How to Keep Your Home Cool during the Summer

While we may not be blessed with sweltering weather all year round in the UK, there is no denying that it can get a bit stuffy and uncomfortable in the home when the sun comes out. If you are searching for ways to make your home cool throughout the summer months ahead, read on.

[Photo courtesy of /wikimedia.org]

Tips for your A/C

Of course, the easiest way to cool your home is with air conditioning, and there are numerous ways you can ensure your system runs more effectively. If possible, provide shade for your air conditioning unit, as this will boost its efficiency by five to ten per cent. You should also make sure that you clean your A/C air filter on a monthly basis. Air flow will drop by around one per cent per week due to normal dust build-up. Another tip is to make sure you do not use a dehumidifier while your air conditioner is turned on, as it will cause the cooling load to increase, which will make the air conditioner work even harder. And, if you have been meaning to get your air conditioning unit repaired for a while, now is the time with a company that provides a quick service, such as Farmen & Dermer AC repair.

Window solutions

Not only do you need to concentrate on your air conditioning unit throughout the summer, but your windows can be key to ensuring your home is comfortable. You should think about exotic infills for your windows. This is a new technology that ensures the space between the panels is filled with argon or krypton, which boost R-values because they are gases that have lower conductivity than air. You should also install mini-blinds or white window shades, as they can lower solar heat gain by as much as 50 per cent.

Quick tips

Now that we have dealt with the most important aspects regarding keeping your home cool during the summer, let’s take a look at some quick tips that will help you along the way:

  • Grill – Forget about using the stove or the oven during the summer months; it is only going to make your home feel like a sauna. If you are already sweltering, the last thing you want to do is turn on a 400-degree oven. Instead, use the grill. After all, who doesn’t love a barbeque during the summer months?
  • Get rid of incandescent lights – Now is the time to get rid of incandescent lights. Did you know that they actually waste about 90 per cent of their energy in the heat they emit? This is an awful lot of energy and an awful lot of heat. Making the switch can reduce the heat in your home as well as your energy bills.
  • Heat-proof your bed – Is there anything more frustrating than being too hot while in bed? This may sound weird, but you’d be surprised how effective it is: fill a hot water bottle with water, and place it in the freezer, and then before bed put it under your feet before you go to sleep.
  • Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise – Lastly, you may not realise it, but you need to adjust your ceiling fans seasonally. During the summer, make sure your fan rotates counter-clockwise, as this will create a chilled breeze that will make you feel cooler.

For some more tips on making your home summer-ready, click here.

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Inferno Info! Preventing Home Fires

There is always something we need to do to our home to make it better. While we think about improving our home or making it more stylish, we very rarely think about the safety aspect of our homes. There are so many little problems that are potential fire hazards that it’s probably easier for most of us to not think about it. But there are some simple things to do that can cut down the chances of getting a fire at home…

burning, fire, flame

[Photo courtesy of Skitterphoto/pexels.com]

Candles

Between 2009 and 2013, on average there were 25 candle fires per day in the US. Although that doesn’t sound like much, it totaled 86 deaths, 127 injuries, and $374 million in damaged property. So make sure you do the following:

  1.    Keep candles 12 inches away from anything that could burn.
  2.    Use candle holders that are sturdy.
  3.    Blow out all the candles before leaving a room or going to bed.
  4.    Don’t use candles in the bedroom.

Cooking

Hopefully, everyone has some common sense when it comes to cooking, but here are some tips.

  1.    Wear close fitted clothing while cooking.
  2.    Don’t leave food unattended.
  3.    If you get a grease fire, smother the fire in a pan. DON’T put it out with water.

Dryers & Washing Machines

Washers and dryers catch fire because of a failure to clean them.

  1.    Don’t overload the dryer.
  2.    Clean the lint filter after every use, and don’t use the dryer without one.
  3.    Don’t restrict the air exhaust pipe and make sure the outdoor vent flap is open while the dryer is on.

If You Have A Fire…

Firstly, don’t try and be a hero. Call the fire department as soon as you can, but make sure that you get to safety. As fires are such a common hazard, the best idea is to have a plan in mind should this ever occur. Know all your escape routes from your home blindfolded because you won’t be able to see when there is thick smoke. Stay low, and get out as quick as you can because you may only have seconds. Staying as low as possible means you will get the most oxygen out of the air.

After The Fire…

Once the fire has been put out, you will need to stay somewhere else. In the meantime, if you have updated your insurance policy, you will have to put in a claim for all the items damaged. If there are parts of the home that haven’t been damaged, you can hire a restoration company to start the cleanup. There are companies like Pro Restoration who specialize in clearing up homes after house fires and help to restore your property. Once your home is back to its former glory, it’s time to take notes of what potential hazards there are, and minimize them as much as you can.

