How to keep your house cool in the hot months

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Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are a critical part of living comfortably these days. They’re also a part of the house that might fall under the radar until things stop functioning properly and it’s time for replacement. Then comes the challenging part of choosing a new HVAC system. With so many options, technical words, and sales tactics, choosing the best HVAC system can make anyone feel overwhelmed.

About Senica Air Conditioning of Tampa Bay

HVAC systems keep your house cool in the hot months, warm in the cool months, and keep the air clean and fresh all year long. An updated HVAC system will keep you and your family happy and healthy. An efficient HVAC system manages to do all this while keeping your energy costs low. Heating and air conditioning uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your house, averaging about 48 percent of your energy bill. Upgrading your HVAC system and maintaining it properly can save you money and increase your comfort.

If it’s time to replace your HVAC system, then it’s time to learn all the available options, useful information about SEER and AFUE ratings, features and benefits that are available with new high-efficiency systems, and how to choose a contractor wisely. The following infographic, published by DavisAC.com, highlights useful information to help you understand HVAC systems and how to choose the best one for your home, your health, and your budget. Don’t make a decision you might regret, follow these steps to choosing the best unit for your home!

Energy-Efficient Home for You

Heating and cooling costs account for almost half of your utility bills throughout the year. Luckily, a green HVAC company can help to lower those bills and help the environment in the process. While there are plenty of smaller things you can do to lower your utility bills like using natural sunlight during the day and unplugging electronics, the real money savings is in installing an efficient HVAC unit and taking advantage of energy savings tips about your unit.

The smartest thing you can do to encourage an energy-efficient home is to hire a contractor who specializes in energy-efficient HVAC systems. This contractor should use Manual J calculations when determining the correct size unit you need for your home instead of the generic rule of thumb calculation. This contractor should also offer an annual maintenance plan that includes servicing, which helps lower repair costs and extends the life of your equipment.

There are a lot of letters involved in buying a new HVAC system like AFUE, SEER, and BTU/HR. It’s not easy to know exactly what all these acronyms mean, but since they are pretty important, a good contractor can walk you through all the necessary information to help you make the best choice for your family and you. The infographic below, originally syndicated by Ambient Edge, can help you get started understanding how to go green with your next HVAC system, and how the right contractor can make all the difference.

 

4 Things You Probably Don’t Clean, But Need To

There’s nothing better than taking a step back and admiring your sparkling clean home. Taking in freshly washed sheets, mopped or vacuumed floors, and immaculately cleaned counters can be incredibly satisfying. While you might feel like your job is done, however, you’ve probably missed cleaning a handful of regularly used spaces. What’s even worse is that these spots might be hiding in plain sight, causing unpleasant smells or spreading germs. Follow these tips to find four hidden spaces that still need some elbow grease.

The Garbage Can

Taking out the trash might not be fun, but it’s only the first part of garbage removal. To eliminate odor and bacteria, you need to wash your garbage can at least every month. Trash bags often leak, causing food to seep through the cracks and fall into the bottom, where it continues to smell and rot. Even if your bags are sealed around the lid, the top of your trash can inevitably gets covered in food when you’re trying to add more garbage to a full bag. If you don’t clean the garbage can, your kitchen could continue to smell long after you finish the rest of your chores.

 

Door Handles and Knobs

Things You Probably Dont Clean

Image via Flickr by Mariusz_St

If you’re scrubbing down your home to prevent sickness from spreading, start with the door handle. This unobtrusive home accessory often remains ignored as you focus on sink handles and toilet seats instead. To see how germy handles can be, researchers placed viruses on office door knobs and found that 60 percent of employees had the virus on their hands within two hours. Even if someone isn’t using the door to your home, all it takes is one visitor or one handshake to spread germs.

Pillows

You probably wash your pillow cases when you clean your sheets, but you shouldn’t assume that your pillows are immune to getting dirty. Skin cells, dust, dirt, and oils from your skin and hair can make it past the protective pillow case and stay on pillows for months or years. Good Housekeeping reports that down and feather pillows are washer-safe, as long as you wash a maximum of two at a time on a gentle cycle. You can also tumble dry pillows, but be sure to fluff them regularly so the stuffing doesn’t clump together.

Air Filters and Ductwork

While most homeowners should change their air filters monthly, some people let time slip by and only change them a few times a year. This clouds the air in your home, which can lead to asthma or allergy attacks. In addition to changing the air filter regularly, you should also have your home’s ducts cleaned periodically. Call an HVAC specialist to eliminate layers of dust from your ductwork and stop allergens from circulating through your home.

These are just a few quick ways to reduce the germs, dust, and dirt from your home. Take these small steps and clean hidden spaces, and you’ll go a long way toward improving your overall health and increasing your family’s happiness.

