Humidity Can Do More Than Just Make You Feel Hotter

Monday, May 6th, 2019

toxic-mildew-and-moldYou may have heard that we dogs don’t sweat like you humans do. I can tell you, it’s true! We still need to release heat from our bodies when it’s hot, but we go about it a different way. Instead of sweating all through our skin, we sweat through our noses and our paw pads. But mostly, we get rid of all the extra heat in our body by panting. And getting rid of heat is the whole point of sweating!

And this brings me to my important topic today: humidity. We get plenty of that here in East Tennessee during the summer, and it makes the hot weather feel even hotter. This is because it’s harder to release heat through sweat when there’s already too much moisture in the air.

But did you know that humidity can cause other problems than just making the weather muggier? When indoor relative humidity climbs above 60%, you can face trouble like this:

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Olive the Science Hound on Why Humidity Makes You Feel Hot

Monday, July 30th, 2018

graduate-oliveA good HVAC dog is also a dog who’s up on her science facts. Science is behind everything when it comes to heating and cooling a home. When I explain about how our expert team picks the right size of AC for your home, there’s some serious science behind it. When I talk you about the best temperatures to set your thermostat so you can save money, it backed up by the science of heat loss and heat gain.

Today I’m going to get into some serious science, because I’m putting the science upfront. I’m going to explain one of those mysteries of climate: why does humidity make a hot day feel hotter?

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Spring Has Sprung: What You Need to Know about Allergies and Air Filters

Monday, March 27th, 2017

pleated-air-filterIt’s spring time! We have officially moved from the winter to the spring. The temperatures may not reflect it all the time, but we’re on the upward slope toward warmer weather.

And we’re also in allergy season. Sorry, but there is a downside to spring arriving! As plants start to bloom with the warmer temperatures, the pollen count in the air rises—and this is bad news for people who suffer from allergies. And with the unseasonably warm temperatures we’ve experienced recently, a lot of blossoms are already putting pollen into the East Tennessee air.

I know quite a bit about allergies because there are people who are allergic to me. Spring allergies are a bit different than dog-dander allergies, but the effect on people is similar: wheezing, congestion, eye and nose irritation, headaches, and generally feeling “icky” (a medical term I looked up). And making it worse is that we live in the allergy capital of the South! That’s not something you’ll find on the town website, but it’s true.

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The Forgotten “V” in HVAC: Why Home Ventilation Is Important

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Some things belong in airtight containers, like coffee and a half-finished can of dog food. (I can taste the difference, believe me!) But most things need to have a bit of breathing room—and that includes your home.

If you’re starting to say, “But my home isn’t airtight! There’s doors and windows…”, don’t worry. I don’t mean airtight like your home is sealed up in a gigantic Ziploc bag. But you may be surprised to find out that the level of insulation on your home designed to make it as energy efficient as possible can also lead to poor indoor air quality, particularly in winter.

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Benefits of Having a Whole-House Humidifier

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

I’m not sure if you know this about me and my species, but we don’t sweat the same way you humans do. In fact, dogs in general have a different relationship to humidity, and much of it has to do with our fur and our smaller number of sweat glands.

But make no mistake, even though I’m a dog, I am well studied up on how the human body works when it comes to comfort. It’s my job, after all! This is why I’d like to talk to you about dry air and using a whole-house humidifier.

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Dealing with High Humidity in Spring and Summer

Monday, April 4th, 2016

When it comes to staying cool during the heat, we dogs handle things a bit differently than you humans do. Your bodies release heat through perspiration along the pores of your skin, which helps make your body cooler. Dogs are only able to sweat through our paws, which isn’t enough to really cool us down—especially since we have fur coats. To help make up the difference, we pant. Panting lets us circulate air through our bodies, and this helps keep us cool. Something else that helps keep our bodies cooled down is drinking water, so make sure during hot temperatures that you always have ample water available for your dog! Otherwise, your dog will go find a large body of water and just leap into it! And then shake itself out in the middle of the living room.

