Do You Know How to Take Care of Your Air Conditioning Unit?

Now that winter is finally over, and temperatures are starting to climb, it’s the time of year when everyone switches their HVAC systems from heating to air conditioning. Rather than feeling stuffy and cooped up, we are kept cool and refreshed. As crucial as air conditioning is to our daily lives during the summer, how much do you really know about your HVAC system?

In order to keep your HVAC — or more importantly, air conditioning — running smoothly during the summer, make sure you understand the routine maintenance needed to keep it going and what to do if repairs are needed.

ac maintenance

 

Air Conditioning Unit Maintenance

Routine maintenance is necessary in order to properly take care of your HVAC system. During the summer, most people never turn their air conditioning off, leaving it running from May to September. By regularly maintaining your air conditioning unit throughout these months, you will not only help prolong the life of your cooling system, but you will help keep energy costs down while effectively cooling your home or business.

Don’t Know How to Do This Yourself?

That’s okay! One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning of Cleveland can help anyone in need with their scheduled maintenance plans that routinely tune up HVAC units. Their HVAC technicians and experts will help ensure that your air conditioning unit will work at optimal levels.

 

Air Conditioning Unit Repairs

Even with routine maintenance checks and constant care, it’s not uncommon for air conditioning units to breakdown every once-in-a-while if they are in constant use. Many people can relate to the torture of plugging in dozens of fans in an attempt to avoid the summer heat when the HVAC unit goes out. While placing frozen peas on your forehead might be a quick solution, odds are you’re going to have to repair or replace your AC unit.

One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning of Cleveland offers same-day appointments for these emergency situations and are available 24/7. You may not know how to fix it, but One Hour Air Conditioning will fix the issue in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner to restore the comfortable and cool environment you need.

Don’t Have an Air Conditioning Unit but Need One?

Maybe you never had air conditioning to begin with. Maybe your air conditioning unit broke, and you need a new one. Or maybe you just want a new and improved one that works better for your home. Regardless of your situation, summertime demands a consistent and efficient way to keep cool.

If you are in the market for a new air conditioning unit, One Hour Heat and Air Conditioning of Cleveland specializes in residential air conditioner installation. Their wide selection of air conditioners can support whatever space, preference, or budget you have to work with. One Hour Air Conditioning guarantees that they will provide an affordable, high-quality product that can be installed in no time.

When summer comes, don’t struggle in the heat. Taking care of your heating and cooling system is important, especially if you’re using your air conditioning a lot this summer. If you don’t know what to do, One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning of Cleveland is there to help.

 

What Goes Into Building A Deck?

With popular home improvement shows like Property Brothers or Fixer Upper becoming mainstream, it’s no surprise there’s a new interest in renovating homes. For those who are comfy in their own home, perhaps changing the architectural design or adding more outdoor spaces will satisfy the need to improve. Custom decks are the perfect outdoor living space that adds value to your home and personal flair to the backyard.

custom deck builders

Many people add decks to their home as a way to increase outdoor enjoyment and improve the atmosphere of their backyard. Archadeck of Central Maine is a locally-owned business that builds outdoor structures like decks with a custom design plan that meets the clients’ needs. Their deck builders work hard to ensure your deck is fully functional and beautifully complements your home.

What Goes Into Building Decks?

Design Consultation

Before deck builders can build the perfect deck for your home, a design consultation is needed, so they know what you as a client want. At Archadeck of Central Maine, these design consultations are free, so you can decide how you want to move forward with the project. You will discuss your desires and ideas for the deck with your Archadeck team so that they can create a custom plan to your satisfaction. Here’s what to keep in mind for these consultations:

  1. Your budget
  2. Where you want to put the deck
  3. The design you want
  4. The materials you want (wood, vinyl, etc.)

The deck builders will then inspect the area you plan to have your deck or the previous existing deck that you plan to replace. Measurements and photographs will be taken so they can be as accurate as possible.

Building the Deck

When it comes to building the deck, some builders have different processes. At Archadeck of Central Maine, the deck builders secure any building permits needed before construction begins and provide local oversight throughout the project to ensure their customer protection plan and maintain respect for your property and privacy.

