How to Cut Down on Air Conditioner Wear and Tear This Summer

How to Cut Down on Air Conditioner Wear and Tear This Summer

Your AC unit can be a lifesaver in the harsh heat of summer. That’s why it would be incredibly frustrating if it started running poorly or stopped functioning. Many AC problems are caused by wear and tear over time, and they can be prevented with a few simple operating and maintenance tips.

Clean or Replace Your Filter

All AC units have filters that filter dust, dirt and grime from the air that is being circulated into the house. When this filter gets clogged, air flow becomes obstructed. This causes the air conditioner to be much less efficient in air flow, cooling and even energy use.

AC units differ in where the filter is located and whether the filter is disposable or not. Check your air conditioner’s manual for information on this subject. If your filter is disposable, you’ll need to purchase a new one when it gets clogged. If it’s not, you’ll need to clean it. Some filters can easily be cleaned with some cleaner and a wet rag, but others may need to be cleaned off with a hose or in the bathtub.

Keep the Unit Away from Sources of Heat

Most people don’t think about items that are placed around the air conditioner, but some items can have effects on its operation. For example, lamps and televisions tend to produce a good deal of heat. This heat is usually not enough to damage the face of the unit, but it has other effects. Air conditioners work through a thermostat. When the thermostat reaches a certain temperature, it either turns off or on. When you have appliances that produce heat near the air conditioner, it causes the unit to run for much longer than it would otherwise. This means the unit is overworking itself and wasting energy for no reason. Keep any appliance that may produce heat away from the air conditioner if possible. If you can’t avoid it, you’ll need to be more diligent about manually turning the unit off and on.

Window Seals and Proper Insulation

One of the most common ways that AC units tend to suffer from large amounts of wear and tear in short amounts of time is constantly needing to have the unit on due to heat getting in and the cold air getting out. Sealing your windows, especially the one holding the air conditioner, along with properly insulating your home can save your AC from constant operation. It not only saves your air conditioner from wear and tear, but it also cuts down on heating costs in the winter.

Curtains and Shades

When it comes to cutting down on AC wear and tear, keeping your curtains and shades closed can make a big difference. While many people love to enjoy the bright and sunny days of summer, it’s best to avoid the hot rays of the sun when you’re indoors to keep the temperatures in your home down. Not only will this allow your air conditioner to automatically cut down on operation time with a lower temperature reading, but it will also help you avoid feeling like you need to turn the AC on at all.

Prepare for Winter

If you have a window air conditioner that is too heavy or too difficult to remove from your window before winter strikes, you’ll need to properly cover it as much as you can to avoid water buildup, leaf and bug accumulation, and ice damage. Cover the back with a small tarp and wrap it up with bungee cord. The front can also be covered by a cloth or another insulated covering.

If you can remove the AC, ensure that it is stored in a safe location where it won’t get damaged. It should be kept indoors preferably in a fairly warm and dry area.

Insurance

If you are still worried about possible damage, issues or breakdowns in your AC unit, you can purchase a home warranty to help cover the costs. Not only does this insurance cover air conditioning units, but it also covers heating and other major appliances.

Damages Covered By Most Basic Home Warranty Plans and Insurance Polices

Damages Covered By Most Basic Home Warranty Plans and Insurance Polices

Issues and Hazards Covered By Basic Homeowners Insurance Storms and Severe Atmospheric Weather

Severe weather and storms that produce high winds, large hail stones and lightning that can damage your home or property will typically be covered by most policies. The risks associated with storms and other severe weather are found in almost every region and location; as a result they are a principle concern for owners who are seeking to protect their investment. Fires that occur in the home are also covered by most policies, however: wildfires and large-scale fires that may have the potential to completely destroy your property may require additional insurance or a separate policy.

