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Trees you should avoid planting in your yard

Trees you should avoid planting in your yard

By on Sep 3, 2019 in Outdoors, Residential |

When it comes to landscaping and curb appeal, trees can be a wonderful addition to your yard. From a functional standpoint, trees can provide shade or even utilize standing water in areas of your yard that may become over saturated when it rains. Aesthetically, trees can provide color and dimension. But certain trees can also be more trouble than they are worth. In fact, certain trees can be a hazard if you are not careful in which varieties to pick to plant in your yard. Here is a list of some trees that you should avoid planting, as well as some varieties you should consider the next time you head to your local nursery. Trees to avoid: Silver Maple While the Silver Maple is a large, fast growing tree that provides lots of shade; Its rapid rate of growth makes for brittle limbs. Brittle limbs are more likely to break during storms and could cause property damage or worse, injuries. In addition to brittle limbs, the Silver Maple also has a shallow root system. Because the roots remain closer to the surface, they often cause cracks in sidewalks and driveways. Ash Unlike the Silver Maple, Ash trees tend to be very sturdy. But the health of these trees is threatened here in the Midwest by an insect called the emerald ash borer. The emerald ash borer is a small beetle that reproduces inside Ash trees, causing loss of bark and damage to the branches. Weakened branches pose a safety issue, and could cause damage to property. Because the emerald ash borer has become so prominent in Ohio it is best to avoid planting Ash trees, especially in residential areas. Existing Ash trees should be monitored closely by professionals for health and stability. Willow Possibly one of the most recognizable of all trees, willow trees have long, slender branches that are beautiful to look at. The downside of the Willow tree is its root system. Willows have a very aggressive root system that craves water, thus causing damage to sewer lines in residential areas. In addition to its invasive root system, the Willow tree has weak, brittle wood that can pose a hazard during storms. Lastly, compared to most other...

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Should You Repair or Replace your Furnace?

Should You Repair or Replace your Furnace?

By on Aug 6, 2019 in Furnaces, Heating, Residential |

Summer will be over before we you know it, and you may be thinking about getting a head start on preparing your home for fall and winter. One of the most important things you can do to prepare for the cooler seasons is inspecting your furnace for signs of wear and considering the repair or replacement of a broken system. It can be difficult to know when you should have your furnace surfaced by a professional and repaired or whether you should have your system replaced in its entirety. As a homeowner in the Midwest, you probably understand the importance of having an operational furnace for the winter. A faulty heating system can turn even a mildly frigid day into an uncomfortable situation. You can ensure your family’s comfort throughout the cold months by addressing your furnaces needs in the summer or early fall before the chilly weather sets in. Identifying issues early on allows time for you to have the necessary repairs done, or have the unit replaced by professionals. By planning ahead, you can research options and budget for the expense. While situations vary, these tips will help you learn about the best time to service your furnace, problems you may encounter and whether to repair or replace your system in each scenario. Scenario 1: Your furnace is emitting carbon monoxide- Any system that could expose you and your family to carbon monoxide needs to be replaced as soon as possible. A furnace with a cracked combustion chamber allows carbon monoxide to leak into your home and should always be replaced immediately. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas, which is why it can be a silent killer. Households with gas furnaces should always be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. Between 2010 and 2015, 2000 people died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. The highest number of deaths occurred in the winter during the months of frequent furnace use. Scenario 2: Your furnace is over 15 years old- Even the highest quality heating systems aren’t built to last forever. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a furnace should last 15-30 years before you’ll need a replacement. This varies by brand, quality, and other factors. But a heater will generally start to...

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How Heat Pumps Work

How Heat Pumps Work

By on Jul 29, 2019 in Heat Pump |

For residents that live in climates with moderate heating and cooling needs, heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space in your home to a warmer space. This makes the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During seasons that require the use of heat, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house. During cool seasons, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because heat pumps move heat rather than generate heat, they can provide equivalent space conditioning at as little as one quarter of the cost of operating conventional heating or cooling appliances regularly. There are three types of heat pumps: air-to-air, water source, and geothermal. They collect heat from the air, water, or ground outside your home and concentrate it for use inside. The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump. This type of heat pump transfers heat between your house and outside. Modern heat pumps can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50 percent compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling in summer months. Air-source heat pumps have been used for many years in nearly all parts of the United States, but until recently they have not been used in areas that experienced extended periods of subfreezing temperatures. However, in recent years, air-source heat pump technology has advanced so that it now offers a legitimate space heating alternative in colder regions such as the Midwest. For homes without ducts, air-source heat pumps are also available in a ductless version called a mini-split heat pump. In addition, a special type of air-source heat pump called a “reverse cycle chiller” generates hot and cold water rather than air, allowing it to be used with radiant floor heating systems that are in heating mode. Geothermal (ground-source or water-source) heat pumps achieve higher efficiencies by transferring heat between your house and the ground or a nearby water source. Although they cost more to install, geothermal heat pumps have...

