4 Tips for Maintaining Your HVAC System

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There’s no good time for your HVAC system to break down, but if it happens in the dead of winter or the middle of summer, you and your family could be left in a lurch for a week or more while you’re waiting for an HVAC appointment to free up. These four easy tips will help extend the life of your HVAC system and help you catch issues early so that you can avoid a sudden breakdown.

1. Schedule Routine Maintenance

Perhaps the best way to prevent big problems with your HVAC system is to schedule routine HVAC service at least twice a year. Many common HVAC issues are due to simple neglect. An expert HVAC service technician will be able to catch small issues before they snowball into big ones and perform any maintenance or preventative repairs that are needed to keep your system in tip-top shape. Finding HVAC experts that you trust – like those at Arundel Cooling & Heating – and scheduling biannual checkups will ensure that your HVAC system gets the care and attention it needs, and you won’t be stuck behind a long line of customers during the busy seasons. The experts at Arundel Heating & Cooling are always available to provide HVAC service and make sure your system can continue running smoothly for years to come.

2. Replace Your HVAC Filter

This is a quick, easy, cost-effective way to keep your HVAC system in good shape. Even if your HVAC filter doesn’t look particularly dirty to the naked eye, it still needs to be replaced about every 1-3 months. Dirty air filters lower the amount of air that your HVAC system can draw in, which in turn makes the whole system work harder and results in more wear and tear on the motor. Making sure you replace your HVAC filter regularly will reduce the strain on all the working parts of your system and extend its longevity.

3. Clear Debris Away

Make clearing the debris away from your outdoor HVAC unit a regular part of your weekly chores. HVAC systems need at least a foot of clear space around their coils for air to circulate properly throughout the system. Trim any plants, tree branches, or shrubs that are encroaching on your HVAC system’s space and clear away dead leaves. If you have a lot of trees on your property, you may want to check for debris twice a week during the autumn months.

4. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

You might not see a clear connection between installing a programmable thermostat and maintaining your HVAC unit, but replacing your manual thermostats for updated programmable ones can actually help your HVAC system last much longer. You can set a programmable thermostat to automatically lower or raise the temperature depending on your daily habits and the time of year. For example, during the winter, you can set your thermostat to lower the temperature while you sleep and are away at work and raise it back up so that your home is toasty when you arrive. This not only saves energy and lowers your monthly bills, but it also gives your HVAC system some relief and puts less strain on its parts. Some programmable thermostats can even be controlled via smartphone, so you can adjust the temperature for maximum efficiency no matter where you are.

6 Reasons to Invest in Replacement Windows

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When you start thinking about all the home improvement projects you’ve been meaning to tackle, it’s natural to become stressed and overwhelmed at the thought of a mile-long to-do list staring you in the face. Instead of panicking and deciding to just ignore everything, why not start with one project that will have a hugely positive effect on your home right away: investing in replacement windows. While it’s not the simplest home improvement project you could pick, replacement windows come with so many amazing benefits that there’s no doubt that the investment is worth it.

Resell Value

When it comes time to sell your house, you’ll be so glad that you invested in replacement windows before you started to prepare your house to go on the market. Windows are a major part of your home’s facade, which is the first thing potential buyers see and make a judgment on. Having high-quality, modern windows will make your entire home look elevated and updated, which will attract buyers and get you the best offers.

Energy Efficiency

When choosing your replacement windows, make sure you’re thinking about energy efficiency. Going with double or even triple paned windows will insulate your home better and save you on energy costs each month. Low-E glass and storm windows will make your home even more energy efficient, which will lower your home’s carbon footprint. Plus, your home will be a comfortable temperature all year long without breaking the bank on energy costs. Blue Ridge Exteriors offers a wide variety of replacement windows that will help improve the energy efficiency of your home and save you money in the long run. Their range of options combined with their superior service and craftsmanship make Blue Ridge Exteriors the go-to place for Richmond replacement windows.

Protection

High-quality windows are less likely to crack due to extreme weather, and they make it harder for people to break into your home. Replacement windows will also protect your home from a wide variety of pests that would have been able to sneak in through cracks around your older windows.

Noise & Fading

High-quality replacement windows will exponentially reduce the unwanted noise entering your home. You won’t be disturbed by cars driving by, loud music, or animal noise any longer. Replacement windows can also prevent your rugs, carpets, furniture, floors, and belongings from fading due to sun exposure, which will help keep your entire home looking beautiful and new for longer.

