Signs That You Need a New Air Conditioner

Air Conditioner 2

Air-Conditioning systems not only consume huge amounts of a home’s total energy budget, they also directly affect the comfort and well-being of your family. If you are experiencing problems with your air-conditioning unit, it may need to be replaced and you may need to immediately contact licensed, HVAC certified top professionals who will provide you with great consultation, the best products, and the most trouble-free air conditioning installation.

Here are some telltale signs that your unit may be about to fail.

  • It’s Old – Air conditioner units should be expected to have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. If yours is this old or older, it is time to replace with a new unit. Also, older systems are usually half as efficient as newer models on the market today. So replacing your older unit to a more efficient one can reduce your electricity bills by 30 to 40%. This saving will begin immediately and continue over the lifetime of the system.
  • More and More Repairs – As an air conditioners ages, it typically needs to be repaired more. If you are finding that you are seeing your HVAC contractor more frequently, this is a sure sign that your unit is going bad and needs to be replaced soon. So, you need to weigh up whether it is worth the increased repair bills for a unit that will fail soon.
  • Air is Not Cool and Home Has Too Much Humidity – The amount of cool air coming from your air conditioner should be on-demand and consistent. If at some point, you discover that even at full blast, the air coming from your vents just isn’t as cold as it used to be, this could be a sign that your system is in need of serious repair or it might be time to replace the unit.

Air conditioners not only cool the home, they also remove humidity. As air conditioners age, they may not effectively dehumidify the home, and the indoor air quality is drastically reduced. A high level of home humidity may be a sign that you need a new system.

  • Air Conditioner Runs Too Long – An additional indicator that you may need a new air conditioning system is inefficiency. This often means that your air conditioner runs too long with no noticeable cooling of your home. There can be several reasons for this, including issues with the ducts, but it can also mean it is time for the unit to be replaced.
  • Reduced Air-Flow – If the air-flow coming from your AC has gotten weaker, or you find that some rooms are getting sufficient air-flow while others hardly get any, the unit’s compressor may be failing.
  • Strange Noises or Smells – Unusual noises including squealing, grating, and grinding sounds, or bad smells coming from your air conditioner might mean it is having serious problems. These may imply that something is wrong inside the unit or that your duct system is not compatible with your cooling system. Further inspection by a professional  might reveal that the entire system may need to be replaced.

Like all electrical devices, air conditioning units eventually fail. Recognize the signs that it is failing long before it actually occurs, so you do not end up with no AC on the hottest day of the year. A new air-conditioning unit will not only save you money in the long run, but will add to your overall comfort of you and your home.

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You Can Update Your Bathroom on a Budget

bathroom

When you’re remodeling your bathroom with a limited budget, there are many things that you can do to make it look and feel great.

Granite Countertops

The trend in countertops these days is granite and kitchens and bathrooms have been the beneficiaries. Granite countertops can modernize any space and make it look rich too. Granite is expensive, but the good news is there are alternatives that have a similar look and sometimes feel as granite (but not the durability), at a fraction of the price. These include laminate, Corian and even Quartz. Check pricing in your area and you may find a great deal.

Fresh Paint

New paint is probably the most underappreciated, yet impactful change you can make in a bathroom. The first time you walk in after it is painted you will feel like you are not only in a new room, but a new house. If your bathroom is small, lean toward light colors, because it will make it look roomy. If you have a larger bathroom, try darker tones and even mix colors (light and dark) to highlight the depth of the room. Also, you may consider painting the cabinets as well as this can add to the new feel of the room. Use the colors of your shower curtain, faucet and hardware to guide you.

New Faucets and Showerheads

One place you should definitely focus on to perk up your old bathroom is faucets and showerheads. If you pick the right ones, they can add a certain sophistication, and a large portion of personal style. There are even electronic bathroom faucets available today. The point is that chosen well, they blend quality and style and make the space come alive. Also many are energy-efficient and help save on your water bills.

Showerheads and faucets come in a range of styles, materials and prices and you can lose your budget here, so be careful. But, you don’t have to go overboard. Yes, solid-brass faucets look great, but so do polished chrome, and they cost a fraction of the price, and they stay looking and working great for a long time. Be sure also that your towel hooks, racks and hardware match the material of the showerheads and faucets, so everything complements.

New Tile

New floor and wall tiles brighten a room and add a new look. Try new colors and textures and see how your bathroom transforms. The best part is there are many budget priced tiles today to fit any style bathroom. Also, put in an exhaust or replace the old one if it is noisy.

You’ll be thrilled at how easily you can update your bathroom without having to spend too much. These fixes are small jobs but can make a real difference. If you are not handy at all consider hiring professionals for any plumbing and electrical issues.

