At this point in August, you’re likely feeling the heat — both when it comes to weather and your air conditioning bill! In the midst of elevated temperatures, the only thing on your mind is relief. Turning up the air conditioning is an obvious way to cope, but this results in higher costs for keeping cool.
Keep your bill from rising with these simple and helpful tips on fighting these common culprits. This way, there are no surprises ahead with your bill!
- Reduce the sunlight
This is an obvious one, but worth bringing up as a cost-savings measure. Summer rays are some of the hottest of the year, increasing the temperatures inside your home to rival outside.
Instead of cranking up the air conditioning — especially when you aren’t home — try and keep the sun out in the first place. Draw the blinds and close the curtains to block sunlight in the crucial afternoon hours. Having a lower temperature to start with keeps your system from having to work too hard or too long to make it nice and cool.
- Maintain your windows
Beyond keeping the curtains closed, check your windows for any leaks. Poorly sealed windows will let cool air escape and affects the air quality within your home. Plus, it makes your air conditioning system work harder as it has to constantly cool warm air instead of maintaining a cooler temperature.
You can deal with this by ensuring you have energy efficient windows installed with weather stripping to eliminate any leaks. There is a cost for window replacement or maintenance, but you’ll definitely save in the long run as your cooling bills drop.
- Replace your air filters
We care about your HVAC system here at Afterglow, and you should too! This system keeps your air circulating properly, helping to keep things cool. If your air filters are dirty, they work harder to move air throughout your home.
Thankfully, replacing your filters is an easy way to keep things flowing the way they should. It reduces the amount of energy your HVAC system uses so your air will be cleaner and your family will be healthier. And it’s something you can do yourself!
- Update your thermostat
Advances in technology means that today’s smart home thermostats can offer even more convenience, especially when it comes to your cooling bill. Programmable thermostats adjust the temperature automatically when you’re away from home. A learning thermostat will adapt to your preferences over time, taking the thinking out of keeping your home cool.
- Get your system serviced
Having your system operating at peak efficiency is essential for keeping your cooling costs down. Bringing in the experts from Afterglow to clean coils, check connections and ensure that your system’s coolant is at its proper levels. This also helps eliminate any surprises during hot long weekends!
Rely on Afterglow for honest and professional service. When it comes to keeping your home comfortable, you need someone you can trust. For service emergencies, call 519-747-7732 for a guaranteed response time of four hours or less.
With summer upon us, the heat seems like it is here to stay! Of course, a heatwave may drive the temperatures up to the point of discomfort — making us all a little irritable and tired. Thankfully, we have some tips on how to manage the high temps for some relief.
1) Stay hydrated
This should go without saying, but everyone needs a little reminder now and then. Drink water — especially in the summer! If you’re spending the day outdoors, whether it be at work or on the beach, the number one priority is to avoid heat stroke. Drinking lots of water throughout the day will help keep your body temperature low. Tip: If you’re going to be outside all day, put your water bottle in the freezer and let it melt throughout the day for an ice cold beverage.
2) Keep your window dressings closed during the day
Here’s an easy to save on your energy bill… keeping your windows and blinds closed! During the day, the sun can increase the temperatures inside your home. Keeping blinds and curtains drawn to block out the sun is simple and effective way to keep the heat out of your home. If you want to maintain some light throughout your home, then only cover up the the south facing parts of your home where the sun is hitting the hardest. This helps your air conditioning unit work more efficiently too.
3) Don’t turn on the oven
It may seem difficult because we know baking, roasting or broiling is simple, but turning your oven on in the dead of summer is one of the quickest ways to heat up your home. Plus, that heat hangs around in the air and can make it difficult to drop the temperature even after the meal is made. Try preparing meals on the stovetop or the barbecue instead, or focus on cold meals that require little in the way of cooking.
4) Regularly replace your filters
Keep an eye on the filters in your air conditioner. Maintaining your filters can keep energy costs low, and prevent dust and mold from circulating around your home. Most importantly, your filters are what keep your air conditioner or central air system running efficiently. In the summer, if the filters on your air conditioner are dirty or haven’t been checked in a while, the chances are your A/C unit is not doing its job. In general, you should check your filters once and month and replace them every two to three months.
5) Get maintenance done on your HVAC systems yearly
Simply put, the best way to ensure your air conditioner is going to work efficiently this summer is by getting regular maintenance check-ups. As noted before, you should replace your filters every few months. You should also be sure to call your HVAC technician for the things you can’t do yourself! Regular maintenance will help prevent allergens, bacteria and molds from spreading throughout your home. These check-ups will also prevent any potential breakdowns of your A/C unit, because no one wants to go through this heatwave without any A/C at all!
Contact Afterglow to ensure your home isn’t overheating this summer. You can count on us for honest, professional service to keep your home comfortable and a low-pressure sales team to answer all your questions. For service emergencies, call 519-747-7732 for a guaranteed response time of four hours or less.
There’s a YouTube tutorial for virtually anything these days. But watching a “How-To” video on HVAC repairs doesn’t make you an expert. Although it would be nice to keep your costs down by doing the work yourself, no matter how many videos you watch — you still won’t be as good as a trained professional!
Here are three reasons why you should never conduct HVAC installations and repairs by yourself:
1) Special equipment is a must
You can’t fix everything with a hammer and nails — or a bit of duct tape! There are specific tools required to accurately identify and fix HVAC repair problems. One wrong tool can completely destroy your unit — HVAC technicians are trained extensively to use these tools and technologies.
2) No license? That’s a problem
As previously stated, HVAC technicians are highly trained. HVAC repairs are complex, and often require precise calculations to reflect the size of your home’s HVAC unit. If these calculations do not add up, there could be significant damage caused to both your unit and potentially your home.
