12 Items for Your Autumn Cleaning Checklist

Written by Smedley & Associates on . Posted in Uncategorized

Autumn cleaning. It doesn’tsound quite as catchy as”spring cleaning,” but some important maintenance tasks in the fall will prepare you for an icy Utah winter. Read the tips below to know how you can keep your home comfortable and energy efficient this fall and winter.

  1. Protect Your Pipes
    A burst pipe will quickly cause a flood of problems once the ice thaws out and water starts flowing. Some outdoor faucets include freeze-proof features, but you should drain or insulate any outdoor piping without those enhancements.
    If you’re unsure whether a pipe will risk freezing or not,ask a plumbing expert.
  2. Clean the Gutters
    Utah’s fall leaves are beautiful, but not when they clog up your gutter. A messy gutter is an eyesore, but it also causes issues in the winter, when ice dams start to form. Gutters direct water away from your home, but when a clogged gutter starts to freeze, that water might seep into your home instead. Additionally, too much ice build-up might weigh down your gutter enough for it to break off your house.
  3. Fertilize Your Lawn
    A lot of people remember to apply fertilizer in the spring, but a fall fertilization will help your lawn immensely. Usea nitrogen-rich fertilizer that will help your grass recover from an exhaustingly hot Utah summer and feed your lawn before it gets covered in white. Aproperly fertilized lawn will get green sooner in the spring, and your neighbors will ask you how you did it.
  4. Check That Chimney
    If you have a fireplace and traditional chimney, it’s essential to prepare them well for winter. Hire a chimney sweep to remove soot. Check the chimney crown and mortar for any wear and tear. Consider buying a chimney balloon if your chimney seems drafty. But don’t forget to take the balloon out before starting a fire.
  5. Look Around Outside
    Your home’s walls and roof won’t do much good this winter if they don’t form an effective shell. Make sure the walls and roof are in order-outdoor-rated caulking can help patch up any cracks.
  6. Seal Any Leaks
    Air leaks allow warm air to flow out of your house, so your furnace must keep working and your energy bill goes up. Check the following areas for escaping air:
    • Attic hatch
    • Ceiling
    • Doors
    • Fireplaces
    • Outlets and switches
    • Windows
    Use some caulk to seal any small leaks; larger projects might require outside professional help.
  7. Inspect Your Furnace
    Try and fit in a furnace inspection by an HVAC technician before winter comes. Just like a car,a furnace needs a regular tune-up to run efficiently and safely. And if you schedule an inspection early in the fall, you might beat the”HVAC rush”as it gets closer to winter.
    If your furnace is toast, buying a new furnace might seem prohibitively expensive, but federal tax credits can refund you that cost by as much as 30%.
  8. Replace All Filters
    If you ignore that filthy furnace filter, it will only end up costing you more money. A dirty filter impedes air flow and makes your heating system less efficient, which means a higher energy bill. You might need to replace them throughout the winter, depending on the type of filter you purchase.
  9. Check the Ducts
    Ductwork can be hard to get to, so have an HVAC technician inspect your ducts to make sure they function properly. Some estimates say that as much as 20% of the air in your central heating system might get lost as it moves through your air ducts. Make sure to seal and insulate all the duct joints in your hometo save heat and money.
  10. Add Some Insulation
    Ensure that your house is properly insulated. Check the bottom of the attic and the top of the basement for insulation. The scratchy material isn’t always pleasant to work with, but insulatio nmakes a huge difference in home heat retention.
  11. Watch the Thermostat
    You want you and your family to stay warm, but leaving your heat on all the time wastes money. At night or while on vacation, you might want to lower that thermostat for a bit. Consider buying a programmable thermostat, which will automatically adjust to your preferred temperatures all winter long.
  12. Reverse Ceiling Fans
    You might think fans only work for cooling your family off, but many ceiling fans have a reverse setting that will help your family keep warm as you move from autumn to winter. Warm air rises, and when the fan turns the correct way- clockwise in winter- the tilt of the fan’s blade will help send warm air back down to your level.

Fall is a wonderful season in Utah. While you enjoy some weekends by watching college football or heading up the canyon to see the leaves, don’t forget to do some autumn cleaning as well. If you need help with your fall maintenance routine,contact an HVAC professional to ensure you have everything ready for winter.

How to Determine If Your Baby Needs a Humidifier

Written by Smedley & Associates on . Posted in Uncategorized

Before you bring your beautiful infant home from the hospital, you want to make sure everything in your house is ready. You’ve picked out the perfect crib and repurposed your guest bedroom into a nursery space. You’ve even vacuumed all the carpets to clean up dirt and dust that could find their way into your baby’s mouth.

