The Difference Between Backup & Standby Generators
Constant power is an important thing for a home to have, especially if you have a home office. This is why a generator should be on the top of your list. But deciding you need a generator is just the start of the decision process, as there are two key types of generators to consider: between backup generators and stand-by generators. The following will help you understand the difference between these two types of generators.
Understanding Backup Generators
Backup generators are the most widely recognized because they are portable and relatively inexpensive; this gives backup generators a lot of versatility. In addition to keeping you connected should your home lose power, backup generators can also be taken somewhere else; for example, if you want to retreat to a cabin, then a backup generator might be perfect to bring along on the trip.
Another good thing about backup generators is that you can choose what they power. During an emergency, these generators don’t have to waste power on things that you don’t need. Instead, you can power what’s important and maximize the amount of time your generator will work; simply plug your devices directly into the outlets on the generator.
Backup generators generally can’t connect to your household’s electrical panel. But a connection can be made with the help of a professional electrician; he or she will need to install a manual transfer switch or a device like this Generator Interlock Kit that makes sure that generator power and external power don’t run through the circuit at the same time.
Getting to Know Stand-By Generators
Stand-by generators don’t need to be turned on manually like generators mentioned above. The only issue is that stand-by generators are not portable. Still, there are a lot benefits to this kind of generator.
These generators monitor the electricity in your home and will switch on the moment power goes out. The generator will continue to monitor the power and switch back to your regular provider the moment electricity returns – again making sure that generator power and external power don’t run at the same time.
Another benefit of stand-by generators is their size and power capability. Unlike most backup generators, stand-by generators should be able to power your entire home, which would probably make your whole family happy.
As you can see, both of these generators have their advantages. Figuring out which will best meet your needs is up to you.
Beat Summer Heat with Window Tints
The Midwest is cold in the winter and hot in the summer – especially this summer. That’s a one-way ticket to soaring energy bills. So many of us are looking for ways to conserve energy and save money on our utility bills. One good option: Tinting the windows on your home.
Window tints can effectively block out heat and keep your home cooler. Tints can also trap heat to keep your home warmer during the scorching summer months; tints are a wonderful, low-cost alternative to replacing your windows to achieve the same goals.
Curious about how much energy you could save with tinted windows. Do what I did: Ask a window film installer to evaluate your windows and your home, and then give you an estimate. The figure may surprise you.
Heat isn’t the only thing that comes in with the sunlight: So do harmful ultraviolet, or UV, rays. These rays can cause fading on your expensive carpet and furnishings With simple window films, you can keep UV rays at bay. In fact, these films can block as much as 99% of incoming UV rays. If your investment in window tints did nothing more than lengthen the lives of your carpet and furnishings, it would still be worthwhile.
In addition to cost and energy savings, window filming can even protect your health. In fact, UV rays are one of the main causes of sunburns and especially skin cancer. They can also cause the body’s temperature to rise, especially in homes with direct sunlight and elevated levels of humidity.
A primary concern with window tinting is that the film will crack or peel due to excessive exposure to outside heat seeping, but this is only true of inferior films. Experienced window experts can recommend the best and most durable tints for all your residential and commercial windows; their products, tools, and expertise should ensure optimal insulation and prevent any peeling, cracking, and shattering from occurring.
Few things are more frustrating than glare on your TV screen while you’re trying to watch your favorite team. And you probably already know that drawing your curtains or blinds just isn’t enough; sunlight can still peak through and cause lines of dust in the air and on your TV.
Window tints can make all the difference. Darker tints offer more glare reduction and privacy, but may prevent you from enjoying a natural view from your window. Clearer tints offer less glare reduction, but a more natural view. Choose the option that best meets your priorities.
If window tints are what you need to take back your summer, contact your local window tint company today.
Is HVAC Maintenance Really Necessary…?
Modern domestic HVAC units are vital in facilitating indoor temperature control in a house. Most people would find it difficult to even consider living without the comfort and convenience offered by heating and cooling systems. Granted, a good number of people live in temperate climates where extreme temperature changes are almost unheard of. But most homeowners need supplemental climate control during the winter and summer to help control both heating and cooling.
The Need for HVAC Maintenance
So, it goes without saying that these vital HVAC systems come at a price. Besides the initial purchase and installation costs, one has to allow for scheduled maintenance and utility expenses. Maintenance and utility expense
s go hand in hand, as the lack of proper maintenance can drive up your home’s energy consumption. An owner who neglects their unit could thus end up paying more for their energy.