The deck building process begins with laying down the foundation and securing the main support posts of the deck. It’s important to make sure the foundation is level, and the support posts are secure. The deck builders will then begin framing the deck by adding beams and joists to the posts as a support system that creates the deck’s structure. Then comes adding the main floorboards to the structure. Once the floorboards are in place, the deck builders will finish and seal the deck to complete the look and protect the deck from weathering.

Each deck design is different depending on what the client wants. The deck builders at Archadeck of Central Maine will attend to every detail of the custom plan you created and designed with them so that you enjoy the finished product for years to come.

Why You Should Care About Window Tint

Window tint is a thin layer of film that’s applied to glass windows to reduce the transfer of light and UV rays from the sun. Now that you know what window tint is, you might be wondering: why should I care? Window tint is about so much more than aesthetics. Applying window tint to your historic home can have very real benefits for your health, safety, and comfort.

window tint for historic homes

Window Tint Protects Your Health

One of the best things about window tint is that it blocks UV rays from the sun. Being overexposed to UV rays can be extremely hazardous to your health and can even lead to life-threatening diseases like skin cancer. Think of window tint as a kind of permanent sunscreen for your windows. It will protect you from absorbing too many UV rays while you’re driving, working in your office, or relaxing at home during the day.

It Increases Safety

Window tint adds an extra layer of protection to glass that makes it more difficult to break, enabling it to act as a crime and vandalization deterrent for your historic home. If tinted glass does break, it’s less likely to shatter into tiny, sharp pieces that can become airborne during a car accident and cause serious injury.

Window Tint Improves Comfort

Because window tint blocks the sun’s rays, it can make any house vastly more comfortable all year round. Window tint helps defray energy costs by preventing your heating or cooling from escaping through your windows, and it also prevents too much outside air from entering your home. In addition to keeping you at a consistent, comfortable temperature all year round, window tint also reduces glare and makes things like working on a computer or watching TV easier and more enjoyable.

Solar Concepts offers quality window tint in Indianapolis. They can expertly apply window tint to your historic home windows and make sure it complies with all state regulations. When it comes to window tint, you want to make sure you’re working with experts who know what they’re doing and can help guide you through the entire process. Solar Concepts is the go-to choice for window tint in Indianapolis for a good reason – they’re the best in the business.

Guide to Choosing Your New Window Treatments for A Historic Home

You have your brand-new replacement windows installed, and your home has never looked better. All that’s left to do is to pick out your new window treatments. Choosing window treatments seems simple enough until you start your research and realize how many things there are to consider when making your choice. Instead of getting overwhelmed and making an impulsive decision, let this guide to choosing window treatments help you choose something you’ll love.

What Should I Consider When Choosing Window Treatments?

Light

One of the first things you’ll need to think about is how much light you want entering the room. Remember that you may end up needing different window treatments for different rooms, depending on how you use each room. If you prefer to sleep in total darkness, you may want to choose blackout curtains for your bedroom. Same goes for your home theater, office, or TV room where glare would be particularly annoying – blackout shades or curtains give you the options of blocking out almost all the light coming in from outside.

If you want to protect your rugs, carpet, and furniture from fading but still want to allow some natural light in, go with light filtering blinds instead, or choose blinds with operable slats that allow you to adjust how much light is entering through your windows depending on the time of day. Wood blinds often have operable slats and look elegant and timeless in any home. Mann Kidwell offers the highest quality wood blinds in Richmond and can customize them to suit your windows and your needs.

window treatment options

Insulation

You might be surprised how well a high-quality window treatment can insulate your home. Around 25% of your home’s heating and cooling costs can be traced back to energy loss via your windows. By investing in well-made window treatments, you can save money on energy costs each month – and those savings add up quick. While all window treatments will offer some insulation, heavy curtains, draperies, and shades will give you the most bang for your buck and will help keep your home at a comfortable temperature all year round.

Style

Once you decide on your practical needs, you need to think about style. Do you want your window treatments to add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral room? Or do you want your window treatments to act as a neutral anchor to an otherwise bright color scheme? Whatever your style and personal tastes, you can find window treatments to match them perfectly. One important factor when buying window treatments is to make sure they coordinate with your window shape. Most standard rectangular windows will go well with any common window treatment, but for more unique shapes like circular, square, or diamond-shaped windows, you’re going to have to choose more carefully.

