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DIY – How to replace furnace filters

By on Mar 11, 2019 in Furnaces |

Before we know it, the warm summer weather will be here and our air conditioning systems will be working hard to keep our homes cool and comfortable. Spring is the perfect time of year to perform some routine maintenance on your HVAC system to make sure it will be running in optimal condition when we need it most – on those muggy, hot, long summer days.    Keep Your HVAC System Healthy this Spring  While some spring maintenance tasks can be handled on your own, others are best left to the professionals. Not only do you want to avoid your HVAC system breaking down during the summer, but you also want to make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible. Let’s discuss all the things you can do this spring to get your system ready for the hot months ahead.  DIY Spring HVAC Tune-Up Tasks   Here’s what you can do on your own to get your HVAC system ready for summer:  Replace the filter. Your furnace filter should be changed often; it’s recommended to swap it out once a month, since a dirty filter will make your system work that much harder to properly heat or cool your home.  Clear away debris. On the outside unit, clear away any leaves, sticks, dirt and other debris that may have collected around it throughout the winter. The compressor in your air conditioning unit requires proper air flow to work as efficiently as possible, so make sure shrubbery or trees are at least three feet away.  Check for wear and tear. After the unit is cleaned off, inspect it for any damage like dents, cracks, leaks, etc. If anything appears to be broken, make a note of it to discuss with a professional heating and cooling company.  Install a programmable thermostat. If you aren’t already using a programmable thermostat, there’s no time like the present to install one and get ready to start reaping the benefits, which include lower utility bills and more overall home comfort.  Professional Spring HVAC Tune-Up   Of course, calling the professionals to do your spring HVAC tune-up is actually an even better idea. An HVAC company knows exactly what to look for, plus will perform routine maintenance to ensure...

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New Homeowner’s Checklist

By on Feb 14, 2019 in Uncategorized |

Did you just get the keys to your new home? Feeling overwhelmed by the to do list that seems to be never ending? Take a few minutes to read over our new homeowners checklist; by breaking down your to do list you will most likely save yourself a few headaches.   Before Moving In:  Research local utilities; gas, electric, garbage; internet/tv research their policies, does someone over the age of 18 need to be present for them to install or turn on these utilities. Also check if there are any local tax credits for using energy efficient utilities.   Get you home professionally inspected; this will allow you to know your home is safe to start moving your stuff into, this may feel like a useless step in the moment but you will be thankful you did it just in case they find something wrong with your house.  Sign your homeowners insurance policy; making sure that your homeowners insurance is coming for you the moment you have those keys. This will protect you God forbid in case something happen as you are moving in.   Once you are in your house:  Label all main utility lines; this will help if something is every wrong you know right where to look.   Test heating & cooling units; this is important incase either need to be serviced prior to you moving it, no one wants a hot or cold house as they are moving in.   Test washer & dryer units, as well as stoves and ovens; this is important because these are considered large appliances and if one or both is not in working order it could cause issues with the whole house.   Install your smoke & carbon monoxide detectors; in most homes these are required for your homeowners insurance to be valid as this is a safety concern when they are not in working order.    Check all outlets & light switch covers; this could be a fire starter, so making sure they are up to code and in working order is important for your safety.    Change all of your important addresses to your new address; including USPS, IRS, Banks, Family & Friends.   Update your license and registration; sometimes you might get fined if this...

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Pros & Cons of Radiant Floor Heat

By on Feb 1, 2019 in Radiant Heating |

Radiant floor heat is one of the oldest forms of heating a structure, dating all the way back the Roman Empire.  Radiant flooring provides numerous benefits including increased comfort, evenly distributed temperatures, cleaner air, no cold drafts, no unsightly ductwork and no floor vents.  Best of all, this type of heating is quieter and more energy-efficient compared to forced-air heat.    How does radiant heating work?  In a radiant floor heating system, warm water flows through tubes located underneath the floors. That warmth radiates up from the floors and warms everything it comes in contact with — including people. Radiant floor heating is compatible under any type of floor covering — carpet, wood, slate, tile, linoleum, and even concrete.     Benefits Of Radiant Floor Heating     Energy Efficient Heating- provide heating in a room from the floor up for consistent, efficient warmth. Radiant heat provides an average saving of 15% on heating bills thanks to the efficient way it warms a home.  Effortless to Run- Once installed, underfloor heating needs virtually no maintenance. You have the ability to set it and forget it with a programmable thermostat.   More Space & Design Freedom- With radiant floor heating, you’re able to enjoy your whole room without radiators on the walls.  Even the newest radiators take up a decent amount of space in homes; and with the new minimalist trends radiant floor heating is the new go to.   Works with all floor coverings- Underfloor heating gives you the freedom to design your home as you wish, making the most of all the wall and floor space.   Underfloor heating allows you to pick from a variety of different floor styles.  Safety and Comfort- When you have underfloor heating, you no longer need to worry about sharp edges or hot surfaces of radiators when younger family members are in the house. The heating system is safely tucked out of the way and won’t get too hot to the touch.  Safety and Comfort- Radiant heat is also much better for the air quality in a room since it keeps the air fresh and oxygen-rich. This also helps keep the circulation of dust to a minimum.   Ease of Installation- Underfloor heating is easy to install, especially...

