Fall has officially arrived, which means cooler weather and the holiday season are coming right behind it. All of this means more time spent indoors and in the kitchen cooking.
Given the increased demands you’ll be placing on your kitchen during the fall, now is a good time to perform some basic maintenance to make sure your kitchen and all your appliances are ready to go for the fall and winter.
Here are a few maintenance tips to use in your kitchen this fall that will help you get the best operation out of your appliances all season long:
Clean your refrigerator: There are a lot of steps you can take to clean your refrigerator, both inside and out, to get the best and most efficient operation out of the system while keeping it highly sanitary. First, consider removing all items from the fridge, fully wiping down all surfaces and throwing out expired or unusable items before you put everything back in. Next, carefully inspect the refrigerator coils. All of these coils need to be vacuumed on a routine basis, as they serve as traps for dirt, dust, pet hair and other debris, thus making operation less efficient. Finally, check all door gaskets and make sure they’re clean and clear of gunk so the doors close and seal properly, preventing air leaks and food quality issues.
Go up under the hood: Range hoods help you to cut down on heat and filter out odors, so it’s important to make sure they’re clean and functioning properly. The metal filters on the hood should be washed in hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher. If you have charcoal or paper filters, replace them on a seasonal basis.
Check the oven seal: You’re probably aware of the importance of fridge seals, but don’t forget about your oven seals! The oven door should seal correctly to trap all the heat inside. If the oven is not sealed properly, it will lose a significant portion of the heat it generates, which will warm up your home and cause your oven to waste energy. The heat loss also lengthens the amount of time it takes for you to cook your food, and could compromise the quality of your baking.
Deep cleaning: Now is a great time to deep clean all of your appliances and fixtures. Cleaning out your appliances will get you prepared for all the extra cooking you’ll likely be doing over the holidays. Clean as thoroughly as possible, inside and out. This includes your dishwasher—get rid of that food debris and soap scum so you can keep it looking and functioning great.
These tips provide you with an introductory glance at how to maintain your kitchen during the fall. If, however, you find yourself in need of more maintenance tips for your kitchen this fall, contact the team at PlumbSmart Plumbing Heating & Air and we will be happy to provide you with further advice geared toward keeping all your plumbing and appliances in great shape.
Having a well-maintained HVAC system is only half the battle. If you want to keep your home at a comfortable temperature year-round, you need good home insulation in Mesa, AZ. Without proper insulation, your home is far more prone to heat transfer. That means a hot, miserable house in the summer and a cold one in the winter—and costly energy bills all year long.
Here is a quick guide to home insulation.
What does insulation do?
Insulation prevents heat transfer. If you remember your elementary school science classes, you may recall that when hot and cold air meet, they try to level out. If the hot air outside is intruding into your air-conditioned home, your air conditioner will have to work twice as hard to keep the house cool.
If you have appropriate insulation, however, it will block heat transfer. That keeps warm air inside during the winter, and cool air inside during the summer. How well a material insulates is called its “R-value.” Different types of insulation have different R-values, and which type you need will depend on your specific home.
Typically, heat transfer occurs in your walls and attic. If you insulate your walls, you can reduce heat transfer by up to 67 percent, and an insulated attic can reduce it by up to 40 percent. Since heating and cooling costs make up about 54 percent of a household’s utility bills, it’s worth investing in quality insulation. It’ll pay for itself over the long term.
Types of insulation
Here are some of the most common types of insulation:
Fiberglass: Fiberglass is the most commonly used insulation material. It comes in loose fill varieties and batts, and is often the cheapest option available. It’s usually installed between joists, beams and studs, is fire resistant and can protect your home from humidity (although that’s not usually a major concern in the Mesa area).
Spray foam: Spray foam insulation is, true to its name, sprayed into new wall spaces, unfinished attics and your existing walls. The spray foam expands to fill the space, and can be “carved” down after it has dried and cured. It’s fast, easy and effective, although it tends to be more expensive than fiberglass.
Mineral wool: Mineral wool is similar to fiberglass insulation. It comes in loose fill, which is blown into empty spaces. Not only is it extremely heat resistant, but it also helps soundproof your home. It is, however, significantly more expensive than fiberglass insulation.
Cellulose: Finally, cellulose insulation is an organic type of insulation—but because it absorbs moisture, it needs to be replaced every five years. It’s installed similarly to mineral wool.
Whichever type of insulation you choose, make sure you have a professional install it. Some insulation types are hazardous to your health—not to mention messy—so it’s best to work with an experienced contractor.
How long has it been since you last had your air ductwork tested? If you’re like most people, that’s probably lurking at the bottom of your priority list—if you even realized you need to do it at all. Ductwork testing in Mesa, AZ is the key to getting great performance from your HVAC unit, as well as improving your indoor air quality.
