6 Hints for Staying Warm This Winter While Cutting Costs

With Halloween around the corner, here in Philadelphia, we are getting ready for that brisk fall air. And before we know it, winter will be here. Even though you may be getting the last few days use of your barbecue grill, winter is inevitable and so are those high heating costs. So how can you stay warm and still keep your heating bills reasonable? Try these 6 hints!

Fall Cleaning

We’ve all heard about Spring cleaning but Fall cleaning can be equally important when it comes to heating efficiency. Make sure that all vents and returns around your home are free of obstructions and dust. Move any furniture that may be inhibiting airflow. Change your air filters to make sure air has easy access and circulation and is not clogged with dirt.

Turn Down the Thermostat

This may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, however, our first instinct when cold weather hits is to make our inside temperature warmer…and warmer. For a lot of us it is psychological. But even if it is a direct response to your need for warmth, consider this: the Department of Energy says that you can save approximately 10 percent of your energy costs each year by adjusting your thermostat down by 10 to 15 degrees for approximately 8 hours a day. While you are asleep is the perfect time to do this or while everyone is gone during the day at school or work. You won’t compromise your comfort and you will be able to reap some cost savings in the bargain.

How About a Smarter Approach?

Speaking of thermostats, many Philadelphia HVAC contractors are suggesting having a smart thermostat installed to adjust temperatures conveniently from any smartphone. Although programmable thermostats are also convenient, smart thermostats allow you to adjust your temperature from anywhere at any time with a convenient app. This way, you aren’t locked into a schedule that you have preprogrammed.

Don’t Forget the Fan

No, your fan is not just for summer. If you have ceiling fans, you can adjust the blades to turn the opposite direction. This will allow warm air that tends to rise to the ceiling to circulate around the room where it is needed in the colder weather.

Natural Heat

Take advantage of the sun’s natural heat on sunny days. Open up curtains and blinds on those windows facing the sun and take advantage of those natural heating rays. Always remember to close curtains and blinds afterward, however, as they provide added insulation from the cold.

Get a Tune Up

Your HVAC system should be tuned up periodically to make sure it is working at its optimum. During a tune-up, your Philadelphia HVAC repair technician will do a full inspection and cleaning of your system to ensure that it is working cleanly and efficiently for the upcoming season. Call Affordable Fixes today to ask how a thorough HVAC tune-up can help keep your system running smoothly while saving you money this winter.

How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing While You Are Away

With holidays upcoming, many of us travel to visit friends and family. But how do you keep your home safe while you are away?

Today, water damage is one of the most common insurance claims and frozen pipes can lead to an incredible amount of water damage in your home. When you are on vacation during the cold winter months, you can come back to some severe damage. Today, an average claim for water damage can exceed $6,000. That is a headache you don’t need. Before you go away for the holidays, here are some ways you can ensure that your pipes won’t freeze while you are gone.

Check for Leaks

Do a preliminary leak check before you go away. Small leaks can lead to large ones when you least expect it. Look for any small leaks and corroded areas that may need attention. Look for any areas that may appear wet or rusted and call a Philadelphia plumber to check out the area.

Check Appliance Hoses

Your household appliance hoses may not be areas that you consider on a daily basis but this is exactly why you need to make this an area of inspection. Any of these hoses are subject to freezing and could burst. Check for any leaky fittings or loose connections.

Shut Off Your Water Main

The best way to ensure that your home doesn’t experience a flood when you are gone is by completely shutting off the main valve to your home’s water. This may be outside near your water meter or in your basement. You should test this once a year just to make sure the valve is easily operable.

Drain Your Lines

If you have shut off your main valve, you will want to drain each interior line so water is not sitting inside the line. Open the taps inside the home as well as any outdoors and let any remaining water drain out.

Shut Off Individual Lines

If shutting off the main valve is inconvenient or impossible, you can shut off each individual line to each plumbing fixture. Sinks, faucets, and toilets have dedicated shutoff valves. Remember to shut off any water supplies to your washer and refrigerator.

Add Insulation to Your Plumbing Pipes

Insulation sleeves are easy to find at any hardware store or home improvement center. Insulating your plumbing pipes is further precaution against pipes freezing in your home while you are away. For those hard-to-reach areas, you may want to call a Philadelphia plumber for assistance.

Check Your Sump Pump

If there is a leak in your home, the water will flow to the lowest place which will be your basement or crawlspace. May sure that your sump pump is working properly in order to keep water damage to a minimum.

Keep the Heat On

It doesn’t have to be kept as high as you would normally set it, but keeping it set above 50 degrees Fahrenheit is a good way to ensure against pipes freezing while you are gone.

Keep Interior Doors Open

Keep all interior doors open including cabinet doors. This allows the warmer air to freely circulate throughout the home.

Install a Smart Thermostat

With a smart thermostat, if you see that the weather will be particularly frigid, you can set the thermostat accordingly with a touch of your app on your smartphone.

Need a professional plumber in Philadelphia? Call the experts at Affordable Fixes LLC for any of your plumbing needs.

