3 Mistakes To Avoid When Caring For Your Air Conditioning Unit

Practically every home or building has an air conditioning unit now. Many people think that these units need little or no maintenance to work properly. That is simply not the case. In fact, a high number of people do not care for their AC units properly, which can cause the units to need expensive repairs or replacement earlier than they really need to. Here are a couple of mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Allowing Dirt To Get Into The Unit

One common mistake that homeowners make is not properly cleaning the unit. This can come in a couple different forms. First, you should be changing the air filters monthly. The filters catch all the dirt and dust that come through the unit. You can severely decrease your unit’s productivity by forgetting to change the air filters often enough.

Second, you should make sure that the areas around the outdoor unit are clean and clear of debris. If you plant flowers, trees shrubbery or even grass around the unit, it could potentially suck those things in and clog the unit. In addition, any dirt that does creep in will be circulated throughout the house. Thus, it’s important to keep the unit clean.

2. Not Getting Regular Professional Maintenance

Even if you do your best to keep the unit clean, there will always be things that go wrong. As the unit ages it will need to be repaired and maintained. As a general rule you should be getting your AC serviced once a year. Most people do it in the spring or summer before they start to use the unit regularly. But you can have it done at any point in the year. By getting the unit serviced regularly you can prevent expensive problems and repairs.

3. Ignoring The AC Unit In The Winter

Just because you aren’t using the AC unit in the winter doesn’t mean it doesn’t need attention. If you don’t properly care for the unit in the winter it could become damaged so that it won’t work right when you need it. During the winter you should cover the outdoor console so that no snow and debris gets in it. If the unit is exposed to all the elements it could become damaged beyond repair.

Don’t make these mistakes when it comes to your AC. By protecting your AC unit you will keep your house cool, keep your air quality clean, and save yourself money. For more information, contact an HVAC company like McFoy Refrigeration, Inc.

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Cedar Fencing Can Give Your Home A Classic Look

When you are designing a fence for your home, you should think about how you want your fence to function. If you only need a boundary line, then a split-rail fence can give your home a bit of rural beauty. If you want a bit of privacy, a cedar-plank fence will help to keep prying eyes out of your yard. While a vinyl fence can serve the same purpose, the cedar fence will have a look that you just can’t mimic with any other material. 

Why Is Cedar Better than Other Types of Wood?

All woods do not resist rot in the same way. Some trees will have naturally occurring chemicals or extractives. Cedar is one of these types of trees. While you can take pressure-treated pine or birch and get good, long-lasting rot resistance, cedar will resist rot naturally.

What Type of Cedar Should You Use for Your Fence?

While there are some people that will say that old-growth cedar is better than second-growth cedar, research shows that second-growth cedar is just as good. What does make a difference is the type of cedar tree you use and what part of the tree you harvest wood from.

There are two main types of cedar wood on the market: red and white. Red cedar is generally recognized as being more rot resistant. 

A further consideration is if you use sapwood or heartwood. Sapwood will not have the same concentration of chemicals as heartwood will. While you can save money by buying cedar fence planks cut from white cedar sapwood. 

How to Get the Most from Your Cedar Fence?

Even though cedar will naturally resist rot, it is not indestructible. If you want to preserve the color of your wood and help it last longer, you should treat your fence with a coating of linseed oil or some other natural preservative. You should retreat your fence with stain from time to time. Depending on how exposed your fence is, it will deteriorate at a different rate. 

The natural color and grain of wood fencing cannot be mimicked by vinyl or any other material. If you like the natural beauty of wood, a cedar fence can be a good investment. In order to protect your investment and get the most from your fence, you will need to enhance the natural rot-resistant qualities of cedar by treating it with a stain or wood preservative. 

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3 Ways To Stop Your Teenager From Sneaking Out

When many children hit their teenage years, they often go through a phase of rebellion. They want to become more independent, and part of this independence is trying to defy their parents wishes. Many teenagers try to sneak out, and often times they are very successful. If you are having a hard time catching your teenager and stopping them from sneaking out, then you should definitely make some changes to your home and property in order to stop this from happening. This article will discuss 3 ways to stop your teens from sneaking out.

