Mar 5, 2021

How to best utilize your HVAC during the winter

Staying warm inside your home during the winter is essential. You can never be 100% sure that whatever heating system you chose is going to be reliable, unless you thoroughly check it up and perform maintenance regularly.

HVAC is one of the more trustworthy choices, as it is pretty easy to use at any time of the year. I wanted to know more on how to best take advantage of my HVAC during the winter and how to properly prepare it, so I talked to Allied Experts. Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure a quality performance:

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Regular cleaning

Just as any appliance at home would require occasional cleaning, the same rule applies to your HVAC. To achieve good performance with clean air and advertised energy consumption, the first thing you need to do is to clean the filters. This needs to be done once a month during a heavy use. Sometimes cleaning is not enough, and replacing the filters is the way to go. If you neglect this simple step then your unit might struggle to achieve set temperature due to being clogged with dust. This might lead to more unnecessary energy wasting or even a breakdown. Regular cleaning will prolong the years of use, which in turn will save you the money you’d, otherwise, have to invest in a new system every now and then.

Winterize your home

Sometimes the solution is as easy as fixing up leaks in your home. People usually consider HVAC as the primary suspect if the heating is not good, but leaks and bad isolation can greatly impact the heating output. Check for drafts, look at doors and windows and see if there are any cracks. By caulking or investing in a new isolation, especially in an older home, you would very easily reach desired temperatures with a normal energy expenditure.

Consider replacing old thermostat

A broken thermostat can cause confusion and mess with your system. If that happens it might need recalibration or change of batteries. Whatever the case might be, old mechanical thermostats are not as reliable as new, programmable ones. This is the perfect opportunity to get an upgrade. A programmable thermostat will enable you to adjust temperatures remotely when you are away, meaning you won’t be wasting much energy to keep an empty home warm, just enough until you come back. This way of smart energy consumption will reflect on your monthly bill.

Outdoor unit

Your outdoor unit also needs some love. You can cover it to prevent a number of elements from finding their way in. Rain, snow, dust, debris, small animals, all of these can affect your outdoor unit one way or another. By shielding it you can prevent a range of problems, particularly when temperatures get seriously low.

Upgrade

Sometimes old HVAC systems are beyond help. Even if you maintain it regularly, and follow every step to ensure it’s working properly. Now is the time to talk to a professional and let them do a thorough check up. They can help you choose a new HVAC that’s going to be perfect for you. Modern units are designed to be more considerate about energy, and consequently your wallet.

Regular maintenance

Whether you choose to upgrade or keep an old system, you won’t get far unless you maintain it regularly. You can do it yourself by following these steps or you can opt for a professional and reliable service that’s going to keep your unit healthy and clean. You can schedule regular check-ups a few times a year, and especially before summer or and winter, when your entire home is going to rely on optimal HVAC performance.

 

How to Renovate an Old Place without Making It Look Ultra Modern?

Many people prefer buying old houses and adapting them to their needs and wishes, instead of buying brand new places or building them from scratch. This has many advantages, and may be the middle solution as you can save a lot of time and money, and still have the things your way, exactly as you planned and imagined.

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However, it is important to be realistic and practical when renovating an old house, to make sure it becomes both aesthetically and functionally perfect. People often assume that renovating necessarily means making the place more modern. However, it doesn’t always have to be the case, as you can have all new things, and still get your home to look like you’ve lived there for years.

Here are a few tips from renowned home remodelers at Ten Key Remodels which should help you ensure your new home is a warm, cozy, safe and absolutely gorgeous place to live.

Prepare the ‘Turf’

We are all dazzled with stunning designs from the interior design magazines and can’t wait to apply them in our new homes. However, before this, it is important to check if all the basic systems in the house, such as plumbing, heating, pipes, electricity and the likes are functioning properly.

It is much better to ensure this before starting any remodeling activities, as you can well imagine what trouble it could be discovering a faulty pipe or a leakage after the place is already renovated. Check everything, from the foundation, basement, sewage, drainage system, to flooring, walls and roof. Also, don’t forget to check the doors and windows.

Use What Is Already There

Even though the place you got is old, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been renovated before. You might want to dig a little bit and see if you can find out if what you got is the original look of the place. You might discover some part that was removed or changed, and use it as an inspiration for the new looks of the house. Some walls may have been added or removed, some old furnaces or stairs have been walled up. Maybe you can unearth those long forgotten elements and include them in the new design.

Start from the Ground Up

This actually brings us back to the previous two tips, meaning you should check if there are some serious faults and crack with the flooring, and see if it possible and feasible to keep some of it and simple renovate it or replace just parts of it, not the whole surface.

