3 Ways to decide if you need residential air conditioning repair or a new system

3 Ways to decide if you need residential air conditioning repair or a new system

It’s really frustrating when your air conditioner breaks down in the middle of a hot summer afternoon as countless people who it has happened to can attest. The first thing to do, of course, is to call in repair services. However, in some cases, the air conditioning system is beyond repair and the home-owner will need to replace it. It can be a dilemma making the decision between having it repaired or shelling out and buying a new air conditioning system. Choosing between the two can be confusing especially when you don’t have technical knowledge of how these systems work. Often, people opt for the wrong one – costing them much more than necessary.

To determine whether you should have your air conditioning repaired or invest in a new one, consider the following factors:

Air conditioning unit

  1. Age of the unit

This is the first factor you need to consider. Age greatly affects the performance of your air conditioning system. Air conditioning units often come with a longevity recommendation. When your air conditioning has a 15-year mark and it’s only 10 years old, you may opt for repair services like air conditioning repair in McKinney. However, if it’s nearing the 15-year mark, a replacement may be the best decision. Trying to repair a unit way past its recommended year of service can be a false economy, costing you more in the long run.

Air conditioning maintenance

  1. Cost of repair and replacement

Air conditioning repair may sound cheaper than having to buy a new one, but this isn’t always the case. Some repair costs, including service charges and buying spare parts could add up and may cost you more than a new unit. In a case like this, opt for a replacement. Or, when the need to repair seems to occur more often than the usual, the total cost can be overwhelming. Hence, replacement is the wiser thing to do. Be practical on this one and look at it over the long term.

Air conditioning repair

  1. Energy efficiency

There are a lot of contributing factors when it comes to energy efficiency. First is the working condition of your unit. If the unit doesn’t produce as much cold air as it used to even after series of repairs, it’s probably time to buy a new one. Energy efficiency is also about your electricity bill. If you notice your bill is starting to sky-rocket over time and the air conditioning is the only possible suspect, invest in a new one. Finally, consider your space and the traffic in the area. If an additional person or persons are using the room or if the space became bigger due to home improvement projects, it’s may time to buy a new one. However, if the above cases are not among your current situation, you might consider repairing it first.

When you opt for air conditioning repair, make sure you hire the best repair service firm. If you decide to buy a new one, find the unit that is right size and output for your needs. Also, check for the Energy Star label that proves that the unit is energy efficient.

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How to keep your heating oil costs as low as possible

How to keep your heating oil costs as low as possiblecredit

For many home-owners, the winter months are a worrying time. They worry about how much they’ll need to pay for heating oil. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep the cost of heating your home down, which is why we’ve written this post.

Buy from commercial sellers

Instead of automatically buying from your local domestic oil company, try commercial fuel suppliers as well. Many of them are happy to sell to domestic customers, as well as business owners. Usually, their prices are very competitive.

Buy your oil early

When possible, buy your heating oil early. Buying before the rush is the best way to avoid paying more than you need to.

However, you need to bear in mind that the cost of heating oil fluctuates throughout the year. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that buying your oil in the summer actually doesn’t work out to be cheaper.

However, most years, this approach does work. Because demand is lower during the warmer months the cost of heating oil usually dips during the summer.

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Look after your boiler

It is also worth having your boiler serviced during the summer. Many heating engineers are not so busy then. As a result, many self-employed engineers offer a discount to those customers who have their boilers serviced during the warmer months.

Having your boiler serviced on a regular basis will also save you money. This is because a properly maintained boiler works more efficiently. It’s also less likely to break down and need replacing.

Not to mention the fact that an unserviced boiler represents a safety hazard. Every year, hundreds of people die because they breathe in carbon monoxide emitted by a faulty boiler. Dozens more die in boiler explosions. In most of these cases, it turns out that the boiler involved hasn’t been properly maintained.

Don’t overheat your home

An awful lot of home-owners waste heating oil by keeping their home too hot. Studies show that if you turn your thermostat down by one degree every couple of weeks, most people will not notice the difference – at least not at first. Often, by the time they do realise that the house is cooler, the thermostat has already been turned down by four or five degrees, which significantly reduces the amount of oil that’s being consumed. Typically, for every degree you reduce your thermostat by, you save 1 or 2% on your fuel bill.

