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Home HVAC Services in Newburgh, Middletown, Port Jervis and surrounding NY areas – Energy Audits

The “DIY” Home Energy Audit

Having a professional come out and take a look at your home is the best way to determine whether or not your home is losing energy and where you can save. But what many homeowners do not realize is that you can also conduct your own home walk-through to spot problems in your home. This DIY home energy audit will not be as thorough as a professional coming out and looking at your home, but it can help you pinpoint some of the more common areas that may need to be addressed. Below you will find a checklist to help with your very own DIY Energy Audit:

  • Locate air leaks – Check for gaps along the baseboard or edge of the flooring, at junctures of the walls and ceiling, take a look outside of your home, windows, doors, lighting, plumbing fixtures, switches, electrical outlets and your fireplace damper.
  • Seal air leaks – You should fill and caulk holes at all faucets, pipes, electric outlets, and wiring. Seal all cracks and holes in the mortar, foundation, siding, windows and doors.
  • Understand your home’s ventilation system – When sealing any home, you must always be aware of the danger of indoor air pollution and combustion appliance “backdrafts”. Make sure all appliances are properly ventilated.
  • Review your home’s insulation – In the attic, check your insulation coverage and make sure any holes are properly sealed.
  • Inspect your heating and cooling equipment – Check your HVAC system every year. If your system is older, it may be time to have a professional come out and look at replacing your system with a newer more energy efficient system.
  • Review your home’s lighting – Energy for lighting your home accounts for about 10% of your overall electric bill. Take a look at all of your light bulbs in your home and think about replacing any inefficient bulbs with energy-saving LEDs.
  • Appliances and Electronics – The age and types of appliances and electronics in your home and how often you use them affect your energy consumption as well as how much money you spend on energy every month. You should take a long look at the appliances and electronics in your home and come up with a usage strategy. Whether you use these items less often or buy newer, more energy efficient units, your appliance usage plays an important role in your energy bill.

After you have completed a DIY home energy audit and know where your home is losing energy, make a plan to correct these issues. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • How much money do you spend on energy?
  • Where are your greatest energy losses?
  • How long will it take for an investment in energy efficiency to pay for itself in energy cost savings?
  • Do the energy-saving measures provide additional benefits that are important to you—for example, increased comfort from installing double-paned, efficient windows?
  • How long do you plan to own your current home?
  • Can you do the job yourself or do you need a contractor?
  • What is your budget?
  • How much time do you have for maintenance and repairs?
  • Should I call a professional to perform a Home Energy audit?

Professional Home Energy Audit

After completion of your DIY home energy audit, consider calling in a professional to complete a more thorough review of your home and your energy usage. Save your DIY energy audit because this can help the auditor better understand your home and areas of energy usage concern.

Home HVAC services in Newburgh, Middletown, Port Jervis and surrounding NY areas – Air Quality

How do you know if your home’s air quality is unhealthy?

Concerned that the air in your home may be harming your health or the health of a family member? You may need to do a little digging to find the likely culprit. But by simply walking through your home and asking yourself a few questions, you will be able to find out if the indoor air in your home is causing a problem.

Do health symptoms improve when you leave your home? Do they return when you come back? If so, you may have an indoor air quality problem and should explore the following potential sources:

  • Is anyone smoking indoors? No one should smoke indoors.
  • Can you see or smell mold or mildew?
  • Is the humidity regularly above 50 percent?
  • Are there leaks or standing water anywhere—kitchen, basement, attic?
  • Are all fuel-burning appliances (gas stoves, water heaters, fireplaces) fully and properly vented to the outdoors?
  • Is there an attached garage or basement where cars, lawnmowers or motorcycles are stored?
  • Are household chemicals, paints or solvents stored indoors or in an attached garage or basement?
  • Have you recently remodeled or added new furniture, carpeting or painted your home?
  • Do you use odor-masking chemicals or “air-freshening” devices?
  • Has kitchen or food garbage been covered and/or removed?
  • Have you used pesticides recently?
  • Have you tested your home for radon?

If after asking yourself the above questions, some or all of the above questions raised some alarming answers, you can use the below air quality strategies to protect the air quality in your home:

  • Source Control – Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions.
  • Ventilation Improvements – For most indoor air quality problems in the home, source control is the most effective solution. Another approach to lowering the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors.
  • Air Cleaners – There are many types and sizes of air cleaners on the market, ranging from relatively inexpensive table-top models to sophisticated and expensive whole-house systems. Some air cleaners are highly effective at particle removal, while others, including most table-top models, are much less so. Air cleaners are generally not designed to remove gaseous pollutants.

Home HVAC services in Newburgh, Middletown, Port Jervis and surrounding NY areas – Maintenance Tips

Keep your HVAC system running like new! Follow the below tips and simple steps to help increase your system’s efficiency and life expectancy:

Right Now

  • Purchase a high-efficiency pleated air filter.
  • Keep your outdoor HVAC units free of pollen, leaves and grass.
  • Make sure there is at least 3 feet of clear space around all outdoor HVAC units.
  • Make sure your thermostat is programmed with the correct time and updated for daylights savings time.
  • Keep the space around all indoor HVAC units clear and clutter free.
  • HVAC vents should be free from obstruction (i.e. dust and pet hair).

