What Preventative Maintenance Does an HVAC System Require?

What Preventative Maintenance Does an HVAC System Require

Maintaining your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system helps to lower your monthly energy bills. Preventive maintenance also extends the system’s lifespan and protects breakdowns that make an impact on your comfort. There are four key steps to HVAC preventive maintenance that should be performed at least twice per year.

Changing the Air Filter

Changing the air filter is essential to an HVAC system’s performance, efficiency and longevity. The air filter is usually housed in its own chamber or within the air blower portion of the system. It may be framed with cardboard and disposable, or it may be reusable. A reusable filter will be cleaned and put back into the unit. A disposable air filter will be replaced. The filter should be changed every 90 days.

Cleaning the Condensate Line

In air conditioners and heat pumps, the condensate line is responsible for draining the water that is condensed during a cooling cycle. The condensate line can grow mold and algae. If the growth gets too thick, the condensate line can become obstructed. If it gets obstructed, water can back up into the equipment and cause a malfunction. Cleaning the condensate line consists of bleaching the interior of the pipe, removing algae and mold and rinsing it with plain water.

Checking the Refrigerant

Air conditioners and heat pumps use a chemical refrigerant such as R-410-A. Some companies, such as Classic Air and Heating, know that if the refrigerant tubing or chamber develops a leak, the system will not operate efficiently. The system could freeze up or simply blow room-temperature air. HVAC technicians use special equipment to check the level of the refrigerant. If it is low, the refrigerant can be charged after the leak is found and repaired.

Cleaning and Lubricating Motors and Fans

Furnaces, air conditioners, ventilation units and dehumidifiers all have motors and fans. The motors and fans can collect dust and debris that inhibits their motion. These parts are cleaned and lubricated during a maintenance visit. Proper lubrication of the motors and fans reduce the risk of overheating and minimize the amount of noise made by the unit while it operates.

HVAC maintenance should be performed by a licensed, bonded and insured provider. It is a good idea to schedule maintenance for the air conditioner in the spring and a checkup for the furnace in the autumn. Heat pumps and other equipment that is used all year long should be serviced twice per year, also in the autumn and spring to identify and repair any defects.

Easy Springtime Fixups Homeowners Should Put on Their Checklist

Easy Springtime Fixups Homeowners Should Put on Their Checklist

With spring come warmer temperatures and more items on one’s to-do list. While homeowners may want to bask in the glow of a sunny spring day, there are a few easy projects that they should look into first. These should be quick and easy now and will ensure that homeowners are not hit with costly repairs later.

Garage Door Reinforcement

The spring is the perfect time to look into a home’s garage door mechanisms. For one, garage door springs can be weakened from winter’s cold temperatures. Replacing one or two springs now will keep undue pressure off the rest of the garage door system. In addition, homeowners may want to look into reinforcing their garage doors to protect from wind damage during spring and summer storms.

Roof Repair

Early in the spring before torrential summer downpours arrive, homeowners should scan their roofs themselves to see if the shingles and other materials are wearing down. Most roofs are designed to last approximately 15 to 20 years although steel roofs last longer. Even if it is not time for a full re-roofing, homeowners may still benefit from minor repairs and replacements of some shingles, which should only set them back $200 or less.

Gutter and Soffit Cleaning

If the gutters were not cleaned out in the fall, the spring is prime time for doing this to ensure that rain does not cause leaky gutters that pull away from the house. Some companies, like D.S. Bahr Construction Inc., realize how important it is to keep your soffit in good repair, especially when it comes to leaks in the roof. Cleaning out the soffits and vents will also provide circulation to the attic to cut down on cooling expenses in the summer.

Air Conditioner Maintenance

Homeowners should have a technician check out their air conditioning units before the start of the hot season. It is better to take care of problems now than to have the unit break down on the hottest day of summer. Homeowners can also clean off their units with a hose while it is off. This will take care of leaves, pollen and other items that have gotten stuck in the housing.

Once homeowners have taken care of these tasks, they can be sure that their homes will be cool and comfortable all summer long. Most of the time, these easy repairs can preclude major, costly repairs later in the year and can ensure that one’s home stays in prime condition should a family ever want to sell. Plus, a well-maintained home is the perfect place for summer relaxation and parties with friends and family.

