The top 4 tips to maintaining your HVAC system

The top 4 tips to maintaining your HVAC system

Your HVAC system is essential in maintaining your comfort. However, without proper maintenance, it can be a drain to your pocket. Regularly spending money on repairs and replacements is not cheap. That’s why it is important to learn how to maintain these systems. This way, your overall cost of repair and maintenance will be lower, and you will enjoy the comfort that comes with such systems. To help you out, here are the top 4 tips for maintaining your HVAC system.

1. Have an expert regular check it out
The best and easiest way to take care of your HVAC system is to have an expert regularly check it out. Such regular checks are cheap and they can detect issues while they are still easy to repair. The secret to such checks is to use a reputable company for the job. One such company is NexGen HVAC & Plumbing. This company is run by experts in the HVAC industry. They are always a call away and their services are very competitively priced. Give them a call every month or so and have them check out your HVAC system. You will be surprised at how much longer your system will last.

Engaging an HVAC company for maintenance is not just about cutting costs. It is also a matter of health. For instance, if your ventilation system is not working optimally and accumulates dirt, you can end up inhaling dust that can affect your breathing system. It’s worse if you, or some of your family members, have respiratory problems such as asthma. Similarly, if the heating system suddenly stops working in winter, it can pose a problem, especially for elderly people, or those with compromised immunity. That’s why you need to take regular HVAC checks seriously.

2. Have a list of what needs maintenance
HVAC systems are complex and not everything needs maintenance at the same time. As such, you need to come up with a list of when the various components were last serviced, and when they next need it, then adhere to it. Here are some of the things that you can make a checklist for, and ease your maintenance tasks. First, create a list that has the replacement dates for filters. Also, bookmark repair and maintenance dates for airflow components, coils, heat exchangers and burners. These are minor things and you can easily forget them if you are not keen. You also need to include the more serious stuff like inspecting the condensate drains and lubrication motors. These are not done as regularly, and are easier to remember the date off-head. Nonetheless, include, and mark them too because, they can lead to serious issues if repair and maintenance dates are skipped.

Making a checklist also helps you with financial planning. That’s because, you can make a budget on the things that require repair early enough. Some of them are not cheap, and if the repairs catch you off-guard, you might have a hard time raising the money. If this happens and you skip the maintenance, you would be risking even more damage that would cost you lots of money in the long run.

3. Get rid of debris from the system.
One of the biggest causes of problems in HVAC systems is debris. It clogs up the system and leads to issues that may cost you huge amounts of money to reverse. To avoid such issues, take protective measures such as using filters in places that are most likely to lead to dust and other debris entering your HVAC system. This will save you a good amount in maintenance. On top of that, you can try and get rid of some of the debris that you can reach with your hands. Just make sure to have the right attire on. Some of the things you need include gloves, a water pipe, and a coil cleaner.

4. Regularly replace your filters
Replacing filters is one of the most important tasks in maintaining your HVAC system. The EPA advises homeowners to regularly change furnace filters as a way of enhancing the efficiency of heating systems. Besides, the enhanced energy efficiency, several other benefits come with regular replacement of filters. One of them is that you breathe in clean air. Secondly, you increase the lifespan of your systems. Both of these reasons and many others are worthy enough to replace your filters regularly.

If you follow the above steps, you will significantly cut on the cost of maintaining your HVAC system, and enjoy a good quality of life.

Simple Steps To A Wheelchair-Friendly Home

Simple Steps To A Wheelchair-Friendly Home

As we get on in life, we sometimes have to face the fact that we may need the help of a wheelchair to get around. While it can feel like an interruption in independence, it doesn’t have to be. Many public places today are friendly to those with wheelchairs, with accessibility being easier than ever before in a lot of places. However, the one place that never seems to be wheelchair-friendly is your house.

If you are new to using a wheelchair, then the likelihood is that your house will need to be adapted to suit your new wheels. It’s one of the essential things to do to make life as easy and comfortable as possible. So, if you are dealing with physical limitations and you want to make improvements to your home to be more accessible, take a look at some of our tips below.

Move Things Around.
The best place to start is with your furniture. Move things around to accommodate the size and shape of your wheelchair. You may have negotiated tight spaces when walking, but it’s a little different when you’re in a chair. Make the gaps between furniture bigger to fit the chair and adapt what furniture you have in each room to suit.

Make Entrances Accessible
You need to ensure that your entrance to the house and your back door are lined with a handicap ramp to get you in and out of the house safely. You want to avoid using any steps if possible, otherwise you’re going to struggle to get in and out! It shouldn’t be hard to get in and out, and you can give yourself much-needed independence when you add ramps.