Focus on the most important fixes first and the minor ones after. Your bathroom will be the best room in the house in no time!

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Uses of Sand in The Construction & Building Industries

sand

Sand is often used as a contraction material within the building and construction industries. It’s usually supplied as back run sand, beach sand, white mason sand, utility sand, filtering sand, septic sand, fill sand (aka sand fill), concrete sand and mason sand. Here we’ll discuss and expand on each of these sand types and their specific uses within the construction and building industries.

Back Run Sand

This is type of sand can either be quite coarse or fine, and is usually used as concrete mix for either fence posts and patios. The colouring is usually a mixture between gold, beige or tan.

White Mason Sand

White mason sand is a specific type of mason sand that is used in specific applications such as mixing with mortar and concrete when laying bricks or white blocks. This sand is favoured for this application as it leaves a nice white mortar line between the bricks.

Mason Sand

Mason sand comes quite coarse, and like white mason sand it is primarily used to mix with concrete and mortar to lay bricks, blocks and stone. Unlike white mason sand, general mason sand comes in a variety of colours brown, white, beige, grey or tan.

Concrete Sand

Concrete sand is quite coarse as it is used for mixing with cement for larger applications. It is also often used in septic systems due to its coarse texture.

Fine Utility Sand

Fine utility sand is usually used as a back fill around utility piping. It is quite fine compared to most other sand we’ve discussed, making it the perfect option for placing around fragile underground pipes. Other applications include being used to back fill trenches and to fill sand bags.

Utility Sand

Utility sand is also quite fine and is primarily used for the exact same applications as fine utility sand.

Beach Sand

Beach sand comes in a variety of colours, ranging from beige, grey, brown and tan. This type of sand is often used when building patios or verandas, playgrounds, sandboxes and sometimes even creating fake beach settings.

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How To Gauge The Effectiveness Of A Security System

security system
security systems, CCTV
Photo by CC user Chapendra on Flickr.

Everyone wants to feel completely secure in their home. That is why it is extremely important to have a fully-functioning security system that will protect the entire property from both the inside and the outside.
Security systems need to be working perfectly in order for it to provide the maximum amount of protection. Read this helpful guide about how to gauge the effectiveness of a security system.

Test The Alarms On A Regular Basis

The alarms inside and outside the house are probably the most important aspect of the entire security system. These alarms will alert homeowners if anyone tries to break into the property. However, faulty alarms will allow burglars to enter the property undetected. A break-in could potentially cost the homeowners thousands of dollars, so the alarms should be tested on a monthly basis to make sure that they are still working correctly.

The alarms should be replaced if they do not go off correctly, or if they happen to be too sensitive. Alarm systems by Aust-Guard Security Services are rigorously tested before they can be sold.

Check The Quality Of Security Cameras

Security cameras are important because they will be able to track and film anyone who is trying to break into the property. Cameras should be tested to make sure that the images are completely clear, otherwise, it could be hard to prosecute someone in court. Flickering or freezing images need to be fixed as soon as possible.

Cameras need to have a panoramic view of the outside of the property. Otherwise, burglars can hide in “blind spots” and enter the house undetected. The cameras should be fixed if there happen to be areas that aren’t covered. Also, the zoom function of the CCTV should be tested to make sure that this is working properly.

Check The Effectiveness Of Security Lights

The garden is one of the most vulnerable parts of any property, and potential burglars will attempt to climb the garden fence in order to access the back of the house. It is important to have some security measures in place to make sure that the backyard is completely secure.

The best way to increase security in the garden is to install some motion-sensor lights. These powerful floodlights will turn on at night if there is any movement in the garden. As well as alerting homeowners to the presence of an intruder, the sudden shock of being bathed in powerful light will hopefully cause the potential burglar to flee the premises.

The security lights should be tested on a regular basis to ensure that they are working correctly. If the lights fail to turn on, or the bulbs start to flicker, then the lights need to be repaired by an electrician as soon as possible.

Check The Effectiveness Of Security Gates

Security gates which can only be opened with a special card or a password help to make homes more secure. However, if the wiring becomes faulty then the gates will not work properly. Test them regularly for any faults.
Use this guide to test the effectiveness of security systems.

