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2018 Checklist: Get Your Home Winter-Ready

By on Nov 19, 2018 in Cleveland |

We’ve already experienced some winter weather here in Cleveland, and there’s sure to be more on the way. As November comes to an end, this is probably your last chance to make sure your home is winter-ready. Use our handy checklist to ensure everything is complete so you’re not surprised by any damage or repairs when spring rolls around. Prep your heating system. Forced-air furnaces and boiler systems need periodic maintenance. Make sure your system is ready for the heavy lifting it will do this winter by scheduling a check-up with a reputable heating professional. Protect your air conditioning unit. Snow and ice can cause damage to your outdoor unit. Tidy-up around the unit by removing and debris, and protect the unit with a sheet of plywood held in place with a few bricks. Prep your humidifier. Make sure the drain line for your whole-house humidifier is clean. Clean your fireplace and chimney. This is another task best left to a professional, but if you are planning to delight your holiday guests with a crackling fire, it’s a must! Remember that a sturdy screen will keep sparks from flying into your living room. Disconnect outdoor hoses. You don’t want to be tripping over broken hoses come spring! Disconnect and store your hoses, and turn-off the water to any outdoor faucets. Check for air leaks. Caulk and weather-stripping ages over time, and will eventually need some attention. If you’re looking to save money on heating costs this winter, check for air leaks around windows and doors. Clean gutters and check your roof. While it’s still warm outside, clean out leaves and other debris from your gutters – be careful if you have a two-story home! While you’re up there, give the roof a quick inspection as well. If it’s starting to age, it’s smart to keep tabs on how quickly you might need to replace it. Swap your summer tools for winter tools. It’s time to put away the lawn mower, rake and other summer tools. Store everything according to the manufactures specifications. Get your snow shovels and snow blower ready for worst that Mother Nature can throw at us. Prep for a snowstorm. Now is a good time to...

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Home Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

By on Nov 9, 2018 in Cleveland, Heating, Residential |

The holidays are just about here! Although many of us will immediately think about delicious food, family gatherings and gift giving for the little ones, it’s smart to take a step back and make sure your home is a safe place to celebrate. While many of these tips are common sense, they can be easy to forget because life is so busy or we are in a rush. Spend a few hours this month making sure your home is ready to welcome guests. Furnace and Heating Equipment Tips   1. Get your furnace serviced and/or repaired by a professional. Don’t attempt to make repairs yourself. 2. If you are using space heaters, plug them directly into the wall. Don’t use extension cords with them. Now is a good time to inspect the cord for any damage. 3. Never hang fabric or decorations near your space heaters, radiators or other heat sources. Make sure you leave plenty of space around the heat source. 4. In case of a power outage, never use your oven to heat your home. Holiday Decorating Tips   1. Keep open flames from candles at least three feet from anything flammable. 2. If you plan to use your wood burning fireplace for the ambiance, make sure your chimney has been serviced and you’re given the “okay” to use it. Make sure you use a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. 3. If you display a live tree, make sure to keep it watered regularly. 4. Do not overload your electrical circuits or extension cords. Typically, three strings of lights is the maximum amount you can string together. Inspect the wires before you decorate as well. 5. Use caution when decorating elevated sections of your home. Always use a sturdy ladder and have a spotter on the ground.   General Safety Tips   1. Make sure that vents for your dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow, paying extra attention during and after a heavy snow. 2. Gas and charcoal grills should only be used outside. They can produce carbon monoxide, so don’t use them in your garage. As you can see, some of these tips are very easy to implement...

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How to Properly Prepare for a Winter Storm

By on Jan 2, 2017 in Cleveland, Furnaces |

Winter officially arrived back in December, and we still have several (long) months of cold weather ahead. Not only will we be dressing in layers and bundling up to ward off the chilly air, but we’ll also be shoveling our driveways and digging out our cars after those lovely lake effect snowstorms.   Be Prepared for a Winter Storm in 5 Steps Winter storms can bring several inches of snow, blustery winds, freezing rain and ice, or a combination of all of those conditions. This type of weather can cause power outages that leave you without heat, plus dangerous, slippery roads that make it very difficult for emergency services to get to you. This is why it’s so vital that you have a winter storm emergency plan set in place for your home and family. If you are stuck in your home after a major snowfall or ice storm, ensuring that everyone is safe and comfortable for an indefinite amount of time is key. Here are five steps you should take to properly prepare for a winter storm this season: Review and update your home emergency kit. You’ll want to make sure you not only have a stocked pantry and plenty of water, but your home emergency kit should also be ready to go. A proper home emergency kit should contain flashlights and extra batteries, first aid supplies, extra prescription drugs, personal care and sanitation items, important documents and records, and more. Pick up snow removal gear. Head to your local hardware store and pick up a sturdy snow shovel, as well as some rock salt to melt ice on your driveway and walkways. Properly prep your car. Before a winter storm, make sure your car has a full tank of gas and is up to date on regular maintenance like oil and fluid changes. Keep a separate emergency kit in your car that has similar items as your home kit, but also has sand or kitty litter to help with traction, a windshield scraper, a snow shovel, some extra warm clothing and blankets. Make sure your home is ready. Before winter arrived, you should’ve gone through your home and double-checked that the furnace is in great working condition,...

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Should You Consider a Snow Melt System?