Aesthetics

Investing in replacement windows will up the aesthetic appeal of your home tenfold. You can stick with classic double hung windows for a timeless look or go with something more elevated and elegant like a bay window or picture window. Larger windows let in more natural light and can open up your home to make it look and feel bigger. If you’re looking for something special, check out Blue Ridge Exterior and their selection of top-of-the-line Richmond replacement windows. You’re bound to find something that you love, no matter what kind of window you’re looking for.

Durability

In the long run, investing in replacement windows is well worth the money. Windows that are made of quality materials and are installed by a trained professional will last years – possibly even decades – longer than cheaper, outdated windows. You won’t have to replace your windows as often, and you’ll actually be saving yourself money in the long run.

3 Benefits of Adding Fencing to Your Yard

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We’re all used to thinking about the quintessential American house having a white picket fence surrounding it – but have you ever stopped to think why people choose to invest in fencing in the first place? There are actually a ton of benefits to adding fencing to your yard that you might not be aware of. If you’re thinking of investing in fencing but aren’t sure it’s worth it, check out these three benefits before making your final decision.

Safety First

The most obvious advantage of fencing is safety. A high-quality fence will allow your pets to roam free in the outdoors without you worrying about them escaping. If you have pets that you want to keep in your yard, make sure you choose a fence that’s high enough that they can’t jump over it and goes deep enough into the ground that they can’t dig under it. Fences can also keep your young children from wandering into the street while they’re playing outside. If you have kids, you know that if you take your eyes off of them for even a second, they seem to be able to move at warp speed. In addition to keeping your kids and pets safe outdoors, fencing has also been shown to be an effective crime deterrent. Any barrier to entry will discourage trespassing and theft, keeping you and your family safer.

Curb Appeal & Resell Value

A beautiful, high-quality fence can dramatically increase the curb appeal and resell value of your home. If you’re thinking about selling your home in the future, investing in fencing now will pay off in the long run. Fencing makes your home look secure, complete, and elegant. It can enhance your landscaping by providing an attractive border, and the right fence can even draw your eye to your home’s architecture and façade. Don’t underestimate the power of a first impression when it comes time to put your home on the market. That initial view of your home could pull in buyers that wouldn’t otherwise take notice of it.

Privacy from Prying Eyes

Privacy fences allow you to enjoy your patio, pool, deck, or yard without dealing with awkward interactions with passersby. You can throw a barbecue or birthday party in your yard without worrying about prying eyes looking in from afar. Fencing Unlimited is a Mechanicsville fence company that specializes in high-quality residential and commercial fencing. Their experts will help you choose the perfect fence to suit your needs – whether you’re looking for a tall privacy fence or fencing to enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal. Fencing Unlimited will walk you through the entire process and make sure you end up with a fence that’s durable, beautiful, and perfect for your home. If you’re looking for a Mechanicsville fence company, you can’t go wrong with Fencing Unlimited.

Can Window Tint Save You Money in the Long Run?

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Getting window tint professionally applied to your home, office, or vehicle’s windows certainly isn’t free, so you might be wondering: how could window tint possibly save me money in the long run? The answer is a lot more multifaceted and complex than you might expect. Window tint can save you money in many ways that will then add up to significant savings over time.

One of the most important things that window tint does is reduce heat. It’s been shown that properly applied window tint can reduce the heat in your vehicle, home, or office building by over 60%. That means you’ll be dealing with less than half the heat that would otherwise be warming up your car or indoor space. With so much less heat coming in, you won’t have to run the AC as much or for as long. You’ll save a ton of money on energy costs for your home or office, and you’ll get better gas mileage on your car, which means you won’t have to fill your tank as often. Plus, running the AC less means that your AC unit or system will have increased longevity, and you won’t have to replace it as soon.

Window tint applied by a high-quality window tinting service will also significantly reduce the risk of glass shattering during an accident, vandalism, or theft attempt. The window tint film will hold the glass together, so pieces of glass won’t become airborne during a car accident and cause injury that could result in costly medical bills. Window tint is also designed to block harmful UV rays from the sun. UV rays cause skin cancer, and your risk of skin cancer is increased with every sunburn you get. For people who spend a lot of time in the car, window tint is crucial to your long-term health.

In addition to preventing injury and health problems, window tint has also been shown to be an extremely effective theft deterrent. When burglars or car thieves are looking for a target, they’re generally going to want a guaranteed payday. If they can’t determine what’s in your car, home, or office because of tinted windows, they’ll be far more likely to move on to another target, which will keep your property and possessions safer.

