The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: How to Conceal Ducts, Condensers, and Thermostats, Beautifully

Your HVAC system helps keep you and your family comfortable throughout the year, but sometimes HVAC equipment can be a bit unsightly. The good news is that you do not have to compromise your style and design preferences in order to house your HVAC system. There are simple ways that you can conceal ducts, condensers, and thermostats to improve the look of the interior and exterior of your home.

Conceal HVAC

How to Hide Thermostat, Condenser, and Ducts

There are a variety of creative ways that you can conceal your HVAC equipment without impairing its functionality. Here are just a few of the ways to hide HVAC equipment:

Landscaping for Outside AC Units

Landscaping is an easy way to conceal your outdoor HVAC unit. Whether you use shrubbery or tall potted plants, the natural greenery helps make your home exterior look more attractive while camouflaging large, sometimes unsightly units. Make sure that when you are planting shrubs or adding new plants that they are at least one foot away from the unit. This allows the system to breathe while also leaving room for repairs. Once you have installed new landscaping, you should also check the unit regularly to clear any debris that may be blown onto the unit as this can impact its function.

Ways to Conceal Thermostat

Everyone has a thermostat, but they can often interrupt the flow of your interior design. You can help camouflage your thermostat by adding a collage of photos or art around the thermostat. This helps make it less noticeable on your wall. Some homeowners may even add a frame around the thermostat or dress it up a bit to make it part of the collage. You may also want to paint your thermostat or choose a color that more naturally blends into your walls to reduce its appearance. If your thermostat is older and looks dated, consider replacing it with a newer, smarter model. Not only will it look more modern, but you will be able to heat and cool your home more efficiently with a programmable or smart thermostat.

Hide Ductwork with Shelving

One way to hide ductwork is to incorporate custom bookcases or shelving units, which hide the ducts from view. Not only are you concealing the ducts, but you are creating useful and practical storage inside your home. For ductwork that is hard to hide, some homeowners actually opt to include ducts as part of their interior design. By designing your space around the ducts, you can create an attractive indoor space without the hassle of covering large ducts.

These are just a few tips for hiding unsightly HVAC equipment. There are a variety of other fun suggestions on Pinterest. Just make sure that when concealing the HVAC equipment, you are not impairing its function. If you have any other HVAC related questions or want to get your system running more efficiently, feel free to contact us today.

How to Cool Down Your Summer Air Conditioning Bills

While many of us enjoy the summer months, none of us is particularly thrilled with the increased energy bills caused by increased air conditioning usage. According to the United States Department of Energy, 43% of your home’s utility bill is derived from heating and air conditioning your home. However, there are several ways you can lower your energy costs during these warmer times. Some of these may be rather obvious to most, while others may be points you hadn’t before considered.

Planting Trees

Since most of the heat in your home comes directly from the sun shining on your roof and through windows, trees planted around it outside can help keep inside temperatures down. The trees can act as a barrier, blocking the sun’s rays from heating up your home. In addition, shading your air conditioning with shrubs and trees can improve its efficiency by up to 10%, according to the US Department of Energy. While purchasing these plants will incur upfront costs, you will recoup that cost overtime with a lowered electricity bill.

Window Coverings

The use of black-out curtains and solar screens is another effective way to lower your home’s cooling costs during the summer. These curtains and screens intercept quite a bit of the sun’s energy before it is able to reach inside. In turn, you will enjoy a cooler home without your air conditioning system working into overdrive.

Avoid Cooling an Empty Home

Raising the setting on your thermostat during times you will not be home is another great way to keep cooling costs to a minimum. Of course, you want to remain comfortable while you are at home. When you are away, however, it’s advisable to bump the

temperature up a bit so that your AC system is not hard at work when no one is even home. Many updated systems have thermostats that are programmable, allowing you to set your air conditioner to certain temperatures at certain times of the day. This ensures that your home is a nice, cool temperature for you to be comfortable while you are there, while giving the system a break when the home is empty.

Using Fans

Using fans is another way to keep your home cool. If you are someone who enjoys cooler temperatures when you are in bed at night, perhaps you should consider raising your thermostat a bit and using a fan to make up the difference. Fans help circulate the cool air already in your home, allowing it to remain cool without overusing the AC system.

Avoid Unnecessary Heat from the Kitchen

Baking and cooking can heat up your home quickly. While eating is necessary, it may be a good idea to limit the number of meals being cooked. Instead, plan meals based on fresh foods that do not require much use of the stove or oven. This will limit the amount of heat being generated in your home, lessening the need to run the air conditioner constantly.

Taking these steps make it fairly easy to find a balance between enjoying cool inside temperatures and lowering cooling costs. While at first it may seem like work, eventually it will be routine and come naturally.