A neglected HVAC system generally scores fairly poorly in terms of efficiency. This translates into increased operating costs, as the unit has to consume more fuel in order to deliver the desired heating and cooling level. This happens every time the unit is in use. As such, the rise in operating costs is usually compounded in the course of a year. In addition, efficiency will continue to diminish with extended use of the HVAC unit.
So, what does one need to do? It might be possible to carry out some basic maintenance tasks on a “DIY” basis. This would, however, depending on the kind of HVAC system you have and your level of technical expertise. That said, it’s still important to have the unit checked by an expert at least annually. A good technician, like Opie’s One Hour Heating & Air, will be knowledgeable enough to spot the most inconspicuous of issues that a novice wouldn’t easily catch, which could adversely affect the system.
One of the common tasks required to maintain peak efficiency is cleaning or replacing clogged air filters. With constant use, the filters usually end up filling with debris. Consequently, the unit is forced to use more effort in pumping the amount of air required for operation. This means consuming more energy and increased fuel costs. To check whether the filters need cleaning or replacement, one should consult the system’s manual.
HVAC units use coils to lower the temperature of ambient air, after which cool air is pumped indoors. On average, the exterior surface of the coil will accumulate dust and debris. This has the effect of diminishing the coils’ heat extraction capability. One should thus check their coils regularly and carefully wipe the surface to remove foreign matters so that the system resumes efficient operation.
In some homes, some goods end up getting stored around burners (especially during summer when they’re not in use). Apart from affecting the system’s efficiency, this could also pose a safety risk. One thus needs to keep this area clear. And before the system is used again, it would help to remove any accumulated soot as well.
Although HVAC systems require continual investment, proper use and some planning could help reduce heating and cooling costs. Homeowners thus need to recognize the value of arranging regular maintenance visits with a professional HVAC contractor. Over the long term, this greatly mitigates the risk of fatal system failure and helps to catch any problems before they grow into more complicated issues.
Five Ways to Make Your Home Safer
You should always feel safe in your home, plain and simple. Unfortunately, in today’s world, that is hard to accomplish. Aside from the decorating and maintenance that makes your house feel like a home, is the need to make it safe. What precautions do you need to take to do this? Every person’s opinion will differ, but here are five of the most common ways to instill a feeling of safety in your home.
1. Family Meetings
You should never assume that your family members understand how to stay safe in your home. A regular review of the safety precautions you have in place and the responsibilities that each person has is crucial to keep everyone safe. Regularly discuss topics, such as:
- Locking windows and doors after using them
- Checking the locks and windows before going to bed
- Never opening the door to strangers or when an adult is not present
- The exit strategy your family planned in the event of intruder breaking in
- A safe place outside the home for everyone to meet
These are just a few of the topics you should cover. You can tailor the discussion to be age appropriate for your family members. The idea is not to scare your children, but to inform them.
2. Light up Your Home
A dark home makes it look like no one is home, whether you are or not. Instead, try to create the appearance that someone is always at home with plenty of exterior lighting. You can add lights that go on at specific times during the night as well as motion sensor lights. These lights will shine the spotlight on an intruder should he think no one was home. The light will make him worried about getting caught, forcing him to run away rather than break into your home.
3. Tint Your Windows
Many people tint their car windows but forget about their home. Tinting your home windows can help to keep your home safe by making it harder to see the objects inside. Burglars typically have a plan when they intend to rob a home; they know exactly what they want to grab. Most burglars will case the area out before doing the job. If you have tinted windows, there is less for them to see, making your home less enticing to break into because burglars are usually after something in particular. If they do not possess prior knowledge of what you own, they are less likely to break into your home. As an added benefit, tinted windows are often slightly stronger than regular windows, making unwanted entry into your home even more difficult.
4. Evaluate Your Home
It is very easy to get comfortable in your home, assuming you are safe year after year. Rather than falling prey to comfort, inspect the exterior of your home at least a couple times per year. Take a close look the following areas:
- Exterior windows
- Window wells
Test each area to ensure its safety, making any repairs or replacements as necessary. Weak locks, cracked windows and loose gates are all an open invitation to burglars, so do not make the mistake of overlooking these issues.