Here’s how to tell when it’s time for ductwork testing, and what the process involves.
How often do I need my ductwork tested?
Generally, you should have your ductwork tested every three to five years. If you live in a particularly dusty area, have family members with respiratory illnesses or have noticed that your indoor air quality is declining, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Some other signs that it’s time to have your ductwork checked out include smelling mold—it’s a musty odor that is usually unmistakable. You might also notice your HVAC unit sending out puffs of dust, or black dirt collecting around your air vents. If it’s been a while since you’ve changed your air filters, that could be contributing to the problem, too.
Age is also a good indication of when it’s time to have your ductwork inspected. Over time, your ductwork and its components will deteriorate, even if you’ve kept up with regular maintenance. A well-maintained ductwork system usually lasts about 15 years on average.
Finally, if you notice buzzing or screeching sounds—or have seen insects and other pests enter your ductwork—schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Insects, rodents and other critters can travel inside your ducts and cause damage.
The ductwork testing process
When you schedule a routine HVAC maintenance appointment, your contractor should inspect your ductwork at the same time. They’ll go through your home’s ductwork system and look for holes, tears, evidence of pest intrusion and other problems. If the ducts are in relatively good shape, they might simply repair minor problems. However, if your ductwork has suffered extensive damage, you’ll probably need to replace it.
You can also schedule appointments specifically for ductwork testing.
Benefits of testing your ductwork
Ductwork testing in Mesa, AZ offers immediate benefits. First, you’ll save money on your utility bills. When you have leaky or malfunctioning ducts, your HVAC system has to work twice as hard to distribute hot or cold air. If the ducts are leaking, you might be paying out the nose to air condition or heat your attic.
You’ll also notice an improvement in indoor air quality, which is great for people with respiratory ailments and allergies. Clean, sealed ducts are less likely to send dirt and debris into your home through the vents. You’ll breathe easier, your home will smell better and you’ll pay less money to the utility company.
If it’s been a few years since your last ductwork testing in Mesa, AZ, call PlumbSmart Plumbing Heating and Air today to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help with all your HVAC and plumbing needs.
The older your home gets, the more likely you’re going to suffer some plumbing problems. That’s why it’s so important to keep up on your plumbing preventative maintenance. Like appliances and vehicles, the sooner you catch problems with your plumbing, the easier—and cheaper—it is to fix them. Luckily, many plumbing companies offer plumbing maintenance contracts in Mesa, AZ, making it simpler than ever to stay on top of your maintenance. Here’s why you should consider investing in a plumbing maintenance agreement with your favorite local plumber.
Set a schedule and payment plan in advance
A plumbing maintenance contract may differ from company to company, but the general idea remains the same: you pay a fee in advance and get a certain number of inspections and minor services during the term of the contract. They’re usually a year long, and may offer additional benefits besides an annual inspection and services.
Plumbing maintenance contracts offer great benefits
Here’s a closer look at some of the key advantages of getting enrolled in a plumbing maintenance program:
Schedule your annual inspection in advance: Your home needs an annual plumbing inspection, but few homeowners remember to schedule one until their toilets are overflowing and flooding the bathroom floor. Without an annual inspection, you’ll have no way of knowing what kinds of problems may be lurking underneath and inside your home.
Preventative maintenance reduces the chance of emergencies: The easiest, cheapest way to fix problems is to find and repair them early. That’s why preventative maintenance, like annual inspections and associated services, is key. Your plumber will let you know if there are any problems developing, and how urgent they are. If they’re minor services, they might even be included in your maintenance contract. Don’t wait until you find yourself unable to flush the toilet or do your laundry—schedule in advance to avoid emergencies.
Keep repair costs low: Plumbing emergencies are expensive. Not only are you paying for your plumber’s expertise and time, but you’re paying to get them out to your Mesa, AZ home or business as soon as possible. Plus, the longer the problem has been brewing, the more damage can accumulate in your pipes, foundation, walls and floors. Those costs add up quickly. Scheduling regular service with a maintenance agreement ensures that your costs will be included in the contract, or as low as possible since the problem was caught earlier.
Establish a relationship with your plumber: Finding and working with a great plumber should ideally be done before there’s an emergency. Most people go with the first available contractor during an emergency, rather than researching the best plumber and hiring them. Signing a maintenance contract allows you to research the company and get to know them on your time, so if an emergency does occur, you’ll know you’ve already got the best people possible on call.
Ultimately, plumbing maintenance contracts are an “insurance policy” for your plumbing system. By paying up front, you’re ensuring that you have a skilled and reliable plumber ready to help when you need it.
