Summer Preparation Checklist

Summer preparationIt’s coming.  The date is fast approaching.  June 21st is the official start of summer, and although we haven’t really been feeling the heat just yet, it’s only a matter of time.  There are certain household tasks that go along with preparing for summer’s arrival like pulling the grill out of the garage, servicing the lawnmower, and ensuring that the porch furniture is ready for company.  However, there is a summer preparation checklist for your HVAC system, too!

  1. Clean Up – The weather has been wishy washy, so far, this year and has produced quite a bit of wind. Due to our lackluster spring, you’re probably noticing a lot of twigs and sticks all over the yard.  Well, if they’re in the grass then chances are they’ve also made their way to the HVAC unit.  Check under the unit, the top, and give it a cursory look inside to ensure that nothing is stuck in the blades.
  2. Filters – Replace the filters, especially after spring. There is likely a ton of pollen and air irritants clinging to the old one.
  3. Window Units – If you don’t have central air and are using window units, now is a great time to get them into the windows. Make sure they are unobstructed and properly seated in the window for maximum functioning and efficiency.  Seal around the unit to ensure that rain water isn’t going to come inside your home.
  4. Ceiling Fans – Many people use ceiling fans as their backup system for their air conditioning. They’re a great way to cool off the room and provide a light comforting breeze.  Now is the time to clean off the blades and make sure that the blades are set to move counter-clockwise, thus pushing the air down.
  5. Duct Cleaning – Spring is a rough season for the home. There are a multitude of pesticides, pollutants, and pollen that can make their way into the house and hang out in the air ducts.  Duct cleaning is a good way to combat these issues, and can increase the comfort level of your house as the system will function more efficiently.

If you’re in the market for a central air system or duct cleaning, we can help.  Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your home’s air conditioning needs.

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What To Consider About Central Air

Central AirIf you’ve been suffering through the Central Pennsylvania summers without air conditioning in your home, you know the pain of the heat and humidity.  However distant the memory of summer seems these days, we assure you, it’s on the way.  Central air is an option for many homes in the area, and with our financing programs, we can make it available for most homeowners.  However, here is what to consider about central air, before you call for an appointment.

There are pros and cons for nearly every addition to your home.  Homes with central air can relish in the many benefits, but also need to think about some things prior to installation.

  • Added Costs – Many homeowners get excited about the prospect of a consistent temperature in their homes and drive the thermostat down to get the maximum output from their unit. This is a bad idea!  Keeping your thermostat at sixty-eight degrees will increase your bills considerably.  Many people have found that seventy, or even seventy-two is a comfortable temperature for their home and will keep the bills somewhat closer to what you’re used to.
  • Duct work – In order to have central air installed in your home, there needs to be a duct work system added to the existing structure. Due to this addition, the process won’t grant you instant gratification.  Your central air may take some time to install.  You’ll also want to consider regular maintenance of this duct work to keep your system functioning properly.  If you aren’t ready for the commitment of duct work, we do offer ductless units for your convenience.

While there are certainly some potential downsides when it comes to central air, the upsides far outnumber the cons. 

  • Filtered Air – All of the allergens that come in from opening the windows are filtered through your system, thus making the air in your home unquestionably cleaner and safer to breathe.
  • No Crazy Temp Spikes – If it’s ninety degrees outside, your home can be kept at seventy-two all the time, or with a programmable thermostat you can make it happen by the time you get home from work. There’s no more waiting for the window units to cool the room off when you arrive back at the house.  There is no hoping for a cool night breeze to come through.  It’s easy to maintain the same temperature, all the time.
  • It’s a Two-Fer! – Many central air units are combined with heating as well. So if you’re ready to make the commitment, you have the option of better consistency when it comes to your heating as well.  If you’ve been dealing with expensive heating options, having your house wired for central air, there’s a better choice!
  • No More Heavy Units – Once central air is installed, it’s in the house. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about lugging heavy window units from the windows when the seasons change.  Give your back a much deserved break!

If you are on the fence about central air, jump off!  We have plenty of options for homeowners who want their home to be cooled on a regular basis, so contact us today!