5. Use an Alarm
A home alarm system is a great way to keep your home safe. The presence of the alarm is usually enough to scare burglars away, so make sure you have signs and stickers that boast the fact that you have an alarm installed. You can choose from a variety of different types of alarms from basic to advanced depending on your budget and your security needs. All alarm systems connect to the company providing the service and the police, alerting someone right away that you need help. Even if you can only afford a basic model, it helps to deter burglars from breaking into your house, keeping it safe.
It is very important that you never get too comfortable in your home – that is when burglars often strike. Always act as if your home is vulnerable to break-ins so that you are constantly on high alert to protect your safety. Simple changes and repairs can help to keep everyone safe, but it is always important to keep each resident informed about what is going on. If there is a rash of break-ins in your area, talk about proper safety precautions with your family and the actions everyone should take. In addition, use that time to go over your plans so that everyone is aware of what they need to do should a break-in occur. It is always better to be safe than sorry – you can never be too cautious when it comes to keeping your home and family safe.
Regardless of how carefully you handle your upholstered furniture, accidents inevitably happen. Life is messy and typically includes activities like children jumping on the couches, pets sleeping on an ottoman or guests and household members spilling beverages on the chairs. Dust and general wear and tear can also leave a couch looking dull and dingy. Whether you live alone or with family, messes are inevitable. Still, some of the messiest activities embody the greatest joys in life.
However, having dirty upholstery is not an indication that you have to live with it or compromise your style. Below are some tips that can be used to restore your upholstered pieces to their former glory:
If the upholstery has started to look dingy or stains and spots have developed, the first thing you should do is vacuum. This will get rid of any dirt and dust, which can become even dirtier once a liquid cleaner is applied. Most modern vacuums come with upholstery attachments. These attachments are designed to thoroughly clean the cushions and get into all the cracks and crevices. Additionally, you should remove all pet hair – you can use a special pet hair remover if the vacuum doesn’t pick up all of the hair.
Quickly Blot Spills
Spills can happen quickly and when they do, time is of the essence in treating them. The faster you take care of the spill, the less likely it will be for a stain to set in. You also want to prevent the liquid from seeping into the furniture’s stuffing and getting to the wood. Use a white or light-colored cloth to blot the spill as quickly as possible. Be sure to not rub or scrub the stain as this could cause it to spread or push it deeper into the fabric. Blotting is the best approach to take when dealing with a spill.
Considerations for Choosing Cleaners
Determining the type of cleaner is an integral part of the process. The ultimate choice will depend on the type of stain and the type of upholstered fabric. However, upholstery fabrics can be a complete mystery as fabric choices can vary so widely. Commonly used fabrics include wool, cotton, suede, acetate, silk, linen, olefin, rayon, acrylic and blends of these fabrics. No one-size-fits-all cleaner exists that will work for all types of stains on any type of fabric. There are specific cleaning solutions designed to take care of protein, oil and grease, food and drinks, and other types of stains.
Additionally, many upholstery fabrics are dyed in different colors and in a variety of ways. When deciding on a cleaner, the age of the fabric should also be considered. All of these factors will help to determine the type of cleaner to use. If the fabric is very valuable, antique or just every old, hiring a professional carpet cleaning company like Chem Dry of the Unifour in Hickory would be the best thing to do. If you cannot figure out which upholstery cleaner you should use, you should look at the care tag on the furniture. If the tag has been removed, you might want to consider hiring a professional to clean the upholstery.
As with all cleaning methods, the stain remover should be tested in an inconspicuous area before using it to completely clean the couch. This will save you from ruining the furniture if the fabric doesn’t react well with the cleaner. This is particularly important if the care tag has been removed from the couch.
For upholstery pieces with the care tags intact, you will notice codes with cleaning instructions, as highlighted below:
S: A water-free product, like a dry cleaning solvent, should be used to clean the fabric.
W: A water-based detergent should be used to clean the fabric.
X: This requires professional cleaning. It can be vacuumed and brushed, but you should not attempt cleaning with any type of upholstery cleaner. Cleaning should be left to the professionals.
WS: Either a water-free or a water-based cleaner can be used on this type of fabric. The type of stain can help you decide which would be more effective. This is the ideal upholstery fabric for those who prefer to remove their own stains.
Using these guidelines will help you take care of life’s messes and keep your upholstered furniture pieces looking remarkably clean and fresh.
Out of all of the decisions to make when building a house, deciding what material will serve as the home’s exterior is one of the most important. There are many siding options that are available to builders and homeowners — but in terms of appearance, maintenance, endurance, and price, no other option holds its own quite like fiber cement house siding. Read on for a breakdown of some of the most influential factors in choosing a siding option and comparisons that prove that fiber cement reigns supreme.
