Tag Archives: maintenance

Caring for your Asphalt Driveway

Daily life can take its toll on your asphalt driveway leaving it stained, damaged and looking its worse. Of course, most people know that they should have their driveway seal coated to help prolong its life, but few know of how to properly care for their asphalt driveway. Thankfully, the following are and maintenance tips will help ensure your asphalt driveway stays looking its best for years to come.

Prevent Spills
Stains are one of the most common problems that negatively affect the appearance of your driveway. However, stains aren’t the only problem caused by spills. Gasoline and oil can deteriorate the asphalt driveway, which could lead to an expensive repair bill. The good news is that preventing spills is a rather easy task. Furthermore, make sure to keep an absorbent material, such as kitty litter, on hand to clean up any gas or oil spills that do occur.

Repair Damage Promptly
Far too often, people overlook driveway damage, such as cracks and holes, and don’t really pay it any mind until the damage is far more substantial. This really is a shame since most small damage can be fixed yourself by simply filling in the cracks with products designed just for that. If you wait, however, until the problem becomes worse, you will need to hire asphalt driveway repair companies to fix the damage.

Those Pesky Weeds
Weeds and grass seemingly pop up anywhere, so it’s not uncommon to find them pushing through the asphalt. If you allow the vegetation to continue to grow, you are only making the problem worse. That is why it is important to deal with the problem before it gets worse. Spot weed killer works well for taking care of this annoying problem. If, however, you find trees or other large plants growing through the asphalt, you will need to completely remove it, roots and all. Of course, you can help prevent this from occurring by simply filling in any cracks you find.

Don’t Forget the Edges
Your driveway’s edges are actually the weakest part. This is because it doesn’t have the support that other areas of the driveway has. Because of this, you must take care not to drive on the edge. Doing so can cause crack and the driveway edge to crumble. Some experts recommend building the soil up near the edges of the driveway. This will provide room for the water to drain properly and the sod to grow. Furthermore, the built up soil helps to provide support to the edges.

Tips to Choose the Right Air Condition Unit For Your Home

Regulating your home’s cooling system and buying a new air conditioner are not the sexiest topics. However, giving them careful thought will help you choose the right-sized air conditioning unit for your home.

Save Money

When an air conditioner is too large for the space it cools, you waste money on excess cooling capacity that you never use. On the other hand, if you buy a unit that’s too small, your monthly energy bills will skyrocket because the system must overwork itself to maintain the temperature you set on your thermostat. It will also break down faster because of the increased wear and tear, which means the total cost of ownership increases.

If you’re not sure what size unit would be good for your home, consider hiring a trained HVAC technician to evaluate your home and choose the perfect AC unit. Even if you’re just replacing an existing unit, factors such as your family size and the types of appliances you use can impact the size recommendation from your HVAC contractor. Plus, if you add on to your home or renovate it, your sizing needs will change.

Maintain Humidity

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 Image via Flickr by Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

Many people forget that proper humidity can mean the difference between a comfortable and miserable home. If your home’s HVAC system is too big, you may have humidity issues, especially if you live in the South or near a body of water.

When an air conditioner runs, it removes moisture from the air. If your AC is too big, it won’t run often enough to curtail humidity. High humidity in your home can extend fabric drying time and create a perfect environment for mold growth. Mold can cause numerous health issues, and moisture in the air can make your home feel cool but clammy. If you turn down the thermostat to fix the problem, you’re only causing the AC unit to run longer, which increases your utility bills.

Increase Energy Efficiency

There are many different types and sizes of AC unit, so it’s important to choose the correct one for your home. A properly sized air conditioner not only helps to maintain a low energy bill, but will also increase your energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint. Newer air conditioning units are designed to run in cycles, slowly cooling your home instead of instantly bringing down the temperature.

Other energy-efficient technologies have also emerged, producing air conditioners that use two-stage cooling technology, work with programmable thermostats, and contain fewer moving parts. As the cost of power increases, consumers get more concerned about not only saving money, but also protecting the environment.

When choosing the right-sized air conditioner for your home, seek the help of a trusted, well-trained HVAC technician. The formula for calculating the proper size of AC unit can get complicated, involving multiple factors like your home’s square footage and the amount of insulation you have. If you call in the pros, you’ll get right the first time and prevent costly mistakes.

 

 

Why Replacing Your HVAC Is Better than Repairing

Just like other items in your house, your HVAC unit has a life span. While that life span is usually decades, you may begin to notice that your unit is on its last legs when repairs become more frequent. Even though replacing an entire HVAC unit is expensive, sometimes constantly calling the repair technician is even more expensive. If you’re trying to decide what to do with your aging HVAC unit, consider these reasons why replacing is sometimes better than repairing.