Every Few Months

  • Check the refrigerant lines running to your air conditioning units.
  • Replace your air filter once every 3 months.
  • In the Fall months, replace the humidifier filter and turn back on the water to the furnace humidifier.

Every Year

  • Replace your carbon monoxide detector battery.
  • Schedule a maintenance service call before the heating and cooling seasons start.

By following the above mentioned tips, you can ensure that your HVAC systems will be around for many years to come!

Plumbing services in in Newburgh, Middletown, Port Jervis and surrounding NY areas – Common Problems

10 of the most common plumbing problems you’ll find in your home

Research shows that homeowners, depending on the age of their home, will call a plumber once every three years. Though we’ve seen a wide variety of plumbing problems, we generated a list of what our technicians most commonly see in the homes they service.

  • No hot water – Water heater issues are the most common reason people call plumbers. If this issue arises, there are a few steps to take to determine if the hot water issue can be repaired without calling a professional. For those who have a gas water heater with a pilot light, make sure the light is lit. Ensure the temperature setting on the water heater is set high enough to provide the correct amount of hot water. Make sure the water heater is big enough to meet your family’s needs.
  • Clogged/Slow drains – This can often be avoided by being careful about what you put down drains. Don’t pour grease down the drain and always use a strainer to catch food particles or hair.
  • Dripping faucets – This is a very common issue that most homeowners will face as the washers in faucets break or wear out. It is possible to extend the life of one’s faucet washers by not turning the faucet off with too much force.
  • Leaking pipes – Even small leaks can cause extensive and expensive damage to floors, walls, and your personal belongings. To prevent a small leak from getting worse, you should check your pipes every so often for rust or white lime deposits that can signal the start of a leak.
  • Leaking water heaters – The best way to deal with leaking water heaters is to replace them. Leaks typically start with rusting through the bottom of the water storage tank, and once this happens, the unit cannot be repaired.
  • No heat – Broken furnaces or boilers can lead to freezing temperatures, especially on those brutally cold winter nights. You should check your heating system before the weather gets cold.
  • Running toilets – You may be familiar with the noise that a running toilet makes, but don’t let that sound be the sound of your hard-earned money going down the drain. Running toilets can add more than $100 to your annual water bill.
  • Leaking toilets – A leaking toilet is one of the most frustrating and potentially expensive home plumbing repair problems. Don’t delay a service call.
  • New faucet installation – Many homeowners replace faucets for decorative reasons, and they can really update the look of a room. Choose low-flow models to reduce water consumption.
  • Malfunctioning garbage disposals – Your garbage disposal can be an extremely messy and frustrating problem to fix, but most issues can be prevented if you watch what you are putting down the sink. Avoid any hard or greasy items and make sure to rinse with plenty of water.

Plumbing in in Newburgh, Middletown, Port Jervis and surrounding NY areas – Top 5 Maintenance Tips

If you can master a few basic plumbing tips and tricks, you will be surprised to find out how you can greatly reduce damage and destruction to your home from a plumbing disaster. The trouble with home plumbing problems is that they have a way of sneaking up on you and most often at the worst possible time.

Here are the top 5 home plumbing tips that will help you prevent your next plumbing disaster:

1. Be on the look-out for water leaks

Small water leaks can and often lead to much larger water leaks. Be alert to signs that more issues could be on the way. Leaking faucets, damp cabinets, rocking toilets or dripping refrigerators are all symptoms that require fast and corrective action.

2. Repair any issues as soon as you find them

A leaking faucet isn’t just annoying, the moisture puts wear on sink fixtures and allows mold and mildew to grow. Another way to spot a plumbing leak is to pull your refrigerator away from the wall at least once a month. If you see water, you may have a leaking icemaker. Also, small puddles could be worse than larger ones, as this can indicate that water is soaking into your floor.

3. Know how to react to overflows

If water is gushing from your sink, toilet or anywhere else, locate your home’s main shut-off valve for the water supply. If it’s in a dark, hidden or hard-to-reach place, gather any tools you’ll need for a quick shut off and store them nearby. There is nothing like the frustration of a missing flashlight or a misplaced shut-off key when water is pouring out of a broken pipe.

Helpful tip: Know where your plumbing shut-off valve is located before something happens. Learning how to shut off your home’s water in an emergency can avoid costly water damage, plus save you money and a ton of aggravation.

4. Know where your water shut off is located for your appliances

You should also know how to shut off the water to individual sinks, toilets, washing machines and other water-using appliances. Knowing how to shut off the water supply when there’s a problem can reduce the potential damage and destruction as well as take some of the pain out of your cleanup efforts.

5. Know what kind of pipe material you have

Know what material was used in constructing your pipes. If your home was built before 1970, you may have galvanized iron pipes that can eventually rust and corrode, causing the water pressure to drop and a brown tint to appear. When this happens, the pipes must be replaced by an experienced plumbing specialist.