Install A Security System

One basic way to stop your teenager from trying to sneak out of the house is to install a security system, and make sure that it is armed each night. This security system will not only have cameras throughout your entire home, but it will also have alarms on the windows and doors. You will be able to see your child if they try to sneak out any door in your home, and the alarm will sound once they try to open a bedroom window or door. This will likely deter them from trying to sneak out, and will make it impossible for others to try and sneak in.

Install A Motion Detector Yard Light

If you don’t have the money to pay for a security system, but would still like to stop your teenager from sneaking out, then you can install a yard light. You can get a light that shines right over your vehicles, and you can have it installed with a motion sensor. This means that the light will suddenly turn on if your child tries to sneak outside late at night and get into their car, or a friend’s car. The light will wake you up and alert you immediately, making it easy to catch and stop your child from getting out.

Install A Driveway Gate

If your child somehow manages to disable the security system and sneak past the yard light, then you can also install a driveway gate. You can have a gate installed that requires a passcode to unlock, so that your child is not able to open and close the gate on their own. The gate will definitely stop them from being able to leave your property without your permission, and it will also stop your teenager’s friends from being able to enter your property. 

 

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What Causes Your Furnace To Short Cycle?

Is your furnace turning on only to turn off again quickly without generating any heat? This issue is called short cycling by the HVAC community and is a common problem with conventional forced-air furnaces. Short cycling can be caused by a variety of problems.

Things that cause your furnace to short cycle

1. A faulty ignition switch. Newer, high-efficiency furnaces have an ignition switch instead of the traditional pilot light. This switch receives the message from the thermostat that heat is needed in your rooms and tells the furnace to engage. If this message isn’t getting relaying, the result can be your furnace blower turning on only to turn off in a few seconds because the furnace hasn’t ignited.

2. Trouble with your thermostat. One of the most common (and least expensive to repair) issues that can cause short cycling is a problem with your thermostat. If the sensor on the thermostat is malfunctioning, it can be sending mixed and confusing signals to the furnace, causing to turn on and off repeatedly.

3. Problem with the pilot light. In older furnaces, a short-cycling problem could be the result of a pilot light that doesn’t stay lit. This can be caused by a variety of things, but it’s a problem that you want to get fixed sooner rather than later. One of the things that can cause a pilot light to go out is a built-in safety feature that extinguishes the light if the system detects leaking combustion gases like hazardous carbon monoxide.

4. A dirty air filter. One of the best things you can do for your furnace is to change the air filter on a regular basis, around once a month during the height of the cold weather season. A dirty furnace filter causes your heating system to work harder to push conditioned air through the clogged filter, using unnecessary energy and costing you more in energy bills. A dirty filter is also another possible reason that your furnace is short cycling. An extremely dirty furnace can overheat, causing it to automatically shut down. In this scenario, the thermostat is still telling the furnace to ignite, so when it cools down, it starts again only to turn off again quickly.

Correctly diagnosing the problem with your furnace is best left to a heating and cooling professional (such as one from RA Styron Heating and Air Conditioning). They have the skill and training necessary to fix your heating problem quickly. Repairing your furnace is not a good DIY project.

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Keys Things Not To Forget For Your Upcoming Garage Remodel

Deciding to turn your garage into a space you can use for other things besides just parking cars can be a fun project. But before you call the general contractor and have them start making changes, you should really plan out exactly what you want out of your new space with no additional work needed.

Here are a few tips that you will want to be sure to remember when drawing up the blueprint for the project:

There is No Such Thing as Too Many Power Outlets

Whether you are using a section of your garage for car work or woodworking, you will need plenty of power outlets to get all of your equipment up and running. Get an estimate from a contractor or electrician on how much it would cost to get at least one outlet on all 3 walls of the garage or even more if needed. Map out exactly where the power strips or extension cords will go so you can get optimal placement before the project begins.

Shelving Can Give You a Lot of Extra Space

Any decent garage that is being set up to accommodate a hobby will need some storage space for whatever is being worked on. Find a spot to put vertical shelves so that you can store as much as possible without taking up room on the ground. Also don’t forget to install some hooks, racks or other similar things that can be used to get things up on the wall and out of your way.

Illuminate the Situation

When placing light fixtures throughout your remodeled garage, pay special attention to the hobby areas of the garage. In fact, you most likely don’t need a light directly over your vehicles at all. But extra light directly over a woodworking station could end up coming in very handy. Regular light bulbs are still probably the most cost effective way to go, but many electricians can help you price out unique lighting if you want to go for a specific kind of look.

