Advice From the Pros

Keeping Your Pets Cool During The Summer

Keeping Your Pets Cool In The Summer

Keeping Your Pets Cool In The Summer

When the temperatures climb from the 70’s to the 90’s we have a problem staying cool. Now imagine that you have black fur and are currently stuck in a backyard without any trees for shade. It becomes almost unbearable as your black fur absorbs the sunlight and heat scorching downward. It is important to remember our fur family as the days get longer and hotter. We have compiled a list of tips to help you keep your pets cool during the summer months.

 

Shade

 

If your pet is an outside pet, you have to provide them with some form of shade. A covered porch or an awning is nice. A shade tree is even better. You can pop up a sunshade using PVC pipe and a few yards of shade cloth for your pet in the corner of the yard. A dog house is great, except that if it does not have proper air circulation, it becomes an oven instead. You create a dog pallet palace using old pallets as the sides and the roof. Because of the way pallets are built, they provide excellent air circulation.

 

Water

 

Animals need a source of water when they are outside. The summer months are no different, except that they need more water to keep themselves cooler. The water in a bowl will evaporate quicker, leaving your pup thirsty by mid-afternoon (the hottest part of the day). There are several ideas on how to keep the water fresh and cool for your pup. The first is to freeze the water in the bowl and then set it out for your animals to drink. This way as the sun melts the ice, your pup has a fresh cool drink all day. The second is to install a water feature in your yard that is specifically for your animals. Something with a fountain and shallow pool will allow your pets to drink and will aerate the pool to keep the mosquitoes from breeding in it. But my personal favorite is when people use their ingenuity and skills to create a solution to the problem. Check out these really amazing ways to keep your animals fed and watered over the summer.

 

No Haircuts

 

Contrary to popular belief, shaving an animal’s fur DOES NOT cool them down. An animal’s layers of fur help to protect them. They help block out the heat and harmful rays of the sun. Instead of shaving all of their fur off; simply brush them. Removing a little bit of excess fur, not to mention the dirt and debris that accumulates on outside animals, can help the animals to regulate their temperature better, With a mix of the shade, cool water, and layers of fur, your animal should have no problems staying happy in the backyard when the weather hits 90 degrees.

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Keeping Summer Cooling Costs Down

Keeping Summer Cooling Costs Down

Keeping Summer Cooling Costs Down

Texas gets hot, I mean really hot, during the Summer. Often times our HVAC unit has to work around the clock just to keep up with the intensity of the Summer sun. As the temperatures climb, your electric bill tends to do the same. Here are some ways that you can keep your cooling bill down while the temperature outside goes up.

 

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate

 

Whether it is spray foam along the bottom of your home or weather stripping around the door, every little space and crack allows warm air to seep into your home. Make certain that there is insulation on the base of the windows and doors. Insulate your wall outlets with specially designed foam insulators (They keep the mice out too). Check the insulation in your attic and add more if needed. Years of sitting can compress the insulation, so you need to be certain that it stays fluffy to do its job. If you have the financial means to do so, invest in energy efficient windows and doors. Products with the Energy-Star label have passed a Performance test done by the National Fenestration Rating Council.

 

Shade it All

 

Shade your home both inside and out. Growing shade trees is one way to lower the temperature both outside and inside your home. The Department of Energy estimates that air temperatures under trees “can be as much as 25°F cooler than air temperatures above nearby blacktop.” Large shade trees take time to grow, so you can plant quick growing shrubs until your trees have reached the appropriate height. When shading the inside of your home, look for ways to not only block the light but also reflect it. Window Tints come in DIY packaging and are a fairly inexpensive way to cool your home. The tint reflects the light back off of the door or window, thereby reducing the amount of light and heat that make it into the house. Blackout shades also lower the amount of light and heat that enter a room, thereby dropping the temperature variance. Attaching shades to the outsides of your windows, especially the large bay windows, is also a great way to lower the temperature in your home.