Mann Kidwell specializes in customizable window treatments and wood blinds in Richmond and can create a window treatment to match your home’s windows flawlessly. Having window treatments that match your home’s style and décor will make your entire home look elevated and beautiful.

4 Steps to Take if You Have Water Damage in Your Historic Home

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of discovering water damage in your home. Whether you’re dealing with water damage from a small, persistent leak that built up over time or sudden flooding from a burst pipe or a storm, it can be hard not to panic when you think of all the work that needs to be done to get your home back to its pre-damage condition. It’s crucial that you act immediately when you discover water damage in your home. These four tips will help you know what to do and where to turn when water damage strikes. Water Damage

  1. Call Your Insurance Company

Get in touch with your insurance company as soon as you notice water damage in your home. Getting the claim process started as quickly as possible will help ensure a fair outcome and will allow you to start remediation sooner.

  1. Document Everything

Take pictures of every inch of the water damage in your home before you begin any remediation or cleanup. Try to get everything from multiple angles. Make an inventory of all damaged items and affected areas. Having comprehensive documentation will help the insurance claim process run more smoothly.

  1. Contact a Water Damage Restoration Company

The next step is to contact a trusted water damage restoration company to make all necessary repairs to your home. Trying to perform high-level water damage remediation and repairs yourself can be costly, dangerous, and ultimately ineffective. Make sure you’re working with a company you can trust, like Metro Contractors. Metro Contractors offers 24-hour emergency services and can get you an estimate right away, so they can start working on remediation and repairs as soon as possible after water damage strikes. Their team of experts has years of experience dealing with all kinds of home water damage. Metro Contractors guarantees fast turnaround times and has a high rate of approval for insurance claims. Having a trusted water damage restoration company by your side can make the entire process infinitely easier and less stressful. With Metro Contractors by your side, your home will be back to normal sooner than you thought possible.

 

  1. Safely Collect Your Valuables if Possible

After contacting a water damage restoration company, collect all your valuables from your home and move them to a dry place. However, it’s extremely important that you put safety first and only enter your home if you’re sure it’s safe to do so. Remember that even if the water appears clear, it could be contaminated with sewage. Wear safety gloves and waterproof rubber boots when moving throughout your home in the event of flooding. Look for sagging ceilings and stay away from all rooms that show signs of sagging or drooping ceilings. Do not turn on any ceiling fixtures or use any electrical appliances. Walk very carefully to avoid slips and falls, and never use a household vacuum cleaner to try and remove water from your home. If you have any doubts about whether or not it’s safe to be in your home, wait for the professionals to arrive before you go inside.

Why DIY Tile & Grout Cleaning Doesn’t Really Work

DIY Tile Cleaning Doesn’t Work

If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, and you notice your tile floors are looking a little dingy, you may be tempted to grab a toothbrush and some cleaning solution and get to work cleaning your tile and grout yourself. While there’s nothing wrong with an industrious attitude, when it comes to tile and grout cleaning, hiring a professional is the way to go.

Stone, tile, and grout all have extremely porous surfaces that naturally collect dirt, dust, and bacteria over time. Your floors are particularly susceptible to becoming breeding grounds for bacteria due to all the dirt and debris that gets tracked in from the outdoors. Tile floors are often even more full of bacteria because tile is such a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms, where bacteria are already more likely to be running rampant.

DIY tile cleaning

The porous nature of tile, grout, and stone floors means that at-home cleaning methods and products simply can’t penetrate deep enough to get rid of all the bacteria below the surface, no matter how hard you scrub. You might be able to get your grout looking brighter, but even this takes hours of back-breaking, labor-intensive effort that will likely only give you mixed results at best. If you want tile and grout that looks uniformly bright and clean and that’s also free from bacteria, you need to go to a professional. You might be thinking; I’ve never even heard of professional tile cleaning, are there even services that handle tile and grout cleaning near me?

Luckily, Chem-Dry offers expert tile, stone, and grout cleaning services, and they have locations all over the United States. L & K Chem-Dry uses a tile and grout cleaning method that’s specifically designed to leave your floors sparkling like new while also leaving you with a dramatically cleaner, healthier home. Their unique floor cleaning process gets deep into the porous surface of your stone, tile, and grout and lifts dirt, dust, and bacteria to the surface where it can be easily extracted. You won’t have to spend your weekend on your hands and knees scrubbing away at your floors, and you’ll still get a home that has fewer bacteria and is healthier for you and your family.

