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Does the average time your home air conditioner last differ if you live in Texas versus Minnesota

By admin On August 26, 2015No Comments

There is an on-going misconception that cooling systems will last longer in “cooler” rather than “warm” environments for the sole reason being that it’s being “utilized less”. That’s wrong.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) around 87% of American homes are equipped with cooling systems. Cooling systems, especially newer models, are equipped to last longer than ever. But why do some cooling systems die out after 15 or 20 years, while others keep going strong? The answer: regular maintenance. According to the EIA, only 42% of people who own air conditioning systems have had their system serviced each year. Just like how your car needs regular tune-ups to keep functioning, seasonal maintenance for your cooling system keeps it operating at peak efficiency as well. A well-maintained air conditioner in Dallas, Texas can last up to twice as long as a neglected system in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Without regular maintenance, a normal unit loses about 5% of its efficiency each year. We spoke with James from AJR a company that has offices in Texas and Maryland to get some additional perspective on how the temperature fluctuations can impact how maintenance for AC systems can differ in different climates. His recommendation, “If your A.C. is running over fifty percent of any given month, there is additional strain placed on the unit, keeping these units clean and well maintained is the only way to ensure they will continue to operate at peak efficiency.”

Just like how a regularly serviced car lasts longer, runs better, and needs fewer repairs with regular maintenance, so do cooling systems. Like your car, your air conditioning unit is a complex piece of equipment with components that work optimally when operating in perfect sync with each other.

Continuing with the car scenario; what happens when you rarely get an oil change? Your car will be forced to work overtime, causing your car to run less efficiently, thereby shortening its lifespan…the same applies for cooling systems. If not serviced regularly dust and remains will accumulate on your equipment, which will hamper the overall operation, efficiency, and performance of your cooling system, all of which will shorten your unit’s lifespan.

Aside from poor maintenance shortening your cooling system’s lifespan, so will poor assembly. Improper installation of a cooling system will result in low airflow and leaking ducts. Many times, the amount of refrigerant in the system does not match the manufacturer’s specifications. If proper refrigerant charging is not performed during initial installation, the efficiency and performance of your unit will be impaired. Moral of the story— you need proper installation first.

If you want to elongate your cooling system’s lifespan, don’t neglect it. Keep up with regular maintenance, and most importantly, make sure it’s correctly installed and matches the manufacturer’s specifications.

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Tips for getting your home prepared for the upcoming cold weather this winter

By admin On November 8, 2013 No Comments

Winter is soon to be upon us. If you are a property owner, or even a renter, there are several winter home weatherization tips that can help save you money on your heating bill and keep your home apartment warmer this winter season. With these simple tips any renter or home owner can prep for the long winter ahead. These tips can make your home feel warmer without turning up the heat during the winter. With these winter home weatherization tips, you will save energy with out the need to spend to much money preparing your home or apartment for cold season. If you are a renter, do make sure you run any of these tips by your landlord. If your land lord agrees, they may hire an expert to do these, or they may even give you a discount on the next months rent for you to do them yourself.

• Caulking your windows and doors
Start with a door sweep, a door sweep will prevent cold air from entering your home from the outside. This is especially true if you can see the outside from underneath your door. A door sweep is also known as a weather strip. Check your windows for any airflow leaks from the outside, if you feel any draft what so ever, caulk your windows. If you are a renter, do by all means ask your landlord before you do any caulking. Caulk cost about 6 dollars for one caulk tube, and requires a caulk gun, which costs about $7.00 on average. Caulking your windows will do 2 different things, one it will prevent cold air from the outside getting inside, and two it will also prevent heat loss. Heat loss is responsible for higher heat costs.

• Plastic over your windows
If you have large or drafty windows, consider purchasing clear plastic film window weatherstrips. This plastic if cared for well can be used year after year to give you an added layer of insulation to your windows. A 62-in x 17.5-ft Clear Plastic Film Window Weatherstrip costs as low as $8.00. This simple trick will improve the insulating R-value up to 90% on your windows, and reduces cold air drafts. Installation is rather simple with tape and hair dryer. The best brand of window plastic is by 3M, it is much more insulating than the other brands out there, giving you more bang for your buck. Of all these tips, insulating your windows is an easy and fairly inexpensive way to cut your heating bill.

• Invest in drapes for the winter.
Drapes if installed right will give you another layer of protection over your windows, and save you much more money on your heating bill, as well as prevent heat loss. You must be careful with drapes however, because if you put them up wrong it can actually lead to more heat loss instead of preventing heat loss. This is because any spaces or gaps at the top of the drapes, sides, and bottom can easily create a tunnel effect. This can cause not only heat loss but also condensation that can lead to mold. One tip to correctly installing your drapes is to hang them as close to the window as possible. Also allow the drapes to touch either the floor or at the very least the window sill. Open up your drapes that face the south and the west every day to make ample use of solar heat, and close them at night.

