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Posts Tagged ‘Cooling’

Get Your Home Fall Ready!

Fall has to be one of our favorite seasons. The leaves are all starting to change color, the weather is getting a little chiller and soon all the fun of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be arriving!

 

When those days have started to disappear, then it is time to think about how you can make sure that your home is ready for fall, and ultimately for winter too. But what are the things that you need to think about?

 

To help you make sure that your home is fall-ready, we have put together our top tips for the things that you need to look at and make sure are ready to go.

 

Have you air conditioning unit and heating unit serviced

 

Whilst you may not be using your air conditioning for a few months, chances are that you are going to need your heating. Early fall means that the weather is still relatively warm, so you won’t need to turn on your heating just yet. This means that it is the ideal time to get an expert in to check over your heating unit. After all, the last thing you are going to want is to find that it doesn’t work when you need it the most!

 

Check for any drafts

 

Another reason that you may find that you feel the chill during the winter is because your home is a little on the drafty side. It is a really good idea to try and locate and fix any drafts that you have. An easy way to do this is to go around all the windows and doors and feel the edges, if you are not sure what you are feeling for, then take a candle with you. If the flame flickers when placed near to a seal, then chances are that there is a draft there.

 

Whilst drafts are relatively easy to fix, you can also buy heavy curtains for those windows that are really letting the chill in.

 

Invest in a programmable thermostat

 

When it is colder outside, we are much more likely to use our heating. This means that our energy usage and bills is going to be much higher. If this is a worry to you, then one thing that you can do is to invest in a programmable thermostat. These allow you to set the temperature to different levels during different times of the day. You can lower it at night when you are safely tucked up in bed and lower or turn it off when you are going to be out of the house.

You may be surprised by just how much money these can save you.

 

Protect your air conditioning unit

 

During the winter your air conditioning unit isn’t going to be used, which means that you need to protect it. If it is outdoors then you may need to cover it, and if you have a detachable air conditioning unit that is placed in a window, then now is the time to remove it and store away for the winter.

 

Turn off your outdoor taps and store your hoses

 

Chances are that you are not going to need your hose or outdoor water supply during the winter. If this is true then you should make sure that you drain out your hoses and disconnect them from any outside water source. You should also make sure that you turn off any exterior faucets and store your hoses in a place where they won’t be at risk of freezing.

 

Give your garden a makeover

 

Whilst the weather is still warm enough to spend some time outdoors, it is a great idea to make sure that your garden is fall-ready. There are a variety of things that you can get done. Inspect all the trees to make sure that they are not damaged, trim the bushes, shrubs and flowers back and make sure that you rake up all the leaves that may be lying around and get them in the compost. You can also prepare your garden for spring by planting any bulbs so that they are ready to sprout when spring comes around.

 

You will also want to make sure that you bring in any flowerpots from outside too.

 

Don’t forget the shed

 

During the fall and winter your garden is going to need an entirely different set of equipment to the summer. So, if your shed is looking a little messy, then it is a really good idea to get out there and tidy it up. Move back the things that you are not going to need until next year and bring forward the tools that will get you through the colder months.

 

Close up the pool

 

If you are lucky enough to have a pool in your garden then it ensure that you have someone booked in to come and close up the pool for winter. Some pool owners will know how to do this for themselves, however if you are not sure, then it is a good idea to have a professional come to do it for you.

 

Get your summer equipment serviced

 

Whilst you are sorting out the shed and moving around the equipment, it may pay to organize someone come out and take a look at it all. This includes your lawnmower and trimmer. Both of which may need some work on them to ensure that they are ready to face the spring.

 

Give your gutters a clean

 

When the leaves start to fall off the trees there is one part of your house that is likely to feel the brunt of it, and that is your gutters. During the summer months your gutters usually stay relatively clear of debris, but as the leaves start to fall, chances are that they are going to end up in your gutters, clogging them up and making drainage all the trickier.

 

Take a look at your roof

 

The last thing that you are going to want is to find that your roof is leaking and broken when the weather turns. So, get up on your roof and make sure that everything is nice and clear, you will be really pleased that you made the effort to check when you are warm and cozy inside your home.

 

Make sure that your chimney is clear

 

During the fall and winter you are much more likely to turn on your heating and even light up the fire. This means that you need to make sure that your chimney is clear. Otherwise you could find that you have a problem when you need to use it if it happens to be blocked or clogged.

 

Drain your sprinkler system

 

Much like your outdoor tap, if you leave your sprinkler system out during the fall and winter, then it is a good idea to drain it. This makes sure that you don’t end up finding that it is frozen, or even worse, damaged when the spring and summer comes around.

 

Change the air filters in your heating system

 

Over time your air filters can become clogged and this can make your equipment less efficient. Not to mention damaged too. To make sure that your heating system is working the best that it can, it makes sense to ensure that you change your air filters as well as drain out all the pipes too.

 

Insulate your pipes

 

If you have any pipes that are exposed to the elements then it is a good idea to find out ways to insulate them. Exposed water pipes can freeze when the winter comes around and this can lead to them bursting. Not only are burst water pipes messy but they can be expensive to fix too. Also, imagine how you would feel if you had to do without hot water during the winter months. Not the nicest idea in the world!

 

 

 

As you can see, not only do you need to make sure that your wardrobe is ready for the fall, but your home is too. There are plenty of things to think about and make sure that you do, but once the colder weather hits, then you can be sure to feel grateful that you took the time out to do them all!

