Boost A/C Efficiency With 5 Easy Steps

Boost A/C Efficiency With 5 Easy Steps

Get the most out of your AC system with these 5 easy steps that can make a huge difference and save you money in the long run!

Photo: A-List Builders Inc.

As the mercury rises, many homeowners look for ways to keep their homes cool and comfortable. If you’re like these homeowners, you probably have a pretty good AC system. However, there are some things you can do to boost your energy efficiency and performance. After all, the right combination of design and techniques can help you keep costs down while enhancing the look and comfort of your beautiful home.

One: Install a Whole House Fan

You don’t need to worry about replacing your carefully chosen lighting fixtures or the unwanted look of a floor fan. Modern whole house fans are installed in your attic where they run quietly while the air is cool, drawing in fresh, cool air and pulling that air smoothly through your home. These fans are more powerful than ceiling fans but typically use only a small amount of energy. These fans can reduce your home cooling costs and improve your efforts at conserving energy and reducing your carbon footprint.

Photo: Gardner Fox Associates, Inc.

Two: Use Fans Where You Want

If you’re not opposed to placing some fans around the home, you’ll be pleased to know there are many attractive options on the market. Boost the efficiency of your AC unit with well-placed ceiling fans and floor fans to create cool spaces for your family and guests to relax at the end of the day.

Three: Maintain Your A/C Unit

During use, your A/C filter becomes clogged with pollutants and dirt. This lowers the output of your air conditioner and decreases its ability to keep your home cool. Regular cleaning solves this problem. The filter inside the unit is thin and lightweight, so it’s probably best to hire a professional to handle this chore. After working on the fan, the technician will probably give some focus to cleaning the coil. Regular professional maintenance is a great way to boost your energy efficiency and performance.

Photo: Griffin & Crane General Contractors, Inc.

Four: Upgrade Your A/C System

If you have an older system, you may be surprised by how much better newer units can be. Choose a reliable brand and replace your older air conditioner with a new unit. Review SEER ratings to be sure you’re getting the right energy efficient machine. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is a measurement of how much cooling is achieved for each unit of energy used.

Five: Plan Landscaping to Cool Your Home

Careful placement of trees, vines, and shrubs can reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the windows and walls of your home. As trees get taller, they’ll also provide shade for the roof. Work closely with your landscape architect to determine the best trees and plants for your property. Proper placement of landscaping fixtures can also provide shade for your air conditioning unit, so it doesn’t have to work quite so hard to keep the home cool. Just be sure there’s plenty of ventilation and that branches and other debris don’t get into the air intakes and filters.

The right fans, regular maintenance, modern A/C units, and planned landscaping can go a long way toward keeping your home cool when it’s hot outside. Take these steps to increase the efficiency of your A/C system and boost its performance.

Photo: Via Houzz

How To Design The Perfect Home Office

How To Design The Perfect Home Office

Are you decorating your home office? Here are some decorating ideas that will make you productive and stylish!

Photo: Town Line Wallpaper & Paint Inc.

Everyone has some need for a home office. This might be because you work from home every day, because you occasionally telecommute, or just because you like to have a space where you can pay bills and do household admin. Whatever your reason for having a home office, it needs to be comfortable and specific to your needs so that you can be as productive as possible. Here are some things to think about when you’re setting up your home office.

The Location

It’s likely that you are going to be spending a lot of time in your home office space, especially if you always work from home. Therefore, you need to work out the best place to have your office that is going to help you the most. Consider the other people in your home and how you will need to work around them (don’t use a room where other people can disturb you, for example, or somewhere that is used as a thoroughfare by lots of people – unless a busy atmosphere is how you work best, of course). It should also be somewhere that is big enough for you to be comfortable in. It may seem as though tucking yourself into a small spare bedroom or understairs space is a good idea, but when you can’t function there you’ll need to think again.

Photo: Carriage Lane Design-Build Inc.

Make It Colorful

There are many different opinions when it comes to what colors are best used in an office environment. Some say that the more neutral and natural the better because it promotes calm and tranquility, whereas others says that a splash of color is a good idea as it encourages the brain to work faster. The important thing is to make sure your office is a color you enjoy being around. Start with this in mind and work from there. Some prefer a bright and cheerful color such as lime green or sunny yellow, and others find that they are happier when surrounded by deep, dark purples and blues. What works for one won’t work for all, so do what makes you smile (and keeps you productive).