The choice of the flooring will certainly set the tone of the design and determine many further decoration choices and decisions. The same goes for walls, if it is possible to keep some parts and of the old design, partly replace them or refurbish them, it will give your new home to feeling of a warm, cozy, “foot-worn” place.

Buy Items from Different Periods

If you consider giving your new place a little bit of old spirit, or actually keeping it, you can get “new” old things, either from antique shops, or buy really new stuff designed in the old-fashioned way. Buy items from different periods, to create a sense of gradual furnishing over time. In that way, the place might get to look like someone has been living there quite long and has been buying all those things over years. Use wood instead of metal where possible, and get some smaller yet effective old pieces of furniture such as lamps or coffee tables.

Tips On How to Repair a Roof on Your House

Damage to your roof can vary from small and annoying leaks to major breaks. Whatever the case may be, you want to avoid additional damage to your home and costly repairs. As soon as you notice something’s wrong, you should contact a professional, or try to repair it yourself.
 

Living in a house myself I decided to find out what I can do to fix my roof before referring to pros. 619 Roofing helped me learn more about how I can take care of a leaking roof, or deal with any other minor or major damage.

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Regular Maintenance

Just like any other part of your home, a roof, as the first line of defense from all the elements, needs some love every now and then. The best thing to do is hire someone experienced to have a look at it once a year to detect problems and identify a break in making.

This way you will spend less money on repairs, but more importantly, ensure the integrity of the inside of your home. Sometimes repairs are too frequent and costly and the best solution is to replace the entire roof. This something you decide for yourself, but it is better to talk to a pro and let them determine whether it’s the best option.

Leaking Roof

 

A leaking roof is not uncommon. What you need to do is find the problematic spots and determine the type of repairs needed. If there are only a few holes made by impact from a branch during a heavy windstorm, then you should opt for repairs that are going to fix the breach.

If your roof is old and leaking, you can still invest in repairs, but that won’t be long-lasting as those same problems would resurface eventually. What you should consider is replacing the roof in its entirety.

When to Reroof?

Depending on when you plan to reroof you can apply temporary solutions like plastic sheets or plywood. If reroofing is not on the top of your house maintenance list, then feel free to go for permanent repairs while you carefully plan the reroofing. Don’t forget to glance at your attic after heavy rains just to be sure the roof can hold until you are able to replace it.

Shakes and Shingles Replacement

Luckily these repairs are not particularly difficult and every homeowner should be able to do it themselves. First, you need to carefully climb to the roof and detect the broken parts. Don’t forget to check if you already have backup shingles and shakes. Remove the broken ones, put a new underlayment, and install new shingles and shakes. It would be wise to check some tutorials on how to properly replace them, but if you don’t feel confident enough you can always call a professional.

Flat Roof

Dealing with flat roof repairs is slightly different. Usually, a small pond emerges on the roof after rain and if it remains there it can start creating problems. First, you need to remove that water and any other debris that came with it. After that, you can use a utility knife to cut out the affected area, but be careful not to damage felt beneath it. If there is still some water remaining you need to squeeze it out. After you’ve made sure the area is completely dry and clean from dirt and debris, you can start with the repairs. Use roofing cement and spread it evenly across the felt and then press hard. After that, you need to use galvanized roofing nails on every edge where the cut was made. Then insert an additional layer of cement and evenly cover the affected area.

Contact Professionals

Dealing with problems on your roof can be demanding both physically and mentally, not to mention the safety issues. Even experienced homeowners can’t always be sure they are the right person for the job, especially when it comes to sneaky leaks that take some time to show. This is why help from professionals who possess the right knowledge and equipment is the best solution. Feel free to contact them with any type of issue you are experiencing with your roof, and be sure it will be fixed with efficiency and quality.

 

Kitchen remodeling tips to help you choose more wisely

Remodeling your kitchen sounds like a fun and creative project. Everybody likes to refresh their favorite cooking space every now and then. Still, you should be careful and make a good plan before attempting anything. Various elements like dimensions, budget and space come into the equation.

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It is good to consider trends and turn your kitchen into a beautiful cooking spot, but it is equally important to think about functionality and ease of access. Since I want to go into this remodeling adventure myself, I decided to consult the pros. Here’s some advice I received from Elite Home Remodeling.

Plan ahead

As I mentioned above planning is crucial. Feel free to take as much time as you need to calculate everything to the finest detail. You want to avoid as many unpleasant surprises and try to predict what could go wrong. Now is the time to take a good look at your kitchen, put advantages and disadvantages on paper and use that to create something really nice and practical.

It is good to follow trends, but there’s no point rebuilding your entire kitchen in a completely different style that doesn’t fit the rest of the home just to have something you saw on the internet. Be creative, but remain realistic with the space and money you have. A big, expensive new fridge is awesome, but would it fit in your kitchen?