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Popular Tree Trimming Techniques

There are many Popular Tree Trimming Techniques
Photo by CC user nightowl on Pixabay

Though most of us love big sprawling trees, they’re not always a good thing to have. In fact, sometimes a tree can grow too large in your yard, causing a viewing obstruction or even a safety hazard. In order to keep your tree alive and healthy as well as keep it within a good height range, it’s important to practice tree trimming once a year or even sometimes throughout the year. Generally speaking, you’ll want to hire a tree trimming and cutting service, such as Advance Tree Services as knowledge of safety measures and large equipment is sometimes needed, making the job best suited for experienced individuals. You may have already heard of some the most popular and widely used tree trimming techniques, such as crown lifting. Below you’ll find some more information on the technique, as well as a few reasons why you should trim your tree and a quick look at other techniques available.

Why should you trim your tree

There are several reasons why it is important to maintain a trimmed tree in the backyard of your home throughout the year. Some of the more important and popular reasons include your safety, the health of the tree and general aesthetics. First, your safety is always a number one priority. When trimming a tree, you’re able to rid it of broken or dead branches that pose a concern due to their high likelihood of falling down. Other safety concerns include branches situated too close to power lines or those that rest in such a way that they crowd streets, causing not only an eyesore, but a driving hazard as well.

Sometimes, a tree may also be in bad health, causing you to think that you need to destroy the entire tree. Luckily, this isn’t always the case and some situations allow you to strategically trim the diseased branches and limbs, therefore saving the rest of the tree. For those healthy trees that just need a facelift, trimming is a great way to do just that. With trimming you’re able to keep both the shape and desired height of your tree, allowing you to enjoy it consistently.

Crown lifting

One of the most popular tree trimming techniques available, crown lifting involves adding and increasing the clearance level between the lower branches of a tree and the ground below it. This technique allows you to choose a height in which you can cleanly walk underneath, to improve views into the rest of your yard, to clear power lines or to allow for more light to pass through and around the selected tree.

Other tree trimming techniques

Though most choose crown lifting as their trimming technique, there are other popular ways to trim a tree. These include a combination of three cuts (a notch cut, relief cut and final cut) that are used on large branches and the techniques of topping and thinning. When topping, you’re essentially cutting back the very top branches of the tree, decreasing its height in the process. When thinning, you’ll find yourself cutting back random branches throughout the width and height of the tree, making it thinner in the process.

Tree trimming is a natural part of a tree’s life and in many cases increases the value and the health of the tree. Though there are several different methods available, only a few are both quick and effective, offering great results. While some choose to only trim a small amount, oftentimes larger amounts of branches and limbs need to be accessed, at least during the first trim. Crown lifting and the other techniques mentioned above achieve just that.

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Affordable ways to revamp a kitchen

Affordable ways to revamp a kitchen

Looking to revamp a kitchen? Whether you are trying to add a little fresh life to your existing kitchen for daily use, are trying to increase your homes resale value, or just need more space to cook for more people there are plenty of affordable ways to revamp a kitchen. If it is your dream home, an investment property or even a vacation house, here are a few of our favorite ways to revamp a kitchen on a budget.

Paint the Cabinets
Cabinets make up the bulk of most kitchens, so adding a splash of paint to existing cabinets can really change the feel of your kitchen. Pick a color that will look spectacular in your kitchen and be sure to be kitchen-ready paint so it holds up and in a day you can feel like a you have a brand new kitchen straight out of a home living magazine.

New Cabinet Handles
Affordable ways to revamp a kitchen
Another easy way to spruce up your kitchen without breaking the bank is to add new handles to your cabinets. Pick up  funky, modern, or retro cabinet handles and see how big a difference it really makes. It may seem minor but new handles can significantly change the look and feel of any kitchen making it one of the best affordable ways to revamp a kitchen.

Paint Walls
If you are already happy with the color of your cabinets or want to go the extra mile, consider painting your kitchen walls. Again, make sure you pick a kitchen durable paint but then go wild! Just like painting the cabinets, painting the walls can change the look and feeling of your kitchen dramatically and at a relatively low cost.

Change Chairs
Kitchen tables can get expensive but chairs can be done a lot cheaper. Picking up and sprucing up a set of used or vintage chairs or even buying a set from a mid-range retailer can really change the comfort and vibe of your kitchen while staying on a tight budget and compared to dining room sets, you usually don’t need too many as most kitchen tables seat under four and are fairly informal.

New Faucets
A new faucet can be a great selling point on a kitchen. It is one of the first appliances people look at when they enter the room. A bold, modern faucet can make a kitchen look a lot more expensive than it actually is. This is especially true with the latest high-tech hands free faucets which combine technology and style. A quality faucet is one of the best affordable ways to revamp a kitchen.

I hope these have been inspiration for your kitchen projects. Remember it doesn’t have to be pricey to look good, get creative and have fun revamping your tired kitchen into a modern masterpiece!

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