Fiber cement siding is often intended to replicate wood, and it does so much more convincingly than vinyl. While clapboards are the most common type of fiber cement, the siding is also available in shingles. It must be painted or stained, and color options vary depending on the painter. For about $1 per square foot, manufacturers offer limited colors and a 15-year warranty, and they only apply one coat. Just $1 more per square foot at a paint shop allows for hundreds of color options, two coats, and a 25-year warranty.
Clapboards can be finished with smooth, rough-sawn, or wood-grain surface treatments. These boards can be used with siding styles like board-and-batten
, which features vertical overlapping panels. Shingles are available in wood-grain and hand-split textures, and they can be cut into a wide range of shapes like scallops or clovers. These decorative patterns are particularly beautiful when used to accent gables. Many Craftsman-style homes feature a combination of both fiber cement clapboards and shingles.
Fiber cement is one of the easiest siding options to maintain, but can be slightly difficult to install. At 2.5 pounds per square foot, fiber cement is relatively heavy. Its weight paired with its inclination to crack if not handled properly makes professional installation a wise choice. One installed, the siding can be expected to last for as little as 15 years to as long as a lifetime. It should be sprayed with a water hose once or twice a year, and large plants near the house should be trimmed back so that the siding can dry. Fiber cement siding is just as low maintenance as most other siding options, but its hardiness outshines the competition.
Unlike wood, fiber cement siding is water- and termite-resistant, and it is nonflammable. Fiber cement never dents like aluminum does. Although vinyl siding is in many ways similar to fiber cement siding, it cannot match fiber cement’s ability to withstand flame or harsh winds. The only siding options with comparable durability to fiber cement are brick, stucco, and stone.
Some siding options are restricted to specific climate regions of the country. Fiber cement siding is not only acceptable for all corners of the nation, but it also exceeds the capabilities of its competitors. In the arid West, fiber cement is noncombustible and impervious to strong UV rays. Strong desert winds rip vinyl away, but fiber cement siding holds firm. This same UV and wind resistance makes the siding a good choice for sunny beaches.
Fiber cement performs well in both temperature extremes. In the warm, humid southeastern U.S., this siding prevents moisture from entering the home and provides no sustenance for termites or fungi. Fiber cement never cracks in below-zero temperatures, making it suitable for every northern state as well.
Price is always a concern, but with fiber cement siding, there is no need to compromise quality to save some extra cash. Fiber cement clapboards typically cost between 70 cents and $6 per square foot, and shingles range in price from $2 to $8. Factors such as size, finish, and location of sale influence the final cost. Although stone, stucco, and brick are just as hearty as fiber cement siding, they are much more expensive, and they must be installed by skilled specialists. Fiber cement is also much cheaper than the less-durable wood and aluminum siding. Vinyl siding averages 75 cents per square foot, but it cannot sustain harsh conditions. No other siding option provides as much efficiency per dollar as fiber cement.
For homeowners and builders searching for the perfect siding option, fiber cement siding hits all of the key points on every list. Clapboards and shingles are available in a wide variety of colors, textures, and shapes. Fiber cement combines easy care and long-lasting durability unlike any other siding option. Although it is one of the cheapest options, fiber cement also leads the siding category in quality. For a great value, fiber cement siding lends enduring curb appeal to any home.
Especially if you live in a warmer climate, your air conditioner provides an important source of comfort for your home. But like most things, they don’t last forever. No matter how well you take care of and maintain your AC unit, there will eventually come a time when it will begin to require multiple repairs each year. And when this time comes, you’ll have to decide whether it makes more sense to continue funneling money into repairs, or to just throw in the towel and purchase a new cooling system altogether.
Replacing your air conditioner can run you anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000, depending on the size and level of energy efficiency. Because of the high up-front investment cost of a new air conditioner, many homeowners opt for continual repairs instead. But when your AC needs repair after repair, and could possibly be running up your monthly energy bill, it might be worth biting the bullet and replacing your air conditioner with a new, energy-efficient model. Keep reading for tips on how to decide whether you should replace or repair your AC!
How old is your current air conditioner? Air conditioning systems generally have a lifespan of 10-12 years. If your cooling system is older than a decade, it’s probably time for a replacement. A new air conditioner will require fewer and more seldom repairs, and will increase the value of your home as well.
