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Summer Advice from Handyman Network

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Summer Advice

The heat is on! It’s time for backyard barbeques with family and friends, lounging by the pool, going to the beach…and trying to keep cool. It’s not too late to make changes in and around your home to increase your comfort level during this summer season.

Summer-ize Your Appliances – Then Monitor Them!

It’s not enough to just prepare your appliances for the summer heat…you’ll need to monitor them all season long to insure that they are running efficiently and not wasting those precious energy dollars.

“Greening” your home is a rapidly growing trend among home owners and home builders alike. “Greening” is a method of using less energy while producing minimal waste. The target of these processes and methods is of course to help protect the environment by not using up all of its resources; however, the byproduct of using less water and less energy is real money savings – year after year. Let’s take a look at how you can start “greening” your home, while keeping cool in the summer and saving money while you’re at it!

Programmable Thermostats: These wonderful devices can help you stop wasting energy - whether heating or cooling your home – and save you money! Programmable thermostats can be set to turn your air conditioning down when you leave the house and kick back on 20 minutes before you come home. You’ll be welcomed back to the same cool home you left earlier. You can also program them to turn off the air in certain rooms that you don’t use frequently or regularly. It saves you money because you won’t have to cool (or heat) your home when no one is there. The best news: the most expensive programmable thermostat only costs $140 and it will pay for itself in a few months.

A/C Systems: Did you know that about 1/6 of all the energy used in the U.S. is for air conditioning buildings? If you find that your current A/C unit is costing you $50-$125/month more than a higher efficiency unit, a new system will pay for itself quickly.

As far as maintenance of your existing system goes, vacuum out your central air conditioning unit and lubricate the motor at the beginning and end of each cooling season. Then keep it working efficiently by cleaning or replacing the air filter each month it is in high use. Clean condenser or evaporator coils and condensate drain when in use.

Windows: Another way to save during all seasons is with energy efficient windows. Dual-paned windows and Energy Star windows will help seal the heat and cool from your house. In some cases, as much as 30% of a home’s heating and A/C can escape through old, inefficient windows. According to the US Department of Energy, homeowners spend, on average $1,300 a year on utility bills, most of which is wasted energy from poorly insulated windows and doors.

If you are planning to keep your windows open this summer, don’t forget to clean screens and repair or replace if necessary. Clean and lubricate window channels for smoother sliding. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged window frames and repaint if necessary. While you’re at it, check for cracks or gaps around doorframes, TV and phone cables or electrical outlets. These openings can be filled with spackle, caulk or expanding foam insulation. Even if these cracks seem minor, a simple fix now can save you money all year long.

Fans: Install ceiling fans even if you have central A/C. You can run them instead of the A/C, or after you’ve turned your A/C off for the evening and still stay cool. Make sure your attic fan is running properly. This also helps to keep your home cool and reduce energy bills.

Kitchen appliances: You already know that you can save energy and money by using your microwave or your grill whenever possible…but when is the last time you checked the seal on your refrigerator door? In fact…how about that second refrigerator that’s sitting out in the hot garage? You could be wasting valuable energy and money if the seal isn’t doing its job.

A Vacation Retreat in Your Own Backyard: Decks vs. Patios

Decks: Many homeowners today see outdoor living space as a must-have amenity, as a well-planned deck or patio can add a lot of enjoyment to their home. But the wrong deck or patio can become unused dead space. In the end, a dream of outdoor relaxation can become a negative experience and produce new stress for the homeowner.

A deck is usually the most affordable option, and concrete is often the most durable and lowest maintenance. With all the different material and design options out there now, it shouldn't be hard to settle on something you will love.

Already have a deck? Have you had it cleaned and sealed it lately? Clean out debris to provide proper drainage. Hammer in any protruding nails and tighten any loose bolts.

Patios: If you don't enjoy working on your landscaping and yard work, a small, low-maintenance patio is a good solution for you. Small doesn't have to mean dull and uninteresting; a well-designed patio, no matter how small, can be a fun escape from the indoors.

The choice of materials for your patio is based on personal taste. Many people like the classic look of brick, which is durable, easy to install and available in many colors. Patio pavers are also inexpensive and easy to install. They are available in many shapes and sizes and are long lasting and durable. A third option is flagstone. Available in many shapes and colors, flagstone can be pre-cut for standard sizes or custom shapes.

How Handyman Network Can Help

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? If you’re like most homeowners, you don’t have the time, knowledge or energy to complete these tasks around your home. Handyman Network can check all these items in your home for you and make repairs as needed. Like the idea of a new deck or patio? We can build one for you. Don’t have an attic fan? Love the idea of a new programmable thermostat? Sure…sounds great…but we know that there are so many other things you’d rather do with your free time than going through aisle after aisle of your local home improvement store. Relax…Our licensed, professional handymen will be happy to come to your home, discuss your project, go to the home improvement store to pick up whatever you need and then complete the repair or installation for you!! And best of all…there’s never a markup on materials!

We’ll help you save the earth’s energy and your own energy – with one phone call or a couple clicks of your mouse. So grab your favorite drink and head for your backyard retreat…to your favorite lounge chair…or to the golf course…or to a movie…anywhere but the home improvement store. Life’s short – go live it – we’ll take care of your home.

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