Photo: E.L. Interiors

Have Enough Storage

It’s good to be able to tidy everything away at the end of the day, especially if your office is not a room to itself but is actually a small part of another room that the rest of the household want to use. That’s where having enough storage comes in; the more storage you have the better, because that way you always know where everything is. Whether you have invested in the best headphones for mixing, a state of the art laptop, have important documents that must not be mislaid, or anything else, being able to store them all away when you’re not using your office space is a good idea, just in case anything were to happen to them. 

Get A Good Chair

Sitting in an uncomfortable position for a long period of time can cause pain in the shoulders, neck, wrists, arms, hips, and back. In extreme cases this can even mean having to take time off work. Although ergonomically designed chairs are more expensive, they will last a long time and they won’t leave you in pain either.

5 Kitchen Decor Ideas For Your Home

5 Kitchen Decor Ideas For Your Home

Shine some new light on your kitchen decorating with these easy but trendy kitchen decorating ideas!

Photo: Redl Kitchen Studio

1. Paint Your Cabinets A Shade Of Blue

You can replace “blue” with any color, because the purpose of this aesthetic choice is to modernize your cabinets and, in turn, your entire kitchen, as well. You don’t need to install new kitchen countertops, painting your cabinets is enough to make a huge impact. Most kitchen cabinets are white, and this is a very plain, very boring, look for a kitchen. Instead of sticking to plain old white, you can use blue or green or red, which makes your kitchen pop out and look inviting and very sleek and stylish!

2. Put In A House Plant Or Two

House plants make your kitchen look inviting and very natural. They invite feelings of nature and trees and grass, while putting out a very fresh scent into your home. On top of that, they have been proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, which only aids in making your kitchen even more inviting and even more relaxing and soothing, rather than inviting feelings of stress and anxiety and clutter.

When you put in a house plant, you should also make sure that the space of your kitchen itself is clean and free of any clutter or disorganization. That way, you can put the plant anywhere, allowing it to grow with incredible ease! 

Photo: Haven Design and Construction

3. Place Amish Furniture In Your Kitchen 

Amish furniture is a type of furniture that is designed to be an heirloom, passed on for generation after generation, giving the recipients an idea of what life was like, many years ago. As you can imagine, Amish pieces of furniture – such as Amish bookcases and Amish kitchen hutches – are made of incredibly durable materials. They are meant to last for quite some time, and that is, indeed, what they do.

The real reason that this is a great idea, however, is because Amish furniture is incredibly beautiful. Made with fine materials, and stained delicately, these pieces look great no matter where you put them! 

4. Place A Chalkboard On Your Fridge

This is a fun and cute little way to spruce up your kitchen and give it a timeless design! You can use this little chalkboard to add notes, to write things down, to make little drawings, and as a way of organizing your to-do list, or to write down the ingredients for a recipe! It’s simple, and you can find small ones for incredibly cheap these days, but it’s also a great way to have some fun! And if you have kids, your kids can – and most likely will, in our experience – make little drawings for you, which is always pleasant to see when you walk in your kitchen!

Photo: Grove Park Construction

5. Put Up Some Posters And Pictures

Depending on the size and scale of your kitchen, this option may be less practical and useful to you. You can use posters to add some visual flair to your kitchen and to really breathe some life into a space that may, otherwise, be rather dull.

You can frame family photos and put them in your kitchen, and you can buy posters and prints that speak to you and put them up, as well! Whatever you like, put it u

How to Carry Your Home Design Concept from Interior to Exterior

How to Carry Your Home Design Concept from Interior to Exterior

Make your home’s decorating flow seamlessly from your interior’s to your exteriors. Here are some designer tips that really do work!

Photos By: Osmond Designs

If you’ve recently invested time and money into re-designing the interior of your home, then there is no doubt that you’re enjoying the results. A newly designed home that reflects your lifestyle and personality helps to create a real sense of belonging and uniqueness in your home. While plenty of attention is paid to a home’s interior, the outdoor space is often seen as an after-thought rather than an opportunity to carry on with your design vision.

Rather than stop at the interior, why not look for ways to take your home design concept from interior to exterior and create a complete space that fits all your needs and wants. Here are some ways you’ll be able to create that design flow from indoors to outdoors.

