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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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New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthy, Organized Home

By on Jan 8, 2018 in energy efficiency, Residential |

You know the phrase: new year, new you. The start of a new year represents a perfect time to create some goals designed to improve your life in some way, whether it’s to work out regularly, eat more vegetables, or spend more time with family and friends. However, while you’re making this year’s resolutions, don’t forget about one more important aspect of your life – your home. 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home – and How to Keep Them Home is where the heart is, and you and your family deserve a comfortable, clean and healthy space to live your lives. That’s why one of the top New Year’s resolutions is to get the home organized and tidy. Additionally, we recommend making sure your household is running as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. Here are 5 achievable goals you can set for your home this year: Get rid of the clutter. Did you know that clutter can actually add to the stress in your life? It’s true! Clutter can overwhelm and overstimulate your mind, as your brain has to work extra hard to process everything it’s seeing. It’s time to downsize some of your belongings. Start with items you know you don’t use or need regularly. Then stick to the rule where for every new thing you bring into your home, you must purge one item. Conduct an energy audit. When your home isn’t energy efficient, you’re simply paying too much on your monthly energy bill. Start by swapping out old incandescent light bulbs for LEDs or CFLs. Secondly, check your windows and doors for drafts and make sure to seal them up using caulk and weatherstripping. Just a few small steps can result in a major monthly savings. For bigger savings, it could be time to upgrade your HVAC system or your appliances this year. Organize your storage spaces. Make it a goal to go through one storage space every month, whether it’s the junk drawer in the kitchen, the coat closet, or the basement shelves. Get rid of broken items, donate extra items or things you no longer use, and arrange the spaces in a way that makes sense. For instance, combining all hats, scarves...

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What is a Smart Home?

By on Aug 22, 2016 in Residential |

Technology today helps make our lives easier, more efficient and even more comfortable. In fact, our mobile phones in particular are able to help us out with so many different tasks, like setting reminders, mapping out directions, keeping our health in check, balancing our checkbooks, and so much more. One of the most recent innovations in technology is the rise of the “smart home”. This term is used to describe a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating and air conditioning, television and entertainment systems, security systems and more that are all capable of communicating with each other, connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and can be controlled remotely through the use of a mobile phone, tablet or computer. How Smart Homes Work Many people are jumping on the smart home bandwagon, retro-fitting their homes with smart products to save money, time or provide added peace of mind. When is the last time you left the home and wondered if you left the garage open or the coffee pot on? Having a smart home helps alleviate these worries, as a simple app on your mobile phone can allow you to take care of any tasks you may have forgotten. While the idea of automating systems in the home isn’t necessarily brand new- have you ever set a light on a timer while you’re away on vacation, for instance? – smart home technology products can all work together depending on how sophisticated the system is. For example, there are now refrigerators that can let you know what items you’re starting to run low on, or pull up recipes based on the ingredients you do have. Washers and dryers can send a text message when the last cycle is completed. Smart lighting systems can allow you to turn lights off and on, no matter your current location. And of course, smart thermostats provide full control over your home’s temperature remotely, and can even “learn” your behaviors as far as when you’re in the house and when you’re away at work to ensure it’s at the optimal temperature for comfort and energy savings. Benefits of a Smart Home One of the major benefits of a smart home is the energy savings it can provide,...

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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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The Benefits of a Zoning System

By on Nov 2, 2015 in energy efficiency, Residential, Thermostats |

When you’re walking throughout your home, do you notice a vast difference in room temperatures? Are there certain cold spots that just never seem to warm up, or rooms that get vast amounts of sunlight and seem stuffy and hot all the time? Do you have an addition on your house where the temperature never matches the other rooms? If the answers to any of these questions were yes, then it might be a good idea to consider a zoning system. What is a Zoning System? Unlike a traditional HVAC system with one thermostat to control the heating and cooling throughout the entire house, a zoning system allows a homeowner to control the temperatures for various rooms of the home independently. One thermostat can be somewhat ineffective, because the different floors and areas of your home may have several factors that affect the temperatures. Having multiple thermostats instead of just one allows homeowners to direct the heated or cooled air where it’s most needed. A zoning system communicates with the thermostats, opening and closing dampers installed within your home’s ductwork. The Benefits of Zoning Systems for Your Home   The types of homes that can benefit from a zoning system include those with multiple levels or finished attics or basements, a new addition (usually built on a concrete slab or over the garage, for instance), and homes with larger floor plans. Or, if some of the rooms in your home have large windows or even an entire wall of windows, zoning systems can help regulate the temperatures in these spaces. Some of the other benefits of a zoning system include: Increase energy efficiency. Homeowners can see an increase in their home’s energy efficiency with a zoning system. According to the Department of Energy, the average savings you can see in your energy bills is around 30%! Maximize indoor air comfort. When you’re able to control the temperature levels throughout your home, you’ll notice a different in the comfort of each room. Maybe one member of your family is always cold at night; you can adjust the settings so that person’s room is warmer than the others. Decrease wear and tear on your HVAC system. A zoning system can increase...

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Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

By on Sep 22, 2015 in Residential |

It seems like just yesterday we were finishing up our spring cleaning tasks, doesn’t it? You got your home organized and prepped your patio or deck for the summer months ahead just as the air started to get warmer and the days were getting longer. Well, now that the air is cooling down and the days are getting shorter, it’s time to prepare your home for winter. Fall Home Maintenance Tasks – Outside the Home Starting some outside fall home maintenance tasks while the weather is still decent is a good idea. Before the snow starts falling, take some time to prepare the outside of your home for winter. Some of the tasks you should consider completing are: Store the patio furniture. Patio furniture can be a large investment, so keep it in good condition by moving it into the garage or shed. At the very least, you should cover it with a tarp to protect it from the elements. Make sure you clean it thoroughly before storing, too. Protect the deck or patio. Wood decks should be sealed with a high quality seal or stain before the first snowfall. Sweep leaves and debris from the patio and give it a good power washing for a deep clean. Clean out the gutters. This is an important task, because a clogged gutter can cause serious damage to your home. Clear out the leaves, twigs and dirt and hose gutters down to ensure there won’t be any flooding in your home as the snow melts in the spring. Drain hoses and faucets. Make sure your hoses and faucets are completely drained of water to protect your home’s plumbing. You can further protect outside faucets by covering them with an insulated faucet cover. Clean the chimney. If you have a fireplace and you plan on using it over the winter, make sure you get it cleaned before the cold weather sets in. Left uncleaned, the chimney could clog and lead to a home full of thick smoke! Inspect the roof. Get up on the roof and make sure no shingles are missing and that there doesn’t appear to be any visible damage anywhere. It’s easy for snow and wind to penetrate the...

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