Aim For Low Shelves
When you’re sitting in a chair, you don’t want to have to try and act dangerously by reaching up too high and falling over. So, start adding your most important items to lower shelves for ease. Independence is gained when you don’t have to ask for help, so don’t be afraid to adjust as you need for your benefit.

Add A Stairlift
If you have an upper level of your house, then think about adding a stairlift to get you to bed every night. You may not be in a position to move house or move your bedroom downstairs, so this is the next best thing for you.

Widen The Doors
You may not be able to adapt every house you go into, but you can adapt your own house. You can have builders come in and widen the doors for you so that you are able to get in and out comfortably. By widening the doors, you can get in and out whenever you need to without worrying about crashing and damaging the wood.

You might feel frustrated in the very beginning when you first get into a chair, but you can increase your independence and feel more secure when you get some practice. It isn’t easy to get around in a wheelchair as it is, but you can make it so.

How To Buy A Vinyl Cutter

How To Buy A Vinyl Cutter

A vinyl cutter is not your typical household appliance. For someone who is looking to buy one, it must come with a purpose. Vinyl cutters are used to precisely cut out patterns on vinyl sheets. This is an essential tool for any sign printing business. It doesn’t come cheap, so purchasing the correct vinyl cutter is essential. If you need to get one, take advantage of vinyl cutter Black Friday deals and read up on this article to get yourself equipped with the right knowledge on how to buy a vinyl cutter that will work best for your needs.

First off, know your purpose. How do you intend to use the vinyl cutter? Are you a keen hobbyist who would like to venture into this craft? Or are you a small home-based business starting out? Will you be looking into mass commercial production? Are you just going to use it for vinyl sheets, or will you also be looking to use the machine for other media such as cardstock, leather, thick plastic, foil, or fabric? Bear in mind that because a vinyl cutter employs a large, sharp blade for cutting and a drive motor for its engine, it can do more than just cut vinyl sheets. A feature that allows you to adjust the blade force to suit the material being cut will come in handy in this case.

With that said, the kind of drive motor you have for your vinyl cutter matters. A digital servo motor uses software to yield smooth and precise cutting with superior tracking while a mechanical stepper motor moves in small steps that accurately cuts large images and tends to be more friendly on the pockets.

Now along with careful thought on your budget, think of precision, speed, and noise. Do you need to cut detailed and intricate designs? Will you need to complete projects at a faster rate? Can you bear with a loud machine, or do you prefer one that works at a quieter hum?

Another key consideration in buying a vinyl cutter is its size. It is also crucial to note that the standard measurement of vinyl sheets come in rolls of 15mm wide. Purchasing a vinyl cutter that is smaller than this size would mean having to trim off the vinyl sheets each time you use it. Imagine the waste in time, effort, and material.

Lastly, think of support in terms of available technical help, spare parts, accessories, and warranty coverage. Regardless of the way you use the vinyl cutter and the frequency of your operation, machine malfunction, as with any other equipment, is a reality that should be anticipated well. Broken equipment can be detrimental to your business. And even though your machine claims to be top of the line, the fact is, sometimes, glitch just happens. So it does not hurt to be prepared at the onset of purchase with the knowledge that the machine comes with sufficient assistance for whatever customer service needs you may have in the future.

With your thoughtful consideration in place, vinyl cutter shopping will be a breeze. Roll on Black Friday!

Could A Stairlift Be The Answer To You Mobility Problems?

Could A Stairlift Be The Answer To You Mobility Problems?

Have you lost confidence walking up and down your stairs? Do you feel like you’ve lost your independence navigating your own home? Are you considering moving house to somewhere without stairs? Well, a stairlift way me the answer to your problems. Many people put off getting a stairlift and soldier on putting themselves at risk of a nasty fall, if you’re one of those people and are on the fence about stairlift installation, this post may be able to help you make your decision.

What is a stairlift?
A stairlift is a mechanical device installed to your staircase which will lift you up or down your stairs. There are stairlifts for straight staircases and stairlifts for curved stairs and ones which can also navigate stairs with landings.

Who can a stairlift help?
Although stairlifts are often associated with older people who now struggle to use their stairs at home, they are in fact used by many people for many different reasons. The one thing that every stairlift user has in common is that a stairlift makes their experience of climbing the stairs easier and more comfortable and can often enable them to remain in their home rather than moving to a stair-free alternative.

How much space do you need?
Thanks to their foldaway footrests, seats and armrests a stairlift can usually be installed in even the most narrow of spaces without obstructing other people’s use of the stairwell.