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Olive Investigates Allergies in East Tennessee! (And Offers Solutions)

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Here’s something that I don’t often admit: it’s difficult for me to see things on a computer screen. Dog-vision simply doesn’t that well to any sort of TV or monitor. So I’m an old-fashioned “black ink on white paper” sort of girl, and it’s easy to curl up on the couch with a newspaper under my head and read all the local goings-on between naps.

It was a few days ago, while reading a current newspaper, that I learned something alarming: the East Tennessee region ranks in the top 10 allergy areas in the country! In fact, three Tennessee cities made the list of “Asthma Capitals” from a study by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America—with Knoxville, the region’s largest city, parked at #7. Yikes!

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Air Filter Change: What You Need to Know!

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Hi, Olive the Comfort Dog here. While professional maintenance is necessary, there’s one key thing you can do to help keep your HVAC system operating efficiently.

Replace your HVAC air filters per your manufacturer’s instructions and upon advice from your HVAC service provider. Once is month is not one-size-fits-all.  Some filters need to replaced less frequently; others need to be replaced more often.  Factors, such as having furry family members such as myself inside the house may mean that your filters should be changed more frequently.  Individual  differences in lifestyle will impact the kind of filter that you use. Some kinds of filters do their job so well that you won’t have to dust your home as often, a chore my humans sometimes complain about. Others are very effective at eliminating odors.  If you are unsure what kind of filter to buy, just ask MK Russell & Abbott about the different options, or visit MK Russell & Abbott on YouTube to see a video about air filters.  We’ll also show you how to change the filter when we come out for Comfort Club maintenance!

For those who want to “bone up” on why air filters make a difference, here’s the deal: a clogged air filter prevents airflow, causing pressure drops in the HVAC system, and that means that the fan motor has to work harder and that air circulation through your home suffers. In fact, clogged air filters are the most common cause of costly burnt-out HVAC systems.

When you become a Comfort Club Member at MK Russell & Abbott, we  will maintain an electronic file for your system, noting  your air filter needs and preferences. To learn more about the smart choice of joining Comfort Club or to fill out the Comfort Club Member Agreement, call (865) 982-5133 or visit

Be Comfortable,

Olive paw






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How Does a Whole-House Dehumidifier Work?

Monday, April 27th, 2015

There is nothing you can do to change the reality of the summer weather in Tennessee. It is going to be hot, and it is going to be humid. This does not mean, however, that you must put up with uncomfortably hot and humid conditions within your home in the Maryville, TN area. A central air conditioning system is an effective and efficient means of cooling an entire home, and such systems will naturally dehumidify the air during operation. This is not their primary function, however, and any real level of dehumidification requires the use of a designated whole-house dehumidifier. MK Russell & Abbott installs and services these beneficial systems.

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Signs That You Need a Whole-House Humidifier in Maryville, TN

Monday, April 20th, 2015

You know that you need a good air conditioner if you are going to live comfortably in your home this summer. You are also well aware that a dependable heater is necessary to keep your home warm and cozy throughout the winter months. In truth, though, there is more than just successful temperature maintenance to consider when it comes to your comfort. The quality of the air in your home is also important, and a lot of that quality hinges on the humidity level.

If your air is too dry in your Maryville, TN home, let MK Russell & Abbott install a whole-house humidifier.

Our team has put together some information to help you to determine if the humidity in your home is too low. If you suspect this is the case, please give us a call and our technicians will assess the situation.

One of the major signs that the air in your home is too dry is difficulty in effectively heating it. Dry air has a harder time holding heat. By bringing the level of humidity in your home up to where it should be, you can increase your comfort and heating efficiency at the same time.

Dry air can also really take a toll on your body. If, for example, you find that your skin is dried out, flaky and itchy, a lack of adequate humidity in the air may be to blame. You may also find that you have frequent sore throats, or even bloody noses. In any case, increasing humidity can help to resolve such health issues.

Finally, remember that dry air can also negatively affect your property. Wooden floorboards and furniture can dry out to the point of splitting and cracking, while paint on the walls may chip. Dry air can also lead to issues with pervasive static shocks, which are annoying and can damage sensitive electronics. When you let the professional humidifier technicians at MK Russell & Abbott install your humidifier, you can eliminate any such problems present in your home.

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