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Keep the heat inside your property

The other step you need to take is to insulate and draught-proof your home. It doesn’t take long to do, and it’s a job that many people can do themselves. You can find out more about how to insulate a house from this page. The information in this article will prove especially helpful for those who are living on a tight budget.

Buying your heating oil at the right time and shopping around for the best price are both important. However, it’s being careful not to consume too much fuel and making the best use of the heat that you generate that makes the biggest difference, and keeps your costs down.

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4 essential ways to care for your tech devices

 

4 essential ways to care for your tech devices

You need to care for your tech devices in much the same way as you do your own body – looking after both inside and out. Whether it’s your mobile phone, desktop, laptop or tablet; games console or smart watch you need to look after both its hardware and software. These items can be pretty expensive to buy and to fix; having to live without them is unthinkable for some! Here are the top 4 things you need to do to properly care for your tech devices and keep them in tip-top condition.

Invest in screen protectors, covers and cases

Black leather iPhone cover

If you’re anything like us, you use your computer and phone whilst eating or drinking at the same time. Even if you think you’re being really careful, they still tend to get a bit sticky and grubby. Keep your devices clean with anti-bacterial spray cleaner and a specialist cleaning brush set for getting between the spaces on your keyboard.

Keep them clean, but also make sure you keep them covered… especially if you’re clumsy and prone to dropping things! Start with a clear screen protector – they only take seconds to apply, but they stop the glass getting scratched and can help save it from shattering. Enclose your mobile in a leather iPhone case, it safeguards from daily wear & tear and makes it look great at the same time. I use my iPad for following recipes as I cook; I use a case with integral stand to keep it upright and clean… save a few buttery fingerprints here & there!

Install anti-virus software

Install anti-virus software on your tech devices

One of the most stressful and scary things that can happen to your tech device is unknowingly installing a virus, Trojan horse or some other kind of malware. It can completely disable your machine and can cost a lot of money to get someone to put it right. And you may even unintentionally infect the devices of friends, family and work colleagues. These situations can be easily avoided by installing anti-virus software – and there are some good, free ones available.

AVG Anti-virus (AVG AntiVirus for Mac® | AVG AntiVirus FREE | AVG AntiVirus for Android™)

AVG AntiVirus includes real-time security updates, scans for both malware and performance issues, and even catches malicious downloads before they reach your device. It blocks unsafe links, downloads and email attachments.

Avast Security (PC, Mac & Android)

Avast is one of the largest security companies in the world using next-gen technologies to fight cyber attacks in real time. They have an immense cloud-based machine learning engine that receives a constant stream of data from our more than 400 million users.

Keep your hard drive spick & span

Snail on a keyboard

There are a few, simple things you can do to keep your devices running quickly and smoothly. By freeing up disk space you not only stop your device becoming sluggish, you also extend your battery life. Always keep your apps updated, developers are always tweaking them, fixing bugs and improving performance. Quit, don’t just close apps that aren’t being used. Don’t simply put files into your trash – delete them completely by emptying the ‘trash’/’recycle bin’. Keep anything that you don’t need every day on an external had drive – especially large files such as images, music and video.

There are lots of useful apps that can help you keep many of them are free or cost very little. Here are just a few.

AVG Cleaner (AVG PC TuneUp® | AVG Cleaner™ for Mac® | AVG Cleaner™ for Android™)

It quickly finds any hidden clutter you may have accumulated and clean it with just one click.

MacBooster (Mac)

This is a Mac maintenance tool to clean up junk, boost performance and remove malware and viruses.

AppZapper (Mac)

Everybody loves the drag and drop nature of OS X. Drag an app into your applications folder, and it’s installed. You’d think it would be that easy to delete an app – just a matter of dragging it to the trash. But it’s not. Apps install support files on your computer that generate clutter. Introducing AppZapper. Simply drag one or more apps onto AppZapper. Then, watch as it finds the extra files and lets you delete them with one click.

Reno Uninstaller (PC)

Has powerful features to uninstall programs scanning for left over files, folders and registry entries after uninstall.

Disk Diag (Mac)

Disk Diag is a free, simple and efficient tool for cleaning your Mac. It takes the hassle out of finding which files are clogging-up your Mac hard drive by instantly scanning and discovering what’s taking-up space.