Think about what you currently have and what you could improve. It is vital to measure space and improve maneuverability, because in the end, there’s no point remodeling if you are going to make it more difficult to cook.

Appliances are tools not decorations

Sure, everybody would quickly jump to get a new fancy, luxurious stove, and think about whether that was the right decision. It is important to remember that appliances are only tools that need to help you cook. It is better to think about how much, and what you usually cook and then choose the appliances accordingly.

With so much choice on the market it is easier to personalize your experience and find exactly what you need. Instead of getting the most expensive stuff you can find, it is better to put that money elsewhere to improve the whole remodeling process.

Functionality and quality

You don’t remodel every day. This is the perfect opportunity to fix everything you didn’t like before and raise your kitchen to a level that’s going to satisfy your taste both in terms of functionality and style. You should make a budget and plan accordingly, but it is also important to remember that more quality items that might cost a bit more right now will pay off in the long run. Cheaper options might seem ok now, but once you are done, you want a kitchen that’s going to provide years of quality service, with very little maintenance or repairs.

Use space to your advantage

Ceilings, walls, any empty space in the kitchen can be used for something useful. Buy, or build custom cabinets that go up to the ceiling. You will be more economic with the space available, and also avoid having to dust hard-to-reach areas. Use empty walls to hang shelves where you can put items you use frequently. Don’t be afraid to be practical, you can even use the side of cabinets to mount shelves, or hooks.

Lighting

Lighting is also important to consider. Ceiling fixtures will provide a nice ambience and create a pleasant and relaxing working atmosphere. Under-cabinet lighting is used to provide necessary light for your work space. Cabinets can block natural light and their lower surface is ideal for lighting placement.

However you choose the approach remodeling it is always good to share your ideas with the pros and let them shed some light on the whole process. Their experience is invaluable here. Sometimes you know what you want, but have trouble understanding how to get there, again, you can get help from people who remodel kitchens for living.


Issues that might cause your HVAC to stop working

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Winter months can prove quite challenging when it comes to heating. Whatever your choice of keeping your home warm might be, there are always things you need to tweak and keep a lookout for. Maintenance is the key for almost every aspect of your living space, and the same rules apply for your heating.

I chose HVAC as the means to fend off the cold so I wanted to learn more from the pros on how to keep my system up and running when temperatures hit low. HVAC technicians at Howell’s Heating and Air Conditioning helped me out and showed me a few problems that might cause my HVAC to have poor performance or completely stop working. Here’s what I learned:

Dirty filters

One of the most common problems you can experience with your HVAC are dirty air filters. Many homeowners simply forget or even don’t know they should clean them a few times a year, depending on the amount of use. This is especially important in the offseason when the dirt piles up. It is crucial to remember to have regular maintenance every time before you plan to use your HVAC on a regular basis. Clogged air filters will not only decrease the performance of the unit, but they might cause it to overheat and break. A simple cleaning will do, and the most important part to remember is to do it every now and then or schedule a visit from a pro to help you out.

Uneven heating

Uneven heating is something almost every homeowner can experience, whether you live in a small or big place. The first thing that pops to mind is to check whether your heating is working properly. Still, this problem could be tied to other issues in your home like isolation, drafts and leaks. This is a perfect opportunity to have someone look over these potential issues and ultimately ensure an isolated environment for your HVAC’s best performance.

Thermostat issues

You are confused because the temperatures showing on your thermostat are completely different to your subjective feeling. No need to panic, thermostats can break and become mis-tuned. Nothing to worry about. This can mean that it needs to be recalibrated or batteries need to be replaced.

This is also a good opportunity to replace your old analog thermostat and opt for a new, digital one which offers a lot more room to manipulate the temperature, even when you are not at home.

Frozen pump

Your outdoors unit also needs to be checked. Very low temperatures mixed with cold wind and humidity can very easily cause fans and coils to freeze. This can lead to some serious issues, and the best solution is to prevent that from happening. The freeze can cause the fans to come to a halt, and then you would need to open the unit and break the ice. To avoid all that mess, it is best to contact a professional to come over and prepare the unit for the lowest temperatures by setting the unit to defrost automatically.

Frozen pipes

Regarding the outdoors unit, you should also consider preparing its pipes for winter. The ice will probably not cause a malfunction immediately, but if you let it grow it can cause the pipes to burst when you least expect it. You can avoid this by paying attention. If you notice ice piling up you need to turn off the water flow to the Hvac and carefully start removing the ice.

Call pros

If you don’t feel confident enough to perform maintenance yourself or you want someone with proper knowledge and experience to have a look, schedule a visit from a professional right now. Remember, it is always better to prevent problems.


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