Connecting a Portable Generator to Your House

Portable generators offer the promise of making an extended power outage tolerable, allowing us to continue to use many of the devices we need to stay connected and comfortable. But for many, a portable generator isn’t enough to do the job on its own. That’s because generators can’t plug into electrical panels – and can’t power household systems or electrical outlets – without a little help.

Household electrical systems are designed and equipped to receive electricity from just one source: the utility line. Systems are designed to allow electricity to flow into the home, but not out of it. Connecting an additional power source to a home, such as a portable generator, isn’t part of that design. When a generator introduces electricity into the system, where it can travel backwards up a utility line.

Maybe you’re wondering: Why can’t utility lines handle electricity from a small generator? After all, they’re able to provide power to entire neighborhoods. The answer again lies in the design. Transformers are designed to convert high voltages into much lower voltages that homes can use. When electricity runs in reverse, transformers run in reverse, too: They turn low portable generator voltage into high voltage.

With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why connecting a portable generator to a home without proper safeguards is a major violation of electrical code. In order to connect a generator to a home, you need to start by hiring a licensed electrician.

Generally speaking, your electrician will present you with two options: Connecting your generator through a transfer switch or an interlock kit. Both options keep generator power from running out of your home and into utility lines where they can cause harm. Both prohibit your system from connecting to the utility line and the generator at the same time.

Both transfer switches or an interlock kits have their advantages. Transfer switches require somewhat longer installation times, but offer slightly more ease of operation. Interlock kits take less time to install (which costs less), but require slightly more time to transfer from generator to utility power or back again. The right choice for you depends on your budget, and how often you expect to lose power.

If you like the idea of powering your home (and not just your devices) during an outage, you can do it. Just be sure to contract an electrician to establish a safe connection between your generator and your home.

Replacing Siding On A Historic Home

Unfortunately, if you have a historic, aged home that needs some repairs or replacements to the exterior siding, the lumber available in today’s hardware stores is not as strong, dense, and solid as it used to be. Wood is cut while the trees are very young nowadays, relative to years back when only mature trees were harvested. This same concept also applies to the latex paint that we use now on the exteriors of our home, compared to the lead paint that was used back in the day and lasted a long time.

HistoricHouseSiding

When these two problems of weakened wood and low-quality paint are combined, it creates a home repair mess fairly quickly. If you happen to own a historic, Victorian-era home, the siding is more than likely made out of a product known as #105 weatherboard.

In most cases, a simple fix can be applied to take care of any issues causing your siding to be needing replaced, such as installing a gutter system or an eaves-trough. On a modern home, in a recent neighborhood, this normally isn’t an issue. In some instances, however, with historic homes, you may be located in a “National Historic District”, which means your home is subject to rules and regulations that a more modern home may not be subjected to. This can cause you to have to take matters into your own hands to find a solution for replacing or repairing your siding.

ReplacingOldSiding

The main issue that will arise with siding on a historic home is the wood and paint will start warping and cracking, which creates small gaps in the wood and siding, which in turn allow moisture and humidity to seep through. This moisture leaking into the cracks of the wood siding can be extremely harmful, and potentially can cause problems for your family, if the moisture in turn begins to cause mold and mildew to build up in the foundation of your home.

It’s important that if you decide to go through with replacing exterior siding on your home, that you either use a siding replacement company such as Blue Ridge Exteriors, or truly research and plan out your steps before attempting a do-it-yourself project. For more information on milling the necessary lumber for replacing #105 weatherboard, which is rare to find in stores nowadays, check out this extremely helpful article.

The Difference a Bay Window Can Make

In the six years I’ve lived in Richmond, I’ve been able to make several great updates to my Church Hill home. As a result, my home is more beautiful and functional than it was when I arrived. But one update stands out to me: Converting my large living room window into a bay window. In addition to providing some much-needed character to my home’s exterior, my bay window also added to the ways I enjoy my living room.

When I moved into my home, my living room featured three casement windows sharing a single large opening. While they provided a nice view, I was never really able to enjoy it. The closest piece of furniture to the window, my sofa, faced away from the window and the view, towards the TV and other seating. Try as I might, there wasn’t any way to arrange my furniture to take advantage of the view without facing away from other focal points in the room.