• Heat your home evenly
Your home or apartment has complex air flows and heating patterns. To optimize the heating of your home, do not shut off any heating vents, even in areas of the home you may rarely use. The reason is that if you have to many pockets of cold air in your home, the cold air will merge into the hot air and lead to heat loss in some areas of the home.

• Do not turn off the thermostat down.
Rather than turning your thermostat off when you are at work or away from the home, turn your thermostat down. Turning your hear on and off to much will actualy cause excessive energy useage. If you are a home owner, consider adding a programmable thermostat to your home. A programmable thermostat will dial the heat down during working hours and slowly rise the rise a few hours before you are due to return home, where you are greated with an already warm home.

• Make sure all air registers are completely free of obstruction.

Make sure all vents are open and that no vents are obstructed by furniture. Failing to do so can cause some rooms of your home to not heat properly, leading to over stress on your homes heating system and potential heat loss in your home.

• Schedule a home energy check-up

These experts are well versed on winter weatherization and energy efficiency. Some states and have state run grant programs to weatherize homes, and there is also several federal programs that provide grants or low interest loans to make your home more energy efficient. Your local professional can inform you of any and all options you have available.

Compassion Is Necessary When Dealing With A Hoarding Situation For A Homeowner

By admin On May 1, 2013 No Comments

What is Hoarding? How can you help?

Discovering a property that is filled with waste, garbage and feces is often a sure signal of a deeper psychological issue and a sure sign you may be dealing with a person who is “hoarding” items, not able to make rational decisions to discard and throw things away. Hoarding creates cramped living conditions and homes filled to capacity. Many homes only have narrow pathways through the house that wind through stacks of clutter. Hoarding creates personal complications that include unsanitary living conditions, health risks. Hoarding can interfere with performing daily tasks such as bathing and cooking. Above all, the clutter is a safety and fire hazards.

Some of the common traits of individuals who hoard are the accumulation of large quantities of objects, documents, papers, or possessions beyond apparent necessity or pleasure. They struggle with parting and letting go of possessions. They may have a wide range of interests or even several uncompleted projects. A chronically disorganized person gets distracted easily and has weak time-management skills. A hoarder often makes decisions differently than a non-hoarder. People who hoard do not see these traits as a problem. That makes it hard to treat the disorder, but treatment can help people who hoard live a safer life.

The impact of hoarding can even be felt in business. Compulsive keepers have a poor sense of time, often misplace files, and are tardy or absent frequently. They struggle with instructions, have a hard time making decisions, and miss important deadlines. These problems create havoc in the workplace and reduce productivity.

Hoarding can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, or economic status. It is hard to determine how common hoarding is, because it has only recently been studied and few people seek treatment.

Homes inhabited by hoarders can be dangerous, unhealthy, or both – and dramatic action is required to address the problem and start the hoarder on the road to recovery. Calling a Professional who is trained and certified to assist with cleanup is the best idea to help your loved one.

5 Qualities You Want in a Roofing Contractor

By admin On January 10, 2013 No Comments

When it comes to hiring a roofing contractor, there are undoubtedly some qualities that you will want to look for in the person that you hire. Roofing contractors provide important services, but the level of professionalism that different contractors have can vary greatly. Therefore, it’s important to shop around and find a roof contractor that lives up to your standards and expectations.

Qualifications and permit available

If you ask to see the roofing contractors permit, they should be able to show it to you without hesitation. Roofing projects are never easy and it’s something that has to be approved and documented by the state. If the roofer wants you to arrange the permit for your home, you should probably consider another contractor.

Liability insurance

The roofing contractor that you hire absolutely must have liability insurance. This shows you that they, as well as their workers are insured incase anything happens while they are working on your roof. Someone could get injured and if they don’t you want to make sure that you are not held responsible.

Warranty available for the roof

Every roof is made to be durable and long lasting. However, we all know that rain; hail, snow, and fast winds can cause significant damage to a roof. If this happens within the first few years after construction, it’s important that there be some type of warranty to compensate you for the repairs. Warranties can help protect your finances in the event that a problem develops with the roof because of negligence from your roofing contractor.


Before you hire a roofing contractor, you should always check for references. They should have testimonials from previous clients and this type of data should be accessible without having to call or email them. It’s a good idea to only consider roofing professionals that have an online website. A website shows that they are invested into their brand and image. It also helps you compare their business with others, which is very important to securing a good deal.

Permanent place of business

It’s advisable that you find a roofing contractor that has a permanent place of business and not just hire someone that runs their business out of their home. Having a permanent place of business means that you can find them if something goes wrong and getting in touch with them throughout the progression of your roofing project will be easy.

