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How Many Cold And Hot Zones Does Your House Have?

Do people in your home fight over the thermostat setting? In many homes, especially split-level homes, someone is too hot, someone is too cold and no one is happy. 

Even in a home with adequate central air conditioning, mom or dad may find the temperature to be fine in the kitchen or living room, but their daughter is in the basement game room with her friends passing out sweaters for them. But then upstairs, their son is home from college wanting to study at his desk, but he can’t because the desk surface is hot enough to fry an egg! This is a house that might benefit from a zoned HVAC system.

What Is A Zoned HVAC System?

A zoned HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system allows the homeowner to set different temperatures in different parts or “zones” of the house. Rather than one thermostat for the entire house, each zone can be regulated with its own thermostat. A zone can be as small as one room or as large as an entire level of the house or an addition to the house.

How Does Zoning Work?

In a home with an existing forced air heating and cooling system (and one thermostat), it may be possible to install an automatic damper system into the HVAC ductwork that would divide the home into zones.

The better way to set up a zoned HVAC system is with ductless mini-split units. These units come in a variety of styles and models, but basically it’s a rectangular heating and cooling unit that is mounted high on the wall (or into the ceiling). That’s actually the first part, the indoor air-handling unit (evaporator). It’s hooked up to the second part, an outdoor compressor/condenser. Several of the indoor units can be hooked up to one outdoor unit. Each indoor unit is controlled with its own thermostat.

Reasons Why You Might Want A Zoned HVAC System

Ductless mini-splits are a great solution for a newly constructed house, but also a good retrofit for houses with non-ducted heating systems (like hot water heat or electric heating). They also work well for new additions to a house that lack ductwork or separate buildings like a garage or shed converted into offices or hobby rooms. Why might you want to looking into installing some ductless mini-splits?

1.To solve the multi-level home heating/cooling problem (described above).

2.To balance the temperature in homes where one side of the house gets more solar heat than the other side.

3.To heat/cool only the parts of the home in use. (Why heat/cool a huge house if you’re mostly only using a few rooms?)

4.To get heating/cooling in new house additions / separate buildings without installing ductwork.

Summary

To find out how a zoned HVAC system could work in your home, call a heating and cooling expert at your preferred home services company. With this surprisingly simple solution, you'll never fight over the thermostat in your home again!

7 Practical Ways To Conserve Water At Home

We’re used to have running water readily available and in seemingly endless supply, but the long-running drought in California and water restrictions in western states should tell us otherwise. There is a finite supply of water and though water is a renewable resource the amount of clean drinking water is declining. We can all help out by using less water (and paying less). These seven ways to conserve water at home are very practical and some are surprisingly easy.

1. Turn Off Faucets

How often do you let faucet water run needlessly as you wash or rinse dishes, wash your hands or face, brush your teeth or shave? Your bathroom faucet runs at about two gallons of water per minute. Turn off that tap while you brush your teeth and shave, and you’ll save hundreds of gallons a month.

2. Shorten Showers

An older showerhead can put out as much as 5 gallons of water per minute. Install a new low-flow showerhead to bring that down to 2.5 gallons and then cut your shower time in half and you will have reduced your shower water use by 75 percent!

3. Fix Leaks

Even a slow drip from a leaking faucet can waste as much as 20 gallons of water a day. A leaking toilet can waste 200 gallons a day! (To check your toilet for a leak, put several drops of food coloring in the tank. If that color shows up in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak.)

4. Go To A Car Wash

Instead of washing your car at home with the hose, go to a gas station car wash that will use less water and recycle it.

5. Install Low-Flow Or Dual-Flush Toilet

Replace an old toilet with a new ultra-low volume (ULV) 1.6 gallon flush toilet to use up to 70 percent less water. That could reduce your total indoor water use by 30 percent! Another option is a dual-flush toilet that could use as little as 1 gallon for the low-level flush.