 

Protect Your Home From an Invasion

Today, it is imperative to have an alarm system in your home to protect you from a burglar who might enter your home while you are away or inside your home. Home invasions are occurring frequently in all neighborhoods, but many homeowners don’t have a lot of extra money to pay for an alarm system and monitoring services. When you are shopping for an alarm service for your home, it is important to remember that there are numerous companies offering the service.
Protect Your Home From an Invasion

Affordable Alarm Monitoring for Commercial Properties

Alternatively, you might have a business that requires an alarm system or monitoring, but the prices for the service are so high that it is not affordable. Some thieves target businesses rather than private residences because it is easier to know when no one is on the premises. In addition, many businesses have cash registers with money or numerous technological devices that are easy to steal. Your commercial property insurance company may require that you have an alarm system in place.

Alarm Monitoring Prices Vary

If you are struggling to pay for your current alarm monitoring services, then you can switch to a more affordable company with a simple telephone call. One of the things that your current alarm system company doesn’t want you to know is that it is possible to use a different company for monitoring. You can make this change easily and quickly to begin saving money as soon as possible.

Switch to a New Alarm Monitoring Company

If you purchased a package deal from an alarm company that included monitoring, then it is possible that the cost has increased over several years, but you can make a change to a new alarm monitoring company by calling a representative. Some alarm monitoring companies charge $50 a month for a residential property, and it will charge more for a commercial property.

Choose an Affordable Alarm Company

You can find a budget-priced alarm monitoring company that charges less than $9 a month, making it an affordable option for most homeowners. If you don’t have an alarm system in place, then this company can also install one that you can afford. There is an assortment of alarms available that offer different types of protection.

There Are Different Types of Alarm Systems Available

You might want a basic alarm system that makes a loud noise when a burglar enters your home, or you might want one that connects to your cellphone. Some alarm systems will also provide protection from other dangers such as smoke or flames from a fire. Call an alarm monitoring company today to make the change to a more affordable option.

Relocating For A Short Time

Whether you’re in the process of moving from one home to another or there has been a natural disaster that has meant relocating from your home, there are options with temporary housing New Orleans programs offer. Some temporary housing situations require an application, but for most, you’ll find that as long as you have the money to pay for the time that you’re in the home, then you will have a place to stay until you can find permanent housing. There are a few benefits of temporary housing that you want to consider.

Relocating For A Short Time

This type of housing gives you a way to have a home while you’re searching for a new home if you have to be out another. It will give you a chance to stay together as a family. You can also explore the area where you’re living to see if it’s a location where you might want to find a permanent home. Temporary housing is ideal for those who travel on a regular basis. You will always have a place to stay when you are in the town instead of staying in a hotel or finding someone to stay with.

Temporary housing is an option if you are renovating your home and can’t stay in your current home until the work is complete. This would usually be because of a large renovation, but it would mean that you would have a home to stay in so that you aren’t inconvenienced because of the construction and other work that is going on at the home. You can often find temporary housing easier than you could find a rental home for an extended period of time as more people are willing to rent for a few weeks or months instead of renting for a year or more. If you need this kind of housing because of a natural disaster, then you will likely receive assistance from the government to get on your feet and to cover the cost of the home so that you can focus on paying for a new home and any deposits that need to be made for utilities.

Relocating For A Short Time

Whether you’re in the process of moving from one home to another or there has been a natural disaster that has meant relocating from your home, there are options with temporary housing New Orleans programs offer. Some temporary housing situations require an application, but for most, you’ll find that as long as you have the money to pay for the time that you’re in the home, then you will have a place to stay until you can find permanent housing. There are a few benefits of temporary housing that you want to consider.

This type of housing gives you a way to have a home while you’re searching for a new home if you have to be out another. It will give you a chance to stay together as a family. You can also explore the area where you’re living to see if it’s a location where you might want to find a permanent home. Temporary housing is ideal for those who travel on a regular basis. You will always have a place to stay when you are in the town instead of staying in a hotel or finding someone to stay with.

Temporary housing is an option if you are renovating your home and can’t stay in your current home until the work is complete. This would usually be because of a large renovation, but it would mean that you would have a home to stay in so that you aren’t inconvenienced because of the construction and other work that is going on at the home. You can often find temporary housing easier than you could find a rental home for an extended period of time as more people are willing to rent for a few weeks or months instead of renting for a year or more. If you need this kind of housing because of a natural disaster, then you will likely receive assistance from the government to get on your feet and to cover the cost of the home so that you can focus on paying for a new home and any deposits that need to be made for utilities.

Dyess Heating & Air for Your Home

School is out, the pools are open, and hot weather is headed your way. Are you ready? Is your home ready? Keeping cool doesn’t need to involve running the air conditioner full-blast all summer. Here are some tips to help keep your house cool and comfortable all summer long without driving your power bills through the roof.