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Should You Buy A Home In The Winter?

By on Jan 25, 2019 in Residential |

Thinking about buying a new home? Not sure what time of year you should start looking? Most people think about buying houses in the spring or summer because the weather is nice. But surprisingly winter can also be a great time to buy a house if you keep these four tips in mind. Check out our tips below to find out how to find your dream home.   Fewer Buyers to Compete With; with colder temperatures not as many people are willing to brave the weather to look at houses let alone move in winter.  With less people looking at the houses on the market you are more likely to find the house you want and get it for your ideal price. Fewer buyers essentially means less overpriced bids, or cash offers to compete with. So putting up with the chilly temperatures may be worth it in the long run; especially if you are looking to make your budget go a long way.   Sellers are Motivated; typically if a seller is selling their house in the winter months they are considered a motivated seller; this means that they are looking to close on their house quickly and may be more willing to budge on some of those changes or tweaks you would like made on the home.  They might be willing to take less than what the house is listed for, leaving funds in your budget to make the changes yourself. This also typically means a quicker close date or less waiting time to get into your new house since everyone is pushing to keep the process moving.   Your Real Estate Agent Will Work Harder For You; most of the time less activity during the winter months means you will have the undivided attention of your realtor. Fewer clients looking for houses means you can take your time and make sure you are truly getting the property that you want. Houses also typically close faster when real estate agents and brokers don’t have a full workload, which is common in the winter months.   You truly see the condition of the house during the winter months; winter tends to be one of the hardest seasons on a house; you tend to notice more...

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Cold Weather Tips To Help You Save Money

By on Jan 11, 2019 in energy efficiency |

Cold Weather Tips To Help You Save Money The weather is now colder, and you feel like you are constantly looking at the thermostat trying to keep the house warm without draining your bank account for the colder months. Know that you are not alone, most households have this same issue throughout the winter months. Check out our list of 8 tips to help keep you warm this winter without going broke. 1. Open your curtains. If you live in a place where the sun is shining during the winter months use that to your advantage. Sunlight brightens and warms up a room. 2. Lower your thermostat at night and when you are not home. Bumping your thermostat down 2 to 8 degrees when you are sleeping or out of the house. No need to heat a house when no one is home, and we tend to sleep better in a cooler room. If you are a cold sleeper add blankets or warmer sheets. 3. Wear layers. While this isn’t ideal for everyone, a saying in our house growing up was “you can’t tell me you are cold unless you’re wearing long pants, socks, and a sweatshirt.” Layers of clothes are more or less free since they are already in your closet where turning the heat up will cost you money. 4. Keep your furnace clean. Keeping your furnace and vents properly maintained will reduce energy consumption and help you save. Check your furnace filter monthly, and replace it when needed. 5. Check your housing insulation. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to escaping heat in homes due to lack of proper insulation. Insulation does not have to be expensive; check out your local hardware stores and stock up on what your house needs most. 6.Ceiling Fans! Use Them! Ceiling fans can be used strategically to achieve better airflow. Turning your fan on clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer. Keeping your ceiling fan on low will help keep the room warm. 7. Only heat the rooms that you are using, there is no need to heat guest rooms, or warmer rooms in your house, your bank account will...

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10 Plants that Clean Indoor Air

