Monday, October 23, 2017

Fall has officially arrived in Southern Michigan, bringing with it a welcome lull in temperatures. With cooler days and even colder nights, your air conditioner is finally able to get a break from the hot summer months, but don’t send your HVAC system into hibernation yet. The subtle decrease in temperatures is the perfect time of year to prepare your HVAC system for the heating season. These 8 easy steps will ensure your HVAC system is ready to deliver when the winter months arrive.

Step 1: Check and replace your air filters.

Regularly checking and replacing HVAC filters is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the systems longevity and prevent breakdowns. Change air filters at least every 3 months. For allergy sufferers or homes with pets, change filters more frequently.

Check your air filters every 2 to 3 weeks to make sure they are functioning properly. Improperly functioning air filters can prevent a home from heating or cooling adequately and efficiently, taxing your system and increasing costs.

Step 2: Clean your outdoor unit.

This fall, check your outdoor unit for debris and damage. Trim any tall grass, shrubs, or trees that have grown too close to the exterior unit before winter weather arrives. Then, clean the unit by switching it off and rinsing out dirt, twigs, and any other debris with a garden hose.

This is also a good time to notice if there is any damage or debris that is hard to remove from your outdoor unit. For damage or anything unusual, call AJ Danboise and speak to one of our HVAC professionals.

Step 3: Clean your air ducts and vents.

Air ducts and vents are responsible for circulating air throughout your house. To make sure the air in your home is being properly filtered and circulated, regularly clean your air ducts and vents and have all of the registers open. Obstructed air ducts force HVAC systems to work harder, decreasing both efficiency and lifespan.

To get your air ducts and vents ready for fall, check to make sure all of the registers are open and that they are not covered or obstructed by furniture, drapery, or other items. Then, vacuum any visible dust from your air ducts and vents. Use a wet cloth to remove any dust left behind by the vacuum.

Step 4: Find and seal any possible air leaks.

Air leaks are the number one cause of inefficiency in HVAC systems. Check windows and doors for any air that might be coming through. Apply weather stripping to windows and doors to seal them from air leaks. If you consistently feel some rooms are warmer or cooler than others, the air leak may be coming from your ventilation ducts. One of our HVAC professionals at AJ Danboise can help you identify the leak and prepare your home for the heating season.

Step 5: Examine furnace burners and blowers.

Fall is the perfect time to test the furnace to make sure it is working properly before relying on it in the winter months. Before turning your furnace, check for any dust or obstruction that may have accumulated over the warm summer months.

Then test the furnace and burners to make sure they are working properly. If you notice anything unusual, call AJ Danboise for a furnace inspection to make sure your HVAC system is ready to heat before the colder months are here.

Step 6: Program your thermostat.

Weather patterns change frequently in the fall in Southern Michigan causing a range of temperatures. This is a great time to invest in a programmable thermostat, if you have not already. Programmable thermostats change based on the outside temperature, helping your HVAC system work more efficiently. With the constant fluctuation in temperatures as seasons change, a programmable thermostat extends your system’s life and saves money on heating and cooling bills.

Step 7: Schedule a professional HVAC maintenance.

Before the colder winter months set in ensure your HVAC unit is functioning properly with a professional HVAC maintenance. Regular maintenance will make sure your system is functioning properly and efficiently when you need it the most.

Step 8: Test it out.

The final step to getting your HVAC ready for fall in Southern Michigan is to test it out. Once the equipment has been cleaned, inspected, and the settings have been adjusted, test the system to make sure that it is working properly.

Don’t get caught in the cold this winter! Use these steps to make sure your HVAC system is ready to function properly and efficiently before you need it most this winter. If you notice anything unusual, we, at AJ Danboise can help! Call today at 1-248-236-5999 for all your fall preparation needs!


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

 

Published in Heating
Monday, 09 October 2017 19:59

Benefits of a Humidifier in the Fall

As the fall season approaches, you might anticipate crisp air, colorful foliage, and the chance to wear your favorite scarves and boots. However, autumn also comes with a few downsides that can follow you into your home. Specifically, humidity drops as temperatures cool off, and cold fronts start to move in. If you’re concerned about your health and comfort this fall, consider investing in a humidifier.

Reduce Cold and Flu Symptoms

Have you gotten your flu shot yet? Even if you have, you could still develop a cold or catch a new strain of influenza, and the resulting symptoms can leave you miserable for days. Dry air compounds your misery because it dries out your sinuses, throat, and nose. That’s why you might feel better after you take a hot shower or breathe in steam from a mug of tea.

You don’t have to spend your entire illness in the shower or with a cup of tea cradled in your hands, though. A humidifier increases humidity levels throughout your home, which eases your symptoms and helps you breathe easier. While you can buy a portable humidifier for a single room, we recommend whole-home humidifiers because they’re more efficient, and they don’t require human intervention. They become part of your HVAC system, just like your air conditioner and furnace.

Improve Allergy and Asthma Symptoms

Similar to a cold or flu, allergies and asthma can create uncomfortable respiratory symptoms. During the fall, leaves start dropping from trees, and allergies can flare up. Additionally, the chilly air can make breathing difficult for asthma sufferers, even while taking medication.

