Post-Hurricane Sandy Scam Prevention

As hurricane Sandy blows herself out, cities and states along the East coast begin to assess the damage done to many areas that are not accustomed to hurricanes. New York and New Jersey were hit especially hard, and whenever there is a disaster like this, scam artists come crawling out of the woodwork from all over the country. They flock towards disaster because it usually means easy money. These states will be especially vulnerable because disasters of this magnitude rarely if ever impact this area. Before you throw your money away on a fly-by-night contractor, consider these tips in order to prevent another disaster on top of the hurricane damage.

Tips to Prevent Post-Disaster Scams:

  • Slow Down and Take a Deep Breath! Many homeowners rush into repairs and find themselves in the middle of a scam simply because they tried to rush through the process. We know you want to get back to normal, but haste is something scam artists are counting on in order to make a quick buck. Continue reading

Burning Smells and Professional Maintenance

As you turn on your furnace for the first time, you may notice a smell as the heat starts coming out. Most times that smell is the dust and lint that has built up over the summer months burning off in the unit. It sounds nasty and can be if this is a regular occurrence in your home every winter season. The best way to get rid of the dust in your unit is to have it cleaned at the beginning of the heating season.

Eliminate Odors and Prevent Problems

However, the smell could be caused by something else. Electrical malfunctions and debris from inside the duct could also cause a burning smell in the furnace. The only way to be sure is to have your yearly maintenance cleaning performed by a professional. Regular maintenance will not only help to eliminate potential odors from your unit but will also help to keep your unit running efficiently and safely.

Keep Your Family Safe during a Flood

The severe flooding that hit the coast of Louisiana caused millions of dollars worth of damage and put the lives of residents in danger. You may not live in Louisiana and you may never have that much water inside your home, but flood waters at any height do pose a safety risk. If a severe rainstorm causes flooding in your home, you need to know how to properly protect your family from harm. These are four tips that every homeowner should keep in mind when the flood waters begin to rise:

  • Gas Leaks: Any appliance that uses gas for fuel and comes in contact with a flood can pose a risk to safety in the home. Once the water is gone, these units need to be cleaned and inspected before they are operated. If you ever smell gas in the home, quickly evacuate and call your local fire department. They can repair the leak safely and prevent a fire or explosion! Continue reading

Closing Up the Air Conditioner for Winter

It sure doesn’t seem like fall is close but we are just a couple days away from September. As we get closer to the end of the air conditioning season we need to make sure we protect our air conditioners from the winter elements. Many units get damaged during winter months simply due to not being protected. Tree debris, ice and snow all can damage your unit during the fall and winter months.

Finding the Right Fit for Your AC Cover

Most manufacturers recommend protecting your unit with a proper fitting cover. Covers that are two big can allow debris into the unit and covers that are plastic or a poor fit will cause moisture to remain in the unit causing them to rust. A cover designed specifically for your unit gives you maximum protection at a minimum cost. So protect your air conditioner and contact your HVAC dealer to get a cover that fits and protects without causing damage.

Your HVAC Contractor is Not a Plumber!

No homeowner likes having to call in a professional to perform repairs, but when you are forced to employ their services, it is important that you choose the right pro for the job! Many states require contractors to acquire licenses for the various types of work that they claim to perform, and as the consumer hiring their services, making sure your contractor is properly licensed could be the difference between a job well done and a job that needs to be re-done! There are some HVAC contractors out there that advertize plumbing services along with their heating and cooling services. This isn’t a problem if the company is licensed to do both and hires both licensed HVAC professionals and licensed plumbers, but if you don’t ask for proof of a plumbing license, don’t assume that your HVAC contractor is qualified. Continue reading

Protecting Your Family from Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas, which is totally odorless, tasteless, and colorless. Many of us have probably heard the horror stories of exposure, but you probably think that something like this could never happen to you and your family. Unfortunately, it is this type of thinking that leads to carbon monoxide exposure disasters. Homeowners that aren’t on the lookout for the signs or that haven’t taken the necessary precautions to prevent an accident are the most vulnerable to this type of problem in their home. You first must know how to recognize the signs and second, you must have defenses in place to protect your home and your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Symptoms of CO Exposure

  • disorientation
  • nausea
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • flu-like symptoms
  • fatigue
  • chest tightness Continue reading

Protect Your Home While You are Away

The winter season is a popular time to go on vacation with the family. You pack up your belongings, head to where it’s warmer, and leave the winter chill behind! You lock up your home and assume that all will remain safe, but you make one disastrous mistake. You shut off the furnace. Many homeowners do this to conserve a little energy and save some money on their energy bills. However, doing this will leave your home vulnerable in the icy cold weather. All you need is one extra cold night and you could experience an expensive home disaster.

Water Damage from Burst Pipes

When the furnace is off, there is nothing stopping the temperature in the home from dipping below freezing. When this happens, the plumbing system is at risk of freezing. Even one frozen pipe and be a major problem. This is due to the fact that once a pipe is frozen, it may burst! The pipe is forced to expand by the presence of the ice, but as the ice begins to thaw, the water pressure will burst through the pipe and cause a major water leak. If you are out of town, there is nothing there to stop the water from flowing into your home and causing major water damage. Continue reading

Protecting Your Children from Hot Water Burns

Ensuring the safety of your children is not an easy task. When they are small children every inch of their bodies is susceptible to harm, but there are steps you can take to protect them from some of the worst dangers in the home. One of these dangers involves the temperature of the water in the home. Children can become easily scalded by water that may not even feel intolerably hot to the skin of an adult. That is why every parent must take certain steps to protect their children from this type of injury, and it all starts with a good look at your hot water tank.

Set the Tank Back

The first step is to turn the water tank back to 120 degrees. This is the lowest temperature where you can still get hot enough water when needed without allowing the tank to grow bacteria. Many homes have the tank set at high as 150 degrees. At this temperature an adult’s skin can burn in 2 to 3 seconds. Place a child in that water and it could cause serious damage instantly. Every degree you set the tank back is a degree safer for the members of your family, but as an added bonus, every 10 degree difference will translate into a 4% savings on the water heating portion of your energy bills! Continue reading

Winter Air Conditioner Protection

This may be the season for giving, but it is also the season for stealing, stealing air conditioners that is. You may have thought that your air conditioner worries ended with the summer season, but the truth is that the winter is the best time for thieves to take advantage of the easy access they have to your air conditioner. Everyone is spending their time indoors and there are far fewer eyes on your air conditioner this time of year. You need to take certain steps to keep your unit safe. This is a crime that is growing in popularity and if you did nothing to prevent it this past summer, you were one of the lucky ones. Don’t let another season go by without getting your air conditioner protected.

Send a Message to Potential Thieves

Protecting the air conditioner requires doing something that sends a clear message to potential thieves. The message should be that they need to move on to another home and leave your unit alone!  There are two ways to do this. Either move the air conditioner to the roof or encase it in a security cage. The first option could cost you tons and is likely not possible in all situations. So, for the majority of us, a security cage is the way to go. Continue reading

Generating Power Without the Grid

What distinguishes whole house generators from all other types of generators on the market today? It is their capacity to sufficiently provide electricity to power up almost every electronic device in your household! This is the very reason why investing your hard-earned money in these types of generators is not only considered a good choice but a very sound and practical decision too.

Automatic Power from Whole House Generators

Contrary to smaller generators that have to be turned on and set up manually before they can provide electricity, whole house generators automatically start the moment a power failure occurs. They are wired into the electrical panel of the main house and, it knows when the home is not receiving power from the grid. Once it senses this change, the system will automatically switch your home over to generator power. Once the grid power returns, the system will notice this and automatically switch your home back. People with this type of generator may not even notice when the power failure occurs because the transition is so seamless. The whole house generators automatically step up and take the place of the regular electrical source the moment it fails to provide power. Continue reading