Russell & Abbott Blog: Archive for the ‘Cool Tips’ Category

Olive’s Helpful Reminders about Pet Safety During the Holidays

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Everything gets busier in December, especially if you’re a heating expert dog. But I thought I would leap on my blog today with something a bit different from advice on keep your house warm. Today I have a few friendly reminders about keeping your best safe, healthy, and, most of all, happy during the chilly winter holiday season.

Be cautious of the cold weather

I have a nice fur coat, and I wear it all the time. Most dogs and cats have their own fur coats (yes, there are some interesting exceptions), but that doesn’t mean that we’re always fine outside in the cold weather! My friends over the ASPCA have this simple piece of advice: “If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.” And you should also make sure that you don’t leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather: cars are not well insulated and can almost become literal iceboxes!

Avoid decorating with mistletoe and holly

Both mistletoe and holly are popular for home ornaments this time of the year. But you know, those artificial versions really do look just as good (it’s amazing what they can do with fake foliage today!) and they will prevent serious pet problems. Mistletoe can cause stomach and heart issues in pets, and holly will cause nausea and vomiting.

You like sugar, and so do dogs… but don’t give it to us!

You’ll probably have plenty of sweet confections around the house this December, and my sensitive dog nose sure loves the smell of baking cookies. But don’t give sweets to your dog, especially not chocolate, which can be toxic to our system. Keep an eye on where you leave the chocolates, because we canines are pretty wily about getting to them. (By the way, cats won’t bother with chocolate because they don’t like it. Yet another reason why I simply don’t understand cats.)

Maintain a safe room for your pet

I like company, but even the friendliest dog or cat has a limit when it comes to large holiday gatherings, and they need a place to retreat and relax. Give your pet its own place to vacation should the house get hectic, and keep water and food there. Small dogs, as well as cats, might enjoy staying in their carrier.

MK Russell & Abbott is your source for great heating in Louisville and Maryville, TN.

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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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Keeping Your Pets Safe During Winter

Monday, December 8th, 2014


Hey there! Olive the Dog blogger here. The weather outside has been getting increasingly frightful, and my canine contacts from up north tell me it’s going to be a long, cold arctic winter. With this insight, I’m glad that we have great heating throughout our home, and I am inspired to remind everyone on how to keep your furry friends safe during the winter. We may have a hunch to explore, but every dog and cat knows there’s no place like home and comfort with your people. Here are some important tips:

Keep Pets Warm and Indoors


When the temperature drops, that’s your sign to let your animal friends inside. Don’t leave dogs or cats outdoors. Even if the temperature is not that low, windchill can still threaten a pet’s life. Pets are highly sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia when outdoors even faster than their humans because of their smaller size. Skin that is exposed on ears, noses, and paw pads can freeze quickly and cause permanent damage. On that note, regardless of the season, animals that are outdoors often should always be supervised.

Take Necessary Precautions if your Pet is Often Outdoors


Dogs and cats are healthiest and happiest when at home indoors with their owners. If they are in fact outdoors for a large part of their day, provide a dry, draft-free shelter large enough to allow for comfortable sitting and laying, but also snug enough to hold in your furry friend’s body heat. Be sure that the floor is covered with cedar shavings or straw, and is raised some inches off the ground. Also check that the house is turned away from the wind, and that the doorway is covered with either heavy plastic or waterproof burlap. Trust me, these are the specifics I tell my people and my outside winter shelter is always the best on the block.

Give Your Pets Plenty of Water


Winter is all about keeping warm, and because keeping warm depletes energy, pets need more food and water in the winter. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make sure the water is fresh and unfrozen (if outdoors). Also, let’s keep the Christmas Story frozen tongue scene outside of pet world. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal, because when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and unfortunately freeze to metal (if this happens warm water will do the trick).

Watch what your Pets are Eating


Watch out for your curious friends, they love to chew on anything. Keep them away from chocolate, plants, holly berries and leaves, and tinsel. Also watch out for antifreeze. Because of its sweet taste, it can be irresistible to the curious of us pets. Antifreeze can be deadly to a pet if it isn’t treated very quickly after ingesting it. If you think your pet has ingested some, don’t wait to see if it gets sick, immediately take it to the veterinarian. To be safe, place all of your antifreeze containers on a high shelf and make sure your car is not leaking it. If you think your pet has eaten something dangerous, call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Protect Paws


Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can really irritate the delicate pads of our feet. The trick to avoid any irritation is to wipe our paws with a damp towel before we lick them and also irritate our mouth.

Best Tip

Goodnight All

The best prescription for furry friend winter care is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest pets are those who are taken out often for fresh air, walks, and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time. They are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animal friends deserve to live indoors with you and your family.

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Why My Air Conditioner Freezes and What to Do if it Does

Thursday, June 26th, 2014


The sizzling summer continues, and 4th of July is just around the corner. I want to celebrate the holiday with my very own hotdog, chilling and relaxing on my favorite vent spot. However, my plans almost didn’t happen! I had been noticing lately that our air conditioning was freezing up, thankfully my humans are cool air experts, and they fixed it in no time. Here is what I learned:

Why Air Conditioners Freeze Up

While there are many possible causes, there are three main things that freeze up your air conditioner:

  • Restricted Airflow
  • Low Levels of Refrigerant
  • Thermostat or Outside Temperature Issues

Let’s look at each one a little closer. Some of these can be fixed easily by yourself, and others will require calling my human experts.