Then a few months ago, I was in another Church Hill Victorian with the same living room layout as mine. Even the furniture was similar to mine. But instead of placing the sofa in directly front of the window, it was moved just a few feet toward the center of the room. And instead of a triple casement window, my neighbor had a large bay window. I loved it immediately.

Unlike the casement windows in my home, my neighbors’ bay window extended out beyond the living room wall. That made for a couple of really cool benefits: The extension created enough space for a little seating area. By adding a couple of pillows and cushions, my neighbors fashioned a place where they could read or sip a coffee while enjoying the view.

Because the bay window extended outward, it provided a much wider and more interesting view of the street. The window also let more sunlight into the room than mine; this was also very appealing to me, as the front of my home faces north, and my living room needs all the natural light it can get.

After I left the home, I took a look at the bay window from the outside. I found myself admiring the extra architectural interest created by the extension, and by the copper-colored roof that topped it. Compared to my neighbor’s home, my own home’s façade seemed plain by comparison. It wasn’t long before I began looking into replacing the living room window on my home.

After several conversations with local window companies, I’d managed to find the perfect bay window for my home at Richmond Window Corp. This window wasn’t exactly like my neighbors’, but was equally handsome. Rather than a copper roof, I opted for a window topped with shingles – a better match for the rest of my home. I was also able to closely match the color and style of the existing windows.

As much as I like the new look of my home’s exterior, I enjoy the bay window much more from the inside. I rearranged my furniture just enough to allow easy access to the nook in my window. Like my neighbor, I’ve adorned the space with a pillow or two. Now it’s safe to say that my living room window has gone from an underused feature to one of my favorite things about my home.

Does Your HVAC System Need an Upgrade?

For many homeowners, central heating and cooling is one of the things we take for granted. You may not think about your HVAC system often, only noticing it when something goes wrong. When was the last time you checked your system’s efficiency? If you’ve never had your efficiency checked, you might be wasting money every month paying more than you should for effective heating and cooling.

One of the biggest offenders when it comes to a lack of efficiency are old units that don’t meet today’s energy standards. As new technology is introduced, heating and cooling systems are able to work more effectively and efficiently than they used to. Digital systems help to maintain and control temperatures in your home in a precise manner that older units just can’t achieve.

When is it time to replace?

It can be difficult to tell how efficient your HVAC system is without professional assistance. Sometimes there are red flags that can tip you off, like abnormally high energy bills, or poor temperature control, but in some cases it may be more subtle.

The best way to check the efficiency of your central air system is to have a professional come and perform an energy assessment. Companies like Bradley Mechanical, here in Richmond, VA, have specialized technicians who can come to your home and check a variety of different things to see if your system is functioning at optimal levels.

Some electric utility companies will subsidize the cost of an energy assessment because increasing the efficiency of your home will draw less power from the grid, helping the overall energy efficiency of your area. Check with your provider to see if they offer energy assessments or if they’ll help to subsidize the cost of your own private assessment.

Checking Outside Factors

Sometimes a lack of efficiency has little to do with your HVAC system and more to do with the construction of your home. Cracks in walls, poor insulation, or poorly sealed windows can add up to create a significant loss of energy in your home. Patching these smaller issues is often much more cost effective than replacing your whole HVAC system. It is recommended to fully seal your home before jumping into buying a new central air unit.

Getting the Right Unit

Another thing to check when completing an energy audit of your home is the size of your HVAC system. If your home came with the current HVAC system, it’s a good idea to do your due diligence and make sure that the system is the proper size for your home. This is especially important if you plan to add rooms, or have already done significant renovation.

Having the wrong size HVAC unit for your home can cause a multitude of different problems, including:

  • Inefficient air circulation
  • Promotion of mold growth
  • Chronic illness
  • Fire hazard if the system is working too hard

The best way to find out what size HVAC unit your home needs is to have a specialist run a load calculation, to see approximately how much air your system will need to move through your home on a regular basis. That way they can assess your energy needs and recommend a unit that will meet your needs. Having a properly sized HVAC system is a key part of achieving and maintaining energy efficiency for your home. Call your local HVAC professional today to learn more about making your home energy efficient and saving money.