But in addition to all these cosmetic changes, you want to make sure that the environment of your living space keeps your baby healthy and comfortable. Though you may not have realized it, the air quality in your home has a big impact on your baby’s health. A little preparation can help your baby stay healthy and warm in his or her new home when you choose the right humidifier.

Not every home or every baby needs the same products, so we’ve compiled a list to help you make the right decision. Read through these seven reasons to see if your baby needs a humidifier to have a successful transition into your home environment.

You’ll know your baby needs a humidifier…

1. If You Notice Your Baby’s Dry Skin

Babies come into this world with sensitive skin. When you face the harsh desert climate, you can use creams and oils to help keep your skin from drying out-but your baby doesn’t have that option. The chemicals in most beauty products can irritate sensitive skin, so to keep your baby’s skin newborn soft, invest in a humidifier.

Some modern humidifier models also provide bacteria-free mist to help with psoriasis and eczema. Ask your HVAC professionals for more information about specially-made humidifiers if you or your baby suffer from these skin conditions.

2. If Your Baby Seems to Always Have a Cold

When you catch a cold, you have access to medicines that can decongest your system and relieve the pain. For babies-especially younger infants-you can’t always administer oral medicine. To make matters worse, babies can’t communicate to tell you how they feel when they cough and sniffle.

To help your baby breathe easy in the event of a cold or other infection, turn on the humidifier.

3. If You Have Allergies or Sinus Problems

If your seasonal allergies make you sneeze year-round, you want to get a humidifier that will keep your health problems from spreading to your little one. Sinus infections and other irritating conditions find relief in a more humid climate, so use a humidifier to transform your dry home into a warm oasis safe from disease.

A humidifier will keep you as healthy as possible so you have the energy to play with your child without worrying that you put him or her at risk for catching your germs.

4. If You Live in a Place with Harsh Winter Weather

Experts recommend that you keep your indoor humidity above 30% year-round. But heating systems-especially in dry climates-can cause the humidity to drop below 10% inside your home. To keep your baby comfortable during the winter without sacrificing air quality, you’ll want a humidifier to make up the difference.

5. If Your Nursery Is in an Isolated Location

If your family lives in a drafty basement apartment or if your nursery is the stuffiest room in the house, a humidifier will help you maintain the air quality. Many companies offer small, portable humidifiers that will help keep your baby comfortable in his or her crib without affecting the air in the entire house.

Smaller models also use less energy, and can be transported to the living room or kitchen where your baby eats or plays.

6. If Your Baby Has Trouble Sleeping

You will notice the changes in your sleep habits once you add another member to your family. In addition to the health benefits a humidifier offers to your child, the soothing hum of the machine can help you put your baby to sleep.

Some parents recommend the white noise of a humidifier to help your baby sleep more deeply, instead of causing them to wake up every time you close a door.

7. If You Worry About Your Baby’s Snoring

When you hear your baby struggling to breathe in the night, you might have concerns about their safety. Most snoring naturally results from a dry, itchy throat and is nothing to worry about. But the moisture produced by the humidifier will keep your baby’s throat clear and moist. The humidifier blows water vapor directly into the nursery’s air supply so you won’t have to fear for your child-or stay up listening to the noise.

 

When you purchase a humidifier, ask your local HVAC professionals about different features. Some humidifiers use air purifying technology to remove allergens and contaminants from the air. Others are designed to minimize environmental impact and conserve water. Whatever you prefer, make sure to maintain and clean your humidifier to avoid spreading germs.

For any home-and any child-a humidifier can help you improve your home environment. Remember these seven suggestions when you decide whether or not to purchase a humidifier for your new baby.

Why It’s Time to Replace Your Swamp Cooler with Central Air

Written by Smedley & Associates on . Posted in Uncategorized

As Utah summers get hotter, homeowners look for better options for indoor climate control. They may also look toward the roof only to see an aging swamp cooler on top.

Swamp (aka “evaporative”) coolers are common enough in Utah, as they work best in dry, arid climates. However, they function less effectively during sporadic monsoonal weather that brings humidity up from the south. These coolers also require extra maintenance work each spring and fall.

Air conditioners, on the other hand, work at the touch of a button. They cost more up front, but they come with a host of benefits.

If you want to replace an old swamp cooler, now may be a good time. However, before you decide, take a look at the workings of each cooling system.

Evaporative Cooler Facts

In the days before central air, homeowners cooled themselves off the old-fashioned way-with fans and damp cloths. Evaporative coolers work basically the same way:

  1. Hot air enters the outdoor unit, usually housed on the roof.
  2. Water-filled pads at the bottom of the unit cool the hot air.
  3. The cool air circulates through ducts and then leaves the house via return vents and windows.