How do stairlifts work?
A stairlift is made up of two main parts, the carriage where you sit and the rail which is attached to the wall and is the part that the carriage runs on. The carriage part of the stairlift contains a small motor which is powered by electricity and is responsible for moving the carriage along the rail. By using an electric motor stairlifts can remain quiet and unobtrusive. Most stairlifts nowadays operate using rechargeable batteries to ensure that they work even during a power outage. With regular use, most stairlift batteries can last between 3-5 years before needing to be serviced and replaces.

Do stairlifts have a weight limit?
The short answer to this question is yes, but their weight limit will be influenced by several different factors including whether the rail the stairlift is using is straight or curved, how steep the angles and bends of the rail are and the type of chair the stairlift uses. As a general rule though the upper weight limit for a straight stairlift is around 25 stone (160kg) and the upper limit for a curved stairlift is slightly less at 21 stone (136kg). The maximum load that your stairlift will be able to take can be more accurately calculated following a site visit.

How much do stairlifts cost?
The cost of your stairlift can depend on many factors as not all stairlifts and stairlift companies are made the same. Prices will vary depending on the quality fo the stairlift you choose, the style of your staircase (i.e is it straight or curved) and whether the installers may need to make some adaptations to your stairwell such as removing a windowsill during installation. To give you an average figure Which? When looking at the best stairlift brands of 2018 calculated that the average cost of a stairlift was £3,126, however, this is an average and so straight rail staircases can cost significantly less and curved rails considerably more. The best way to get a better idea of the cost of a stairwell is to have a free no-obligation visit from a stairwell company to assess your space and requirements.

What aftercare do stairlifts need?
Stairlifts require very littler aftercare and most replacement parts are only needed as a result of normal wear and tear. To put your mind at ease most providers will offer service contracts to cover any maintenance checks and repairs, enabling you to sit back and relax knowing that your stairlift will always be in good working order. From your end, all you will need to do is give your stairlift a gentle clean every now and ensure that the maintenance team have access for their scheduled maintenance visits.

So what next?
If having read this post you now think that a stairlift could be the right fit for your home then the next thing to do is research some reputable stairlift companies. Once you have found one you like then they will often come to your home to perform a free, no-obligation assessment to help you understand which stairlift will be best for your space. If you choose to place an order then the stairlift-company will hand all the hard work and the installation process for you and you’ll have effortless access to your stairs in no time

Adopting A Pup At Christmas

Adopting A Pup At Christmas

As the Christmas festivities approach, you may already be looking for a fantastic idea to surprise your family. Adopting a pet is a typical Christmas present. However, countless households are not ready for the commitment of owning a dog. Indeed, Christmas adoptions can have a sad conclusion, as families who can’t cope choose to abandon their pet or bring it to a shelter. In other words, if you’re looking to make Christmas magical with a puppy, you need to be absolutely certain that you can commit to the responsibilities of a dog owner. You can prepare yourself by considering the typical complaints that new pet owners have:

#1. It’s another mouth to feed
A puppy might be cute and small, but it is, in practice, another family member you need to cater for. Grocery shopping for pets is a little different. You will need to research the best food for your breed of choice, whether you’re looking into puppy food for large breed dogs or small dogs. Just like you put your family’s health first during your grocery shopping, you need to do the same for your pet. Choosing the best products for your dog is essential to keep your furry friend happy and growing safely. But, ultimately, it means planning for additional expenses, which can be tricky if you work with a tight budget.

#2. Dogs can be destructive
They look adorable. But that doesn’t mean that dogs can’t damage your home. Puppies need to be house-trained before you can leave them safely at home without fearing for your furniture or your carpet. As a result, it can take several months before your puppy behaves appropriately indoors. In the meantime, you are likely to struggle with urine stains on the carpet and chewed furniture. You can reduce the risk of damages by choosing a laminate flooring solution which is easy to clean. As for your furniture, pet owners sometimes use baby fences to block access to specific rooms.

#3. Your dog needs attention
Adopting a dog means dramatically changing your lifestyle. You need to be ready to walk your pet every day, regardless of the weather. Indeed, walking your dog provides the mental and physical exercise your pup needs. Besides, it reinforces your bond as you can spend quality time together. As a pet owner, you can’t afford to be lazy! Taking your dog for a walk outside can sound exciting at first, but you have to be ready to go out every day, at least twice a day.

#4. The spirit of Christmas
Finally, Christmas is all about spreading joy and love around you. If, like most people, you find yourself more likely to perform surprising acts of generosity and help others as the Christmas season approaches, you might want to turn your pet adoption into a positive thing. Adopting a senior dog rather than a puppy can make a significant difference. You are virtually giving an animal a second chance at happiness, which is the best present you could give a dog for Christmas.