By on Oct 10, 2016 in Cleveland, Snow Melt Systems |

You might not want to think about it right now, but soon enough the snow will be falling here in Northeast Ohio. It will be time to dig out the snow shovels and rock salt to keep the driveways and walkways safe and easy to navigate; a back-breaking task many homeowners tend to dread. Shoveling heavy, wet snow can be a difficult chore for even the most physically-fit individual! It’s for this reason that many homeowners and businesses alike shell out big bucks to a service that will come and plow their driveways after each snowfall. But, what if there was another, maintenance-free option for snow removal? What is a Snow Melt System? Using the same concept as radiant floor heating, snow melt systems are designed to keep driveways, walkways and sidewalks clear of snow and ice throughout the winter. Even the heaviest snowstorm is no match for these systems, as they can automatically turn on when they sense precipitation and freezing temperatures. Using electric resistance heat or heat from a combustion or geothermic source delivered in a fluid, snow melt systems are generally energy-efficient, as they can be set to disable when concrete, asphalt or pavers they are installed beneath reach a sufficient temperature for melting the snow. Plus, they can extend the life of that concrete or asphalt, as no more damaging chemicals, salt or machinery will be needed to eliminate the snow. Snow melt systems can be used in a variety of different settings. Residential snow melt systems can be installed around the home to prevent snow build-up not only in driveways and sidewalks, but also on outside stairs, around a pool, wheelchair ramps, and more. Snow melt systems are also useful in commercial and municipal settings. Stores and office buildings can use them to eliminate snow around entrances, walkways and parking lots. Hospitals may find them exceptionally useful around emergency entrances, wheelchair ramps, and ambulance bays. In a municipal setting, snow melt systems are a great solution for public sidewalks and parking lots, airport runways, parking garage entrances and more. The Benefits of Snow Melt Systems If you’re wondering if a snow melt system is right for your home or business, consider some of the...

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Summer Safety Tips for the Home

By on Jun 20, 2016 in Cleveland, Residential |

In northeast Ohio, people make the most of the summer by spending as much time outside as possible. After all, we only get so much time to enjoy the warmer weather! Whether it’s working in the backyard garden, enjoying a barbecue on the patio, or kids swinging on their swing-sets, families across the region take pleasure in basking in the sun on these long summer days. 5 Summer Home Safety Tips for a Fun and Healthy Summer While you’re out spending time in your yard, there are a few tasks to complete to ensure your family and friends stay safe throughout the season. Keep these summer home safety tips in mind to avoid any injuries worse than the occasional skinned knee or two: Examine the entire yard regularly. Every week, it’s recommended to walk around the yard and take note of any divots or holes in the grass, filling these in with fresh soil. Critters have been known cause uneven ground, which can lead to a fall and injury. If you have any type of water feature in your backyard like a pool or pond, keep a close eye on children when they’re out playing; remember, kids can drown in as little as an inch or two of water! Inspect the kids’ playsets or swing-sets. The harsh winter weather can do a number on kids’ playsets, so make sure to check for any damage before letting the kids swing on the swings or slide down the slide. Look for loose or rusty bolts, wood rot and sturdiness, making any necessary repairs right away. Playsets should be on level ground with mulch or soft material underneath to help cushion any falls. Wear the necessary safety gear. Even if kids are just biking or skateboarding around the driveway or cul-de-sac, insist on the proper safety gear like helmets and pads. Protective gear helps lessen the likelihood of broken bones or head injuries, so it’s vital that kids (and adults!) always wear the right safety equipment. Practice proper grilling safety. You’ve probably already enjoyed some burgers or hot dogs on the grill this season, and if you didn’t perform a few safety measures when you first lit it up, now is definitely...

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How to Prepare for a Power Outage

By on Dec 15, 2014 in Cleveland, Furnaces |

The winters here in Northeast Ohio are anything but predictable. Sometimes we can even experience all four seasons in just one week!  In general though, Cleveland winters are cold, snowy and miserable. No one likes losing their power, but especially during these brutal winter months. However, there are a few ways you can prepare for a power outage at your home.  Storms can happen at any time over the year, and by taking a few quick precautions you’ll be able to live a little more comfortably until your power can be restored. How long should I prepare for? It’s recommended to try to plan for at least two weeks without power.  Preparing for two weeks will allow you to stockpile a wide range of supplies, and you might even realize that you already have many of the things you need.  It just takes some simple organization to put together a two week plan. Start by taking inventory of what you already have, and then make a shopping list of items you need to acquire. What supplies do I need? Basic items you should make sure you have on hand include the following: Flashlight for each family member (with working batteries- check them every so often!), candles or glow sticks, camping lights/lanterns, water-resistant matches Tools like screwdrivers, pliers, hammers, wrenches First aid kit that includes antibiotic ointment, aspirin, bandages, etc. Battery operated radio Paper plates and cups, plastic flatware, napkins, paper towels Manual can opener How much water should I have? A general rule of thumb is to have a gallon of water available per day, per person. You can purchase cases of bottled water or five gallon jugs of filtered water from the grocery store.  If you have pets, don’t forget to stock up on water for them, too. What kind of food should I stockpile? The best types of food to have on hand for a power outage are those that don’t require a lot of cooking.  Non-perishable items like canned beans or veggies are always a good option- look for things you can eat right out of the package.  If you have a gas or charcoal grill, using them is also a great option, too. Just never...

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