 


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Image via Flickr by DaynaT

 

Even with proper maintenance, most components in an HVAC system usually only last around 10 or 15 years. If you know how old your system is, and it’s nearing the end of its life cycle, it’s typically better to replace the unit instead of continually having it repaired.

Not only can this save you money on repair costs, but it can also save you money on your energy costs. An older unit is less efficient, and it can raise your energy bills as it struggles to keep your house comfortable. A new high-efficiency unit can help you save up to 20 percent on your heating and cooling costs.

You Don’t Plan on Moving

While replacing an HVAC unit is costly, if you plan on staying in your current home for years to come, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the ease and comfort offered by that new system. However, even if you plan on moving in a few years, it’s still a good idea to consider replacing the HVAC unit. A brand-new unit can add value to a home, and you won’t have to worry about a sale falling through because buyers are nervous about spending even more money to replace a unit or about an inspection’s requiring you to fix it.

The Difference in Costs

When you’re trying to figure out what to do with your aging HVAC unit, consider the cost to repair versus the cost to replace. Estimate how much you think it would cost to have your unit repaired once or twice a year and how much it would cost to replace the unit. If you’re unsure, speak with an experienced HVAC technician and get his or her opinion on the best course of action. You could end up saving money by not having to pay for repairs a few times every year.

Your Unit Has a Coolant Leak

The EPA is phasing out the use of refrigerant R-22, also known as Freon, in favor of the more environmentally friendly R-410A. As a result, R-22 prices have soared, and adding the refrigerant could cost anywhere from $40 to over $175 a pound. If your old system develops a coolant leak, then repairing the leak, replacing the compressor — which can cost over $2,000 alone — and adding more refrigerant can end up costing about the same as a new unit.

While it’s never an easy conclusion to decide between repairing and replacing, when you’re faced with the above reasons, there are times when outright replacement of an HVAC unit is better than repairing.

 

Prevent Costly HVAC Problems at Home

Owning a home is a dream come true for many people. But with homeownership comes responsibility, and that means dealing with the inconvenience of something breaking. One of the worst feelings is finding out that the repairs you need are going to cost you thousands of dollars. Many homeowners feel unprepared for these costs when repairs sneak up, wondering what they could have done to prevent the problems in the first place.

You don’t have to wait around for something to go wrong, and you don’t have to hold your breath hoping your house is fine for an indeterminate amount of time. You have control over whether you invest in preventative maintenance, which is one of the best ways to save money on costly repairs in the long run. If you know which parts of your home are the most likely to require expensive repairs, then you can make smart decisions about maintaining them now.

In the below infographic by One Source Heating and Cooling, you’ll learn why HVAC systems, water leaks, and roofing problems are the top three sources of costly home repairs. The infographic also gives you helpful information on how to prevent these problems in the future. It lists warning signs to look out for, describing when to schedule maintenance on each of these essential parts of your home. When you look at the extreme costs of replacing your HVAC system, repairing water damage, or fixing a hole in your roof, you’ll certainly agree that preventative maintenance is the way to go!

 

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Three Reasons to Avoid Fixing Your Own Clogged Drain

Nobody likes it when their drain backs up, but it happens in every home. Before you decide to put too much effort into fixing this problem, you should simply call a plumber. There are several reasons to do this, but the following are among the most important ones.
It may be a soft stoppage

This type of clogged drain is usually found in the kitchen sink drain. Lots of grease and oil build up over time creating a blockage. The problem with this type of stoppage is that once it is cleared, it will often reassemble a few feet down the drain pipe. It takes the use of a pressure hose to clear the drain with a soft stoppage. These are simple attachments that can be fitted to a common garden hose. However, it takes experience and skill to use one. In the hands of an amateur, the entire house can wind up flooded.
It may be a problem outside of your home

Many homeowners are not familiar with the basic design of a drain system. All drains in your home will route to a central location. This is usually a toilet. From here, there is a single, large main line that is connected to the sewer system. Often, when there is a drain problem, it may appear to be in your home, but the issue will be in the main line outside of your home. A common example of this is a toilet that persistently clogs or flushes slowly. In this case, the toilet may not be the problem, it may be the main line, and this is usually an issue with tree roots growing into the main drain line.
Protecting your personal safety

Although there are possibilities with do-it-yourself drain cleaning, there are safety issues you should consider. For example, the drain cleaning chemicals available off the shelf of your local store can be dangerous if handled improperly. In addition, they seldom work. Professions plumbers do not use them, so this should tell you something about their effectiveness. Also, if you need to get on your roof to access a drain through a vent shaft, it is possible to fall and injure yourself seriously. Any time a homeowner needs to get on his or her roof, it is best to call a professional, regardless of the specific job that is required.

If you have a drain that is clogged or is simply draining slowly, your best course of action is to call an orland park plumber immediately. They can fix your problem right away.

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