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What Do I Need to Know to Maintain my Air Conditioner?

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Maintaining your HVAC system is an essential component to your quality of life. When it’s working correctly, you are guaranteed a comfortable environment in all seasons. You are also guaranteed of efficiency in energy consumption. The challenge is that if you do not get the right information on air conditioner maintenance, it can cost you a lot of money. There is also the risk of falling prey to unscrupulous AC repair companies that cost you money and make the problems worse. To help you avoid such issues, here is what you need to know to maintain your AC without challenges.

Finding the Right Company Can Make all the Difference

If you want to maintain your AC without problems, make sure to use a qualified HVAC company. There are multiple ways that you can tell if an HVAC company. The first thing you need to check out for is their certifications. As a rule, always go for a company that has all the right certifications needed for the job. This is usually an indicator that they have the minimum qualifications needed to get the job done. Once you ascertain that they are certified, the next thing to check out for is their customer reputation. One way to tell if a company has a good reputation or not is to check its online reviews. As a rule, go for a company that has more positive reviews than negative ones. It is usually an indicator that they are good at the job, and they deliver on their promises. Using these parameters, one of the best companies you can go for is Doc’s heating and AC Company. They are BBB Accredited and are dealers for top companies like Mitsubishi Electric, Goodman, Amana, Daikin, and Aprilaire. They also have a good reputation with customers including fast response times to customer needs.

Save Money by Taking a DIY Approach to Air Conditioner Maintenance

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AC maintenance is not cheap. However, you can significantly cut on these costs by taking a DIY approach to most of the AC maintenance tasks. Some of the things you can do by yourself and cut on your AC maintenance costs are as below:

  • Replace the air filters

One of the things you can do to cut on costs is to replace the air filters. Replacing the air filter is not hard and you should try and do it once a month. All you need to do is know the right-size filter for your system and stick to it. By replacing the air filter, you avoid a multitude of other issues that will most likely lead to costly repairs.

  • Cleaning up the coils

One of the biggest causes of inefficiencies in AC systems is dirty air coils. When dirt clogs up the coils, it slows down the airflow, reducing the system’s ability to absorb heat. As such, the system works harder leading to higher energy consumption. Luckily, this is an issue that you can easily deal with on your own. Just spend a few minutes of your free time, once or twice a month, to clean the coils.

  • Get rid of debris from the AC unit

One of the biggest causes of inefficiency in AC systems is a buildup of debris in the unit. Some of this debris include leaves and small stones, and you can deal with them without the intervention of a professional. For instance, you can start by cleaning up the area close to the air conditioner of shrubs and other plants.

  • Work on the coil fins

You may have noticed that after a while, the condenser and evaporator coils start to bend. This creates a blockage of the airflow, which then affects the efficiency of the system. To get rid of this problem, try and straighten it whenever you notice that it is starting to coil. It may give you a hard time the first time, but once you learn how to do it, it will take very little of your time, and significantly cut on your cost of maintaining the AC system.

  • The quality of air conditioner accessories matters
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When looking to maintain your AC, you will regularly need to replace things like coils and air filters. When buying these accessories, go for reputable brands. They will serve their purpose well, and for longer. This will cut on your costs while ensuring that you have good quality service in terms of airflow and energy efficiency. You may spend more initially, but long-term, the costs of maintenance will be lower.

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How to Best Protect Your Smart Home Gear from Hackers

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Fun new smart-home products release every month these days and more and more manufacturers are getting in on the trend. As such, the prices of internet-connected devices are becoming more affordable, and we’re all quite spoiled for choice.

While this is a good thing, keep in mind that having a house full of smart tech also poses some downsides. In particular, these new products can open you up to increased risk of being hacked by a cybercriminal. To stay safe, then, it’s necessary to be proactive to keep hackers at bay. Here are some things you can do today.

Select Products from More Security-Conscious Brands

Keep in mind that there are multiple reasons to consider brand-name products. While the main one most people consider is that these gadgets should be more reliable since the brand is well-known and trusted, another plus is that better security is also more likely.