If you’re looking to save money by adding window tint to your home, vehicle, or office, Solar Concepts is here to get the job done right. They are a premier window tinting service that handles residential, commercial, and auto window tinting jobs. They use the highest quality window tint available, and their technicians will make sure your window tint is flawlessly installed every time. Solar Concepts has years of experience in the industry and can guide you toward the window tint that perfectly suits your needs and budget. Investing in window tint can save you a ton of money in the long run, help keep you safe and healthy, and protect your personal property and possessions. The only question is, why haven’t you gone to a window tinting service already?

Choosing a New Generator

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Every year, it gets a little more difficult to live without power – even for just a little while. Every year, we rely more and more on electricity to stay connected to friends, family, and the world we live in. So, it’s no wonder that more and more of us are taking steps to stay powered up in the event of an outage. We’re turning to generators to keep us connected and comfortable when the power goes out.

But deciding we want a generator is just the start. We also need to decide what we want and need to use during an outage, and how much we’re willing to pay for the privilege. Let’s take a closer look at two types of generators that provide distinctly different solutions.

Stand-By Generators

Generally speaking, stand-by generators are intended to power entire homes in the event of an outage. These generators are large, stationary, and always connected to the home.

As their name implies, stand-by generator systems are always at the ready. They monitor the flow of energy into your home. When an outage occurs, and utility power stops flowing in, the stand-by generator will switch on automatically. You and the devices and systems in your home won’t miss a beat.

While stand-by generators offer unparalleled convenience during an outage, they’re not for everyone. Thanks to their robust size and power capacities, these systems typically cost several thousand dollars. Many would opt to forgo a bit of convenience in favor of a less expensive option.

Backup Generators

When most people think of generators, they envision backup generators. Relative to their stand-by cousins, backup generators are much smaller; thanks to their portability, backup generators can be moved to where they can be of best use – alongside a home, on a camping trip, or even a tailgate party.

Because they are smaller, backup generators can rarely power entire homes. But backup generators can often power several critical household devices – enough to make any power outage more bearable.

Unlike standbys, backup generators aren’t designed to plug directly into a home’s electrical system. In order to connect a backup generator to the home, an electrician will need to install an interlock kit or a manual transfer switch. These devices let homes draw power from a generator without risk of damage; they also let you draw power from household outlets.

While backup generators can’t often power entire homes, interlock kits and transfer switches allow you to select which devices are powered. When you’re done using a device, you can allocate power to another one. While backup generators may not match the convenience of stand-by generators, but they are a more budget-friendly alternative – particularly if you don’t need to use them regularly.

Choosing An Insulation & Ventilation Company For Your Home

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Your home’s health, reliability, structure, and foundation are all extremely dependent on not only the quality of the insulation and ventilation that you decide to install, but the quality of the installation of the products as well.

Unfortunately, there are massive amounts of energy lost every day because of poorly insulated or ventilated homes. Not only does this waste large quantities of fuel, it contributes to a large increase in your monthly bill payments, and also negatively impacts the environment with the fuel waste.

In many cases, homeowners tend to avoid the insulation/ventilation replacement process because of the initial financial investments. While they tend to be on the higher side, in the long run, your investment will pay off and end up saving you money for years to come.

We spoke with the expert attic & crawl space insulation and ventilation experts over at House Rangers to see what tips they had for the process.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go through an entire professional installation of insulation or a ventilation system in your home, and there are many affordable, do-it-yourself options for help fix the majority of insulation/ventilation issues throughout your house.

HomeInsulationVentilationProcess

What many homeowners don’t think about is how in order to have an efficient energy flow throughout your home, you need not only a quality insulation system, but a comparable ventilation system as well, which helps prevent moisture and condensation buildup in your foundation because of the heat.

There are many options and variations of both insulation and ventilation that accommodates a variety of factors, such as:

  • Your budget
  • Your home’s age and construction quality
  • Your plans on what type of insulation/ventilation your home requires
  • The climate and environment of your home
  • The current state of your insulation system
  • The current state of your ventilation system

Once you’ve gone through your process of deciding exactly the various needs of your home and budget are, you can go through the vetting steps of choosing a great contractor to take care of the insulating and ventilation process.

Some of the most important factors to consider when choosing on a company include any certifications/awards the company has, how experienced the company employees are, if the company has the proper licenses/insurance for the job, and various reviews from former customers about the company.

If at any point during the process you feel as if the company isn’t the quality you are looking for – just remember – you are the customer, and you get to decide who to choose in the end!

 

Comparing Siding Variations For Your Home

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When you decide to make a major home renovation to your house, it can be hard to choose on the exact type of siding you’d like to incorporate – whether you are considering traditional vinyl siding, more old-fashioned wood siding, or something completely different such as a James Hardie brand siding, which incorporates a little bit of both worlds to create a completely unique siding product!