Steps To Help Safeguard Your Property Ahead Of Hurricane Sandys Arrival

By admin On October 28, 2012 No Comments

How to Protect Your Property from Tropical Storms, Hurricanes

When a storm is reported to be heading the coastline, people react to protect their homes. From the time the storm has been detected to the time the clock is announced, this is the most critical moment to make any preparation in protecting your family and the home. If a home is put in danger of being invaded by the storm, the common thing you need to do is to protect windows and sliding glass doors.

Often, people try to tape up windows but this may not be a solution. Taping only helps keep the glass from flying but it may not be able to protect it from breaking when it is hit by the high speed wind. As a rule of thumb, when a wind storm approaches your area, it is best that you stay in a room with windows that cannot be broken.

It is recommended that you fit your home with heavy plywood or metal shutters. It requires time in order to fit the materials and therefore, you have to make use of your time properly to ensure that you are not caught unprepared. It is essential that you have a ¾ inch plywood and drill screw holes 18 inches apart all around the plywood to make it ready for fixing.

In order to save time, you can number or letter the plywood covers so that they are easily identifiable. This will ensure that when you begin fixing them, it does not take a lot of time. You should store the mounting screws or lag bolts with the covers in an easily accessible place. The reason why it is important to protect your windows is because when they are broken, the wind gets inside and this has effects on your home.

When wind enters the home, it wrecks the interior and also acts on your roof upward. Most houses are ripped off their roofs because the wind creates pressure on the roof when it enters the house. The upward pressure can sent your roof flying and this leads to collapse of the walls of the house.

Before a storm reaches your location, there are certain things which you should do;

• You should remove any weak and dead trees and limbs of trees that are around your property.
• If your home is in a zone which has been mapped as a storm surge zone, then you have to evacuate the location.
• You should know the time when you will evacuate and where you will head to, as well as prepare a survival or evacuation kit with non perishable food, water and first aid kit.
• You need to have a battery-power radio or television where you can keep up with the latest information being

In essence, when a storm is reported, you should learn the particular risks that are posed by the hurricane in your area. You can contact the local emergency management office. You should also make a record of your personal property with an itemized list of your clothing, furniture, valuables and other properties as this helps adjusters is allocating the insurance claims amounts if damages are incurred. In addition, you should protect your insurance policy and other documents in a safe box or watertight box or through an online document back up.

Should your property become damaged it is recomended to hire a professional repair and cleanup firm, to assist with services such as water removal, roof tarps, basement drying and more.

Make Sure If You Have Damage From A Hurricane You Are Dealing With Reputable Contractors

By admin On August 28, 2012 No Comments

Why Insurance Companies Require Certified Water Damage Contractors

Water damage is one of the most horrific messes a homeowner will ever have to encounter. When water pours into homes it brings along contaminants that can be dangerous to the family that lives there. Whether it is the failure of a sump pump or a flash flood the effects are still devastating.

Water damage falls into three basic categories, they are

Category 1

This type of water is known as clean. It is not a threat to humans or animals. It is generally from broken pipes within the home.

Category 2

This type of water may have some chemical contaminants that can cause a person sickness if they are exposed. It is often called grey water because it can come from toilet bowls, seepage and discharged water from a dishwasher.

Category 3

This type of water is unsanitary for humans. Anyone who comes in contact with this can be seriously sick. Water know as black can come from the sewage lines, river water, or toilet back flows.

Because of the severity of dealing with water and its clean ups, Insurance companies will require a Certified Water Damage Contractor to handle the mess. The reason they want a professional is because dealing with black water, or category 3, can cause great sickness. By not ensuring this process is handled properly, the well-being of the family can be in jeopardy.

Various removal methods and actions are utilized contingent upon what category the water is. Due to the way water damages, refurbishment methods also rely comprehensively on the quantity of water, and on the length of time the water has lingered stagnant.

Most certified contractors can be found under “Fire and Water Restoration” sections in the phone book. These businesses are controlled by the applicable Department of Consumer Affairs. The state where they got their contractor’s license usually has a board that ensures protocol is being observed. Many states will require these contractors to have an asbestos certification, as well as a demolition classification to be able to handle these citations safely.

Because there are numerous contractors who have not had the specific training, they may let things like a slight discoloration on the wall or ceilings go untreated. These areas can create mold and it can quickly spread like wildfire thorough the home. Some might even think they are just age spots or normal wear and tear on a home. They can quickly become a more serious condition when family members develop difficulty breathing, sinus issues and sneezing.

Water damage can be minor or it can be the main cause of the total destruction of a property. Insurance companies want to ensure that a properly is repaired in the safest way possible. Whether it is a class 1 or a class 3 makes no difference, mold can quickly form if a job is not handled properly.

Hopefully this story sheds some light on the challenges of finding contractors. With the heart of Hurricane Season beginning now and potential for a major hurricane in Louisiana this week, property owners from the greater Lafayette area through the Baton Rouge and New Orleans markets may find themselves having to quickly qualify a contractor for cleanup assistance, costs which could run into the tens of thousands of dollars.