4 Common Reasons Your Air Conditioning System Needs Repair

As a homeowner you want to make sure that your air conditioning system is working properly. This is going to mean giving it an inspection from time to time. A personal inspection should be done on a monthly basis, but an annual inspection should also be carried out. If you carry out an annual inspection, then you will need to call in a professional HVAC contractor. A professional HVAC contractor will ensure that you get the best level of comfort when it comes to using your system in the future. All contractors are required to be certified, so you will know that you are going to get a top quality job. At the same time, you also need to understand the warning signs for when your system does actually have to be repaired.

Leaking

A leakage is going to be one of the first warning signs. There should not be any form of moisture on your system. If you find that the sides or the back of the machine are leaking, then you will need to turn off the system and have a look at it yourself. Sometimes this may just be due to the ice that buildings up on components, but sometimes there could be an underlying cause. This is where you will need to call someone in.

Strange Sounds

If your machine is making sounds that it does not normally make, then you will need to have someone come in. As with leaking, it is probably a good idea that you check it yourself before you start to spend money on getting a repair. If you manage to find something that can be fixed quite easily, then you can do this yourself and not have to worry about spending any more cash. If it turns out to be something a little more complex, then you will need to make sure that you bring someone in as soon as possible.

Filtration

One of the most important jobs that an air conditioning unit is going to have is filtration. Air is going to circulate in order to cool the room. You want to make sure that the room is properly cooled, and therefore if you find that you have problems with your filtration you will end up having to get your system fixed as soon as possible. This can of course be a pain, so you will need to try and call someone in quickly.

Worn Out Systems

If you run your AC for hours, then the components within the machine are going to end up wearing out. What you need to do here is make sure that you fix it as soon as possible. This is going to mean either replacing the parts yourself or getting in a contractor.

Your AC is going to be very important come the summer time. You want to ensure that you get the best use out of it, but you also want to make sure that you do not mess anything up when you are using it.

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Stay Cool and Save money This Summer with a programmable thermostat

We all want to stay cool during the Summer, but air conditioning can be extremely expensive to operate on a constant basis. Combined with rising prices in electricity and a poor economy, people are looking for more ways to cut back on their expenses this Summer. With this in mind, a programmable thermostat might be the solution to this problem.
Programmable thermostats are small electronic devices which can be installed in the home, designed to automate the heating and cooling of your house on a timer based system. When used properly, they are extremely efficient at reducing wasted electricity spent on cooling and heating the home.

During the Summer, by programming the thermostat to cool your house at particular points of the day, you can avoid wasting money on air conditioning when the house is vacant or when the temperature is already at an acceptable level. By monitoring the constant temperature of the home at all times, the programmable thermostat regulates when the air conditioning is used.

For example, if you work during the day, you can program the thermostat to allow temperatures within the house to rise beyond the standard objectionable limits during your work hours, then set it to start the cooling process shortly before you arrive home, so that the temperature inside is acceptable upon arrival but  the air conditioning has not been running constantly while the house is vacant. This saves you money by not wasting electricity on air conditioning that doesn’t benefit you.

Alternatively, while the house is occupied, the programmable thermostat can be used to keep the temperature at a constant range of acceptable temperatures, based on the time of day. Though some programmable thermostats, such as clock thermostats, are limited to two periods per day, modern digital programmable thermostats can be set to have several periods throughout the day in which they operate at different temperatures, depending on the users requirements. These are usually labelled time periods, such as “morning”, “day”, “evening” and “night”, but can be manually adjusted to cover broader or shorter time periods than their default settings.

The user is also able to manually override the required temperature of the cooling system via the programmable thermostat at any time if the programmed levels are not suited to that particular day or time, and will reset to the programmed temperature once the thermostat has reached the next period. This leaves the user the comfort of not having to constantly adjust and readjust the temperature of the house at different times of the day and the reassurance that you know exactly when and how much energy your  heating or  air conditioning system is using throughout the day, allowing for predictable and economical electricity charges throughout the Summer.

By installing a programmable thermostat in your home this Summer, you can feel secure in knowing that your air conditioning costs are covered and not wasting money on unneccessary energy.

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How to Clean a Hot Water Heater Effectively

As the years pass, sediment forms on the bottom of hot water heaters. The sediment that collects is made up of all solid materials that do not dissolve in the water. This includes things like grit or sand from a well. Also, magnesium, calcium and iron may build up as well on the bottom of your heater which can cause rust or discoloration in the hot water taps. Tiny accumulations of sediment do not usually result in serious problems. However, when too much collects on the bottom, it can result in your drain valve not properly working and it affects the efficiency of the operation of your water heater which will cost you money. When you are cleaning, make sure that every major part is cleaned efficiently. The most vital parts to get cleaned are the water tank, the tank heater and the burner control and assembly. You should clean the entire setup once yearly. Below are the steps on how to clean your hot water heater.