Whole-home humidifiers help control your symptoms throughout the fall and winter. You might experience less coughing and wheezing because your lungs remain sufficiently lubricated. Additionally, you might not have a constant runny nose or the dreaded sinus congestion that often results from dry air. 

Additionally, whole-home models improve your home’s indoor air quality. They don’t promote bacterial growth like portable units can, and they constantly measure humidity levels to maintain the proper balance. You don’t have to clean whole-home humidifiers like you would portable models, so you can just let them work in the background.

Relieve Skin Discomfort

Dry air doesn’t just impact cold, flu, allergy, and asthma symptoms. It can also make skin disorders more pronounced because your skin needs moisture to heal itself. That’s why you might use more moisturizer and lotion during the fall and winter months. If you have rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, or another skin condition, a whole-home humidifier might help you manage your symptoms more efficiently and effectively.

Additionally, humidifiers can battle simple dry skin. If you notice that your elbows begin to crack or your knuckles become inflamed during the fall, you can blame dry air. While moisturizing products can help, keeping your home more humid offers less hassle. We can install your humidifier during a single visit and keep it running properly during routine maintenance. Plus, you won’t have to haul around a portable unit.

Breathe Easier at Night

Have you ever woken up with an unexplained cough or the need for a glass of water? Maybe you snore more often during the fall and winter, or perhaps you experience overnight nosebleeds. All of these symptoms can be traced back to dry air. While you sleep, your nasal passages, chest, mouth, and throat become progressively drier, which leads to discomfort.

A whole-home humidifier can relieve these symptoms and allow you to sleep peacefully through the night. You don’t have to worry about setting up a portable unit in each family member’s bedroom, nor will you trip over it in the middle of the night since it’s wired into your HVAC system.

Now that fall is fast approaching, don’t risk your health or comfort to dry air. Humidifiers help keep your family comfortable and symptom-free so you can enjoy all of the good things about autumn. If you do not currently have a whole house humidifier, or if you’re interested in updating your current system, contact AJ Danboise to schedule a free in-home estimate by calling 248-477-3626 or by clicking here to use our online service request form.  Our heating & cooling specialists will offer you an estimate for the correct equipment to fully benefit your home at a great value.


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

Published in Indoor Air Quality
Monday, 25 September 2017 18:49

Pumpkin Carving Ideas for the Fall Season

With the end of September and the fall season officially starting, people are dusting off their fall decorations and getting ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Pumpkins are all the rage for fall décor and there’s more than one way to decorate them! Gone are the days of simply carving a scary face into a pumpkin and then throwing it out after Halloween. Get your money’s worth by checking out these fun ideas for decorating with a pumpkin.

Carve a Pattern in Your Pumpkin.

Instead of carving a creepy or silly face, try a tasteful pattern to add Halloween cheer to your porch. Turn standard grocery store Halloween pumpkins into decorative votive holders that are embellished with polka-dot cutouts, or whichever pattern you would like. Gather small to medium orange pumpkins, opting for round shapes.

After removing the pumpkin guts, begin carving the various lantern patterns. you’ll need a carving knife, a wooden spoon, a pencil, and a cordless drill with various-sized drill bits. The easiest pumpkin carving pattern is the polka-dots. All you need to do is mark a pattern of dots on the pumpkin using your pencil, and then drill through the holes! The possible patterns are endless, and kids will love the chance to be creative.

Keep it Simple.

If you love the look of hurricanes lining a front path, put an autumn spin on them by using oversize heirloom pumpkins in various shades of orange and green as bases—perfect for welcoming guests to a fall-themed party. The key here is to choose a truly beautiful pumpkin. Large heirloom pumpkins, such as the “Cinderella” variety, work best. You’ll want a pumpkin type with a thick, tough skin, that is not too deep. Cut a hole and stick the hurricane and candle into the emptied hole. Alternate with plain and lit pumpkins for longer driveways for a traditional autumn-themed gathering.

Etched Pumpkin.

Not interested in the thought of being elbow-deep in pumpkin guts? Try etching instead. Etching will leave an artful and tasteful design on your pumpkin without having to carve out the insides. Leaving the pumpkin intact will also help it last much longer. 

First, use our templates as a starting point. Reduce or enlarge the size according to your pumpkin’s size. Using a non-serrated paring knife, cut along the outlines of the pattern template. Do not puncture through to the other side. Then, simply peel the skin off to reveal a lighter orange shade. Finish with a coat of petroleum jelly or vegetable oil to protect the pumpkin’s exposed flesh.

Pumpkin Carving Templates.

Carving intricate, symmetrical designs on your pumpkins is easier than you think. While free handing often leads to spacing issues and lopsided designs, templates offer a pre-planned, foolproof way to carve pumpkins. Around the Halloween season, Kits are available everywhere–from dollar stores to high-end kitchen shops–but really, you do not need a kit. Assemble your own with basic kitchen tools such as a sharp knife, a smaller paring knife, and wide, sturdy spoons to clean out the seeds and stringy pulp. A small handsaw is also helpful. Use free printable templates that are accessible online to make pumpkin carving even easier.