 

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Getting the Most Out of Your Central Air

Central AirWhile the past week or so hasn’t exactly felt like summer is on the way, nevertheless, it is.  Soon we will all be complaining about the heat and humidity and forgetting that Mid-May featured 40 degree temperatures.  Soon, the sun is going to drive the temperatures through the roof and it is during this time that we will be clamoring to switch on the air conditioning, so here are some tips and tricks for getting the most out of your central air.

Central air systems can be finicky creatures, especially if you’re pushing the limits of an older unit.  However, if you follow these simple tips, you can maximize your comfort without breaking the bank!

  • Close the Blinds/Curtains – During the day, when you’re not at home and the heat is raging outside, close all the curtains and blinds in your home. Sunlight pouring through the windows drives up the internal temperature of your home, thus making the central air kick on when you’re not home to enjoy it.
  • Shade Your Unit – Your outdoor unit is going to be exposed to the elements, of course. However, providing some shade for the unit is an excellent idea.  Giving it a break from the constant stream of sunlight can ensure that it isn’t working too hard!
  • Replace Your Filter – By replacing the filter in your system, you’re cleaning it of all the dust and allergens that have been accumulating over the month, or past three months, depending on how often it’s changed. Removing the fouled filter can allow the system to operate a lot more efficiently, and thus cool your home better.
  • Rearrange – If you’ve had an end table or a recliner blocking the vents in your home, it may be time to move it. Think about it this way; do you want to cool your entire house, or the underside of your couch? 

If you’re using all of these tips and tricks and your home still isn’t comfortable, contact us and schedule an appointment for service or for an estimate to replace your tired old AC unit!

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Protect Your Home From Leaks

leaksWith the amount of rain that has been falling in the mid-state lately, we’re finely attuned to the possibility of leaks.  When we’re home we can closely monitor whether or not that rain is coming inside our homes, but sometimes leaks are a bit more sinister than your common roof or basement leak.  Plus, let’s face it, we’re not always going to be home.  Common household appliances can be the culprit for water damage to your home, but now there is a way to protect your home from leaks, whether you’re there or not.

By now, we’ve all seen the devices that are being manufactured to make our homes smarter.  With simple installation of an app on your phone or tablet, homeowners are able to monitor their temperature, garage door, and even security systems.  Did you know that there is also a smart sensor to detect leaks and freezes in your home?

Did you know that a water leak can cost in excess of $7,000 in damages to your home?  That’s a pretty big chunk of change for a drip you didn’t even know was happening, but the latest in the line of smart technology for your home can change all of that!

The Lyric Wi-Fi Water Leak and Freeze Detector is set up to know if your water heater is leaking or if that isn’t just condensation in your laundry room from the heat of the dryer.  The average homeowner can install this type of device on their own, but to ensure proper placement, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a professional place it for you. 

Not only can this system detect small leaks before they become a major issue, but it is also set up to detect serious drops in temperature that could cause pipe freezing.  If humidity is an issue in your house, there is a sensor for a rise in humidity levels as well. These sensors can be placed in the home where a problem is easily anticipated; under the sink, beside the washing machine, around the water heater, or close to the sump pump.  Essentially, this device is an early warning system for your home, and can even provide serious peace of mind when you’re traveling.

If you’re interested in one of these sensors, and you probably should be, contact us today.  We can help protect your home!

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Do You Need a Water Softener?

water softenerThere are a lot of problems with your appliances that can crop up out of the blue.  As homeowners, it is necessary to take care of those problems as soon as they come up, if you can.  Dealing with these kind of issues often requires first diagnosing what caused the problem in the first place.  For some, these malfunctions bring up one simple question.  Do you need a water softener?

There are many ways to diagnose if your home may benefit from installing a water softening system, for instance if you have any of these issues:

  • Build up on sink fixtures
  • Dull, lifeless hair and itchy skin
  • Soap scum build up
  • Water heater element problems
  • Spots on dishes that have been through the dishwasher

Now, you may be asking yourself if any of these problems are serious enough to require the expenditure to install yet another appliance in your home.  Well, honestly, yes.  The benefits of a water softener are numerous and can save your home from future appliance failure in the future.  Here are some of the advantages associated with the installation.

