Recent General Posts
Winterizing your AC Unit
A close up of a frosty top of AC Unit. Lake Country, BC
As the warm summer days fade to fall weather, it's time to winterize your AC unit. Winterizing your central air conditioner prevents rust damage and keeps rodents from nesting inside.
4 Easy Steps:
- Remove leaves, branches and any other debris. Use a garden hose to rinse the unit- removing bugs, dirt and dust. Allow the HVAC unit to dry completely.
- Locate the electrical circuit. It usually has a plastic or metal lid. Remove the lid and flip the switch to cut power supply. (This prevents the unit from turning on during a warm winter day, which will keep water out of the unit that could freeze overnight and cause potential damage.)
- Install tubular foam or rubber pipe insulation with tees and elbows around pipes to protect against freezing.
- Cover the HVAC unit with a waterproof air conditioner cover, or use a tarp with bungee cords/vinyl tie-downs and a piece of plywood and/or brick to further secure the cover and protect the unit.
Throughout winter, be sure to remove snow, ice and debris from the top of your AC unit. Adjust the cover to keep in place. These simple steps will help prolong the life our your unit and ensure when the warm weather returns your ready.
Improving Air Quality in Your Home
View of heavy wildfire smoke blanketing Okanagan Lake at sunset. Kelowna BC, September 2020
With thick smoke drifting in from wildfires in Washington state, Oregon and California, the entire Okanagan has been sitting at high-risk for air quality. Many of us have been staying indoors, but the air outside is constantly entering our homes.
There a few tips and best practices you can incorporate to improve indoor air quality.
- Running central air or air conditioning units during a wildfire is safe. This is because the outside air isn’t replacing your indoor air with smoke. The unit is simply expelling hot air and exchanging it. Tip: Keep the fresh-air intake on your machine closed. Filters should be as clean as possible and changed frequently during smoky events to reduce the amount of smoke particles. Central air systems should be set to recirculate to avoid drawing in smoky air.
- Air-sealing your home is one of the best ways to improve energy efficiency and limit the amount of outdoor air that enters. While air sealing prevents the loss of heated or cool air and conserve energy, it also prevents smoke from wildfires from entering your home. Air-sealing is the process of filling in gaps, cracks, and other spaces where air can find a pathway into your home.
- Houseplants- Similarly to going outside to get fresh air and relieve stress, using houseplants incorporates those properties inside your home. Houseplants have the ability to naturally filter air. Place houseplants in different areas of the home (1 plant per 100 sq ft) to get the maximum benefit. According to a study by NASA, certain plants are better at eliminating significant amounts of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene than others. The top plants for air purification are Golden Pothos, Boston Fern, Snake Plant, English Ivy, Spider Plant and many more.
- Activated Charcoal, also known as active carbon. Activated charcoal air filters are a great way to naturally filter and purify the air quality within your home. These carbon air filters can be easily found in stores or online and the charcoal will absorb toxins in the air without releasing any odor.
- Clean Air Filters & Air Ducts- One of the easiest ways that you can improve the air quality within your home is to regularly change the air filter within your heating/cooling system (every 2 to 3 months). Choose a HEPA filter in order to effectively clean the air of contaminants in your home.
Summer Home Maintenance
Recently cleaned and maintenance air conditioner in Lake Country, BC
Just like you need to wipe counters, clean floors & bathrooms to keep your home usable and clean, you need to clean and maintain other parts of your home. If you don't, you will end up having your home run less efficient or even worse experience possible fire or water damage.
When you maintain your home, you keep it running efficiently, as well as reducing the likelihood of potential water or fire damage. Not to mention it will save you money with lower utility bills.
Here are some quick and easy summer maintenance tips:
- Switch off your humidifier and use a dehumidifier instead
- Replace air filters throughout your home
- Look at the condition of your roof. Consider having it professionally inspected
- Inspect weather-stripping, caulking and vents for any blockages and/or cracks. Repair as needed
- Change/clean your central air conditioner filter. Book annual maintenance
- Inspect the irrigation lines and valves for leaks
- If your planning on a trip, ensure you have someone checking on your home for leaks/damage regularly
Staying on top of things with minor fixes and maintenance will help you to avoid big problems later down the line.
2020 Home Safety Checklist
Wishing a safe and happy 2020.
Happy New Years! Start the year off right.....Keep your family and possessions safe by following this home safety checklist:
- Ensure each level of your home has a working fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector
- Create a fire escape plan with your family
- Prepare a home emergency kit
- Invest in a fire proof safe to keep all your irreplaceable/important documents protected
- Get your vents/air ducts & dryer vent cleaned!
- Check appliances (even hair dryers and lamps) for worn or frayed cords. Damaged cords should be replaced and discarded.
- Avoid “knock-off” electrical products. (these products can easily overheat or short circuit)
- Check extension cords and wall sockets- do not overload
- Don’t run cords under rugs or carpeting.
- Change your air filter and inspect your furnace
- Check your range hood and fan are fully vented and free of greasy buildup
- Check your basement for foundation cracks or damage
Lastly, create a home inventory of your belongings. Take pictures or make a video. Keep those receipts! Take pictures of receipts and file them. If you have to make a claim you will need proof of purchase!
Wishing you all a great start to 2020. For more tips, check out our other blogs at https://www.SERVPROkelowna.com/blog/
Be prepared! Winter is on it’s way to the Okanagan
Having your home prepared for the upcoming winter is a great way to avoid high energy bills and prevent possible water and fire damage. Here are some “must” maintenance tips to get your home ready:
- Inspect your roof
- Replace bent, cracked or missing shingles. Don’t forget to pay attention to areas around skylights, chimneys and vents.
- Clean gutters
- Clear the gutters of leaves, dirt and debris to allow rainwater or melting snow to drain properly. This will prevent water spilling over the sides, possibly causing ice dams and potentially getting into your home's foundation.
- Turn off outdoor faucets and disconnect garden hose(s)
- Turn the water off to outdoor faucets, as well as disconnect your garden hose. Run the tap after to drain as much of the water as possible to prevent freezing. Don’t forget to store your hose in a place away from the elements.
- Inspect your home exterior for cracks and drafts
- Check your home exterior for cracks or gaps and properly seal them. Ensure you check all entry points.
- Check and replace smoke alarms
- Check your smoke detectors to ensure they are working. You should have one on each level of your home.