Mimic the Same Types of Materials

One tip is to mimic the same types of materials both indoors and outdoors. Take, for example, counter surfaces. If you have used a lot of natural stone in the interior of your home in the kitchen and bathrooms, then why not create that same look outdoors.

Natural stone veneer from Kafka Granite can be the perfect way to create show-stopping landscaping details, walkways, and pathways. You can use the same color scheme as the indoors, so it won’t feel jarring as you move through the house into the yard.

Build a Patio, Porch, or Deck That Acts as Living Area

Another way to help create flow is to build a deck, patio, or porch that acts as outdoor living space. The idea is that you create the same sort of comfortable and welcoming area for entertaining and relaxing outdoors as exists indoors. The area doesn’t have to be massive; it just needs a designated space for seating.

Stick with the Same Color Palette

While you may be tempted to go for something bold and wild in your outdoor space, if this isn’t the same color palette as the interior of your home, it won’t feel connected. Ideally, you want to stick to the same color palette and just use various tones and depths to create interest and drama.

Install Glass Doors to the Outdoors

You also want to make the outdoors feel accessible. Nothing is more welcoming than large glass doors. Let’s face it, they invite you out there since you’re getting a full view of the backyard at all times. Perhaps you already have glass doors, but they are on the small side. You can make a pretty big impact by enlarging the size of the doors and creating a grander entrance/exit.

Design Flow Doesn’t Need to Stop at the Outdoors

When creating a design flow through your house, there is no reason that the outside walls should act as barriers. Instead, look for ways you can carry that same design style and vision throughout the exterior and really perfect that indoor-outdoor style of living that is so very popular.

What To Do When Your Kitchen Floods (7 Easy Steps)

What To Do When Your Kitchen Floods (7 Easy Steps)

Is your kitchen flooding? Here’s what you need to do before things escalate and cause water damage to your home. Keep reading!

Photo: Vetro Kitchens

In many cases, whole house floods that start in the kitchen can be incredibly costly — affecting costly kitchen cabinets that soak up water like a sponge. Leaks underneath the sink can go unnoticed for days, saturating everything in its wake. Flooding in the kitchen requires more than a couple of towels and mops to soak up the mess, especially if it’s something that’s been left unattended to for several hours while you were away.

If you’re experiencing a major kitchen flood that’s affecting the majority of your home, you should consider having it handled by a professional water damage restoration service that can respond immediately and that are equipped for disasters like this; mitigating any further water damage and preventing possible mold growth in your home.

1. Turn Off The Water

Turning off a water supply line valve usually stops the flow from any broken or burst pipes under the kitchen sink. However, if this doesn’t work or you’re just not sure where the source is, you can turn off your home main water line at its shutoff valve.

2. Turn Off The Electricity

You’re going to want to head over to your breaker panel and cut the electricity into your kitchen and any other rooms affected. It’s pretty elementary that water and electricity don’t mix. To be safe, you should also unplug any and all household appliances.

Photo: Croma Design Inc

3. Be Careful With Gas Stoves

Do you have a gas stove? These stoves can be affected by standing water and some regulators and bottom burners may need replacement. If you suspect your stove may have been compromised, it’s best to turn off your gas and have it inspected.

4. Mop/Towel Up Standing Water

Move any furniture that affected by standing water out of the way so you can start the cleanup process. You want to soak up as much standing water with towels and mops to prevent any more water soaking into building material.

Photo: Savvy Interiors

5. Start The Drying Process

Air movement is key. Set up box fans (you can find them at your local hardware store)in the immediate area to dry out the kitchen. Adding a dehumidifier can also help with the drying process by bringing the overall air humidity down — this will also help prevent any mold growth as well.

6. Know When To Call The Professionals

Trust us, a couple of towels, mops, and fans aren’t going to cut it with a full kitchen flood that’s affecting multiple areas of your house. Water can penetrate porous building material, like kitchen cabinets and walls, extremely fast. If left untreated, this high level water saturation can quickly turn into mold and become a disaster.

Avoiding A Flood In The Kitchen

Obviously, there’s not much you can do if a random pipe bursts or a supply line breaks. What you can do is routinely check on your household appliances and underneath the kitchen sink for any obvious small leaks that can become major ones.