  • Longer Lasting Appliances – Hard water can cause efficiency loss on, not only your water heater – whether gas or electric – but also your dishwashers, pipes, and your laundry equipment. Some water heaters were marked nearly 25% less efficient after just over a year.
  • Lower Carbon Footprint – Homes with hard water use more energy than a house with softened water. While the environment isn’t always everyone’s driving force, lowered efficiency and more energy being consumed means higher bills.
  • Less Faucet and Showerhead Replacements – Hard water has a tendency to wreak havoc on your fixtures. Not only do they lose their shine, but they also because much less reliable when it comes to the flow of water.  They lose 75% of their flow rate in less than two years!  If you’re constantly replacing showerheads, hard water may be the culprit.
  • Health – Hard water isn’t good for you. It contains a great deal of minerals that aren’t necessarily harmful, but they’re not really good either.  Hard water also can cause a multitude of skin problems that, when combined with other issues, can become quite bothersome.

If your hard water has gotten out of control, or if you’re simply not sure if you have it, contact us.  We can help with our wide variety of available systems to remedy your hard water problems.

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Hybrid Water Heaters

Hybrid Water HeaterWith spring in full force here in the midstate, many homeowners are bringing in the new and getting rid of the old.  With spring cleaning, we mop, sweep, and dust away all of the evidence of winter as we welcome the new season.  Spring is also a perfect time to have your old appliances serviced or even upgraded.  If you’ve been flushing your old water heater for years, we encourage you to consider replacing it with a hybrid water heater.

When considering a new water heater, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each type that is available.  Hybrid water heaters, or heat pump water heaters are becoming more and more popular as there are several advantages.

  • They’re Less Costly – On average, a regular electric water heater can cost almost six hundred dollars a year to run. A hybrid costs less than two hundred dollars, around $163!  When factoring this cost into your monthly budget, that is a substantial savings!
  • They’re More Energy Efficient – With lower cost, of course, comes better efficiency, which means that they use a lot less energy to operate. Of course, this translates to lower bills as we stressed above, but it also means they’re much less taxing on the environment as well as being less stressful to your budget.
  • They Work Differently – With a standard electric water heater, energy is not stored, thus accounting for the cost difference. With a hybrid, the energy is stored and therefore doesn’t have to work as hard to heat the water efficiently.
  • Rebates – Depending on your energy supplier, you may qualify for significant rebates for installing one of these water heaters. The power companies are encouraging their customers to consider more energy friendly appliances and therefore offer a rebate of up to $400.

If you’re interested in switching things up and making your home function a little bit more efficiently, contact us

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Improving Air Quality Inside Your Home

Air QualityIn the Pennsylvania area, there is usually little relief from the onslaught of allergy season.  We suffer and sneeze our way through the springs months as we go about our day to day lives, foggy headed and lethargic.  We expect such air quality outside of our homes, but most of us don’t realize that we’re allowing a great deal of the offending objects inside as well.  The first step to eliminating the symptoms of allergies is improving the air quality inside your home.

Allergies and sinus reactions are often caused by pollutants outdoors.  We drag them inside on our shoes, clothing, in our hair, and on our pets.  However, they can also come from our stoves, our pets themselves, and from tobacco use inside the house.  Essentially, nearly every home is a virtual smorgasbord of allergens, but there’s help!

An air cleaner is a product that has increased in popularity dramatically over the past couple years as the allergy seasons seem to be getting worse.  The installation of one of these systems into your home can improve not only the air you’re breathing indoors, but also your quality of life as you will no longer be bogged down by the rigors of allergy attacks when you’re sitting in your living room.

Here’s what an air cleaner can do:

  • Eliminate Some Odors – An air cleaner has the ability to take some household odors out of your home. While this doesn’t give you the freedom to abandon all of your household duties, it can lighten the load slightly.
  • Capture Dust Mite Fragments – It won’t eliminate dust mites entirely, but an air cleaner will dramatically help with this particular scourge by eliminating the fragments in the air.
  • Help With Allergies – They’re not going to remove the threat of allergies entirely, but they will help. Allergy issues are caused by pollutants in the air, and installing an air purifier can help remove some of them.
  • Assist Asthma Sufferers – If you’re an asthma sufferer then you know the struggle of allergy season, but good news! An air cleaner, when added to your home, can help take some of the pressure off your breathing by filtering some of the more harmful particles out of the interior air.

If you’re concerned about the air quality of your home, contact us.  We want to help improve your living conditions with clean air.

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