Keep The Air Moving

Dyess Heating & Air for Your Home

Image via Flickr by matsuyuke

If you can keep the air in your home circulating, you’ll reduce the load on your air conditioner. Install ceiling fans in the rooms where you spend the most time. Add a box fan to a window for days when it’s cool enough to open the house. A desk or clip-on fan can help keep you fresh at your desk or while you’re working in the kitchen.

Larger rooms may be more difficult to keep cool, but it’s not impossible. Add a floor-stand fan to one corner of large rooms where the air gets stale. The old-fashioned trick of putting a large bowl of ice in front of a fan does a suprisingly good job of bringing temperatures down.

Stop the Sun

According to Family Handyman, up to 30% of the summer heat that enters your home is coming in through your windows. Shades, curtains, and tinted films can cut temperatures inside your house by up to 20 degrees and save up to seven percent on your cooling bills. Pay special attention to windows that face south or west, where strong sunlight can turn your rooms into heat-producing greenhouses.

Offer Your Cooling System Some TLC

Your cooling system will be under a lot of stress during the hot summer months. Help your air conditioner run more efficiently by replacing filters monthly, cleaning intake ducts regularly, and having a professional service the equipment and clean all its inner components at the beginning of the season. According to Dyess Heating & Air, changing your filter regularly and having the system cleaned will not only help you cool your home more efficiently but will also improve your indoor air quality this summer.

Close Off Unused Rooms

There’s no point cooling rooms that no one is using. During the day, close the vents in the bedrooms and pull the doors closed. If you have other rooms that aren’t used often, close them off as well. At night, open doors and let the cooler night air flow freely through the house.

Switch Your Bulbs

Traditional light bulbs give off a surprising amount of heat, and halogen bulbs are even worse. Consider compact flourescent lights (CFLs) or LED bulbs. Not only do they use less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they give off far less heat as well.

Turn your home into a cool oasis this summer without running up massive power bills by playing it smart inside your house. Ceiling fans, window shades, fresh filters for your air conditioner, and cool-burning light bulbs should go a long way toward keeping your family comfortable no matter how hot the days get outdoors.

5 Reasons to Have a Wall Air Conditioning Unit

Air conditioning units have come a really long way since the beginning. Fortunately, we no longer have to endure really bulky and loud air conditioning units which used to dominate a room in both appearance and sound.

Technology and demand are what have led us away from these designs and in have come the new, sleek, multipurpose and multifunctional air conditioning units. One design that has particularly caught our eye as a big player in the game, are wall air conditioning units; so much so, that we have written an article on why exactly you should invest in one:

 

Money Saver

A big reason why many people choose to go with wall air conditioning units over traditional central air conditioning systems is because they are much cheaper to run. Wall units don’t require as much energy or electricity as central air systems as they give you the option to choose which rooms to cool, meaning, that in rooms which are hardly occupied, you can switch the air conditioning off.

Easy to Maintain

As with all major appliances, air conditioning systems require regular maintenance and upkeep. Wall units are very easy to maintain and care for in comparison to central air conditioning units. With wall air conditioning units, you are only recommended to clean and change the filters every few months. If you have an allergy to pets or a lot of indoor plants, you will need to change your filters more regularly, however this is a very inexpensive and easy task and will not take long.

Cheap to Replace/Fix

If tragedy strikes and your wall air conditioning unit breaks down, the cost to replace any parts are much less than they would be for central air conditioning units. If one part of your central system breaks down, it could cause the entire system to break down and require more than one part to be replaced; whereas wall units can be repurchased with a brand new warranty. A typical wall air conditioning unit can last anywhere from ten to fifteen years, depending on the make and model. Also, wall units are a lot cheaper to purchase in comparison to central systems and come with a variety of warranty options.

More Eco-friendly

It is a fact that wall air conditioning units require a lot less energy in comparison to central air conditioning systems. Due to this, they are seen to be more eco-friendly as you can have more control over where you want your cooling system to direct its use. Wall air conditioning units are seen to be a lot more energy efficient in comparison to central air conditioning units as they offer you the ability to have more control over temperature.

Improve Air Quality

Many argue that indoor air is of a lower quality than outdoor air due to heating and cooling systems. With a traditional central air conditioning units, you would have to professionally clean your system on a regular basis in order to ensure the quality of air within your home is not reduced, however, dust and other allergens would still be left behind. With certain wall units such as ductless systems, the air within homes has been proven to be improved  due to its filtration process.

Gluten Free at Panera Bread the Secret Menu

My meeting was scheduled today at Panera Bread so I planned to eat something before I got there and then I could just grab a hot tea, but of course I left my food on the counter at my house and ended up wondering what I would do. Eating gluten-free at Panera Bread is extremely challenging and risky!

