Q: What’s the Difference Between Direct Vent Range Hoods and Recirculating Vents?

Here’s an overview of how direct vent range hoods work.

Welcome back to another one of our warranty how-to videos for repairing and maintaining household items. Today we’ll provide a quick overview of how direct vent range hoods work.

Direct vent range hoods are different from recirculating vents in that they vent directly to the exterior of a home. This means that during high winds, you may occasionally hear a rattling noise. This noise is the flapper opening and closing.

Unfortunately, due to the construction of the hood, there’s not much you can do about this. When the flapper is open, it can also cause condensation to drip down the vent.

The fans for these direct vents usually have only a few settings: low, medium, and high. You’ll also find a couple of metal filters underneath that you can clean by running through the dishwasher.

If you have any questions about this or any other real estate-related topic, don't hesitate to reach out via phone or email. We would love to help you.

A Quick Guide to Fixing Your Sump Pump

You can fix a malfunctioning sump pump all by yourself. Here’s how.

Today’s how-to video is the first of a two-part series where Todd Hansen joins us at one of our model homes to show you how to fix a malfunctioning sump pump.

As you can see in the video, the first thing Todd checks in this situation is whether the pump itself is full of water, which it is. Next, he checks whether the GFI outlet is tripped (which it is) and resets it.

After this, he checks to see whether the pump will work by unplugging the float and pump cords from the outlet, disengaging them from each other, and plugging just the pump cord back into the outlet. After the pump starts running again, he unplugs the pump cord so the pump doesn’t continue to run and burn itself out, and then reattaches both cords to each other before plugging them back in.

"To check the impeller, you have to separate the pump from the discharge pipe."

If this doesn’t take care of the problem, there are a couple of potential issues with the pump: Either a piece of debris got sucked up into its impeller or the pump itself has burned out.

To check the impeller, you have to separate the pump from the discharge pipe. First, unplug both cords from the outlet and remove the water alarm from the pipe. Then, use a screwdriver to unscrew the clamps around the pipe. As you loosen the clamps, let the water drain out of the pipe.

Stay tuned for the second part of this series to find out what to do next. As an added safety measure, if you try everything we discuss in these videos and the pump still won’t work, use a utility pipe or a bucket to drain the excess water until you can get the pump fixed.

As always, if you have any real estate questions, don’t hesitate to call or email us. We’re here to help.

Tips and Tricks For Keeping Your Furnace Clean & Functional

Today I’m here to provide you with some tips on how to properly maintain your furnace.

You should always check your furnace’s filter once a month. To do that, switch your unit off, remove the magnetic strip, and pull out the filter. Check to make sure that it’s clean; if it’s dirty, replace it so that your unit can function at peak performance.

When you replace the filter, be sure to align the arrow on the filter (marked “Air Flow”) with the ones on your unit so that you know you’re putting it in correctly.

You should also pay attention to the dampers on the ducts that lead to individual areas of your home. If you have a ranch home, these will go to individual rooms on the main floor. If you have a two-story home, there are trunk lines that go up to the second floor and the main floor—both have dampers on them. 

You should always check your furnace’s filter once a month.

It’s very important to adjust the dampers for the season based on your comfort level so that you’re not cooking yourself out upstairs or freezing yourself out on the main floor.

On the furnace unit displayed in the video above, we have a whole-house humidifier. You may have seen these installed in homes during your walk-throughs. These units keep the humidity levels in your home at a comfortable level per your tastes, but are usually kept between 35% and 45% humidity. It’s critical to monitor the humidity of your house—you can’t set the humidistat once and leave it there. Keep a barometer in your house so that you can see what your readings are and adjust accordingly.

During the winter, make sure that your damper on the humidifier is on; that way, the air flows into the unit. In the summer, flip it off to block the air flow. If you remove the cover, you can see the media inside—since both air and water flow over this, it’s possible for it to become clogged by the minerals in the water. Do your best to keep them clean, but if they must be replaced, you can find them at any local home-improvement store.

If you have any questions about maintaining your furnace throughout the year, please look for additional videos within this blog page.