In and around the home, hitting a ‘home run’ on air quality matters

We all know the old saw: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m not sure I would completely concur, because it all depends on what our definition is of “ain’t broke.” The same sort of reasoning behind the expression: If it isn’t broken or damaged, then don’t repair or replace it.

Hot water heater
Hot water heater

Exemplifying the latter is the pen I’m using to prepare the first draft of this post. It isn’t the smoothest when it comes to feel and writing. But, it does get the job done, so, therefore, no need to throw it into the container for materials destined to be recycled (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metal); exchange it for a different one that perhaps might feel more comfortable in my hand; or try to modify it in some way so as to improve its performance. These are the very kinds of situations that most of us experience (and sometimes take for granted) each and every day.

Then there are those devices that emit fumes. Since the topic of the thread today is being in and around the home, the question is how best to deal with such.

Besides the car, the best “for instance” I can think of is the mower, edger, etc. The gasoline-powered lawn mower I bought years ago (and no longer possess) I thought did a respectable job, until the day came when it was figuratively on its last legs and time came to replace it. Why I waited as long as I did I’m not exactly sure. What I replaced the motorized lawn-care implement with was an electric version with (rechargeable) “battery included.”

You see, the local air district then was participating in this trade-in program that I had become aware of. All that was required was that I take my used gas-powered mower to a recycling (aka salvage) yard, turn it over to the company that owned and ran the operation.

With that step now completed, it was over to the office located in front, where, after exiting my vehicle and going inside, issued to me was a voucher which I could use to acquire a brand new battery electric mower. And that is what I did, that is, after mailing such to the representative business. Upon its receipt, it was then that the new mower in question was sent on its way and, lo and behold, a few days later, I received my brand new mower. Oh, almost forgot: There was this small matter of my paying said company $150.00, which, I did, gladly. That was several years ago that I did this and have been a completely satisfied customer (a happy camper, one might say) since.

Fireplace_Burning[1]Turning attention indoors, a while ago, I needed to replace the attic furnace. The device, before it sputtered and before finally going kaput, was notorious for drawing in air from outside along with what the air contains, smoke from neighborhood fireplaces; everything. Because of this, I would never turn the heater on when fireplace smoke was problematic – day or night.

When the furnace finally did go, the new furnace fortunately, didn’t have this characteristic problem. One caveat though: since it has on it a heat pump, after months of non-use when I first turn the heater on, oil that is used to coat the furnace’s heat pump, well, the oil on this part heats up and when it does, the smell of burnt oil wafts through the house. So, as a solution, and so as not to set off the home smoke detectors, on a day when the air is clear and skies are sunny, I open windows and doors to get good cross-ventilation and furthermore allow the air to circulate thoroughly until the smell completely disappears. Subsequent to taking these steps, the heater will operate all winter long sans any smells, that is, until the next year when the process will once again be repeated. This is far preferable to what happened when using the old furnace.

Now, as for the car, it requires continuously maintaining. This means regular oil and oil-filter and air-filter changes. Anytime something more extensive than this routine maintenance work needs to be done, the car goes into the repair shop. Not quite sure how much longer I’ll keep it, when the time comes for a replacement, I plan to go the hybrid or BEV (battery electric vehicle) route. Though, right now, I’m still conflicted on which of the two to choose. Either one will be an improvement over what I am currently driving.