Because a water line attaches to every swamp cooler, the cooler air also accumulates a little humidity. Homeowners also have to monitor air flow by keeping windows ajar, and they also need to weatherize their unit each spring and fall.

Swamp coolers are fairly inexpensive to install, even though they don’t control temperature as precisely or reduce airborne allergens as effectively as AC units. They also don’t work well during times of extra humidity (e.g., “monsoon season”).

Central Air Facts

These days, more homeowners than ever desire central air conditioning when they purchase a new home. Residents who install central air systems also tend to recoup their investment costs and sell their property more quickly than those with evaporative coolers.

In some ways, central air works the same as an evaporative cooler:

  1. Hot air enters an outdoor unit, normally housed by the side of a house or on the back patio.
  2. The air passes over refrigerants that cool it and send it indoors.
  3. Refrigerated air goes into a central HVAC unit, which blows the air through the home’s air ducts.
  4. Hot air exits through return vents.

The main differences between evaporative and centralcooling systems are:

  • Comfort – Air conditioning offers better indoor temperature control than a swamp cooler. During muggy months , central air also dries the air for greater relief indoors.
  • Cost – AC systems cost more initially, but they eliminate drafty windows and other energy inefficiencies. They also recoup their costs at home resale.
  • Care – An air conditioner is much easier to maintain than a swamp cooler. Just replace air filters regularly and clean coils periodically.
  • Control – Central air systems can better eliminate and control airborne irritants like smoke, polluted outdoor air, and other allergens. Modern AC units also sound quieter than old swamp coolers.
  • Convenience – AC units don’t require winterizing the way swamp coolers do. No need to make another dangerou s trip to the roof. Just call your HVAC technician for an annual service visit.

Since most homes already contain duct work, adding central air needn’t be invasive or time-consuming. Your HVAC specialist can tell you more and outline which units represent the best size for your home.

Further AC Benefits

It’s easy to spot a home that uses evaporative cooling. Aside from the obvious cooling box on the rooftop, you’ll also see telltale har d water stains on the shingles. Unfortunately, those stains may lead to roof damage over time.

By contrast, your AC unit sits out of sight and on the ground. Not only are temperatures cooler at ground level, making the cooling process easier on your unit, but passersby won’t see an ugly, rusty cooler on the rooftop. Your roofline will look more attractive and escape unsightly water stains, if not water damage as well.

If you think more about your current swamp cooler, you’ll also notice a decided “wind tunnel” effect in your hallways, along with rooms that either feel freezing cold or boiling hot, depending on the season and the cooler’s effectiveness.

Luckily, central air conditioning eliminates all these negative effects. At the touch of a thermostat button, you create uniform cooling power in every room, no matter what happens outside. And you’ll get rid of the wind tunnel for good.

Plus, if neighbors make too much noise, you don’t have to hear it through your open windows to stay cool.

Expert Assistance

If you’re still unsure whether central air is right for your home, you only have to call your HVAC experts for an estimate. They’ll offer insights you may not have considered before. Additionally, they can assess your home’s layout and energy use before you purchase your new system.

You won’t miss the hassle and inefficiency of a swamp cooler once you’ve sampled the benefits of AC. Contact your friendly HVAC sp ecialist for more information.

Hot and Cold: Learn About Plumbing Services in Ogden, UT

Written by Smedley & Associates on . Posted in Uncategorized

When you sit back and relax in the comfort and coolness of your home, do you ever think about the history of your air conditioner? We didn’t think so. Fortunately, we’ve done it for you. Air conditioners and heating systems have a unique history that every homeowner should know about.

Although air conditioners date back to the 2nd century, the first modern air conditioner was developed in 1902 for a publishing house to protect papers. Developers soon began to see that functioning HVAC systems were a valuable asset to any home or business. Today, HVAC systems range in size, style, and energy efficiency.

Energy Efficiency Tips

If you want to keep comfortable-and lower your utilities bill-try the following:

  • Properly insulate your home
  • Seal air leaks around doors and windows
  • Unplug your appliances (electronics still use energy when off)
  • Find an HVAC system that uses variable speed heat pumps

The next time you turn on your HVAC system, remember that a poorly fitted system costs homeowners and businesses thousands of dollars every year in extra fuel consumption. Don’t let an ill-fitted system drain your wallet. Find more facts and energy-saving tips in the infographic below. Then contact Smedley Service at 801.544.4480 for a free estimate on plumbing, heating, and AC in Layton, UT today.


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