Preventing a fire is very much about common sense as it is about safety, and in your home, you need to make sure that you are sensible by not obstructing doors, cooking safely, and generally being vigilant.

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Seek Out That Leak In Your Home

Can’t find the source of that dripping sound coming from your home? Alternatively, are you getting damp or water leakage, but aren’t sure where it’s coming from? Leaks can often be difficult to locate and can occur due to a variety of reasons. Here’s a brief of guide on how you can seek out that leak and get it patched up.

Roof leaks

The most common form of leak comes from the roof. A loose tile, broken sealing around a chimney or a puddle on a flat roof can all be the cause of such a leak. Finding these isn’t always easy. By going up into your attic and looking at the inside of the roof you may be able to see where the drip is coming from, but that isn’t to say that the water is entering through that part of the roof.

Water Pipe, Leaking, Water, Drip, Broken, Liquid, Tube

[Photo courtesy of music4life/pixabay.com]

For manually locating the leak yourself your best option is to go up on the roof with a hose and run it over the roof. Have someone else stand on the inside of your attic with a walkie-talkie/phone. When you run your hose over the place where the leak is entering, water will drip through into the inside of the building and they an alert you.

You should also look out for cracks in walls and shiners (stray nails that freeze up in winter and then start dripping as the temperature heats up). Another option could be internal piping in the attic (discussed later on).

Sometimes it may be easier and more convenient to look into local roofing companies that can locate the leak fast and repair it for you. You may be able to replace a tile yourself or repair a crack with caulk, but other jobs such as replacing a flat roof can be trickier.

Internal plumbing leaks

Various plumbing faults can often be the perpetrator. Leaks from baths, showers and toilet cisterns are often easy to locate. However, internal piping leaks may be more difficult – especially if the pipe is buried in a wall somewhere. Look out for nearby dampness. You can also check the water pressure for a fault by placing meters around you house – this is often much better carried out in the hands of a professional plumber.

Sealing and joints in pipes are where leaks will often occur, often simply as a result of wear and tear over time. Underground piping can also sometimes be an issue.

Underground leaks

The leak may not be coming from above, but below. You can usually identify an underground leak from dampness on the floor. This will often be underfloor piping, however it could also be a weakness in the foundations or a gap beneath a door. Floorboards may need to be pulled up, which could require hiring a flooring company to take a look. If you suspect it may be piping, try hiring a plumber to take a look. You should be able to tell whether it is piping or bad weather from when dampness most commonly appears.

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Essential Cleaning Checklist

Deep cleaning your house should not just be limited to spring or whenever you have a clear out. The best way to keep your home in good condition is to make sure you regularly clean tough areas. Additionally, keeping your home sanitary is the best way to keep your family healthy. We don’t usually think about it, but there are germs and bacteria living right under your nose that could be causing you untold misery. To make sure you don’t miss any spots, and to make your home summer-ready, here is an essential deep cleaning checklist for your home.

Hidden mold

Double-glazed windows are excellent for saving you money on your energy bills, but unfortunately they make it easier for moisture and mold to sneak into your home. If there are any areas that smell particularly musty, you should not hesitate in calling in a mold specialist. Watch out for symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, dry eyes, or rashes.

Cleaning

[Photo courtesy of Nick Youngson/picserver.org]

If an area of mold is less than ten square feet, then you can attempt to clean it yourself. Just make sure you’re wearing safety goggles, non-porous gloves, and a particle mask when cleaning. Check out DIY sites for more detailed guidelines on how to get rid of mold.

Water damage

If your plumbing has ruptured recently, your focus was primarily on getting the pipes fixed. However, once that problem is solved, you need to repair the damage that the water caused to your walls and floors. Leaving it untreated could lead to more mold, and therefore more health problems. It could also lead to property damage; whether it is metal, wood, or cement, these materials will all eventually be damaged when exposed to water. Contact ServiceMaster to get the damage fixed as quickly as possible.

Windows

Wash your windows on a cloudy day, once a month, so the sun doesn’t dry the cleanser before you can wipe it off, and start on the shady side of the house. A simple way to spot streaks is to wash with horizontal strokes on one side and with vertical strokes on the other, this way you will know which side has the streaks. Wait for a sunny day to dust the windows because the sunlight will reveal where the particles have settled. You should also clean the window tracks with a Q-tip to get rid of the dirt, grime, and dead bugs that have gathered there.

Refrigerator

It takes more than just clearing out the expired and smelly food to keep the refrigerator clean and  germ-free. Liquids that spill onto the shelves and trays collects mold, therefore posing a danger to your fresh food. The biggest culprits are the vegetable drawers; they are often forgotten until a vegetable starts to rot. Take the drawers out of the fridge and clean them with warm water and baking soda. While they’re drying on the side, wipe down the rest of the fridge with antibacterial wipes. Make sure you also clean the coils at the back.

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