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Quick and easy ways to brighten your patio this summer

Quick and easy ways to brighten your patio this summer

By on Jul 22, 2019 in Outdoors |

Patios often serve as a place to gather with friends or relax on your own. Here are five easy ways to improve the ambiance of your patio. Tip #1—Get rid of patio pests: Patios are fun, but pests are never good. Pinecones serve as a great way to deter creatures like chipmunks that like to dig and make a mess. Chances are your plants will enjoy having pinecones in their growing containers because they acidify the soil. Bold, beautiful showstopper plants like azaleas and rhododendrons will burst with color amid pine cones, too. Tip #2– Rejuvenate your dilapidated patio with color. Try painting flower containers in colors that are bold, bright, and modern. You might also consider mimicking the appearance of upscale stone patios with just a bit of paint and some concrete stamps. A coat of concrete stain will give your old concrete a fresh new look. Tip #3—Refurbish your patio furniture: Make old, worn out furniture pieces look new with a coat of spray paint. Spray paint comes in a variety of colors and finishes. It can also be purchased in formulas suitable for metal, wood, and even plastic. If you need to replace some of your furniture, choose sturdy materials that can resist dampness and intense sunlight. Tip #4—Add some lighting: Outdoor lighting works wonders for night time ambiance. Lanterns and lamps can be used to brighten up tables and dark corners. Stringing lights across the patio also adds a nice touch. Bold lights, such as ones shaped like trees and topiaries are also popular. To conserve energy, use solar powered products or energy-efficient bulbs. Tip #5—Add a fire pit: A fire pit or fire table makes a warm, welcoming place for you and your guests to gather on cool evenings well into the fall. You can purchase one at your favorite retailer or make one yourself with flagstone slabs and rocks. Always be sure to research your municipalities fire code and ordinances as they pertain to the use of fire pits beforehand. Efficient Heating & Cooling are experts in high quality home comfort solutions to meet your needs. Contact us today to request an estimate or schedule...

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Tips to Help You Beat the Summer Heat

Tips to Help You Beat the Summer Heat

By on Jul 11, 2019 in Air Conditioning, energy efficiency, Residential |

Staying cool in the summer heat can be a difficult task. Intense summer heat can make your home less comfortable to be in while raising household energy costs. Here are some simple ways to stay cool and comfortable during the summer. 1. Turn on your fans when air conditioning is in use. Using a fan while the air conditioner is running greatly enhances the cooling effect. While the air conditioner lowers the temperature of the air, fans circulate the cool air throughout the room and house. The boost in air circulation creates a wind chill that allows you to stay cool without having to set the AC unit very low. 2. Try using ice and a fan to stay cool. Set a bowl full of ice in front of a table fan. As the ice melts, the fan will blow cooler air toward you. This hack is great for while you’re working at your desk. You could also do the same thing with a fan on your kitchen counter to stay cool while you’re cooking. 3. Cut back on the use of appliances and lights. Appliances, gaming consoles, computers, and even standard light bulbs heat up your house while they are running, so turn them on as little as possible. Run the washing machine only when you have a full load. Eliminate the heat generated when using the dryer by hanging your clothes outside or around the house to air dry. Avoid using the dishwasher if it is not full. Instead, hand wash dishes in the sink and let them air dry or use a towel. Avoid using the oven and stove to prepare meals. Use the microwave or grill instead. You could also consider eating meals that don’t have to be cooked. Chef salad with julienned turkey and/or ham and deli sandwiches are great options. 4. Thirsty but don’t have any ice? Wrap your beverage of choice with a damp paper towel, then place it in the freezer for about fifteen minutes. Your drink will be chilled to perfection! 5. Eat and work out on your deck or patio in the evening. Once the sun is down, outdoor spaces serve as ideal places to have dinner, do homework,...

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