  • 1. Turn the water supply off. Turn off the power at breaker if you have an electric water heater. If it is gas, turn thermostat to pilot setting. Located near the thermostat is the drain valve which you will need to connect a hose to but keep valve shut for now. Turn the cold-water source that feeds your water heater off.
  • 2. Drain the Hot Water
  • In your home, open up a hot-water faucet of your tub or sink. This helps with the prevention of a vacuum from being made inside the lines. At the water heater, open up drain valve and drain hot water from the tank. Drain far end of hose in a place that will not be damaged by the hot water. Your driveway outside is most suitable.
  • 3. Flush Remaining Sediment
  • Once the far end of hose stops draining water, you can turn back on the water supply. This flushes out any sediment that is left behind inside your heater. When you see that the water is running clear from the hose end, you can shut the drain valve. Do not forget to turn hot water faucet back off from inside your home.
  • If there is no water inside the tank, there is a possibility for the heating element to blow. To prevent damage, some tanks should be completely full. If you are in doubt, read carefully the instructions and warnings on the tank label since all tanks vary.
  • 4. Test Pressure-Release Valve
  • Turn back on the water heater power supply from the thermostat or breaker box after tank is full of water. Once you have brought back up the water temperature, follow manufacturer’s instructions to test pressure-relief valve. This safety device was made for the prevention of excess build-up of pressure and overheating in tank. You might need to get it replaced if it is faulty by a licensed plumber.

For more details call 302-476-2808 or click here

3 Common broken furnace heating repair needs for homeowners

A furnace is a common choice for a heating system. Many home owners have a furnace in their home that provides the heat they need to remain comfortable during the winter months. A furnace, like any other large piece of machinery, is subject to breakdown, so it should be maintained and serviced on a regular basis. There are many problems that can occur that home owners can handle themselves. Below are three examples of broken furnace issues that can be checked by the home owner.

Thermostat Malfunctions

One area of problems is the thermostat. A thermostat is the control portion of your furnace which gives you the temperature setting in the home. A malfunctioning thermostat can cause no heating, fan issues or comfort problems. It is important for home owners to check their thermostat to make sure the thermostat is set properly and that power is coming to the thermostat as this can be an issue.

Air Flow Issues

Another area of issue with a furnace is air flow issues. Fan motors, belts as well as bearings can be an issue as a furnace gets older. Any problems with these components will need to be taken care of right away. A certified technician will be able to provide you with the repairs you need to remain in operating order.

Filter Issues

Another issue with a furnace that is quite common is a dirty or clogged filter. The filter must be clean in the unit to function properly. Make sure to check your unit regularly to make sure that the filter is clean and ready to operate. If your filter is dirty you can choose to clean it or you can exchange it for a new filter.

Lack of Maintenance

Another issue with a furnace system is lack of maintenance. Most home owners forget about their furnace system and do not perform regular maintenance. It is imperative that a unit is cleaned and serviced on a regular basis to ensure that the unit is in proper working order. Lack of maintenance can result in major repair issues that can be costly and time consuming to the home owner. It can also result in the need of replacement which is very expensive.

Take the time to care for your furnace unit and you will be glad you did. Proper maintenance and servicing will give you a furnace unit that will last for many years to come.

5 golden rules of safety for your kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home. We all enjoy making meals and enjoying family time in the kitchen. However, the kitchen can be an unsafe zone if proper precautions are not taken. Home owners need to be sure that they operate safely in the kitchen to ensure the safety of those in the home as well as the home itself. Below are 5 golden rules for safety in the kitchen.

Children in the Kitchen

Kids love to help mom and dad in the kitchen but kids can be in harm’s way in the kitchen. Be sure to always keep a sharp eye out on your children if they are in kitchen. Ovens, knives, hot items, pots and electrical items are great dangers to children. An accident can happen in instant, so home owners should be very cautious with children in the kitchen.

Clean Hands

It is also important to have clean hands while operating in the kitchen. You want to be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling any food, especially raw meats. You will need to use paper towels to dry your hands as hand towels can hold the raw meat juices in. make sure to clean the area you prep your meat in as well after you are finished.

Cleaning the Kitchen

Always be sure that your kitchen is clean. Make sure you wipe down all counters and cooking surfaces. Also be sure to wash dishes thoroughly and use cleaning products when needed. Bacteria and other harmful germs can stay in the kitchen, making your loved ones sick rather quickly. Keeping the kitchen clean will keep your family safe and healthy.

Perishable Foods

It is very important to make sure to keep all perishable foods put in the cold environment. Make sure once you use a perishable item for cooking, place the item back in the refrigerator. If the item is left out on the counter for too long, it can spoil and then you will not be able to use it. If you use the item by accident, you can become sick.

Appliances

It is also important to make sure that you turn off all appliances when you are completed with cooking. Ovens need to be turned off and other items such as toasters, griddles and fryers need to be unplugged. These items can cause an electrical fire or risk of shock.

Taking these tips into consideration will keep your family safe. Take the time to keep your kitchen a safe environment and this will give you a happy and safe home. With a little cleaning and common sense, you will be safe in the kitchen!

William G Day – Infographics