Free Tip Friday – December 8, 2017

Unfortunately, the number of injuries and deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning has been rising for years.  There are a number of theories for why this is, but one thing we do know: homes are much more energy efficient these days.  And an energy efficient home does not “breath” like an older (drafty?) home.  Therefore, even low levels of carbon monoxide in a newer home can lead to CO poisoning symptoms.

Last winter I wrote an in-depth article all about Carbon Monoxide and winter home safety.  You can read that article HERE.  If you do not currently have a CO detector – and if you have any of the items in the picture above (fireplace, gas furnace, or an attached garage) … please install one ASAP.  Today would be great!  

The National Fire Protection Association has a great one page summary about where and how to install a CO detector. You can download it by clicking HERE.

Stay safe, and thanks for reading!

Darren

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Free Tip Friday – May 12, 2017

A quick check of your A/C unit might just save you some serious money this summer!

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The outside portion of your A/C system (called the condenser unit) works a lot like your car’s radiator: it grabs the heat from inside your home and dissipates it into the air outside.  Any dirt, debris, or grass caught in the coils can reduce the system’s ability to work efficiently.

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Make sure spring growth around the unit is not interfering with the system.  Keep all grass, flowers, shrubs (and weeds) at least 3 feet away, on all sides!

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Take a closer look at the coils – they may be dirty or clogged.  If so – you might want to call an HVAC tech, or do some cleaning yourself.  Caution:  be very gentle with the coils of the unit, they are easily damaged.  And… make sure the power is off before you work on the system, because YOU are easily damaged!

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Check out “10 tips to help keep you cool AND save money on your air-conditioning system this summer!” to learn more.

Thanks for reading!

Darren

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Free Tip Friday – May 5th, 2017

The first time you turn on an exterior faucet after the cold winter months can be a big surprise.  And not in the “oh this is so cool” kinda way….

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Take a few minutes and take a look at each exterior faucet – don’t forget that one on the side of the house you never use!. Slowly turn on each one, and check for leaks.  If possible, have someone inside near the faucet listening for any signs of a leak within the wall or floor as the water is turned on. A burst pipe due to cold weather will sometimes leak inside your home rather than out, and many a flooded basement has occurred during the first spring use of an exterior faucet!

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Check the condition of the siding behind and around the faucet.  Paint or caulk if needed, to prevent further water damage this summer.

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A stem leak from the faucet valve, or a bad washer on the end of your hose can cause water to spray back onto the home.  You don’t want this water to damage siding, or worse, get inside the home!  

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A new 5c washer on the end of your garden hose can be a great investment.Read more...

Save Money this summer!

I know – it’s still winter, and spring is almost a month away.

But around here (Kansas), we seem to have just skipped right over winter weather, with temps in the 50s and 60s more often than below freezing!  This makes me wonder, how early is the warmer weather to arrive this year? Are we in for an overly warm summer?  

With warmer temperatures in mind… here’s this month’s simple step to help you save money on home repairs:

Tip #2: Schedule a spring A/C service appointment now!

In a previous blog post I went into quite a bit of detail on how to maintain, clean and service your air conditioning unit.  However,  there are a few steps I feel should be left to a professional.  Even though it does cost a bit to have your unit professionally serviced, ultimately this is money well spent.  Consider it an investment, one that pays you back in dividends of lower utility bills and a longer lifespan of your air conditioner.  

There are two main reasons I suggest you contact a professional HVAC contractor to schedule your spring A/C clean-and-check now, while it’s still cold:

1 – Avoid the busy summer rush:  late winter is typically is a fairly slow time of year for HVAC professionals, and if you contact them now (before the rest of the customers in your area start calling for service) you may just get a lower rate!Read more...

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Save Money on Home Repair With This One Simple Step

 

One of my goals for 2017 is to share at least one simple, action-oriented tip with readers of this blog every month – steps that can make maintaining your home easier, and save you money, by helping you avoid repairs.

The following is something I’ve been doing for years. While I can’t PROVE that it’s saved me money or headaches, I’m pretty sure it has!

 

Tip #1:  Every time you clean your toilet, turn the water valve off.  

 

At first glance, this tip may seem odd.  It certainly received a rather odd look from my wife, Tracy, when I shared this idea with her.

Before I dive into the details…please allow me to share a brief story.  It relates to the topic at hand, and it will explain why I share this tip:

Over the years, I’ve dealt with many clogged toilets.  Who hasn’t?  Many years ago,  I found myself having to deal with a toilet that was just about to run over, and as I reached down to shut the water off to stop the water fill and prevent the mess, I found that the valve was stuck.  It would not budge, no matter how hard I tried to turn the valve.  Read more...

Start Winter Smart to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

 

I’m a firm believer in starting with WHY.

Often the “why” we do something is more important than the “how”.  If we have a strong enough reason why, we’ll figure out how!

Unfortunately, when it comes to proper heating system maintenance, the “why” can be a bit scary.  If a furnace is not venting properly, if the fireplace chimney is blocked, or if one of many other items is not operating properly as the cold weather approaches, the end result could be carbon monoxide poisoning.  And… it could be fatal.  

Sorry to be so negative right up front, but this is vitally important for your family’s safety.   According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.”

So…what to do?  Glad you asked!

 

CO detector installed on ceiling.

A CO detector is a “must have” for most homes.

First step – if you have a gas-fired appliance of any type (furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, fireplace, refrigerator – yeah, that one surprised me too… although not very common, there ARE gas-fired refrigerators!), a wood-burning fireplace, or an attached garage – you simply MUST have a carbon monoxide detector installed.Read more...

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