Gluten Free at Panera Bread the Secret Menu

Gluten Free at Panera Bread the Secret Menu

I’ve eaten at Panera Bread before and typically just have the black bean soup and some kettle chips. It’s pretty much playing a game of Russian Roulette because of the high risk of contamination from the bread crumbs all over the place. I would say if you are extremely sensitive, stay away from Panera.

When I got to the counter, I ordered the soup, only to find out they didn’t have it today. So I asked the lady to see the nutrition menu so I could see what other options I could have. Mainly I was looking for a salad since I wasn’t sure about anything else.

She then directed me to get my own menu from the front door. I explained to her that the nutrition is in a binder behind the counter and not on the menu. Another cashier helped her and was very friendly. While perusing the allergen list for a bit and not finding anything, I almost settled for 2 bags of kettle chips to hold me over. But, what did I notice, something called “Power Steak Lettuce Wraps.” I used to work at Panera and know that sometimes they come out with seasonal items so I asked if they had that. The girl said “Oh yeah, it’s on our secret menu.” Really? I’ve never heard of it.

After ordering the gluten-free meal, the lady asked me if I wanted a pastry or dessert to go with my meal. AND THEN came around while I was eating and offered me a bite of the pastry they were sampling for the day. I mean seriously folks, get it together!

Wait, actually one of our members at Bexa Body Fitness mentioned that they had this secret menu but I didn’t have time to look to see what is on it. Needless to say I was pretty excited. Most of the items on this menu are full of protein and veggies with limited or no carbs. Here is what is on the menu:

1. Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey
2. Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with Steak
3. Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad
4. Power Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad
5. Power Chicken Hummus Bowl
6. Power Steak Lettuce Wraps

Again, I can’t emphasize this enough that there is a high chance of cross contamination at Panera and you run the risk of young teens handling your food and maybe not being as careful as they should when preparing your meal. BUT, I will say this was the best meal I’ve had at Panera in a long time. It was fantastic. The steak was tender and juicy, everything was fresh and I really enjoyed the light, refreshing meal.

Secret menus seem to be the trend and it’s no wonder why Panera jumped on board. I just wish that eating healthy wasn’t a secret and they would post these items on their regular menu for people to order from. This goes right into my post from yesterday about eating clean being a dirty concept. Why on earth are the amazing, fresh and delicious items on the “secret menu.”

Source : Panera Bread Gluten Free

Some Home Selling Tips

Want to sell your home and get a good price for it too – then these tips will help you do just that – take a look at our great tips on doing so.

Some Home Selling Tips

Little things matter a lot

While the big picture matters, details are also important. The buyers usually look at a number of properties and weigh everything up which means that they will nitpick. So, get those maintenance jobs done that you have been avoiding such as changing that light bulb.

Each room needs to be defined

Ideally, buyers should be able to visualize themselves in each room and therefore, it is important that the purpose of each room is highlighted. For instance, get rid of the exercise equipment or work papers in your dining room.

Also, you need to de-personalize the space to ensure that the buyer is able to see the potential of the house and is able to visualize the place with own items. For instance, you should take down the posters in the bedrooms of your kids to depersonalize the space.

Give them space

Potential buyers should be able to wander around freely along with the agent. They should feel comfortable so that they can spend some time looking closely at each room in a free manner. Also, you should be prepared to answer any queries they may have. If you’re wondering who can buy my house now – then this will help.

Use the outdoor space

Outdoor spaces such as a garden can be a great selling point but these need to be groomed to attract the buyers. If your garden is an overgrown jungle, buyers will stay away from your home. An overgrown garden makes the space look smaller and forgotten about. An overgrown garden can also put off potential buyers if they have not budgeted for a gardener.

Choose a reliable buyer

Once you have received all the offers from various buyers, you need to make sure that you choose a reliable buyer. The list of safe buyers include first-time buyers, buyers with cash who do not require a mortgage and buyers who are already staying in a rented accommodation after selling their own home. However, you may not have the luxury to choose the buyer in case you do not receive enough offers.

They will always be other factors that you need to consider such as whether you already have a place to move into after selling the house and how soon you need the money.

Think about alternatives

Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that you will be able to sell your home in the current market even after employing all the above tips. However, if you are selling your house to get more space, you should take a look at the new government proposals with regards to relaxation of the current planning permissions.

If these proposals get the go-ahead the full planning permission will be needed only for homes where the extensions reach beyond 8 m from the rear wall for detached homes and 6 m for other types of homes. Currently this limit is set at three or 4 m from the rear wall.

While it is true that this will be permitted for a three-year window but it offers a great option to selling home to get more space.

Tag : Home Selling Tips , tips for selling your home , tips on selling your home , how to sell your house , tips to sell your home , selling your home tips .