Home Invasion, Property Theft and Vandalism

Being the victim of a home intrusion can be a costly and stressful ordeal. A home invasion can happen to any property owner, regardless of his location or area. Property that has been stolen and damages that are the result of vandalism or intentional destruction may all entitle you to financial assistance provided you have selected the right homeowners policy. Taking steps to secure your property and protect your belongings may not always be sufficient. The financial protection made possible through the right insurance coverage can go a long way towards providing the peace of mind that comes from knowing your investments and assets are in good hands.

Issues and Hazards Not Covered By Basic Homeowners Insurance Damage Caused By Earthquakes, Floods and Hurricanes

Widespread and regional disasters typically fall outside the realm of many homeowners insurance policies and may require property owners to purchase additional coverage in order to protect themselves and their home. Homeowners insurance that is available to property owners in areas and locations that may be at greater risk of certain natural disasters may not be as comprehensive as you might expect. Investing in a policy that can provide protection from specific risks associated with your location can be of paramount concern for owners of properties in flood prone, coastal or seismically active regions.

Personal Injuries and Aggressive Pets

Should you, a family member or even guest suffer a personal injury through use of athletic equipment, playscapes, or even a backyard trampoline, a homeowners plan may not be able to provide sufficient insurance coverage. Bites, scratches and other injuries caused by pets are another concern that may fall outside the boundaries of your insurance plan or package, especially for larger animals and dog breeds that are considered dangerous. Having to pay out of pocket for injuries suffered on your property or in your home can be a very expensive proposition.

Investing in Superior Coverage

Protecting your home, its occupants and your personal property and belongings is never a concern that should be taken lightly. While a comprehensive homeowners insurance plan or home warranty is often sufficient for those seeking to protect themselves from the most common risks and hazards, additional coverage may be needed in order to enjoy the level of security you are seeking. Understanding the limitations of your homeowners policy and seeking out opportunities and arrangements that will afford you additional insurance coverage can make a world of difference in the event of an accident, injury or any circumstance that may pose a risk to your property.

What’s the Secret Sauce to Selling Your Home Fast? Purchase a Home Warranty

What’s the Secret Sauce to Selling Your Home Fast? Purchase a Home Warranty

Sometimes the struggle to sell a home can seem like a nightmare come true. There are many factors that go into selling a home and a lot of reasons for why your home might not be selling, from the condition of your home to making sure you price it right, from the start. One of the best tricks to selling a home quickly, however, is one that not many homeowners might think of initially: buy a home warranty.

A recent home sales study found that homes covered by a home warranty or some kind of protection plan sell faster and for more cash than those without.

Specifically, the study found that homeowners that have a protection plan on their home sell their homes 11 days faster than those that are selling without a protection plan.

The study also found that on average, homes sell for about $2,300 more if covered by a plan. Being able to transfer a home warranty to new owners is good incentive for buyers, as it is looked at as adding value to a home; this is definitely a plus for buyers already thinking ahead to the future when they might want to sell. It gives owners a competitive edge in a market that is constantly fluctuating.

Buyers can find peace of mind when purchasing a home covered by a warranty; knowing that everyday breakdowns are covered, whether they are due to defects or even just normal wear and tear, is a huge carrot when coming to a decision on a home to buy. It could be the tipping point between two equally appealing homes.

Protection plans vary, but good ones tend to cover the following systems and appliances:

  • air conditioning
  • heating systems
  • plumbing systems, including faucets and toilets
  • water heater
  • electrical systems
  • central vacuums
  • ceiling fans
  • garage door opener
  • garbage disposals
  • clothing washers and dryers
  • dishwashers
  • freestanding icemakers
  • trash compactors
  • microwave ovens
  • oven ranges
  • refrigerators

More extensive protection plans go so far as to cover things like alarm wiring, pest control, gas leaks and smoke detectors. Some home warranty companies even allow homeowners to add systems or appliances in an a la carte sort of plan. These kinds of plans help homeowners avoid unforeseen and costly repair bills and cut down on lengthy waiting repair periods.