 

Bar-B-Que

 

It’s the Summertime! The best (and tastiest) way to lower the temperatures in your home is to cook outside. If you are not having to heat up the kitchen with all of the appliances, then your HVAC unit does not have to work as hard to bring the temperature back down again. Give your stove, microwave, and oven a break this Summer. Go outside. Cook over the grill or an open fire. Enjoy being with your family and friends, and give your AC a break. If you turn the lights off in the house and only sit on the patio, you’ll be saving electricity there too. Saving money, sharing memories, and eating good food. THAT is what Summer is all about.

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HVAC Unit

5 Factors Affecting the Life Span of your HVAC Unit

Coming home from work on a Friday evening to find that your HVAC unit is not functioning is an incredibly frustrating way to start the weekend. There is a multitude of factors that affect the lifespan of your HVAC unit, and thankfully with some forethought and prevention, you can extend how long it continues to run.HVAC Unit

HVAC Unit Maintenance

The most important factor in extending that life of your unit is proper upkeep and maintenance. You can perform some of the maintenance yourself, while other parts should be done by a trained HVAC specialist. Starting outside, make sure to remove debris and grass from around the unit. Foliage should be no closer than two feet from the unit. Check the refrigerant lines and be certain that the insulation around them has not started to deteriorate. Take a hose and spray off the dirt accumulated on the coils of your unit. Check the condensation drip pan and run a mixture of bleach and water down the drains to flush the line. Double check the return vent inside the home to make sure that it has not been blocked, and while you are there, change the filter.

Air Filter

How often should I change my air filter? Changing the filter is another way that you can extend the life of your unit. A dirty or clogged filter puts a strain on your HVAC unit. Many places suggest that at the minimum you change your filter every 90 days. If you are using a micro-particle filter, it is recommended that you change your filter monthly. Sometimes depending on where you live and the season, you may need to change your filter twice a month. When there is heavy pollen or dust in the air, the filters need to be changed more often.

Location

Your location and the location of your unit also plays a role in its lifespan. If you live in a dry, arid climate then dust accumulates around the coils and filters more quickly. This will require frequent cleanings to keep your unit functioning properly. Humidity also plays a role in the life of your unit. If there is too much humidity or too little humidity during certain seasons, it creates changes in how you feel the ambient temperature of your home. This results in frequent adjustments of the thermostat. Experts recommend that during the summer months, humidity needs to be kept below 60% in your home. Your air conditioning unit already works hard to pull the moisture from the air, so either fitting your unit with a dehumidifier or adding a stand-alone dehumidifier will allow the humidity to stay within a comfortable range to keep excess moisture from accumulating and causing problems. Too little humidity during the winter months creates a drying effect with the warmer air, which makes the ambient temperature feel less heated. 35% humidity is recommended during the winter months to provide a comfortable level of heated moisture in the air. You can ask your HVAC company to install a humidifier within your unit or purchase a stand-alone humidifier. The drawback to the stand-alone units is that you will have to take the humidity readings yourself to determine their levels.

Constant Operation

Units that run around the clock also have a shortened lifespan. A constantly running unit sees more wear and tear over a short period of time. Frequent cleanings, filter changes, programmable thermostats, and regular maintenance allow your unit to run efficiently, which cuts down on the frequency in which the unit has to run. Also, look at the location in which your outdoor unit is housed. Is it in the direct sun during the summer months? Is the grass grown up around the unit? Is it located out in the open to collect dust coming from the driveway? Protecting your outdoor unit from the elements will allow it to work more efficiently. This preventative measure means you have less work to do in order to keep it cleaned out and cooled off.

Quality Installation

Last, but most certainly not least, you need to make sure that the installation of your unit is put in by a qualified HVAC professional who has been trained to outfit your home with the unit that fits it most efficiently. A larger unit does not necessarily make it a more efficient unit for your home. Making sure that the ductwork is properly placed, the venting is situated effectively, and everything is sealed properly will make a world of difference in the life of your unit. Regular annual maintenance by a qualified professional will also extend your unit’s lifespan. They should have a list of things to check for the changing of the seasons and for annual maintenance. Although it may cost you a little money to maintain, an efficient unit will not only help you save on your energy bills, it will provide you with years of service, paying for itself in the long run.

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