to poor indoor air quality.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, an AC unit that’s too small can be just as counterproductive. Smaller AC systems may not adequately cool a large building, especially in the warmer months. An improperly cooled room can affect worker morale. Continue Reading →

How to Reduce HVAC Noise Pollution

HVAC noise pollutionThe commercial HVAC system in your workplace keeps your staff cool in summer and cozy in winter. However, HVAC units also make a lot of unwelcome noise. At times, this can be borderline intolerable for facility members who need to concentrate. We’ll explore some ways to keep HVAC noise pollution to a minimum.

Upgrade the System

Modern air conditioning and furnace systems are quieter and more energy efficient. If your facility still relies on a system from the 1990s, then perhaps you need to upgrade. The humming is especially loud if the unit is too large for the space.

Rearrange the Room

The noise pollution is greatest at the vents and in the ductwork. If possible, position seats, cubicles, and work areas in the away from the vents. In some instances, a technician may be able to reposition the ducts and airways. Continue Reading →

Is Your Air Conditioner Short Cycling?

air conditioner short cycling, AC short cyclingWith summer comes higher AC use. This puts stress on the HVAC system, especially if it isn’t an energy-efficient model. This also leaves the system prone to air conditioner short cycling. We’ll explain what this is and how it can damage the AC unit.

AC Short Cycling at a Glance

You may notice that the AC automatically turns on and off. This is normal and allows the system to adjust and maintain the optimal temperature. However, short cycling occurs when the on and off cycles occur far more often than normal. This puts wear and tear on the system, and it decreases energy efficiency. You’ll eventually have to turn the setting higher just to have the same cooling effect.

What Causes Air Conditioner Short Cycling?

Numerous factors can lead to short cycling. One common cause is an ill-fitting air conditioning system. If the AC unit is too large for your home, the interior will cool too quickly. This causes the system to constantly readjust and create temperature swings. Continue Reading →

Ideas for a Company Summer Barbecue

company summer barbecueThe office shouldn’t be a 24/7 workplace. Every year, managers and CEOs should throw a company summer barbecue right outside the office. This is a great way to allow the dedicated staff to loosen their ties. Treating your work-family to good food on the company’s dime is a major morale booster.

The Food

Go for the good stuff. We’re talking about juicy baby-back ribs, lamb, salmon, T-bone steak, etc. Be sure to have vegetarian and vegan options, too. Don’t relegate the non-meat eaters to only the snacks and side grub.

We recommend buying the food and preparing them at the event rather than opting for catering. The very act of cooking and waiting on the food makes for a good social setting. We also advise investing in an outdoor barbecue grill for the company’s property. This way, you have a permanent gathering space for leisure company events.

Buy the food ahead of time and store it in your facility’s refrigeration unit to keep perishables within safe temperatures. Continue Reading →

Is Sick Building Syndrome Infecting Your Facility?

sick building syndromeAre your employees dropping like flies? Have sick calls increased dramatically? The cold season has come and gone, so what’s going on? One possible cause is sick building syndrome that’s affecting your indoor facility.

What Is Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick building syndrome occures when people within a building, or part of a building, fall ill in large groups. Occupants may experience common symptoms associated with the common cold or flu, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Itchy and reddish skin
  • Sore throat
  • Chest tightness

Continue Reading →

How to Protect Your AC Unit from the Rain

protect AC from the rainWith spring come spring showers. A little drizzle is not an issue, but a complete downpour is a whole other problem. While manufacturers design residential AC units to withstand water exposure, heavy rain combined with wind can cause damage. We’ll explain how you can protect your AC unit from the rain and the natural elements.

How Rain Affects Air Conditioners

AC units have sealed electrical components that shield the circuitry from rain. However, when the rain is accompanied by strong gusts, airborne projectiles and debris can lodge in the system. For AC systems installed on ground level, heavy rains can also cause floods that inundate the unit. Flood water can also damage air ducts and air quality systems if they’re located within the same vicinity.

How to Safeguard the AC System

Mukilteo can be rainy city during peak spring. We advise home and business owners to protect their installed AC and HVAC units. The solution is quite simple: invest in a rain guard. This is a simple add-on that protects any part of the system that partially or completely protrudes outdoors. Continue Reading →

How High Humidity Affects HVAC Performance

high humidity affects HVACWith spring around the corner, you can expect the weather to heat up. This should also mean an uptick in humidity. Too much moisture in the air makes for uncomfortable weather. Unbeknownst to most homeowners, though, high humidity also affects HVAC performance. Spring is the time to start monitoring the air quality of your HVAC system.

How Humidity Impacts HVACs

Part of an air conditioner’s function is to remove moisture from the surrounding air. The higher the humidity the harder the output of the air conditioner to achieve the desired results. Older HVAC systems may not be able to deal with the excess moisture, resulting in subpar air cooling. The same goes for modern systems that operate continually without a filter change or other maintenance work. The same problem also arises if the installer did not properly size the system for the size and type of your home.

The end result? Premature HVAC wear, higher utility bills, and poor air quality. Continue Reading →