If you’re still struggling to sell your home—or even if you just want a competitive edge—there are other things you can look into doing. Consider the following:

  • Price it right from the beginning. Find out what your home is worth and then list it at 15 to 20 percent under that number. Buyers will come running, and they’ll bid over what you list it at and sometimes even over what it’s worth.
  • Depersonalize your home. The more personal touch your home has, the harder it is for a potential buyer to imagine themselves living there. Pack up at least a third of your stuff and put it into storage.
  • Update your kitchen. Buyers don’t buy a home, they buy a kitchen—that’s how crucial it is that your kitchen look and feel new. And good news is that you’ll get back most of the money you’ll put in. It may cost several thousand dollars to get new countertops, whereas a buyer may knock off $8,000 to $10,000 off the asking price if the kitchen looks outdated.
  • Let prospective buyers sleep over. This one might sound kind of out there, but letting buyers spend the night in a home they are considering buying could seal the deal. Getting the feel for the home and paying attention to what they hear—or don’t hear (think busy street, for example)—could be the deciding factor for a buyer.

So whether you decide to get new kitchen cabinets or go bold and list your home at 20% off the asking price, purchasing a protection plan has the potential to turning your home-selling nightmare into a real-life possibility.

7 Ways to Prepare Your Home Before Leaving on Vacation

7 Ways to Prepare Your Home Before Leaving on Vacation

Whether you are planning a vacation to another city or even out of the country, preparing your home before you leave is a way to ensure the protection of your property and belongings regardless of how long you intend to stay out of town. Preparing your home before you leave for your vacation can be done ahead of time to ensure you are ready to enjoy your vacation without the stress of security at your house at all times.

Notify Your Neighbors and Relatives of Your Departure

Before you leave on any vacation or getaway, be sure to inform of your departure as many neighbors and relatives that you can trust as possible. Informing those you know that you are leaving on vacation is a way to have them monitor your house while you are not available. You can also have a friend or a family member to visit your home periodically while you are on vacation to check up on in, turn on different lights and to ensure that everything is in its place at all times.

Installing a Home Security System

Home protection is essential any time you are thinking of leaving your house unattended while you are out and away on vacation. Installing a home security system is one option to keep your house from potential burglars and thieves. With a home security system, you have the option of installing cameras, motion detectors and protectors on all doors and windows throughout the home itself to set before leaving.

Consider Timed Lighting

Installing a timed lighting system is another way to ward burglars away from making your home a potential target while you are not vacating it. When burglars are casing a home to enter, they often check for lighting changes to determine whether or not the house is occupied. Installing a timed lighting system is a way to ensure you are not using too much electricity while out while still deterring potential criminals.

Notify Authorities of an Extended Absence From Your Home

Any time you are planning a vacation or getaway, be sure to notify the police if you intend to stay out of your home for a week or longer. Notifying authorities that you are not intending to occupy your home for a set number of days may prompt them to check up on your property for you while you are out of town.

Unplug Electronics

Unplug any and all electronics from your home before going on vacation. Unplugging electronics not only reduces the chance of having a fire in your home while you are unavailable, but it also helps to reduce the amount of energy you are using altogether.

Leave Your Home as Normal

Avoid making any changes to the exterior appearance of your home when leaving on vacation, including drawing your curtains. When you close all of the curtains throughout your home, you are more likely to attract a burglar who believes the property is completely vacant. Instead, leave your home as you normally do to avoid suspicious actions.

Avoid Updating Social Media Pages

Avoid updating any social media pages or online websites you have that are public and not for family members and close friends only. When you post that you are away on vacation, it is essentially tipping off potential criminals and burglars who may be in your area while you are out.

Taking the time to prepare your house before leaving on vacation is not only a way to find a relief from stress while you are away, but it also adds layers of protection and security to any home you own. The more people you inform and plans you have in place for your home prior to leaving, the less likely you are to personally become a target or a victim of a burglary while you are on vacation.