Spring is for Curb Appeal: 4 Ways to Make Your Home Pop

Spring is for Curb Appeal 4 Ways to Make Your Home Pop

When the spring season arrives, it seems like everyone wants to get outside and do something to improve the look of the outside of the home. Instead of just getting outdoors and doing several random jobs, it’s best to have a plan of action for what you want to put as a priority so that the exterior of the home pops after a dull winter season. If necessary, seek the help of a professional landscaper or another company to help with the ideas that you have in your mind.

Flowers

Add a little color to the outside of the home with flowers. Don’t plant a lot of different colors as this can make it hard to focus on the beautiful types of flowers. Instead, try to use one or two colors in various shades so that the garden that you make has a uniform appearance.

Place mulch around the flowers that you plant in front of the home and along the pathways to bring out the colors even more. Landscapers can help with planting flowers and making sure that the proper details are given to the way that they look.

Doorways

Touch up the exterior of the entry doors with a fresh coat of paint or stain. Change the color of the door to match the rest of the home if needed. You can look at J&D Door Sales Inc. and similar companies that sell garage doors to get a modern design for the garage instead of one that is plain and ordinary. When it comes to the garage door, you want it to be in a color that is neutral so that it blends with the other components of the house.

The Small Details

From changing the mailbox to changing the design of the numbers on the outside of the home, it’s the small details that people will notice. These are inexpensive transformations that you can make in a short time. Change the numbers so that the finish matches that of the rest of the home, such as the light fixtures.

New Furniture

If you have a large front porch, then it’s worth an investment to add a swing or even a few rocking chairs. You want to make the home look as charming and comfortable as possible. When you have furniture outside, it gives the look that it’s a home where people enjoy time outdoors.

The exterior of the home is a fun place to work on in the spring. You can add bright colors to everything from the railings to the garage. When you take the time to focus on one area at a time, you can tie everything together in an easier fashion for a delightful outdoor look.

Guest Post By:

Anica Oaks
Freelance writer and web enthusiast
Read some of my published work on my Google+ page.

How to Weld Your Own Barbecue Together for Spring Entertaining

barbeque

There is nothing quite like the taste of world-class barbeque, and now is the perfect time to start thinking about what type of hardware you want in your backyard this spring. Welding your own barbeque together gives you full control over its size, cooking power, appearance, and features. With a little patience and some hard work, you will be able to start cooking up mouthwatering meals for your family and friends in the customized barbeque of your dreams.

Choosing the Right Materials

One of the most important steps of building a barbeque is choosing the right material. Not only are some materials inefficient at maintaining a consistent temperature, but they might even be dangerous when exposed to flames. As a general rule, barbeques should never be made from aluminum, copper, or brass. Many professional pit masters prefer stainless steel barbeques that have been coated with a high-temperature sealant.

Tools

Anyone who doesn’t regularly work with metal will most likely need to purchase at least a few new tools including a stud welder, calipers, a small machinist’s square, center punches, and a drill press. Some companies, like Northland Fastening Systems, knows that if you are not sure of which tools you would like to invest in, then you might want to see if there is a local metalworking shop that allows does equipment rentals. Once you have spent a few hours learning how to cut sheets of metal and weld them back together, you will know exactly which features you would like to see in your own tools.

How to Weld Your Own Barbecue Together for Spring Entertaining

Dimensions

It might be tempting to build yourself an enormous contraption, but larger barbeques are very difficult to use properly. Most home cooks will only need a grilling area of around 500 square inches. Trying to control the temperature of a barbeque that is much larger than that is very difficult. When you are working on the height, you want to be sure that the grill itself is as tall as your midsection so that you don’t have to bend down or lean across open flames.

Additional Features

After you have chosen a type of metal and decided on the overall size, you can then start adding any features that you would like to see on the barbeque. At the very least, you should plan on having a small preparation table where you can put plates, sauces, and seasonings. Many pit masters also like having a warming chamber that will keep their food warm without overcooking it.