Monolingual (Mac)

Monolingual is a program for removing unnecessary language resources from macOS, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least macOS 10.12 (Sierra).

Removing unused language packs is different for Windows® operating systems. Read about going about it here.

Prepare for if it gets lost or stolen

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No one wants to think about the possibility of their device getting misplaced, lost or stolen; but it happens to people every, single day. There are things you can put in place if, in future, you need to locate a lost or stolen device.

For Mac products – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch and MacBook – the Find My iPhone app is a security essential.

Find My iPhone will help you locate your missing device on a map, remotely lock it, play a sound, display a message, or erase all the data on it.

For missing iOS devices, Find My iPhone also includes Lost Mode. Lost Mode locks your device with a passcode and can display a custom message and contact phone number right on the Lock Screen. While in Lost Mode, your device can keep track of where it has been and report back so you can view its recent location history, right from the Find My iPhone app.

If you have an Android phone, you need to enable the ‘Remotely locate this device’ and ‘Allow remote lock and erase’ settings in the Google Settings app. You’ll find them under Security → Device Manager. If your Android device goes missing, log into the Android Device Manager on the Google website and it’s location will be mapped out. From here you can ring, lock or erase your phone’s data.

Windows phones also have built-in settings to track missing mobile devices. You will find them here: Settings → Privacy → Find my phone. Tick the box to ‘Save my phone’s location periodically and before the battery runs out to make it easier to find’. So long as you have done this you will be able to search for your phone’s whereabouts via your Microsoft account. From here you’ll be able to ring, lock or erase it’s data.

Doing these four simple things will ensure that your tech devices will enjoy a long and prosperous existence!

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How to keep your home free from termites

How to keep your home free from termites

You may be surprised at just how much damage to your property termites can cause. It may take time for the damage to be done but the problem with termites is that you do not always know they are around until the damage begins to show. This is why it’s so important to keep a check on termites and try and prevent them from invading your property.

One of the most important things you can do to keep termites away is have regular inspections carried out by a Lexington exterminator. This is especially important if you live in an area where there is a high incidence of termite infestation. Early identification of a termite problem can be a very important step in getting rid of the problem before too much damage is caused. There are also some actions you can take to make termite infestation less likely; let’s take a look at some of them.

termite traincredit

Eradicate warm and damp areas

Termites enjoy a warm and damp environment so you should not give them one. You should keep leaves and other debris away from the side of your home to prevent water from gathering. You should also ensure that gutters and drainpipes are intact and clear. This stops water from overflowing and leaking into your home. If you have crawlspaces in your home you need to make sure that air circulates so that moisture does not build up.

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Keep wood away from your home

If you store wood outside of your home you should make sure that it is not stored close to the exterior walls of your property. You should also make sure that it is stored off the ground. This helps to prevent it becoming an access point for termites.

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Make sure any possible entry points are filled in

You may be surprised at how easy it is for termites to gain entry to your home through cracks and gaps in the exterior. These potential access points can be tiny and pests will still get in. you need to examine the exterior of your home and identify any cracks that may be present. You then need to fill in the gaps to help prevent termites from getting in.

Remember that it is not always obvious if termites are present in and around your property; you may notice tell-tale signs such as termite tubes, but this is not always the case. This is why it’s so important to take preventative measures to try and stop a problem from occurring. If you pay attention to the tips we’ve provided you can hopefully ward off a termite infestation.

This isn’t a forgone conclusion though, and it’s always a good idea to have professional inspections carried out on a regular basis. If you have this work completed, you have the peace of mind of knowing that your home is free from the potential devastation that a termite infestation can cause.

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Autumn roofing maintenance tips

Autumn roofing maintenance tipscredit

The autumn is an ideal time of year to head up onto your roof and check what’s going on up there. In doing so, you can be alerted to any problems that are starting, and you can hire a local roofer to make repairs before the long, hard, and damaging winter approaches. The weather is ideal, it’s the right time to do some cleaning and maintenance, and you can rest easy during the rest of the year, knowing that your roof will be able to withstand the elements. So keep reading to learn about a few autumn roofing maintenance tips to get started.