Manufacturers who have been around for a while and built up a good name focus on retaining their reputation. As such, they do what they can to produce quality goods that are also secure. These companies are able to spend time and money testing tech to ensure it’s hard for hackers to break into. They also typically release more regular product updates to increase security as time goes on.

Update Default Settings

Once you’ve purchase smart-home products, it’s time to set them up in your house. At this stage, be sure to not skip the step of updating the default settings on your gear. Manufacturers generally use the same user names and passwords on all their devices and then make this information publicly known. They encourage customers to update settings ASAP but this suggestion isn’t always followed.

You’ll be keen to start using your new smart-home products straight away but for security’s sake, take a few minutes to change the username and password first. Hackers have access to the publicly listed details as much as anyone else, and can thereby use the information to try to break into your gadgets if you don’t make the required updates.

Utilize Security Software

Another prime way to keep cybercriminals at bay is to utilize security software. If you’re like most people, you use your smartphone, tablet, and laptop to control the smart-home gear you buy. This means that if hackers get into these devices, they could from there find their way into your smart-home gear, too. This opens you up to multiple attacks, both digitally and on-site.

To avoid this situation, protect all your computers. Install quality maximum security antivirus software that will prevent hackers from breaking into your systems. Choose products that protect against a variety of threats (including spam, ransomware, spyware, and malware) and that provide real-time alerts if there’s a breach of security.

Make Sure Your Wi-Fi Network is Secure

It’s also essential to secure your Wi-Fi network. You shouldn’t leave your router unlocked at any time, but this is even more imperative once you bring smart-home gear into the mix. If anyone in the vicinity can use your internet connection without your knowledge or login, they can use this access to find devices connected to the modem and cause havoc as a result.

Stay safe by setting up a hard-to-crack username and password on your internet router. The password needs to be at least eight characters in length and made up of a variety of symbols, upper- and lower-case letters, and numbers. Also, change this password every few months to further increase security.

Regularly Update Software and Firmware

Lastly, keep in mind that the updates developers release for their products are there for a reason. Many people take release updates as an annoying occurrence, but in fact it’s vital to run the latest versions of programs if you want to keep hackers away.

Product manufacturers continually taking note of any security gaps that may open up in their gear (including both software and firmware) that could be used by hackers to break in. As such, they find ways to plug these security holes and release updates containing the newer, more secure version.

Keep your home and information safe by setting up your smart-home gear and other products to update automatically whenever new releases come out. That way, you know you’re always as protected as possible.

Today there are numerous threats to smart-homes from hackers around the world. Thankfully, though, it doesn’t take too much to protect your devices and reduce the risk of your home being compromised.

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6 Simple Interior Updates That Will Revolutionize Your Home

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Oftentimes when homeowners want to make major changes to their living spaces but don’t have the extra time or money to take on a large-scale project, what they really want is just to shake things up a little and create a new and exciting look. This can be done in a number of ways if you just put a little thought and creativity into the process. Looking outside of the box is often where we find some of our best ideas.

Here are just a few interior updates for you to consider for your next mini-renovation project. Doing one or any combination of these can completely transform your house, apartment, or condo. There might even be a few that are adaptable to van life! Take a look at our six simple projects that can help revolutionize your home.

Decorative Mirrors to Add Space And Illumination

Decorative Mirrors to Add Space And Illumination

Utilizing mirrors to take up free space not only gives the illusion of a larger area, but it also helps redirect and enhance the lighting of the room. They can also be arraigned in the shape or style of a window to give an added charm and visual appeal.

Mosaic Tiles

These are always a popular and in-style choice. With regular or custom mosaic tiles, you can choose something that really fits the personality and style of your home, as well as reflects your own personal tastes.

Black Sinks

While we are referring specifically to the kitchen sink when we speak about this accessory, it does go very well in checkered bathroom design as well. But when you add a black sink to an otherwise stainless or white background, it really sets off the entire area with a sleek and modern look. People sometimes think that you need a lot to get little things done. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s enough to call a local service available to help you. For instance, you can reach out to a handyman Lombard IL when located in Illinois. The same will work for another county within the US.

