Posts made in December, 2014

Prepare Your Home For Your Vacation This Holiday Season

This holiday season, as you prepare for your upcoming trip to an island in the sun, don’t forget to prepare your home for your absence. These tips will help keep your house safe, and help lower your bills in your absence.

Unplug Your Electronics and Appliances

Some appliances and electronics draw energy while plugged in, even if they’re not in use. To lower your electric bills, unplug your television, DVD player, computers and microwave. If you plan to be gone for long enough that all your perishable items will spoil anyway, consider emptying out your refrigerator and unplugging it as well. 

Turn Down the Thermostat

To save on heating bills, turn down your thermostat to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Some modern thermostats have a vacation mode which gives homeowners control over their thermostat over a 24 hour period. If your thermostat has such a feature, take advantage of it. Vacation mode will allow you to lower temperatures during the day and raise temperatures at night, preventing your pipes from freezing when temperatures outside are at their lowest.

Make Your Home Look Occupied

The holidays are a time when many thefts and burglaries take place, and empty homes make easy targets. Making your home seem occupied helps to protect it from burglaries. Ask a neighbor or family member to check in on your home once a day. Have your neighbor park in your driveway to maintain the appearance of being at home. 

To further maintain the illusion of occupancy, put your lights on timers and pay for your driveway and walkway to be shoveled in your absence. Piles of mail and unopened packages are a dead giveaway, so have your mail held at the post office, or ask whomever is caring for your home to put the mail in a spot where it can’t be seen from the window. Suspend your newspaper service for the duration of your vacation

Prevent a Plumbing Disaster

If your pipes have a history of freezing, consider draining your pipes. To do this, turn off the main water valve to your home. Next, turn on all the faucets in the house, starting from the top floor and working your way into the basement. Then, turn on all bathtubs and showers starting with the top floor, and finally, flush all the toilets, starting from the top floor. When you go on your trip, leave all the faucets open and the main water valve turned off. For more plumbing tips, contact a company like Orange Coast Plumbing.

With all this done, you can enjoy your vacation with peace of mind, knowing you did everything you could to protect your property.

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3 Steps Needed To Create A Zone System With Your Furnace

If you live in an older, two-story home and have problems with controlling the heat on both floors, it is probably because your home has only one thermostat. Heating systems in newer homes generally have two or more thermostats, which is a necessity for finding a comfortable temperature in a two-story house. You can hire a heating contractor to fix this problem for you, and the contractor will need to complete several steps during this project.

Add an Extra Thermostat

Heat naturally rises, and when a two-story house has only one thermostat, the heat on both floors will run anytime the temperature falls to a certain point. Because of this, the upstairs will become a lot hotter than the main floor of your home.

The contractor will add a separate thermostat to the upstairs of your house, and this will allow you to control the heating system on both levels. Unfortunately, adding an extra thermostat is not the only step required to fix the problem.

Install Zone Dampers

Zone dampers are devices placed in the air ducts of your home. A damper is designed to control the air that flows to certain areas of a house, and this is possible because a damper opens and closes as needed. Dampers are electronically controlled, and they know exactly when to open and close based on the communication they receive from the control panel.

In a zone heating system, you can request heat on the main floor without providing heat to the upstairs by turning on the main floor thermostat. When this is done, the dampers inside the ducts that go upstairs will remain closed. This stops heat from going upstairs when it is not needed.

Tie in a Control Panel

The final step the contractor will do is to tie the thermostats into a zone control panel. This panel is normally placed by the furnace, and it is used for the thermostats to communicate with the furnace and dampers.

Wiring in the control panel is one of the hardest parts of this job, but it is extremely important if you want your heating system to work like a zone system.

By completing this project in your house, you will be able to achieve comfortable temperatures on your main floor and upstairs. You can talk to a heating contractor at places like Virginia Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning about this project, and this will help you find out how much it will cost and what it will involve.

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Four Maintenance Tasks That You Will Have To Do With The Installation Of An Outdoor Boiler

If you have been looking for an alternative to gas and electricity, outdoor boilers can be great. These are boilers that are installed outside of your home and can use firewood or biomass fuels to heat your home. These systems cost a lot less to operate than conventional systems, but they also require a lot of maintenance and upkeep to keep them working efficiently. If you are going to have an outdoor boiler installed for your home, here are four maintenance tasks that you will be doing on a regular basis:

1. Stocking And Storing Fuel

An outdoor boiler will require regular stocking of the fuel material. If you are using firewood, this means that you have to store firewood and stock the firebox regularly. Systems that use pellet materials need to have pellet fuel, and you will need to make sure that it is being fed to the boiler. With an outdoor boiler that uses pellet, you will need to store the fuel materials in grain bins, which will help protect it from the elements.

2. Cleaning Exhaust Systems

The exhaust system of an outdoor boiler will need to be cleaned regularly. This is removing the ash and soot that builds up in the pipes. By cleaning the pipes, the system will have better air flow and work more efficiently. Some of the newest boilers have sensors, which may even shut the boiler down when there is too much ash in the exhaust pipes and they need to be clean.

3. Removing And Cleaning Ash Materials

You will also need to remove ash materials from the firebox. Most boilers also have tubes that ash builds up in, and cleaning them will help to ensure that the boiler is heating liquids efficiently. With a biomass boiler, the ignition chamber will also need to be cleaned. This is where the biomass fuel is heated, and if there is too much ash, it will not ignite and the boiler will not work.

4. Regular Inspection Of The System And Parts

It is also important to regularly inspect all the parts of the system. You want to check the grain bins where fuel is stored for biomass boilers, and the firebox in wood burning boilers. It is also important to inspect all the pumps and gauges to ensure that the system is working efficiently. Doing this will allow you to find problems that need to be fixed before they cause major damage to your boiler.

These are some of the maintenance tasks you will need to do for your outdoor boiler. If you need help setting up the grain storage bins and fuel feeding systems for a biomass outdoor boiler, contact a vendor of grain bins to get the system you need for your boiler.  

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