Thursday, August 29, 2013

Are You Ready For Winter?

     If you are like me, you put off doing things until you are forced into it. Like cleaning out the garage, raking the leaves, fixing that dripping faucet. This is the reason I am starting here at the end of summer to remind you of what you need to do to get your house and property ready for winter.
  • Close the crawl space vents around your foundation to keep cold air out.
  • Disconnect your hose's and store them away when your through watering.
  • Discard all your flowering annuals. Nothing looks worse then dead flowers in    the winter.
  • Cut your grass on the lowest mower setting you can without scalping. A ragged looking lawn looks like you don't care.
  • Rake the leaves as they fall. It's much easier then waiting until they have all dropped. I actually mow them up twice a week and then no raking!
  • Check seals around doors and windows, add weather strip or caulk if needed.
  • Install insulation gaskets behind your electrical outlets to keep out cold air.
  • Have your furnace tuned up by a HVAC professional.
  • Install a programmable thermostat if you don't have one. It will save you money.
  • Cover or store all your patio furniture for longevity.
  • Clear your yard of debris, trash, and other unsightly material.
     Oh, and the last thing. Clean out that garage. I know all of this sounds like a lot but if you start now it is a whole lot easier. Sometimes here in the Boise, Idaho valley, the winters can seem long and depressing. So making your home and property look better during the winter can do much to lift your spirits plus its good for your home.
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Furnace Care and Maintenance

    You wouldn't drive your car 100,000 miles without changing the oil and doing other maintenance service. The same logic holds true for your home comfort system. Regular HVAC preventive maintenance is the best way to ensure trouble-free and peak performance operation. It is vital to the life of your furnace to have a pre-season tune up to help you avoid breakdown in the middle of the coldest month, and coldest day of winter. Preventive maintenance can also keep your energy bill from getting out of control. The Department Of Energy estimates you can save up to $140.00 a year on your annual utility bill by have a a preventive maintenance tune up twice a year.
     The old adage is true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So the best advice I can give you, and the same advice I give all my clients here in the Boise Idaho valley, is to call your HVAC dealer and schedule an appointment for a technician to come out and go through your system with a preventive maintenance checklist. You need to have this service done BEFORE the heating season. September and October are generally good months to have this done. Here is what a professional will do for you.

      Inspect and clean blower assembly, housing, and wheel and motor
      On older models, lubricate motor and inspect and replace fan belt if needed
      Check combustion blower housing for lint and debris and clean
      Inspect evaporator coil, drain pan, and condensate drain lines, and clean
      Inspect for gas leaks in gas furnaces
      Inspect burner assembly, clean and adjust
      Inspect ignition system and safety controls - clean and adjust
      Inspect heat exchanger or heating elements (SO IMPORTANT)
      Inspect flue system-check for proper attachment to furnace, look for corrosion
      Inspect control box associated with controls, wiring and connections
      Change filters or clean permanent filters
      Inspect and adjust Thermostat operation

     As you can see, this is really a job for a professional to do. It is worth the extra, well spent money to have this done. In the summer have them back to do perform an additional maintenance on your air conditioning unit. Read more of my blogs at I will be posting more blogs at this site for winter home tips. Visit our website at

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Six Tips To Save Energy In The Winter

     As summer is winding down and we enter the milder days of autumn, we start moving back inside our homes. We have been busy with all kinds of outside summer activities, so it is important to make sure our homes are ready for winter. Whether we have harsh or mild winters, the last thing we want to do is squander energy and money because our house is not prepared. Living here in the Boise, Idaho valley, we experience some really cold weather, and along with that, comes bone-chilling heating bills. So, here are six tips that can help you save energy.

        UPGRADE OR TUNE-UP YOUR FURNACE: 30% of a average home's energy cost is for heating, and sometimes a lot more if you heat with electricity, oil, or propane. A furnace tune-up is a good place to start. If your furnace is 15-20 years old, it would be wise to invest in a new, energy star, rated 95% efficient furnace. If your are total electric, and have a central electric furnace, (air handler), then invest in a high efficient heat pump.
      GET AN ENERGY AUDIT: A new heating system may not be your only answer. Heat can escape from your home in hundreds of ways, so it is worth investigating how your home fairs when it comes to energy or heat loss. Energy audits are designed to look at every possible area of heat loss and with this information you can use to repair and stop heat loss. Many repairs are very inexpensive and a easy DIY project. Contact your local utility company to see if they offer energy audits or assessment's.
      CLOSE WINDOWS TIGHT: Making sure our windows are buttoned-up is another good way to eliminate heat loss. Use insulated blinds, and draperies to keep cold  from radiating in, and heat being lossed from windows. Make sure seals around the windows are in good condition and working. Don't neglect caulking around the inside and outside of windows if possible. Caulk is one of the cheapest, yet, best ways to keep the cold outside!

      PURCHASE A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT: Even if your furnace is a 15 year old, 80% efficient furnace, you can still save energy and money by installing a programmable thermostat. At your home improvement stores, these are still relatively inexpensive and easy to operate.
      STOP AIR LEAKAGE: Air infiltration is a main reason for many rooms to feel cold. One area we forget to care for is all those little electrical receptacle boxes where we plug in our appliances, and turn on our lights. You can purchase inexpensive gaskets for all of your receptacles and significantly reduce the cold air entering your home. Around your doors, make sure gaskets and seals are tight. Check to see how easy it is to slide a piece of paper or a blank check between your door and the seal. You will be surprised how loose some doors are.
      CHECK OUT WEBSITES FOR OTHER ENERGY RESOURCES: By going to your utilities website and 'energy star' websites you can find valuable information on a whole host of issues from energy saving ideas to rebates and incentives that you can take advantage of to reduce your winter energy costs.
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