When remodeling your garage, it’s important to plan even the smallest of things out far in advance so that the contractor only has to make one trip out to your home. Come up with a blueprint for the best strategic spots to put your power outlets and shelving. When installing lighting, keep in mind that you will likely want more light towards the hobby areas of the garage than on the vehicles. If in doubt, your local garage remodeling contractor can help you come up with some ideas.

To learn more, contact a company like Skyline Electric Inc. with any questions you have.

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Ways To Lower Your AC Use And Lower Your Bills

Air conditioning can be expensive to run, even if you purchase a very energy efficient one. The only way to truly cut down on your cooling costs is to minimize how often you use your air conditioning. Not only will making these changes have short-term payoffs, but they will have an impact on your cooling bills for years to come.

Awnings

Awnings are not just for decorative purpose, as they can be a great way to cut down on the amount of heat that enters your home in the summer by blocking sunlight. Installing awnings on your home can actually decrease up to 77% of sun’s solar heat gain. This will make a significant impact over time on your cooling bills.

Shade Trees

While awnings can reduce heat gain through your windows, a tree that provides shade can help cool down the entire side of your home. A shade tree will be most effective when planted on your home’s south or west side, as these areas receive the most direct sunlight during the day. If you are not sure about what type of shade tree to buy, consider getting a polar, willow, or empress tree.

Attic Fan

Air gets trapped inside your attic during the summer. As the warm rays from the sun heat up your roof, it causes the air that has been trapped to get hotter as well. A hot attic means the top floor of your home will also feel warmer than usual. By installing an attic fan, it will be able to remove this hot air, keeping your home cooler overall.

Cook Outdoors

Using your oven during the summertime can cause the temperature in your home to rise significantly. It puts unnecessary stress on your home’s air conditioner as it fights against your oven to make your house cooler. One of the ways you can avoid this problem is by cooking outdoors during the summer with an outdoor kitchen. Having something as simple as a BBQ will significantly reduce the amount heat created inside your home. In addition to the cooling benefits, you will be able to enjoy the outdoors on warm summer days instead of being stuck inside for meals.

Using air conditioning in the summer is definitely a luxury you can afford if you manage to keep your cooling bills low. Following these tips will not only save you money, but put less stress on your air conditioner. For more energy-efficient ideas, contact an HVAC contractor, like Harrell Home Services, to help you maintain a cool home. 

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Debunking 3 Myths About Your Home’s Furnace

As a homeowner, you likely rely on your furnace to keep your house comfortable and cozy for at least a few months out of the year. As such, the last thing you want is for your furnace to give out in the middle of a frigid winter evening, which is why regular maintenance and responsible use of your home’s heating system is so important. By understanding the truths behind these perpetuated furnace myths, you can better protect your home heating system and prolong its life, thus saving you money in the process.

Myth 1: Your Furnace is Totally Covered By a Warranty

First of all, don’t fall into the misconception that if you purchase a new furnace, you’ll be completely protected by its warranty. Unfortunately, many warranties and extended service plans are designed to cover only the most simple and affordable of part replacements and repairs. For example, your warranty may very well cover the furnace’s igniters, valves, and other small parts, but it probably won’t over the heat exchanger, which is among the most common, involved, and expensive repairs in home heating systems today.

Myth 2: Closing Heat Vents Will Save You Money

Another misconception that a lot of homeowners have when it comes to their heating systems is that closing heat vents and registers in unused rooms will result in lower energy bills overall. While the notion makes sense, the fact is that most modern home heating systems are designed to circulate air at maximum efficiency when all vents and registers are open. In fact, closing vents when they’re not in use could actually throw off the delicate balance of your heating system and cost you even more money in your monthly energy bills. The only time you should close your vents is when you’re having the ducts cleaned.

Myth 3: Setting Your Thermostat Higher Will Heat Up the Home Faster

Finally, if your furnace doesn’t seem to be heating up your home fast enough, you might think that temporarily cranking the thermostat up to 75 or 80 degrees will speed up the process. However, that’s not how furnaces work. No matter what temperature the thermostat is set at, your home is going to heat up at the same pace. Cranking up the thermostat is only going to cause your furnace to work harder than it needs to, thus costing you more money than is necessary to heat your home comfortably. For more information, talk to a company like Enright and Sons. 

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