Stay Ahead of Winter Plumbing Emergencies With These 9 Tips

The winter season holds promise for many things: holidays, cozy nights, friends and family…and plumbing issues. Although the first few are what most people come to enjoy during the cold winter months, we are pretty sure that plumbing emergencies are NOT on your list of winter’s favorite things. At Affordable Fixes LLC, our Philadelphia plumbers suggest you stay ahead of winter with these handy plumbing maintenance tips!

Water Heater Drain and Replace

This is just good regular plumbing maintenance, but it is especially helpful before winter. Drain and replace the water in your hot water heater. Any sediment that has built up will be flushed out before it can cause potential rust, cracks, or leaks.

Your Water Heater Temperature

While you’re attending to your hot water heater, make sure that you have set it appropriately to make sure that it works efficiently throughout the winter and isn’t using too much energy needlessly. The optimal setting for a hot water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Insulate Those Pipes

If you have ever had your plumbing pipes freeze, you know what a mess and cost it can be. One of the best ways of preventing this is by adding insulation to your home’s plumbing. Insulating tape and foam padding sleeves are very low-cost ways to solve a high-cost potential problem.

Check Your Sump Pump

If you have an indoor sump pump, you will want to make sure that it is clean and working properly. Remove the lid from the sump pump and slowly pour in water. Make sure that the sump pump turns on and that the water is completely pumped outside. Test this a few times to make sure the pump is working and pumping the water away from your home.

Clean Up Yard Debris

Any yard debris such as leaves and branches may inhibit drainage. Make sure to clean out your gutters and downspouts to ensure that melting snow has proper drainage that is carried away from your home.

Locate Your Home’s Water Main Valve

It’s important to know where your water main is in the event of a leak in your home. This is typically somewhere near the water meter. You should open and close it several times at least once a year just to make sure that it works freely just in case of an emergency.

Know How to Deal With a Frozen Pipe

This is something good to know in case of a frozen pipe in your home. Make sure to turn off the water at the water main immediately. If you can, locate the area of the cracked pipe and call a plumber in Philadelphia to replace and properly insulate your broken section.

Leave Some Faucets Dripping

You may have heard this before, but leaving faucets dripping does take the pressure off the pipes and helps prevent freezing. Letting faucets drip during times of extreme frigid weather can help prevent pipes from bursting.

Be Diligent About Clog Prevention

Having a backup is never a fun thing but it is particularly miserable during the winter months. Paying special attention to what you put down your drains helps to ward off a messy plumbing backup.

Need an expert for your emergency? Call the professionals at Affordable Fixes LLC for any of your Philadelphia plumbing needs.

Winter Is Coming! 5 Ways to Get Your Furnace Ready

Winter. It comes around far too soon for most of us. But being prepared for those cold months is simple if we take time to do some pre-season maintenance before the weather turns frigid. Philadelphia HVAC repair professionals agree that now is the perfect time to make sure that your furnace is ready so you won’t be caught mid-winter at the worst possible moment with a furnace repair. Taking a few maintenance precautions ensures that your furnace will keep you warm and toasty when you need it most. Here are 5 quick and easy steps to make sure your furnace is ready for that cold winter weather.

Turn the Heat On

Do a preliminary check to make sure your furnace is working properly. Switch your thermostat to the heat setting and set a temperature higher than that of the room. Listen to make sure that the heat clicks on. If you don’t hear the heater engage, you may need fresh batteries in your thermostat. If the heat still doesn’t turn on, call your Philadelphia furnace repair specialist to check your heating system.

Change Your Air Filters

You will want to make this a ritual every few months whenever your HVAC system is running. Cleaning or replacing your air filters is one of the simplest but most fundamental things you can do for your heating and cooling system. If your system includes a humidifier, it is also a good time to change your humidifier filter and set the humidistat.

Cover Your Air Conditioning Condenser

Cover your outside condenser with a loose cover and secure it with bungee cords. You can also purchase a special cover for your condenser. Either way, you want to protect the unit from debris and leaves falling in over the winter. Just make sure you are not trapping moisture inside the covering. This can freeze and cause damage to the condenser.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

You should make sure that your carbon monoxide detector is functioning and is able to protect you from any carbon monoxide leaks. This is also a good time to inspect your chimney for any areas of concern as this is one place where carbon monoxide buildup can take place.

Get Your System Checked

Call a Philadelphia HVAC repair professional for a pre-season check-up Getting your heating system checked by a professional takes care of some important maintenance that all HVAC systems should have every year. Your technician will

  • Clean the external area and check for debris buildup.
  • Inspect for leaks.
  • Change any filters
  • Clean the burners — furnace burners can become coated with soot and debris and these can reduce the effectiveness and efficiency of the unit.
  • Clear any vent lines

Having a professional annual maintenance done is an important way to ensure that your heating system will be working properly and efficiently when the cold weather arrives. Call our Philadelphia PA furnace repair professionals to ensure that you won’t suffer an inconvenient breakdown during those cold winter months.