Cookie-Cutter Pumpkins.

These cookie-cutter pumpkins are anything but run-of-the-mill. They take no time to make and will add a gorgeous glow to your porch or walk. Start by selecting a theme, such as leaves, ghosts, or spiders. Because pumpkins are pretty tough cookies, look for durable cutters made of thick stainless steel. Smaller ones work best, as larger designs tend to lose their shape more easily.

Preparing the pumpkins is easy as pie. Cut a hole in the bottom instead of the top, and clean out the insides. Place a cookie cutter on the pumpkin. Gently tap the cutter with a rubber mallet until it pushes through the skin. Repeat until you complete your desired design. Then simply place each pumpkin over a small candle, and enjoy the ghoulish glow.

Give your front yard and porch an extra flair with these pumpkin carving ideas. Make sure your home is ready for the fall and winter months, too. Call AJ Danboise for maintenance and repair on your HVAC unit. Enjoy the fall weather and the holidays that go with it. Don’t get stuck in the cold with a broken heater! Call today!


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

Published in News
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 20:47

Fall Maintenance Checklist for Your Home

When the last of summer’s heat is a faint memory, and you’re pulling out your hoodies more than your shorts, it’s time to tackle a few simple chores that’ll make winter more pleasant and prevent some nasty surprises next spring.

Stow Your Mower

If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, get to know it. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading. Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

Don’t Let Your Garden Hoses Drip

Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.

Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet. 

While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.

Clear Out Your Sprinklers

Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

  •          Turn off the water to the system at the main valve. 
  •          Shut off the automatic controller.
  •          Open drain valves to remove water from the system.
  •          Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.

If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.

Seal Open Cracks and Holes

Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.

Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.

 

De-Gunk Your Gutters

Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.

If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.

Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.

Of course, be sure to schedule an appointment for one of our pro technicians to come out and inspect your HVAC system. We can check your furnace and heating to make sure you are prepared for the fall and winter months. Our experts will also check your fireplace and make sure it is cleaned out and ready for colder season. Call AJ Danboise and give your HVAC units some TLC before the colder weather leaves you in a tough situation!

Published in Heating

Now that cooler weather has arrived here in Michigan, you can revel in warm sweaters, cozy socks and comfy blankets. Your nightly routine consists of curling up in your electric blanket and sipping some warm coffee. Before you start using your electric blanket this fall, ask yourself this question: Is your new electric blanket safe to use?  Follow these simple safety guidelines to ensure your electric blanket doesn’t create a fire hazard.

DO:

  • Choose an electric blanket that conforms to Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards. This safety certification organization has been testing products and establishing standards for over 100 years.
  • Lay the heated area of the electric blanket flat rather than folded or balled up so the heat doesn’t become too intense.
  • Place the blanket on top of you, not under you, to prevent damaging the blanket’s internal coils. Keep other items such as books, pillows and stuffed animals off of the blanket so heat has a way to escape.
  • Keep pets away from electric blankets, especially while in use. A sharp claw or tooth could puncture the cord insulation or damage the wires.
  • Turn off the electric blanket when no one is using it. Most models have no internal temperature control, so they will not automatically turn off if they overheat.
  • Loosely wrap the control cords around the blanket when folding it up for storage.
  • Turn off and unplug the electric blanket immediately if you see smoke or smell something burning. Blanket discoloration could indicate melting or burning internal elements.
  • Call the manufacturer for advice if your electric blanket starts operating improperly, such as if one area of the blanket becomes overheated or you see a scorch mark on the blanket. If you can’t resolve the improper operation, discontinue using the product.

DON’T:

  • Don’t use electric blankets on infants or toddlers, people with disabilities, or anyone who can’t operate the heating controls themselves.
  • Don't use an electric blanket all night unless it is specifically rated for safe overnight use.
  • Don’t run the power cord between the mattress and the box spring when using the electric blanket in bed. This could damage or heat up the cord and potentially cause a fire.
  • Don’t twist or pinch the control cords since this could damage them. This is also means you shouldn’t use electric blankets with adjustable hospital beds, sofa sleepers, or Murphy beds where the cords could become pinched in the bed-folding mechanisms.
  • Don’t use an electric blanket on a waterbed.
  • Don’t use an electric blanket and a heated mattress pad at the same time. The combined warmth could cause overheating and possibly start a fire.
  • Don’t wash your electric blanket. The twisting and tugging motions of a washing machine are almost certain to damage the internal coils.
  • Don’t iron your electric blanket. This could melt the cord insulation.
  • Don’t dry clean your electric blanket. Solvents used in dry cleaning could damage the cord insulation.

It may seem like using an electric blanket comes with many do’s and don’ts, but most of them are fairly common sense. Use your electric blanket safely and you’ll enjoy added warmth and coziness this fall. For help with other electrical issues in your home, call the experts at AJ Danboise today!


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

Published in Electrical

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