Most homeowners have a “honey-do” list, even if they penned it themselves.
But when the outdoor temperature is equivalent to that of an oven, you may look at that list and think, “Honey, there’s no way I want to do anything outside.”
With windows usually closed and lots of dust accumulating inside, there are plenty of indoor home maintenance tasks needing your attention. You’ll feel productive – and breathe easier, too – when you shake the dust off your list and:
- Check your air conditioner filter. If it’s clogged with dirt – and it probably is if it’s been a few months since you took a good look at it – replace it with a new one. A dirty filter undercuts the efficiency of your air conditioner and can even cause it to shut down. Some of that dust travels right through the ducts and into your home, too.
- Clean out your dryer vent. A clogged vent wastes energy and forces your dryer to run longer. Worse, it can pose a fire hazard.
- Vacuum the coils on your refrigerator. Brace yourself for the moment you move the refrigerator away from the wall. If it’s been a while since you tackled this home maintenance task, you may be startled by the dust, dirt and crumbs you’ll find. Removing it all will help ensure the compressor doesn’t falter.
- Dust your ceiling fans. And be prepared for the clumps of dust you’re bound to find. Spread a drop cloth on the floor unless you are planning to mop or vacuum when you’re done. You can stop some of the dust from flying by cleaning the blades with a dryer sheet (because the dust will cling to the sheet). Since kitchen ceiling fans can be magnets for grease and grime, plan to clean the blades with a de-greaser after you remove the dust.
- Clean and deodorize your mattress. You may be wondering, “Is there really dust in there?” Health experts say that since dust is ubiquitous and penetrating, you can count on it. You also breathe the dust every night, so remove the mattress cover, vacuum the mattress and sprinkle baking soda over the top. Let it settle in so it can remove any odors before vacuuming again.
- Restore the full functionality of your keyboards. Turn older ones upside down first to shake free the loose particles that have fallen inside. Then spray compressed air around the keys before following up with a disinfectant wipe.
Dusting Off Your Las Vegas Home Maintenance Checklist
Like many of the home maintenance tasks above, going on a “dusting spree” will inevitably expand in scope. Make the most of your gathering steam and:
- Use dryer sheets or microfiber cloths instead of paper towels to get a grip on dust.
- Work from the top down in a room so you only need to vacuum or clean the floor once.
- After you’re finished dusting, restore a shine to surfaces (except wood) with a 50-50 mix of vinegar and water.
Lastly, cover your bases with an HVAC preventive maintenance membership. As you work feverishly on one Las Vegas home maintenance project after another, the last thing you need to worry about is your air conditioner shutting down. Keep your cool and call Instant Air today at (702) 385-2665.
At some point, you probably have received an envelope in the mail that was sealed so tight you had to use a pair of scissors to rip it open. Wouldn’t it be great, especially this summer, if your home’s envelope was sealed just as securely?
You will never be able to stop warm, outdoor air from trying to seep into your home; it’s going to happen no matter what you do. But you can make your home as cool as possible by taking four proactive steps: sealing your windows and doors; installing insulation; hanging sun-blocking window treatments; and using ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner.
Reinforce Your Envelope
Like many homeowners, you may have reconciled yourself to the fact that warm air naturally rises. But you may not know warm air also is determined to “chase” after cooler space. “During the summer, heat moves from outdoors to the house interior,” the U.S. Department of Energy says.
Warm air will eventually find a point of entry through a home’s envelope – a builder’s term that refers to a home’s attic and roof, subfloor, windows, exterior walls and doors. To combat this force of nature:
- Inspect your windows and doors for cracks, gaps and holes, but don’t rely on a visual inspection alone. Wait for a day with no outdoor breeze and run a lighter or feather around the perimeter. If the flame or feather flutters, a leak is present. Seal movable components with weather-stripping and stationary components with caulk, the Department of Energy There are many other places your home could be serving as a passageway for warm air (think of all the openings for wires and vents), so consult this handy guide for help in tracking them down.