Once you have finally put the last few pieces on your barbeque, you should then heat treat it for at least a few hours before cooking any food. Even if you carefully clean the barbeque, there might still be lingering contaminants in the smoke chamber or firebox. Bringing the barbeque up to a very high temperature should destroy any dangerous toxins or chemicals.

Enhance Your Curb Appeal This Spring with These Trends

Spring is coming! You see all sorts of articles in magazines and blogs online about fashion and interior design trends for the season.

But what if you want to update the outside of your home? Below are 7 of the hottest trends in home exteriors for Spring 2017!

Enhance Your Curb Appeal This Spring with These Trends

1) Covered and Screened Decks and Patios

Take your outdoor living space up a notch by adding pergolas or covers to your deck or patio. Besides providing shade, it will beautify and define the space.

Screens are another way to make the exterior of your deck or patio look great for your neighbors and people driving by. But they also provide you with the privacy that makes your outdoor space actually feel like a retreat. You can buy ready-made screens or get creative and design your own. In any case, the neighbors will get a nice view and you will get your spa-like retreat.

2) Fancy Pools

There is nothing like a swimming pool to beat the summer heat and provide a fun gathering spot for friends and family. So, if you’re considering building one, why not follow the current trend of building a luxury pool?

If you have the space and budget, you can build a rooftop pool that looks out over your city. Or you can build one that combines indoor and outdoor living by installing a retractable wall of windows that lead to your pool. Or you can invest in an infinity pool that makes it look like you’re swimming in the sky.

Whether you use the contractor’s established designs, or come up with ideas of your own, a pool will add a splash of curb appeal.

swimming-pool

3) Structured Gardens

Make your garden appear larger and more stylish with garden structures. First, design a layout for your space that includes where you want to place the pieces. The type of garden you want, whether it be cottage style, a Zen retreat, formal or an eclectic mix, will determine what type of structures you use.

You can go the traditional route and choose brick walls or concrete fountains. Or you can use sleek modern vine-climbing walls or garden sculpture. Buy your pieces or make your own. Either way, you can create your own enchanted garden that you and passers-by will enjoy.

4) Home Additions

Another growing trend is home remodeling. Porches are a popular exterior addition. Or, if you already have a porch, you can make it up-to-date by adding design details like those on Craftsman or Victorian homes. Cornice moldings, thick porch posts, finials, urns and much more can be added to your porch to make it stand out. Also, most of these porches display boho-chic furnishings.

Another popular remodel is replacing builder-grade garage doors with garage doors that match your home’s style. If you’re replacing an old door or adding a brand-new garage, don’t skimp on this item. Whether your garage is front-facing or not, the look of its door can have a major impact on the appearance of your home.

porch

5) Limiting the Colors in Your Garden

Another trend for gardens is using a simple palette of only 2 or 3 shades. It’s a modern, almost minimalistic look. But for those new to gardening or don’t want to be bothered by too much planning, it’s any easy way to go.

So how do you keep your garden from looking boring? One way is to have 1 color be the feature color and have the other shade or shades be highlights. And choose a variety of plants of the predominant color or colors. For example, have white roses, white hydrangeas and a white dogwood tree in your landscape.

Limiting how many shades appear in your garden will make it look classy, modern and sophisticated.

6) Grand Entrances

Even if you don’t have or want a porch, fabulous entrances are all the rage. The recent trend of red doors is now being replaced more imaginative front entries.

Some doors that are growing in popularity are Dutch doors and doors made of glass encased in intricate iron work. The symmetrical look of matching topiaries or marble benches on either side of the front door is trending. As are wreaths made for each season, banners and wind chimes.

All of these elements will make people say “Wow!” when they are about to enter your home.

7) Stone and Brick Exteriors

This trend piggy-backs on the natural, sustainable materials movement. If your home is already built with brick or stone, you can use paint to give your home a new look. Just be sure to choose the right type of paint and that it is applied properly.

If you just want to add a stone or brick accent to your home, you can choose between the real thing or an artificial alternative. Man-made options can look just as good and are usually cheaper.

Out with the old and in with the freshness of the season! Follow these trends so your curb appeal will pop this spring!

Author Bio:

Kacey MyaKacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

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