 

Reduce Summer Energy Costs with These Hacks

All of you who love to open your energy bill and see a ridiculous increase in your monthly costs, please raise your hand. We didn’t think so. Every summer, millions of Americans experience just that, muttering profanities under their breath, staring in disbelief, trying to decipher kilowatt hours and their summer energy costs. Following those profanities, they consider implementing a household ban: no soul shall touch the air conditioner or the fan, we will roast alive instead.

Such drastic measures aren’t necessary: there are quite a few ways to reduce summer energy costs and save your wallet from the perils of ballooning energy bills. Whether you want to reduce your energy consumption in general, or you simply want to lend Mother Earth a helping hand, Stadtler is here to help.

 

Windows

For many climates, running your air conditioning throughout the evening just isn’t necessary: the cool nighttime air and lack of sun can do wonders for naturally cooling your home. Turn off your AC and open your windows at night, and, in the morning, shut your windows and drapes to trap the cool air already circulating within.

 

Furthermore, you can install window treatments or awnings to shade your windows, a strategy that will not only provide a little decorating pop but add some tremendous shading power. Some awnings have been proven to reduce solar heat by an astonishing 65-75%! Compared to older models, today’s awnings are much more efficient and last substantially longer. Opt for units that are water repellent, mold resistant, and light-colored—lighter colors are better at reflecting sunlight than their darker counterparts. Ensure that your selection has proper ventilation in the form of eyelets or grommets so that air can flow through. As well, look for models that roll up or retract in the winter so you can capture sunlight to warm your home when you need it.

 

Leakage

Window leaks are more common than you would imagine, especially if you have older windows. Search for leaks and seal them ( conversely, this will be of great importance as you seek to heat your home come winter). Make sure to purchase a door stopper to line the bottom of any doors may that leak air.

 

Drapes

summer, energy, costs, curtain

Closing blinds and drapes is an excellent technique for avoiding the direct sunlight that turns homes into broilers. If you can stand a little summer darkness, awesome: draw your blinds and drapes. If you must bask in daylight, try drawing the blinds and closing curtains in rooms that are not being used. This action alone is perfect for countering the sun’s greenhouse effect.

 

Air Conditioning

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s recommended that you set your AC to 78 degrees during the summer months (if you can stand it, set it a bit higher). The goal is to create the least amount of difference between the soaring outside temperatures and your home’s interior, the result being lower energy bills from an AC unit that isn’t working overtime to cool your home. This little technique alone can amount to hundreds of dollars saved per year. When you’re more interested in maximizing savings as opposed to turning your home into a meat locker, this strategy will give you the most bang for your energy saving buck.

 

But how often do you clean your air conditioner? Are you growing a two-inch thick layer of dust over your filter, forcing your unit to work harder as a result? Be sure to clean your unit’s filter at least once a month to keep it running at optimum levels.

 

When using window AC units, check for leakage around the window units and plug accordingly, as you don’t want your precious cool air escaping outside.

 

And of course, there’s no reason to cool rooms that aren’t being used, which include empty guest rooms and vacant bedrooms. Close vents, close doors, let your unused rooms cook.

 

Water Heaters

During the summer months, you’re far more likely to enjoy a cool shower, especially after spending a day in the blistering summer heat. Consider turning down the heat on your water heater during the summer months to a range of 115 to 120 degrees, another significant contribution to reducing your summer energy bills.

 

Put Your Ceiling Fan To Work

energy, heating, summer

Is it always necessary to run your air conditioner? Probably not. Instead, your ceiling fan can put in some serious work when it comes to keeping your home cool, especially when paired with cooler evening air. One of the most important things that people forget during the summer months is the following: switch your fans so they rotate in a counter-clockwise movement, which forces cool air downward. The counterclockwise direction is optimal for the summer months, while the opposite is optimal for cooler seasons. As well, there’s no need to have your fan running with no one benefitting from it. If you’re the last person out of the room, be sure to turn the fan off.

 

Cooking

If you’re baking casseroles and cupcakes in the summer, your house is going to feel like the Mojave. Cooking warms your home significantly in the summer. But one must eat, of course. Instead of running the oven or stove, grill outside, a delicious alternative where you can cook a substantial amount food at one time (great for freezing and eating throughout the week) without turning the whole house into a sauna.

 

Unplug and Save

If you want to save a little extra on your summer energy bills, unplug appliances and electronics that aren’t being used on a regular basis. These sleeping electronics contribute significantly to your energy costs over the summer through a process called “phantom load”—engery usage during non-use. If you’re using surge protectors, flick off the power to several unused items with the press of a button.

 

Appliances & Technology

Most modern technology is Energy Star certified, but you may have some pieces in your home that are not. Consider upgrading the usual suspects—refrigerators, air conditioners, etc.— to ensure that they adhere to the EPA’s energy efficiency guidelines. This action is not only great for keeping your costs down, but also for the environment.

 

Secondly, manually managing your thermostat on a daily basis is completely old school. If possible, upgrade to a programmable unit that will take the repetition and guesswork from the equation and help you put your energy saving techniques on autopilot.

 

And don’t forget the light bulbs! If you haven’t already, replace your current fleet of light bulbs with Energy Star rated models. Also, fluorescent lights are known to generate less heat than other model bulbs.

 

Together, these energy and cost-reducing tactics will help reduce your summer energy costs and save you from the weak knees and dizziness resulting from opening a massive power bill. When you’ve leveraged all of these summer energy hacks and it comes time to do some serious cooling work, be sure to remember your friends at Stadler Heating and Cooling. We’ve been serving the Illinois community’s heating, cooling, and air quality needs for decades and would love the opportunity to help you tackle the summer heat.

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