WoodSidingVsVinylSiding

In general, going with a premium siding such as James Hardie is overall better for your home and it’s future health and exterior performance.

There are many negatives to installing vinyl siding on your home’s exterior, such as:

  • Vinyl siding has a tendency to melt and/or burn when exposed to any significant source of heat or flame – which can lead to major incidents that are easily avoidable
  • Vinyl siding can’t be painted, and the color that you decide on initially has a high tendency to fade and look older and worn down over time. This can make it difficult to prepare for matching other aspects of your home’s exterior to your siding, such as shutters.
  • Vinyl siding is very weak compared to a hybrid siding, and can become very brittle and fragile when exposed to weather extremes. There are plenty of cases of vinyl siding being damaged by hail, strong winds, and other aspects that your home is generally exposed to on a constant basis.
  • Vinyl siding, even at its most premium form, is generally only 5/100″ thick. This contributes to the fragility of the product.

While vinyl siding is generally a lot more inexpensive and easier on your budget, the pay-offs that are included such as these negatives tend to cost more in the long run, especially if you own your home or plan on owning it in the future.

SidingInstallation

Another aspect of siding that many don’t realize is how the siding itself will react to the environment, climate, and various situation that your home is located in.

If you want to pursue another alternative siding, such as wood-based siding, there are also many negatives that happen to come into consideration as well, including:

  • Wood siding can rot when exposed to moisture, this is one of the most common issues with wood siding that leads to replacement being needed.
  • Wood siding, when exposed to levels of moisture, also tends to shrink, swell, and crack, which severely impacts both the look and the actual performance of the siding as well.
  • Wood siding is also one of the most vulnerable siding choices to various pests and the exterior environment – squirrels, rats, mice, and plenty of other pests love to chew through wood siding in order to make themselves a comfy nest within your walls.

In general, one of the biggest factors to include when deciding on a great siding product is not only where your home is located, but the companies that are around to take on the work.

There are, unfortunately, plenty of home contracting companies who aren’t certified or experienced to work with a variety of siding choices, and may make mistakes or cause costly errors in the future during the installation process.

SidingInstallation

It’s absolutely vital that you take the time to do a proper vetting process of the contracting company you decide upon. Be sure to check that they have their proper certifications and insurance, and that they are competent and qualified to perform the work on your home.

Blue Ridge Exteriors, a home-siding contractor that is based out of Richmond, Virginia, says to look for a few certifications in general to help decide if a contractor is up to par for your exterior siding installation task, including:

  • Being an Elite Preferred Contractor within the James Hardie Contractor Alliance
  • Being certified with the Better Business Bureau
  • Being an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm

And there are plenty more “specific” certifications that may apply to your situation that you’d want to look into.

Developing A Detailed Business Plan For A Franchise

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When you decide to take the plunge and turn into a budding entrepreneur, it’s absolutely vital that you take the time necessary to develop and implement a highly-detailed business plan. One of the biggest downfalls of most franchisees when beginning their journey into the business world is improper or not enough planning prior to jumping in. Not only can this result in a horrible initial growth phase for your new business, but can also create major pitfalls and potential financial and personal losses due to unnecessary expenses that should have been accounted for initially.

So with all of that being said, take pride in the fact that you’ve decided that owning a franchise is a good investment for yourself! This is a major milestone in anyone’s life, and becoming a franchisee is a huge accomplishment. Now that you’ve decided to make that first move in the business-centered direction, taking the time to properly plan out your business development, with or without a business-growth adviser, should be the next priority on your list. We’ve compiled some of what we believe to be major factors to take into consideration when developing your business, and created an extensive list below. Take these steps, put your own personal situational twist on them, and start becoming a successful business owner today!

  1. Ensure You Are Knowledgeable of All Business Regulations/Policies/Laws/Legislation – This is our first point, and the only one, if you decide to skip over the rest of the article, to truly focus on and develop. There are countless examples of new business owners who decide to start a company only to have some unforeseen legal loophole or business practice that comes into play and shuts everything down. Not only could these legalities cause you to potentially close down your business, but you could also be out all of the money, time, and effort that you put into your franchise as well such as the initial franchising costs that are required to be deposited.
  2. Take The Time To Research Your Business Niche & Area  – Too often, new business owners think they have a wonderful idea that has no competition in the market, and rush into their new opportunity without doing their due diligence and properly researching not only the business field they are in, but the competition and amount of potential customers that may utilize the business. For example, if you are in a competitive business category in a major city, it may be harder to get a foothold than if you were starting up a very unique business in a smaller city. While the populations are vastly different, you will be building trust and authority with the smaller crowd more easily, allowing you to dominate the business!