6. Replace Your Old Water Heater With A Tankless Hot Water Heater

A tankless water heater only heats water when you need it. And when you need hot water, the supply is ongoing... so no more worrying about being the last one to take a morning shower. You’ll save about $80 a year in water heating bills.

7. Upgrade To A High Efficiency (HE) Washing Machine

Today HE washing machines use as little as 7 gallons per load. That’s a lot less than your old washing machine that could be using up to 54 gallons! Newer Energy Star-rated washers use less water and 50 percent less energy.

Summary

None of these are particularly hard to do, but act on a few of them (or all of them) and you could conserve a lot of water—and lower your monthly bills. Some of these are do-it-yourself projects, but a home services company could help you with any of these projects that require a professional.

Get Control Of Your Energy Bill With These 5 Easy Changes

Want to save money on your electricity bills? Here are 5 tips to conserve energy and save money! 

1. Energy Efficient Appliances

If you have several old appliances, they will work together to increase your utility bills throughout the year drastically. Old dishwashers will use more water. Old hot water tanks take more power and time to heat up less water. Refrigerators and freezers run longer and work harder to keep our food safe. Replacing old appliances with new, energy efficient products will cut down our costs while also increasing our ability to cook (and eat!) wonderful things in the kitchen or have clean, fresh smelling clothes. 

2. Cold Water Washes

Speaking of clothes, consider washing all of your clothes, towels, sheets, and more in cold water in the future. Most washing machines nowadays are designed to conserve energy by using cold water and do as good of a job in getting your clothes clean. There are many brands of detergent made to clean clothes in cold water. As well, there are some stains, such as sweat, oils, and blood, which come out better in cold water. Warm and hot water actually works to set some of these types of stains into your clothes and sheets. Cold water is just as, if not more effective, at cleaning than warm or hot water in our day and age.

3. Hang Clothes to Dry

Another big power user in our homes is our clothes dryers. Not only do they use a lot of energy to dry all of our laundry, but they can also add some heat to our house during months where we want to keep our house cool. In these months, consider hanging your clothes to dry outside. The sun and the wind will work together to dry your clothes reasonably quickly. The sun can work to kill certain bacteria that can gather in your clothes, and depending on the quality of the air where you leave, your clothes will smell 

amazing! Plus, hanging clothes up outside gets you enjoying the outdoors which is great for your mental health.

4. Programmable Thermostats

If you don’t have them, consider replacing or having someone replace your old thermostats with programmable ones. A programmable thermostat will allow you to heat and cool your house when you most need it while allowing your furnace to use less energy when you are out or away. Some people think it takes less energy to keep your house at the same temperature all day, that it takes too much power to bring the heat back up or to cool the house back down. This is not true. Slight variations in the temperature will not cause your heat or A/C to work too hard.

5. Clean Up

Lastly, keeping your house clean can reduce your energy costs. For one, a dusty or dirty house can cause blockages in our heating systems forcing our furnaces to work harder for less effect. Cleaning and replacing your furnace filters regularly (monthly or every other month) can bring down the costs of heating your house. As well, clean windows help more light and heat to come into your home.

Summary

There you have it! 5 simple tips to save money while you conserve power around your home. Keep it simple and enjoy those lower energy bills!

20 Ways To Show Your House Some Love This Year

Your home is your castle. It’s your refuge. After a busy day, there’s nothing like coming home to your home and your family. Not only that but it’s also the largest investment for most people. So doesn’t it make sense to make improvements on the home you love? We’ve come up with 20 ways you can make your house a more beautiful, efficient, and more comfortable home this year.

1. Declutter Your House

The best way to make sure it happens is to get started now! Go stack by stack, room by room, and clear it out. You may need new storage bins and baskets. You may even decide you need new shelving. Just know that you’ll feel so much better about your home after you’ve cleared the clutter.

2. Install LED Bulbs

They give better light, last longer, and will save you money on energy bills.

3. Renovate A Room

If this is the year to finally update your kitchen or renovate the master bathroom with a spa tub, start planning early. If you work with a general contractor from a home services company, they’ll be able to easily line up professionals for the plumbing, electrical and any other trades work.

4. Protect Your Family From Carbon Monoxide

Do you have a gas furnace, stove or appliances? Be sure you have installed carbon monoxide detectors near every bedroom. This is serious because if the furnace isn’t vented properly or a gas appliance is damaged, carbon monoxide could spread through your house and harm you and your family.

5. Check Your House For Radon

This colorless, odorless gas causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. One in every fifteen homes has elevated levels. Grab a test kits from your local hardware store. If you do have elevated 

levels of radon, you may need to do repair work on your foundation or improve ventilation. The right home services company will work with you to properly resolve your radon issue.

6. Upgrade Your Major Appliances

Today’s refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers are far more efficient, use less energy, less water and can make your life so much easier. An expert from your preferred home services company could help you with appliance installations.

7. Install Low-Flow Shower Heads

Chances are a new shower head will improve your shower and use less water. Low-flow aerators can also be installed on bathroom sink taps.

8. Start Composting

All those food scraps could turn into black gold for your garden, and you’ll feel so good sending less waste to the landfill.

9. Freshen Up Your Living Space By Bringing In Some New Houseplants

In addition to making your house look more “finished,” houseplants help to clean the air.

10. Change Your Furnace (HVAC) Filter Every Month

Check with your home services company—they might even have a subscription service for delivering filters to your home.

11. Schedule HVAC Tune-Ups

Line up your home services company in the spring to get your air conditioner ready for the summer and in the fall to prepare your furnace for the winter.

12. Inspect Your Roof

Late fall is a good time to give your roof an inspection to see how it stood up to summer storms and to make sure it’s ready for winter’s icy blast. Get out your ladder and remove leaves from the gutters. This will allow you to get a closer look at the shingles. Look for damaged or broken shingles. Is there a significant loss of sand granules on your shingles? (You’ll see evidence of this in the gutters if it’s a problem.) If you’re concerned, consult with a roofing expert from your preferred home service company.

13. Get Your Carpets Cleaned

Refresh your carpets by having them professionally steam-cleaned. To protect your carpets and give them longevity and improve your house’s indoor air quality, we recommend cleaning your carpets every six months, perhaps you could think of doing it before Easter and before Thanksgiving.

14. Rethink Your Electrical Outlets

Too many cords plugged into one outlet can be a fire hazard. Use a power bar with a built-in breaker to avoid overloading outlets. Even better, bring in an electrician from your preferred home services company to reconfigure your outlets or install new outlets that are needed. As a bonus, you can get an outlet that features two regular plug-ins plus a USB plug-in for quick charging of devices.

15. Check Your Outlets For Safety

Be sure you have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) in bathrooms, near kitchen sinks or in areas where water and electricity may come into contact. GFCIs instantly shut off power to prevent injury from electrical shock.

16. Is This The Year To Install A Home Backup Generator?

How many times did your power go out last year and how difficult did that make your life? A whole home generator is a good investment that will not only give your home power when your neighbors are in the dark, it will also keep your home warm (or cool depending on the season) and keep your family safe. Never operate a home backup generator without first getting a licensed electrician to install a transfer switch, which isolates your home wiring from main power lines.

17. Avoid Pouring Grease Down Your Kitchen Drain

Grease will harden and clog your drain pipe. After your frying pan has cooled, use paper towels to wipe the grease out. Dispose of these paper towels in your green bin if you have one or in the garbage.

18. Make Sure Your Water Heater Is Set At 120 Degrees

Even if the manufacturer set it to 140 degrees, 120 degrees will deliver warm water throughout your house and save you money on your energy bills.

19. Test Your Fire Alarms And Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Test your alarms monthly and replace the batteries (twice a year when you change the clocks is recommended).

20. Enjoy Your Home

Be sure to make time for yourself to just relax and enjoy your beautiful home!