It’s no secret that Arizona residents probably have some of the highest utility bills around the country—it wouldn’t be possible to live comfortably here without the modern convenience of air conditioning, so this is hardly a surprise. However, this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to keep cool when the mercury rises. Regularly inspecting and maintaining insulation and ductwork in Mesa, AZ is a great way to spot hidden savings opportunities.
To that end, PlumbSmart Plumbing Heating and Air performs this exact task for countless homeowners every year. We even offer maintenance agreements to ensure we routinely check your HVAC system for any issues, so you can feel confident that an expert is regularly looking at your appliances and ductwork.
Insulation is one of those things that’s just “out of sight, out of mind.” You assume it was properly installed when the house was built, and that it could ultimately need replacement… someday. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. There could be costly gaps in your insulation allowing cool air (and your money) to slip right through it to the outside. This is a common problem, which is why our insulation and ductwork inspections in Mesa, AZ are so popular. Our technicians know what problems to look for and where to look for them, and we can fix anything we uncover.
Sealing and cleaning ductwork
Ductwork is another thing that’s just hidden away out of sight, so you typically assume it’s doing the job it was meant to do. However, these metal tubes can develop cracks over time, and might have even had them since they were first installed—you just can’t know for sure until a professional looks them over for any imperfections. Air conditioning repair in Mesa, AZ is one of our key areas of expertise, and ductwork is an integral portion of that. Our technicians can inspect your entire system and seal up any cracks or gaps that have appeared in your ductwork, leading to a tighter system. It’s not uncommon for us to see homes losing 20 or even 50 percent of their conditioned air through these gaps, so this is not a service to avoid.
HVAC maintenance pays for itself
While some people are reluctant to invest money in regular upkeep, the reality is that this work typically pays for itself and then some. Leaky insulation and ductwork in Mesa, AZ are some of the costliest home problems we see—it’s just not as noticeable because it’s hidden in chunks within every monthly utility bill. By having us conduct a free attic insulation and ductwork analysis and then make any necessary adjustments or repairs, you’ll see savings of up to 50 percent on your future utility bills.
If you believe your home is losing energy efficiency thanks to faulty ductwork or insulation, it’s time to give PlumbSmart Plumbing Heating and Air a call. Not only is it the green thing to do, but it can lead to big savings on your energy bills and can even help preserve the life of costly appliances like condensers and blowers. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our 100 percent free attic insulation and HVAC ductwork analysis!
Having a vacation home is a wonderful treat for any person or family. When you have a retreat at a lake, in the mountains or anywhere else, it can really add some extra motivation during the week when you know you have that refuge. However, it can also mean that you’re now taking care of two homes—it’s a great problem to have, but a challenge nonetheless.
Staying on top of a vacation home’s maintenance is a critical task that many homeowners dread, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. There are some easy tips you can follow, including getting in touch with experts like plumbers in Mesa, AZ to ensure your investment stays in top shape.
Monitor the plumbing
The water systems in your home are usually fairly reliable, but they still require regular attention if you want to keep them working every time you turn a tap. Working with a plumber in Mesa, AZ to perform regular inspections is a great way to make sure everything is working properly, but you should also be regularly cleaning fixtures like faucets and shower heads. This is particularly true if your vacation home has hard water or uses well water, since these sources are more likely to cause buildup that can create issues with water pressure. You should also be regularly cleaning out drains and sinks to avoid large backups that can lead to high repair bills.
Inspect the exterior
The outside of the house also needs special attention. Make sure you’re not letting debris like sticks or leaves build up anywhere—these can wreak havoc on gutters and air conditioning condenser units if they’re left to their own devices. You also want to make sure you’re regularly breaking out the paintbrush—exposed wood is far more likely to suffer from rotting and mold problems that can lead to costly repair jobs.
You also want to familiarize yourself with the signs of a pest problem. Know what intruders are common in your area, and teach yourself what their nests and signs of activity look like. That way, you’ll be more likely to spot them early and be able to address them before an infestation gets out of hand.
Clean, clean, clean
You never want to come back to a dirty vacation home after spending time away, so this one sounds obvious. However, cleaning serves more of a role than just the house feeling more welcoming when you return. A plumber in Mesa, AZ can show you how to make sure your grout and tile stays clean and sealed, and can also assist with working on drains and faucets so they don’t lead to unsightly water damage or mold growth.
If you’re in the market for plumbing services at your vacation home, then look no further than our team at PlumbSmart Plumbing Heating and Air. We can assist with everything from basic maintenance to the installation of water heaters or water purification systems in Mesa, AZ, and we have almost 15 years of experience to go with our expertise and sterling reputation. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.