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Clean out the gutters

First, get into the gutters and downspouts surrounding your home and make sure that all of them are totally clear of debris. You may want to wait until the leaves have all fallen off of the trees so you can remove them as well before the winter hits. The key is to ensure that everything drains smoothly, without any obstructions. If you have to, install some gutter guards, as they’ll make this task much easier and save you time every year.

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Check the roof’s covering

Next, head onto your roof with care so you can carefully inspect it to ensure that it will be able to withstand all of the harsh elements that will come its way when winter hits. For example, if your roof is tiled, check for any broken or cracked tiles, as these would need to be replaced before winter. On the other hand, if your roof is made of metal, look for any indications that the metal is warping, rusting or blistering, as those problems will also need to be addressed before winter. If you’ve inspected your roof and noted that a lot of the slates need to be replaced, or there’s a lot of damage throughout the entire roof, you may need to replace the whole thing.

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Look for any signs of water damage

In addition to looking at your house’s roof from the outside, you also want to take a look at it from the inside. Look at the interior of the roof to search for any signs that there’s water damage anywhere. Small signs of this type of damage may be identified during this inspection, but because it is the autumn, you’ll be able to have them fixed right away, before the winter can cause further damage with its ice and snow. Remember, a small leak could turn disastrous once heavy rains or other harsh elements come into play.

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Inspect the chimney, pipes, and skylights

If you have any skylights, pipes, or a chimney on the roof of your home, you should also check any of the flashing that surrounds them to ensure that everything is in good enough condition to make it through the next few seasons.

With the tips above, you can make sure that your roof is in the best shape possible every year in the autumn. When the winter hits, you won’t need to worry at all about the integrity and strength of your roof, and you and your family will be protected from the elements.

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House maintenance – 10 ways to maintain your biggest investment

'House maintenance - 10 ways to maintain your biggest investment' blog post banner

House in handsimage credit

Your home is probably one of the most expensive things you’ve ever bought, so it’s important to keep it in tip-top shape. A little revamp here and there will ensure your property stays in great condition for a long time, so here are 10 useful maintenance tips:

painting garage door muralimage credit

  1. Paint your garage doors

A fresh lick of paint is a well-known way of giving rooms a quick and relatively easy makeover. But don’t neglect the outside of your property. The look of your house contributes to what is called ‘curb appeal’ – how attractive it appears, which is particularly important when it comes to getting a valuation. Painting garage doors can instantly transform the appearance of a house. Just ensure you use a specialist paint supplier, like Rawlins.

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  1. Have the carpets deep cleaned

Your carpets might not look particularly dirty, but you’ll be amazed how much dirt and grime has been ground into the material over time. One of the best ways to remove all this is to have your carpets professionally cleaned – you’ll be surprised at the results.

washing windowsimage credit

  1. Wash the windows

On the next warm, dry day, head outside with a bucket of bubbly water and clean the windows using a squeegee. Don’t want to do this yourself? Then there’s sure to be a local window cleaner who’ll do the job for you.

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  1. Get caulking

As a home-owner, it’s essential to check the caulking around showers and bathtubs and repair as needed to prevent leaks.

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  1. Clean sediment from shower heads

Shower heads can become blocked with all kinds of gunk, so if you’re in the mood for some maintenance, pull on your rubber gloves and clean out the sediment. One of the easiest ways to do this is to submerge the shower head in a bag of vinegar for a few hours.

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  1. Give your furniture a polish

There comes a time when furniture can start to look a bit dull and worn, but you can bring it back to life with a good polish. And you don’t even need to buy expensive products as olive oil is a great cleaning agent and ideal for polishing wood.

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  1. Tighten loose screws

Once in a while, go through the house with a screwdriver and tighten any screws that are a bit loose on cupboards, draws and such like.

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  1. Check all locks and deadbolts

The security of your home is of paramount importance, so check all locks and deadbolts. If something doesn’t work properly, replace it.

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  1. Clear out your guttering

Don’t forget to spruce up your outside space too by getting rid of all the leaves, mud and whatever else might have found its way into your guttering.

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  1. Give your patio a deep clean

There are many ways to improve your outside space, but cleaning your patio is definitely one of them. Use a pressure cleaner and you should find it makes a big difference without taking too much time.

So there you have it – ten simple, yet effective ways to maintain your home.

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