- Insulate your home. Follow a “top-down” strategy and begin with the attic – a prime place for heat to congregate. Then work your way down the envelope, ensuring walls, ceilings, crawl space and basement contain both enough insulation and the proper R-value, or the amount of thermal resistance. Sometimes, there is more to installing insulation than may meet the eye. Since a properly insulated home could reduce your energy bills by 15 percent or more, it’s worth doing right and calling the professionals.
- Evaluate your window treatments. They should be closed during the day to block heat from entering (yes, even if your windows are sealed like a submarine). Since the full force of the afternoon sun may be no match for lightweight treatments, consider quilted window treatments or those with an insulating liner to block the heat.
- Run a ceiling fan in tandem with your air conditioner to create a wind-chill effect in a room, which should allow you to bump the temperature on the thermostat by 4 degrees without feeling one bit warmer. The higher temperature will save you money on your energy bill.
The Top Cooling Tip : Get Your Air Conditioner Tuned-Up
Of course, now is also the time to ensure your air conditioner is clean and running in peak condition so it doesn’t break down. Then again, with a preventive maintenance membership, you’ll never even have to give the subject a second thought. Call us at (702) 385-2665 for an annual tune-up and to safeguard one of the biggest financial investments you’ve made in your home.
You know from experience: just because you’re taking a vacation doesn’t mean your worries about what’s going on at home, like if your AC unit is running up your utility bill, take a vacation, too.
Of course, there’s a big difference between fleeting, intermittent thoughts of home and acute preoccupation, and the latter will probably interfere with the vacation you’ve planned, saved for and really want to enjoy.
Preparation is the surest way to liberate your anxieties so nothing goes haywire in your absence. Here are a few things to check off your list before locking up and leaving for vacation.
Secure Your AC Unit
- Schedule your annual air conditioner tune-up, if you haven’t already. Your AC unit needs to be cleaned and lubricated regularly to ensure it runs efficiently (and saves you money on operating costs) and doesn’t conk out when you want or need it most. Think of those first crucial minutes as you walk through the door from vacation, drop your suitcases and lower the thermostat to cool down your home. A malfunctioning AC unit is one of the last things you’ll want to contend with.
- Change your AC unit filter. Instant Air can do this for you during a tune-up, but it’s always a good idea to keep a few spare filters on hand. Check the filter every month and replace it when it’s so dirty you cannot see through it. And in our hot and dusty climate, the filter can get dirty in a hurry.
- Turn up your thermostat, but do not completely turn off your air conditioner while you’re on vacation. It may seem like a waste of energy because no one will be home to enjoy the cool air you have to pay for. However, wood floors, doors and cabinets can expand and buckle in the face of excessive heat, and doors may no longer close properly. Set your thermostat to 88 degrees – the rationale being that this is about 10 degrees higher than you should set your thermostat at in the summer while you’re home, according to the S. Department of Energy. At 88 degrees, it will be warm in your house, but not excessive. Plus, your air conditioner will still be working to reduce humidity in the air so you do not return to a sauna-like environment.
Take Other Smart Safety Precautions
Your AC unit may be your most looming concern, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Before you leave on vacation, be sure to:
- Turn off the main water supply. On the off-chance a pipe bursts while you’re on vacation, you will be spared a potential assault of thousands of gallons of water – and thousands of dollars in damages, too.
- Unplug every single electrical device that is plugged directly into a wall in case there is a power interruption (or worse: a lightning strike) while you’re away. For devices plugged into a surge protector, flip the switch to the “off” position.
- Put timers on lights throughout your home — in the back and front and on both levels — to foster the impression you’re home.
- Install a motion-activated sensor on a floodlight in the backyard to deter a would-be burglar.
Leave for Vacation Knowing Your Home & AC Unit Will Be Fine
Mark these items off your preparation checklist and have an Instant Air technician give a quick AC unit tune-up so you can rest easy while on vacation. Also, if you need us for any reason while you’re on vacation, give us a call at (702) 385-2665 and we can be there. We know full well: you need one less thing to worry about while you’re on vacation.