Should you adopt a pet this Christmas? There is no right or wrong answer. But if you’re tempted by introducing a furry ball of energy to your household, you need to be aware that having a dog comes with responsibilities.

Closet Organization Tips

Closet Organization Tips

I am definitely not a minimalist! I came to this conclusion after reading books and articles by Marie Kondō and other organizational gurus who hand out pointers on how to keep your home tidy and neat.

I read about the Konmari philosophy, practiced folding and filing clothes, and even tried to get rid of things that didn’t “spark joy”; the last one was the hardest as I felt that almost everything in my house “sparked joy”.

Now this doesn’t mean I don’t agree with all those pointers, in fact I did agree with quite a number of them and have incorporated some in my life. Like folding and filing clothes the Konmari way.

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Honestly this wasn’t such a big deal since I’ve always folded clothes in a similar way, just not as compact, and I definitely didn’t store them in drawers vertically. I do now and it really does create space; enough space so that underwear, sock, and t-shirt drawers aren’t bursting at the seams!

I also like the idea or proverb “A place for everything and everything in its place”, regardless who this quote is attributed to.  (Some sources attribute it to Benjamin Franklin.)

I like this idea so much I use the phrase all the time with my grandkids! Again this wasn’t such a big change, I’ve always had bins, baskets, shelves, etc. to store everything, a place for everything; but the trick is to keep everything in those bins, baskets, etc, hence in its place!.

And that’s where the next tip comes in! Somehow things seem to come out of its bin, basket, shelf, drawer,  or whatever and make its way to the kitchen, family room, or any spot other than where it should be. That’s why it’s important to keep things in check well before it gets out of hand and you have piles of stuff in every room. So taking 5-10 minutes each day to gather up “stuff” and putting them where they belong really does make life tidier!

I also like the tip about spending a few minutes every morning making your bed. Having spent my elementary school years in a Catholic boarding school this was a chore that had become second nature until I had kids. Somewhere between diapers, bottles, and sleepless nights making the bed every morning was a chore that pretty much went out the window. This “bad” habit just sort of lingered until recently when I rediscovered that a neat bed was a great way to start the day!

Now for the part I can’t wrap my head around. The part where you’re supposed to go thru your stuff specially clothes and shoes and decide what to keep and what not. Most organizer gurus will tell you that if you haven’t worn or used it for 6 months it’s time to get rid of it. The Konmarie way talks about that sparking joy thing. Well I just can’t do it!

I tried, really I did! I looked at everything with a critical eye and actually tossed quite a few things. I tossed garments that had holes, stains, and were just too old and ratty to give away; I posted a few things on resale sites; and I dragged several large bags to the neighborhood Goodwill branch. But no I will not sell, donate, or toss out high end designer handbags, shoes, and clothes no matter what! Nor will I part with picutes and “artwork” made by my children and grandchildre.  They all spark joy!

So where does that leave me? In my case it meant building the closet of my dreams, something I’ve been trying to persuade my husband to do for years. But that’s another story, one about designing your dream closet.

But back to this organization stuff. At the end of the day I decided to pick and choose the ideas I could incorporate into my life and add my own twist on how I wanted to organize my stuff. In short there’s no hard and fast rules on how one should organize one’s stuff; you must do what works for you no matter what the so called experts say!

Here are a 5 tips that work for me. You might find one or two that will work for you. But if you don’t that’s ok. Just remember to do what works for you!

  1. Make your bed as soon as you get up. It just takes a few minutes and starts your day neat and tidy.
  2. Find a place of everything and keep everything in its place. Take 5-10 minutes each day to gather stuff that’s found its way around the house and put it back where it belongs.
  3. Fold and place your clothes in drawers to create optimal use of the space. Try the Konmarie way!

4. Purchase or make drawer organizers to keep underwear, socks, etc.  neat and tidy.  It creates more space            too!  I even use them to keep leggings, tank tops, and camisoles neat and tidy.  I also use eyeglass boxes            to store eyeglasses and sunglasses. I purchased several sets of these drawer organizers from Amazon                for  my drawers and my husband’s drawers.  I got the eyeglass organizer for Amazon too!  Utilize jewelry              boxes, earring organizers, necklace displays, etc.  They not only keep things organized, they make                       closets fun and interesting too!

 

 

 

 

5.  Keep drawer, shelves, and cabinets neat, tidy, and organized by putting things away as soon as possible.            Fold and store laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryers and put dishes away as soon as you can                  remove them from the dishwasher.

6. Don’t let dirty dishes, pots and pans stack up while cooking. Clean as you go!

I guess the best way to keep a neat and organized house is to not let stuff pile up anywhere! Do you have a favorite organizing trick? Let us know we’d love to hear from you!