3) You can potentially endanger yourself and your family
As grim as it sounds, an amateur job poses the risk of severe injury or death. It should go without saying that working with flammables, refrigerants, high electrical voltage and toxic fumes is not for your average Joe or Jane. A standard WHMIS training session won’t cut it. An insufficient fix can still cause a fire or release of carbon monoxide into your home.
So, what can you do by yourself?
While you should leave the big jobs up to the professionals, you can still do some regular check ups yourself. For example, you should be checking and cleaning your filters regularly to ensure the air quality in your home is high. Failure to clean your filters will result in your unit overworking itself, which will lead to larger repair problems.
Secondly, you should be checking the batteries for your carbon monoxide detector frequently to make sure your home is safe from poisonous gas.
Stay safe and hire a professional for your home’s HVAC maintenance. Contact Afterglow for honest, professional service to keep your home comfortable. For service emergencies, call 519-747-7732 for a guaranteed response time of four hours or less.
After being cooped up in the house from all the rain this spring, it’s time to transition from cool days spent indoors to the promise of better weather and sunny skies with great outdoor activities. Afterglow has you covered with five things to do in KW to get fresh air this season:
Image courtesy of: http://www.thehydrocut.ca
1) Hydrocut Trails
The Hydrocut Trails with over 30km of combined 26 trails, KW’s Hydrocut Trails is one of the top mountain bike riding locations in Ontario. The trails are free to use and have a variation of novice, intermediate, and expert trails — fun for everyone, even the kids! Owned and operated by the Waterloo Cycling Club, there are different rides each week ranging from ladies rides, to novice rides, to skills rides. The trails are a great way to take in the summer air while trying your hand at something new.
Image courtesy of: Twitter @ParkMoviesKW
2) Movies in the Park at Waterloo Park
Every Summer, Princess Cinemas teams up with The Beat Goes on to present free movies in the park in July and August. Attendees are encouraged to bring a donation for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. What better way to get fresh air than by watching a movie in the great outdoors and contributing to a good cause? Stay tuned to the @ParkMoviesKW Twitter account for screening dates.
Image courtesy of: The Cord
3) Picnic in Victoria Park
If you’re looking for a free and fun way to spend some quality time with your friends and family, then fill your cooler up with snacks and beverages, grab a big blanket, and head on over to Victoria Park for a delicious afternoon in Kitchener’s oldest and most beautiful park. Once you’re done eating, you can head on over to the man-made lake and watch the geese swim or enjoy the live music playing at the historic Boathouse.
Image courtesy of: Explore Waterloo Region
4) St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market
Every Thursday and Saturday, take a stroll around the St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market where you can purchase local produce, delectable meats and cheeses, baked goods and more. Even if you don’t want to cash out, you can always enjoy the atmosphere. The vendors and the aromas of all the delicious foods alone will make you want to stay all day.
Image courtesy of Herrle’s
5) Strawberry Picking at Herrle’s
10 acres of fresh strawberries ready for picking, all in the open air! Come to Herrle’s in mid-June when strawberry picking season is at its peak. The best times for berry picking are early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. Visit Herrle’s website for more information on the best practices for strawberry picking and for updates on season opening dates.
Contact Afterglow to ensure the air quality in your home is as fresh as it is outside! You can count on us for honest, professional service to keep your home comfortable and a low-pressure sales team to answer all your questions. For service emergencies, call 519-747-7732 for a guaranteed response time of four hours or less.
It’s easy to get excited about the warmer weather but forgetting to properly transition your home from winter to spring can quickly disrupt your fun in the sun. Before you completely push the winter months out of your mind, it is important to know the common mistakes made when transitioning from season to season. Luckily, Afterglow knows the top three most common mistakes you should avoid to ensure you and your home are completely ready for a beautiful spring season.
Mistake #1 – Assume everything is fine
One of the most common mistakes when transitioning from season to season is assuming everything is in good shape simply because you checked it at the end of the last season. In reality, the opposite is true, especially between winter and spring. To get your house ready for the wet spring weather, you’ll first need to assess the extent of the damage caused by the ice and snow. A quick, basic inspection includes checking the gutters and roof for any damage, verifying that all the pipes made it through the cold without breaking, and ensuring that windows and doors are still properly sealed to prevent your heating/cooling bills from increasing.
Mistake #2 – Assume that snow is the only thing collecting in the gutters
If you cleaned your gutters before winter began there shouldn’t be a lot to clean out now, but it’s still important to check on them. At the base of the gutters clean up any twigs, leaves or other debris that may have gathered over the winter so it will be able to flow correctly. If there’s any remaining ice you can add some ice melt tablets or de-icing salt to get it running and make sure that they are flowing properly to prevent flooding. If gutters are clogged, water will overflow onto or into the house and also will be trapped in the gutter after rain. This moisture will cause rot in wood fascia and soffit boards (the wood near where gutters are attached).
Mistake #3 – Forgetting to check vents and filters
Your new motto is: if it has a screen, it should be cleaned!
All winter, any exterior ventilation has been closed off by snow, ice or your run-of-the-mill yard debris. Cleaning these areas will help them start the drying out process by allowing the spring airflow to come through. Vents can usually be found under the eaves and around the base of the home. Mend or replace broken screens and remove any debris that may block it. Another important vent to check is the dryer vent which should be cleaned or replaced every six months or it could overheat and start a fire. Finally, clean (or replace) the filters for your A/C unit so you don’t run into any hiccups in the middle of a heat wave this year!
Contact Afterglow for your Spring-prep needs! You can count on us for honest, professional service to keep your home comfortable and a low-pressure sales team to answer all your questions. For service emergencies, call 519-747-7732 for a guaranteed response time of four hours or less.