By on Dec 20, 2018 in Indoor Air Quality |

10 Plants that Clean Indoor Air Winter in northeast Ohio means we’re all stuck inside, and likely suffering from sneezing, coughing and other airborne illnesses. To make matters worse, we’re likely inhale stale and polluted indoor air.  Toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene are present in indoor air from materials such as tissues, paper towels, garbage bags and floor coverings.  Fear not! There are certain plants that can help remove toxins, and give you and your family safe and fresh air. NASA has confirmed the air cleaning power of plants. Not only do plants clean the air, but they also serve as a great way to improve your home décor. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best indoor plants for cleaning the air in your home, along with suggestions on where in your home to place the plant. Best Plants for Cleaner Indoor Air 1. Spider plant. Spider plants are great indoor air cleaners. They take in and metabolize atmosphere pollutants and use them as food, thus reducing or eliminating some toxins. They are good at removing benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries. 15 spider plants would purify the air of an average size house.   2. Snake plant. Also known as mother-in-laws tongue. This plant is tough to kill and can go for a month without water. Removes indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde and carbon dioxide and give oxygen in return. Put it in your bedroom for a good night’s sleep.  3. Golden Pothos. Want a plant for your bathroom? Photos is a good choice. It’s very easy to propagate too. One caveat: pothos is poisonous. So keep away from pets and children.  4.Peace lily. The peace lily has lush leaves, a slender flower and can grow up to 3 feet tall. This plant is great at removing benzene, formaldehyde, and other harmful Volatile Organic Compounds VOCs so it’s a great plant to place anywhere in your home.   5.Rubber Tree. This plant is sturdy and can grow up to 8 feet tall. The rubber plant is exceptional at removing formaldehyde and an assortment of airborne toxins. This is one of those hard to...

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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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Is it Time to Replace My Steam Boiler?

By on Oct 22, 2018 in Boilers |

Just like a furnace, in some homes, steam boilers are used to provide heat and comfort throughout the cold months. And, just like an HVAC system, annual maintenance can help keep steam boilers working effectively and efficiently when they’re needed most. However, there may come a time when you’re wondering if it makes sense to replace the boiler altogether. 5 Signs Your Boiler Needs Replacing Simply being aware of the common signs it’s time to replace your boiler can not only keep you and your family comfortable in the winter, but it can also save you some money on your monthly energy bills. Here are five common signs you should consider steam boiler replacement: Your energy bills have been steadily on the rise. If you’ve noticing lately that your energy bills are getting higher and higher every month, this could be due the costs associated with the efficiency of your boiler. Maybe you’ve had it serviced regularly, but it’s still not working as well as it should and costing you more money as time goes on. This is a clear sign you should consider replacing it for a newer, more efficient model. The steam boiler is starting to look worse for the wear. Do a visual inspection of the boiler. Do you notice rust spots and discoloration? You might even notice some of the operating controls and safety devices are becoming faulty. The boiler is getting up there in years. The age of the steam boiler is one of the most important things to consider in regards to replacing it. Different types of boilers have different life expectancies. For instance, cast iron boilers can last around 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance, although it’s important to remember that the older the boiler, the less efficient it generally becomes. Today’s modern cast iron boilers are often far more efficient than those that are over 20 years old. You’re noticing some leaks. When visually inspecting the boiler, check for any signs that leaks are present. Rust colored stains on the floor under the discharge piping, for instance, can indicate excessive feedwater is causing a leak. This can easily lead to damage in your home, and replacing the boiler in this...

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4 Ways Smart Thermostats Improve Energy Efficiency

By on Oct 8, 2018 in Thermostats |

The cooler weather is well on its way to northeast Ohio, and this means people all across the region will find themselves cranking up the heat in their homes sooner rather than later. As you know, the more your furnace needs to run to get rid of that chill in the air, the higher your monthly energy bills get. However, what if there was something you could do to ensure your furnace is running as efficiently as possible? Lowering Your Energy Bills with a Smart Thermostat Most homes these days already utilize a programmable thermostat, which allows you to set specific times throughout the day for your furnace to run. If no one is home between eight in the morning and five in the evening, it doesn’t make sense for your system to kick on and heat up an empty home. Programmable thermostats ensure the heat turns on at the most important times of the day, such as in the morning before your shower and in the evening when you get home from work. However, smart thermostats actually take things a step further. A smart thermostat is basically a digital thermostat that learns your daily routines using analytics. They can also be accessed remotely via a smartphone, tablet or computer. For instance, if you’re always adjusting the thermostat before you go to bed at night, the smart thermostat learns this behavior. Or, if you get stuck in traffic after work one day, you can use your smartphone to remotely access the thermostat so the furnace doesn’t go on unnecessarily. Here are a few specific ways smart thermostats can help improve the energy efficiency of your home: Monitoring your energy use preferences. Smart thermostats learn how often you’re turning the heat up and down in your home, and are able to fine-tune the settings for optimal energy efficiency. In other words, even if you think you’ve discovered the perfect temperature, the smart thermostat can make small adjustments to ensure the most efficient setting possible. Showing your energy usage in real time. By using the smart thermostat app on your smartphone, you’ll be able to take note of peak energy use times. This allows you to understand how much your HVAC...

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