Custom Or Unique Lighting

Custom Or Unique Lighting

Another thing that can help make a certain living or social place in your home stand out is to use unique lighting set up around the area. This could be sets of string lights, indoor torch lamps, or any other kind of retro or whimsical lighting trend that you can think of.  Or if you are a technology lover, you will appreciate the Gravita floating lamp from Floately. Who wouldn’t like having something set up in his/her home or bedroom that is hanging in the air and lights up? This floating lamp is built using the levitation concept, a button-free, touch-activated energy-efficient lamp that is powered by LED. It also has built-in Bluetooth speakers and can be paired with any device for crystal clear audio.

An Outdoor Room

And if you are looking for the perfect space to practice that custom lighting touch on, then having an outdoor area for entertaining or cooking and dining is just the ticket. A nice touch would be a multi-seat table, almost like a picnic table, with an eclectic chair arrangement.

Opt For The Window Seat

Here’s a thought: if you have a bay window or even just any nice, big window located somewhere in your home, you could set up a sitting area around that window and turn it into a well-lit place to do some daytime reading or a cozy spot to drink a glass of wine and stargaze at night. You will be surprised how well it also illuminates the rest of the house.

You don’t have to spend much money to create an interesting and exciting new change in your home. The ideas above are budget-friendly and could help transform your space into the home of your dreams.

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Is Your Home Secure?

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Your home is an important part of your life and that of your family. It’s not only the place where you live but also a safe haven where you can learn, find your identity and enjoy some privacy. One common concern many homeowners in America have is whether or not their home is truly secure, especially when they are away at work or during the night when everyone is asleep.

According to alarms.org, approximately 6% of break-ins happen during the day and most of the time they occur in homes that don’t have home security systems. Apart from keeping your doors locked when you are away, it is also a good idea to install a hidden camera from Spy Centre to protect your family and your possessions even when you are away.

How can a surveillance camera help make your home secure? Here are 5 ways you can use a security camera to make your home much safer.

1. Monitor the Perimeters of Your Home

One great way of keeping trespassers out of your compound is by mounting outdoor security cameras on your home’s perimeter. Burglars hate being spotted and that is why they target homes without security systems. When you have several cameras in your property line you can keep unwanted visitors out and in the event, there is a break-in you will have surveillance footage which you can hand over to the authorities.

2. Use a Spy Camera to Check Who Is At the Front Door

2. Use a Spy Camera to Check Who Is At the Front Door

If you do not have a peephole at your front door to confirm who’s there before letting them into your house, do not worry. With a small spy camera, you and your loved ones can answer that knock on the door with confidence. A spy camera will film everything that happens outside your front door and you can combine it with a CCTV camera inside your kitchen so that you can easily keep tabs with what’s going on even as you carry on with your chores.

3. Protect Your Garage

Your garage is home to your expensive vehicles, equipment and other valuables that you don’t commonly use in the home. Despite this fact, many people still leave their garage doors wide open, making it very easy for burglars to walk right in and steal your treasured items. By installing a visible surveillance camera in your garage, the unwanted visitor will know that they are being watched and this will go a long way in keeping your garage safe.

4. Install a Nanny Camera for Your Child’s Safety

Outdoor protection is very important but do you know what happens inside your home when you are not around? Your children are very important to you and knowing that they are safe when you are busy at work can give you peace of mind. This is why you need to invest in a nanny camera to protect your children when you are away. A nanny camera is often concealed or disguised to look like a household object such as a wall clock. With the nanny camera, you can easily capture your child’s interactions with their caregivers and that way you determine if your children are safe at home or not.

5. Watch the Pool or Other Areas Where Your Children Play

Install a closed-circuit camera next to your swimming pool or playground to monitor your children as they enjoy the outdoors. That way you will allow your children to be independent but still keep a protective eye on them to ensure that they do not slip or get injured.

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