Change the AC Filters in Your Florida Home

Posted on: August 28th, 2013 by Jim Deitch No Comments

Changing the ac filter in your air conditioner doesn’t qualify as an emergency, but it could prevent one. A dirty filter slows air flow, wastes energy by making your heating and cooling system work harder and let’s dirt into the system, which wears out parts and could hasten a breakdown. If Murphy’s Law holds true, that breakdown will happen during the hottest summer months. Now you have an emergency. Filters should be checked monthly. It is recommended that they be changed monthly but some premium filters can last as long as three months and others can be cleaned. The bottom line is clean AC filters are a must.

Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips

Posted on: August 28th, 2013 by Jim Deitch No Comments

There are only a few things to know about maintaining a garbage disposal. Typically the two most common things to occur is that nothing happens when the disposal switch is engaged or the unit makes a loud noise and the blades do not engage. In the case of nothing happening the first thing to do is located the reset button on the bottom of the unit. It is typically a red button near where the electrical cord enters the unit. Push the button in and try the switch again. If nothing happens still check the breaker in the electrical panel.

If the switch turns on the unit but the blades are jammed locate the alan wrench that comes with the unit. Turn the power off. In the center of the bottom of the unit is a recepticle that the alan wrench will fit in. Inset the alan wrench and work it back and forth until the item jamming the blades come loose. Be sure the power is turned off to the unit. Then remove the item from the interior of the unit and turn the power back on to check if that solved the problem. Remember to always run water when operating the unit.

Hiring a Contractor? Heed this Advice.

Posted on: January 9th, 2011 by Jim Deitch No Comments

As I drive through my community to and from work I tend to take notice of the various projects going on. Homes being built, additions being added, docks and seawalls under construction, landscaping contractors coming and going, roofs being replaced. I also read the newspaper daily and occasionally read with sadness of the many good people in our community and around the state that get taken advantage of. Despite strict state laws contractors still engage in predatory practices that tarnish the fine reputation of tradesman and craftsman in the industry. I thought I would take a minute to offer you some very important advice on engaging in business with contractors. If you like it please use it. If you don’t it was free and you may discard it.

First and most importantly never pay for an estimate.  You should never have to pay someone to give you information about their business and how much a project will cost. Consider this part of the process your interview with the contractor. Don’t just ask about the project and don’t assume because they were listed in the yellow pages they are qualified.

In the state of Florida, homebuilders, remodelers, roofers, heating and air conditioning companies, electricians, plumbers, aluminum contractors (screen enclosures) and many other specialties must be state certified to practice their trade. This is different than an occupational license. The contractor must take a test, pay fees, receive continuing education that is properly certified, and remain in good standing with the state and the municipalities and counties in which they practice their trade. You should insist on receiving their license number and check their status on MyFlorida.com to make sure they have no complaints on their license and that they are current. In addition you can check with your local building department on line to see if they have pulled a permit on your job.

Always get three estimates for any work performed. You want to have an apples to apples comparison so make sure all bids include a scope of work that describes what is included and what is specifically not included in the contract. If you don’t you could find yourself with considerable add on costs. Take your time and review everything and ask many questions. Every question you might have is important without exception. Many contractors will require a deposit and this is acceptable if the contractor is reputable but make sure the deposit is appropriate for the work being performed. Deposits of 10-20% are typical. But remember that State Law requires that deposits of 10% or greater require the contractor to pull a permit within 30 days.

Finally check references from a minimum of three customers. Past business experiences and an important clue as to how your project will run. Professional contractors always have customer names and numbers to offer. Make sure references are current. How a business performed ten years ago is of little value.  Good luck with your next project and I hope this advice helps.

Weatherstripping

Posted on: August 18th, 2010 by Jim Deitch No Comments

You can use weatherstripping in your home to seal air leaks around movable joints, such as windows or doors.

To determine how much weatherstripping you will need, add the perimeters of all windows and doors to be weatherstripped, then add 5%–10% to accommodate any waste. Also consider that weatherstripping comes in varying depths and widths.

Before applying weatherstripping in an existing home, you need to do the following (if you haven’t already):

  • Detect air leaks
  • Assess your ventilation needs for indoor air quality.

 Choose a type of weatherstripping that will withstand the friction, weather, temperature changes, and wear and tear associated with its location. For example, when applied to a door bottom or threshold, weatherstripping could drag on carpet or erode as a result of foot traffic. Weatherstripping in a window sash must accommodate the sliding of panes—up and down, sideways, or out. The weatherstripping you choose should seal well when the door or window is closed while allowing it to open freely.

Choose a product for each specific location. Felt and open-cell foams tend to be inexpensive, susceptible to weather, visible, and inefficient at blocking airflow. However, the ease of applying these materials may make them valuable in low-traffic areas. Vinyl, which is slightly more expensive, holds up well and resists moisture. Metals (bronze, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum) last for years and are affordable. Metal weatherstripping can also provide a nice touch to older homes where vinyl might seem out of place.

You can use more than one type of weatherstripping to seal an irregularly shaped space. Also take durability into account when comparing costs. See Table 1 below for information about the common types of weatherstripping.