Airflow Problems

This is the number one reason for a freezing air conditioner. When air goes too slowly through the cooling coil, moisture builds up and freezes. The first thing to o is check your air filters. A clogged up air filter will not allow air to pass through as fast. Got a clean filter? Next place to check is the ventilation. Are too many vents shut off, or do you see any obstructions? If so clear them out. If none of these are present, it’s time to call an expert.

Lost Refrigerant

The second most common cause for a freezing air conditioner is a loss of refrigerant. Well maintained systems shouldn’t leak. However, an ac system that has not been maintained can leak because of wear and tear.Refrigerant should not leak in well-maintained systems. The coil will freeze of the refrigerant leaks out of it. A way you can tell is if your electric bill rises. The air conditioner has to work harder to produce the same level of cold temperature. According to EPA guidelines, only a certified HVAC technician can replace refrigerant.

Thermostat and Temperature Issues

A faulty thermostat can also be the cause of air conditioner freezing up. A lot of the time this happens in cold weather months. A clear sign of a thermostat problem is the AC freezing only at night. Because it depends on warmer air, the cooling coil naturally freezes if the air around it is too cold. Your thermostat is supposed to turn off at the right temperature. If the AC continues to run, then this is also a sign of a problematic thermostat. This is more common with older models.

Call my people at MK Russell Heating and Air if your air conditioner is freezing up. They fixed ours in now time and I’m back at my favorite spot again.

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4 Ways a Great Heating and Air System can Help with Allergies

Thursday, June 12th, 2014


Hello there! My name is Olive, full time protector and air quality sniffer over at MK Russell & Abbot. Summer is one of my favorite seasons of the year (hello hotdogs!), and because I like to stay indoors on those ice cream melting days, I know the importance of having a good air system to keep out pollutants. Studies show that the air we breathe indoors can be 20 times more polluted than the air outside! Without good air ventilation, this air can become trapped in your home and be continuously recirculated and inhaled by you and your family.

A good HVAC System can help your allergies.

Sniffing the air is one of my favorite pastimes, so naturally over the years I have become a clean air connoisseur. As a young pup, I always felt self-conscious of the way my chocolate lab fur made my humans sneeze. Although soft and cuddly, it released pesky irritating allergens in the air. Thankfully, my people figured out the importance of having a good heating and air system in our home, and we all live in purified air harmony. Here are 4 ways having a great heating and air system helps with allergies:

Air Purification – A great air purification system is the best option for removing irritating odors associated with chemical vapors. This will allow the air that you breathe into your lungs to be free from chemicals.

Air Filtration – A great air filtration system keeps pollutants such as dirt, dust, mold, pollen, bacteria, and viruses to a minimum. The less of these in your home, the smaller your pile of tissues becomes.

Ventilation – Air has a tendency to get trapped in our homes. With a good ventilation system, stale indoor air is removed, and replaced with fresh air from outside. And fresh is always better. This is also a great system to remove pollutants that come from air fresheners, cleaning supplies, furnishings, or building materials.

Humidity Control – Mold and mildew can be caused by too much humidity in your home, and bring on an array of respiratory problems. With a dehumidification system, these two are kept at bay.

If you live around Maryville, Alcoa, or Knoxville and need help with your indoor air quality then give my adorable humans a call – they know what they are doing when it comes to Clean Air and Comfort!



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Don’t let Summer days ruin your Summer nights.

Saturday, May 31st, 2014


Try these cool tips to beat the Summer heat for a great night’s sleep

Have you ever noticed that you sleep better in a room that’s cool?  Well it’s true.  When it’s hot in the house my humans toss and turn.  Restless sleep and insomnia are often the result of sleeping in rooms that are too warm.  The good news is that outside temperatures are often cooler at night, but that doesn’t always translate into the right conditions for a good, cool, restful sleep.  Now that the weather is heating up I usually go and lay on the cool kitchen tiles or just hog one of the vents, but here are some tips my humans use for staying cool at night and waking up rested and ready to take on the dog days of Summer!

  • Keep the room cool- The most important thing you can do is to keep your room cool.  Of course the temperature set on your thermostat is the obvious solution, but in addition, there other things you can do to help as well to not only reduce the nighttime temperature but reduce your energy bill as well! The rooms inside your home heat up during the day and can act like a solar heater.  Sunlight transfers heat to the objects in your room and they retain heat until you go to bed. A great way to remedy this situation is to install thick curtains in your room or blinds that can block out the sun during the day.  A dark room that’s not absorbing heat from the sun will stay cooler during the day.
  • Take a cool shower before you go to bed. Your body builds up heat during the day. A cool shower will cool your body down and help you get to sleep quicker. Make sure your shower is only slightly below your room temperature.  A cold shower will actually stimulate your body increasing heat production and making you more alert.
  • What you sleep on matters –  Instead of thick comforters, try lighter cotton or silk bedding. These fabrics are cool and light and will help you stay more comfortable through the night.
  • What you sleep in matters too- Choose cotton fabric not only for your sheets, but also for your gowns and pajamas.
  • Cooling pillows- There are many on the market and they are excellent at helping you stay cool.
  • Drink plenty of water during the day- Often, people feel hot because they are not properly hydrated.  Drink plenty of water, not only will it help you stay cooler, but it will help you feel better in general.
  • Make it dark- Light tends to give off the appearance of heat even when it’s not hot.  To give your body a cool effect make sure you are sleeping in a dark room.  Turn off all lights, and draw the curtains and blinds for proper sleep.

As I mentioned before, good air conditioning remains the best way to stay cool and comfortable for a good night’s sleep. Call my people at MK Russell and Abbott Heating and Air today, to schedule a tune up for your air conditioning system so you can beat the heat and wake up refreshed.

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