Additionally, more energy-efficient technology has been developed in the past ten years. If your AC is a decade or older, then it likely isn’t doing a great job of reducing your energy consumption.
Sure, the initial investment might be expensive, and opting for a repair may seem like the cheaper route to take. But how much have you been spending on upkeep and maintenance in the past year or two? A simple way to decide is that if your next air conditioner repair is going to cost 50% or more of the price of a new air conditioner, a replacement would make the most sense.
Did you know that in the summertime, your air conditioning accounts for over half of your energy bill? That’s a lot! You could be saving up to 1/3 of your monthly cooling bill by replacing your air conditioner with an energy efficient model.
Of course, a new air conditioner will be expensive at first – but with all the money you’re currently spending on continual repairs and high energy bills, replacing is a more cost-effective option. Saving money on your utility bills and by avoiding costly repairs will certainly get you your return on investment.
If you’ve decided to replace your air conditioner, but aren’t sure what to replace your current system with, be sure to consider the following items:
The air conditioning needs of someone living in Texas are going to be a lot different from the air conditioning needs of someone in Minnesota. If you live in a warmer climate, it would be most cost effective and valuable to choose a highly energy efficient model.
Some air conditioning systems require your home to have ducts. It can be quite costly to install an AC unit that requires ductwork in a home without ducts. If your home is older and/or doesn’t have ductwork, ductless mini-splits or one-room units would be the best option.
Energy loss can be a great problem in a household. Not only that the house or an apartment is never too cold in summer or to warm in winter, but the money losses are significant because a lot of energy s wasted. Here are a few ways to adapt your home in order to save a lot of energy and also a lot of money.
Wall and roof insulation
Good insulation home or workplace is the starting point of each savings and energy efficiency plan. Effective systems of heating or cooling have their function only in a well insulated building. Energy losses come from all sides: roof, windows, walls, floors and ventilation. There are many ways to lose energy, and only one to preserve it – insulation. It does not only keep the temperature, but also lowers energy consumption as well as CO2 emissions. Nevertheless, the insulation can be an excellent fire protection, but also protection from noise.
Did you know that the roof on your home is responsible for more energy loss than your windows and doors combined? Any master elite roofer will know a thing or two about insulating roofs because they prefer installing a complete GAF roofing system. The difference between a standard roof replacement and a GAF Roofing System is that every component works together from the waterproof leak barrier to the roof cap. All of these components must be installed just right in order for a company to maintain their master elite roofing status. Learn more here.
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Replacement windows and doors
The woodwork in the house or apartment, despite the clear functional and aesthetic importance, occupies a prominent place in improving the energy efficiency of housing. The total heat loss is influenced by glass and window profiles. It is estimated that, depending on the quality of materials, construction and the windows themselves, the total energy loss through windows can achieve as much as 50 percent of heat loss from the building, which is up to ten times larger than the loss through walls. Investment in replacing the inefficient woodwork is not too big, considering the amount of energy you will save.
Tip from the experts:
For maximum energy efficiency Renewal by Andersen windows simply cannot be beat because of they way they are custom manufactured to precisely fit each window frame they are to be placed in.
The implementation of efficient systems for heating and cooling
Efficient heating systems will surely save money. This can be achieved by installing central heating systems, replacing old and inefficient boilers, switching to other fuels with a selection of more efficient fuels with lower CO2 emission (gas, biomass and the like). Heat pumps offer the most energy efficient way to provide heating and cooling, whether in residential or commercial application, as they can use stocks of heat from renewable energy sources in our environment – the energy of soil, surface water, groundwater and air.
Buying household appliances
“A” class home appliances are the most effective because they use the least amount of electricity. “G” class devices or those unmarked consume large amounts of electricity while they have the same capacity of operation, so they should be replaced. First of all, electricity bills will be reduced by using more energy-efficient appliances. In addition, lower power consumption brings reduced pollution and better preservation of the environment and natural resources.
Installing LED lighting
The most efficient form of lighting is LED lighting. Replace traditional lighting with LED saves energy consumption up to 80%, and the quality of light is the same or even better. They have the longest life expectancy, lasting over 10 times longer than regular light bulbs. Consequently, the initial investment in LED lighting is recovered very quickly, due to the savings that are achieved by its use. It does not emit UV rays or heat and the disposal of LED lamps does not pollute the environment because it is easy to recycle.