Deciding to begin a business or take on responsibility of owning a franchise is a big decision. It’s extremely important that you take the right steps to prepare for the new actions and procedures you’ll be creating and developing. Once you’ve done your research, and have decided to take the steps to start a business, don’t halfheartedly go about the required work and foundation based steps. Staying in the right mindset when times are tough, or especially when starting out, can be the difference between a successful, booming business and one that drops off the face of the business world within a span of a few months.

Exhibition Displays: Three Things To Think About When Planning For A Trade Show

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Attending a big trade show or conference on behalf of your company this year? Congratulations! Trade shows are great ways to promote your product, do some networking, and get some attention for your business. However – you’ll have a lot to think about when planning out your exhibition. Here are three things to keep in mind when planning for your upcoming tradeshow.

1. Remember Your Budget

At the end of the day, your budget should always be considered. When making this big of a purchase, you’ll want to shop around and get several quotes to ensure you’ve done your due diligence before choosing a company to work with. The amount of money you have to work with will definitely factor into what kind of exhibition display you can get, but thankfully there are many types of trade show displays that can fit most budgets. It should go without saying, but in a lot of ways you get what you pay for when it comes to exhibition displays. You can find very cheap options, but they might not come with warranties, show up exactly as you envisioned, or hold up over time. Custom designed trade show exhibits generally cost the most, followed by modular exhibition displays and pop-up displays and banners. There are other things to consider beyond the cost of designing and manufacturing your exhibition display. You’ll want to keep things in mind like shipping, labor involved in setup, and other services involved in transportation.

2. How Much Space Do You Have?

Generally speaking, you’ll know how much space you have to work with well in advance of your trade show. Using this space wisely can be tricky. For instance, if you have a 10×20 space and only a 10×10 exhibition display, you might end up with lots of unused space. If you have a large booth space, a pop-up display will look small in the area, whereas things can get cramped very quickly if you’re trying to fit a large custom exhibit into a small space. Many trade show design companies offer custom and modular exhibits that are made of several separate modules. This way they can be built up with multiple pieces for larger spaces or stripped down to the core essentials in smaller areas.

3. Will You Re-Use Your Exhibition Displays?

Many people think lose sight of the future when designing exhibition displays. The design process can be exciting and you will be focused on making a big splash at your upcoming trade show. However, investing in a custom or modular exhibition display that can be reused in a multitude of spaces can pay off in the long run. If you’re attending multiple trade shows over the course of the year and into the future, having options for setup in different spaces with a modular exhibition display is a game-changer. You should work with an agency that not only assists with the design of your exhibition display, but provides a guarantee on how long it should last and a warranty in case anything goes wrong. You should also think about storing your display and how easy it is to set up and break down.

Taking On A Senior Care Franchise

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Senior Care Franchise

Not interested in owning a Carpet Cleaning business? These blog posts will feature different franchise opportunities that could be the perfect fit for you. Elderly in-home care services may be more appealing to your skills and background. Luckily for you, a franchise called Seniors Helping Seniors exists!

Seniors Helping Seniors is a franchise community that offers at home assistance by seniors, for seniors. Whether it is light housework, transportation, meal prep, or more serious concerns with Alzheimer’s, Dementia or memory loss, they can help. Non-medical caregivers are matched with the appropriate senior to meet all of their needs.

Taking on a senior care franchise, can be quite the leap in your professional career. Choosing the right franchise in your area, can help lead to more business too – check out one of their franchise owners at Seniors Helping Seniors of Cabarrus & Rowan Counties, based out of North Carolina.

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The Impact

Seniors Helping Seniors is based off opportunities for you to do good and help the community. This business is within a market that has been exploding in demand – seniors aged 85 and above. Did you know that is one of the fastest growing age groups in the United States?

The other great thing about choosing a franchise, is the business operations, ideas, hurdles, etc have already been thought of and successfully tackled into growth. Easy entry into your market, and a high level of support is a great way to take on your dreams of owning your own business. They have been around for almost 20 years serving the senior care field. Why not feel great about helping seniors and have a successful business? The best part about their business plan is both the caregiver and recipient benefit. Companionship is a key point in their strategy, which is easy to achieve when someone who is close to their age, and has experienced or is going through similar struggles as them can assist them daily.

Hear It For Yourself By Seniors: