Every body is always looking for ways to make their home more energy efficient because lets face it, utility prices are a pain! This time of the year is especially critical for home owners to start thinking about their air conditioning and start thinking am I doing all I can to save my self money this cooling season? Here a few easy steps you can take to make sure your AC system is running efficiently and effectively this summer.
Preventative Maintenance Inspection- Having a technician come out to your home and inspect your AC system is the best way to make sure everything is running smoothly, prevent costly breakdowns during a heat wave, insure efficient energy consumption, and prolong the life of your air conditioner.
Change Filters - This is a very simple step that many people over look. It is very inexpensive to do, but can be very expensive if you choose to ignore this step. Would you go 3 years without changing the oil in your car? A technician can do this for you during one of you semi-annual inspections
Keep the Cooling Coils Clean-During your semi-annual inspection the technician will insure that all contaminants are cleared.
Seal Air Leaks Seal the cold air into your home, that way it is less likely to escape. The same principle can be applied to heating your home. Make sure all windows and exterior doors are sealed with weather stripping.
Reduce Apilliance Use-Try using your appliances in the early morning or after sunset. Appliances like washers/dryers and even dishwashers emit heat. By simply changing the time you use them, your home will be cooler and your AC unit won’t have to work as hard. Also consider putting in drapes to block out sunlight.
Programmable Thermostats Programmable thermostats are very effective when set up correctly. They work by telling the system when you and your family will be home and turn on during the prime hours when you are home, thus saving energy because the system doesn’t run when you are out.
Weigh the Option Of Upgrading-It may be hard to fathom spending a large amount of money to change something that works, but it maybe smarter to upgrade. There are so many grants and rebates available for high efficiency units. Additionally the more efficient your system, the more money you save annually.
Call today and book your AC inspection. 604-283-2383.
The handy kitchen garbage disposal is useful for getting rid of a variety of food scraps and waste that might otherwise create unpleasant smells in the kitchen. However, many foods can actually damage your garbage disposal or render it useless. These tips can help keep your garbage disposal running smoothly.
1. Avoid putting fibrous foods or tough-skinned vegetables into the disposal. The strings of celery, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, corn husks, carrots, onion skins and potato peels can wrap around the blades, preventing proper operation of the motor. If you feel you must put fibrous foods into your disposal, do so in very small quantities, and run the cold water while you operate the unit.
2. Don’t put extremely hard foods into the garbage disposal. Items such as bones and fruit pits can dull and even break the unit’s blades. In a worst-case scenario, hard foods will jam the disposal, preventing blades from turning and causing the motor to burn out.
3. Keep grease and greasy foods out of the disposal. Greasy foods will distribute a film over the blades, diminishing their effectiveness. Eventually, the grease will begin to decay, causing an unpleasant odor in the kitchen. Pouring grease into a garbage disposal can result in clogged drains when the grease solidifies.
4. Contrary to popular belief, egg shells have no place in the garbage disposal. Some people claim that egg shells sharpen the blades of the unit, but this is not true. The shell’s stringy membrane layer can wrap around the shredder ring, and the shell itself will be ground to a sand-like consistency capable of clogging pipes.
5. Avoid putting expandable foods such as pasta and rice into the garbage disposal. Even small particles of these foods will swell with water and eventually clog the p-trap.
6. Exercise common sense, and don’t put non-food items into the garbage disposal. Avoid the example of homeowners who have placed rubber bands, twist ties, cigarette butts, pull tabs, fabric, sponges and plant clippings into their disposal units. These items cannot break down enough to wash down the drain.
The garbage disposal is a sturdy kitchen appliance; however, even the best model cannot handle unsuitable items. If you run into any problems with your unit, you should seek the help of a licensed Vancouver plumber or contractor. Ashton Service Group is a quality licensed Vancouver plumbing company. Call Ashton Service Group at 604-283-2383 or book online if you are still experiencing problems.
Energy Tip #1
In preparing for the summer, consider investing in some insulated, thermal-backed drapes for your windows. They’ll help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Energy Tip #2
Don’t forget to check the seals on your refrigerator door to make sure they are clean and tight. Your refrigerator accounts for up to 11% of your household’s total energy use, which can have a major impact on your energy bill.
Energy Tip #3
Spring-cleaning involves making sure all the fans in your home are working properly and are dust-free. Regularly wash or replace filters. Consider installing a timer switch on your bathroom fan, so that it runs only as long as it is required.
Energy Tip #4
Before buying an air conditioning unit or system, find out its energy efficiency ratio (EER). Calculate the EER by dividing the unit’s cooling capacity (BTU’s/hour) by its energy requirement (watts). An EER of 10 or more is very good, and 6 or 7 is fair. Remember to buy the smallest capacity unit or system that will meet your needs.
Energy Tip #5
Have you ever thought about installing an attic ventilator? An attic ventilating system draws cool air up through the house and can provide the same level of comfort as an air conditioner at a much lower cost. Pump in cool air during summer evenings then seal your home during the day. Attic ventilation can help lower winter heating bills too.
Energy Tip #6
Does your Vancouver home have a sliding glass door? Make sure to keep its track clean. A dirty track can ruin the door’s seal and create gaps where heat or cold air can escape.
Energy Tip #7
Toilets consume a large amount of water every day. Installing low flow toilets are a good way to reduce your water bills.
Energy Tip #8
When dust and pet hair build up on your refrigerator’s condenser coils, the motor works harder and uses more electricity. As part of your spring-cleaning, make sure the coils are cleaned and air can circulate freely.
Energy Tip #9
Make sure you change the direction of airflow on your ceiling fan. In the winter, let the fan push warm air toward the floor and in summer, switch the direction and draw air upward, cooling the room and ensuring constant airflow.
Energy Tip #10
Make sure all taps are not dripping. A dripping tap can waste up to 2000 litres a month, that’s 24000 litres a year!
This month at Ashton is water heater month. Did you know that the average life of a hot water tank is just 7 years? Did you know that there is a way that you can prolong the life of your tank to 10 years? This month we are offering a water heater tune up for just $38! Regular maintenance is crucial for making any mechanical equipment last longer.
One critical piece of your hot water tank that is often overlooked by plumbing professionals. The anode. The anode is a magnesium rod that sits inside your tank. The rod gives up its electrons to the tank preventing corrosion. If your anode is corroded, it means that it is no longer protecting the tank. Replacing your anode is a simple way to extend the life of the tank!
Our tune up includes:
Drain the tank and reduce sediment
Inspect gas venting for carbon monoxide emissions
Inspect for rust, signs of wear and safe installation
Advise for upgrade or improvement of water heater.
Call and book today 778-732-0143
Question: At what temperature should I set my thermostat at and what are the benefits of a programmable thermostat?
Temperature settings depend on the time of year and your personal preferences. In the summer, the average temperature setting is 23°C-26°C. In the winter 20°C-22°C is the norm. Remember, when leaving your house; try to avoid drastic temperature changes. Do not set your temperature back more than 5°; this will cause your unit to work harder to reach your desired temperature setting.
Because they are electronic, programmable thermostats are more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. Plus, they allow you to automatically control the temperature in your home at different times of day without you ever having to touch your thermostat. There is a LiveSmart BC rebate available that ends March 31st 2013 for homeowners who replace a minimum of five thermostats for electric baseboards with electronic thermostats. Contact your preferred heating company to find out more at 604.283.2383.
Vancouver drain cleaning experts at Ashton Service Group use hydro-jetting to clear tough clogs. Water jet drain cleaners are powerful plumbing tools that are specifically designed to unclog the toughest drain clogs. They feature relatively modern drain cleaning technology involving strong water pressure applied in pulses, which differs from traditional drain cleaners. A standard drain cleaning device uses a cable or pipe that simply bores holes through blockages. Cable drain cleaners have a few disadvantages:
1) Debris is simply broken apart and can re-clog the pipe further down the line.
2) Self-healing clogs such as grease re-form after being perforated if some material remains.
Water jet cleaners have the following advantages:
1) Completely flush out all material, preventing further clogs or self-healing.
2) Use pulse flow, which allows the hose to better maneuver inside pipes.
3) Clear sand, soap, grease, ice and mud from clogged pipes with ease.
If you have a tough, hard-packed drain clog, or a tenacious self-healing grease clog, the Ashton
Service Group water jetter will take care of it promptly. Best of all, the high pressure water jet
will ensure that you won’t have to worry about leftover material re-clogging your drain.
To see any of our other services, you can go to http://www.ashtonservicegroup.com/
Question: Are there any plumbing items I should do to prepare for the spring?
Yes, there are several things you can do to make sure everything is operating efficiently.
First, you may want to check all your exposed pipes under your sinks and in the basement for leaks. Second, you can pour 4L (milk jug’s worth) of water into drains that you don’t frequently use to fill the trap and prevent odours from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry water away in the event of a flood. If your home has a sump pump, make sure it is working properly by pouring a couple of buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water and then shut off without any problems.
Lastly, you may want to install a backwater valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes back up into the home. The backwater valve will prevent future backups and spare you the odour and clean up headaches.
Now if you do find any leaks in your pipes, the sump pump is not draining quickly or you would like to install a backwater valve, give your preferred plumber a call and they can help solve any or all those issues easily.
Question: I’m afraid my old furnace will quit in the middle of winter, is it worth replacing before it breaks down?
Being without heat in the middle of winter when your old furnace quits is something you want to avoid especially with the cold snap we are having now. If your contractor is suggesting that your furnace needs replacing it is wise not to put it off. If the cost of replacing your old furnace is the reason making you hold off, consider that some older models of furnaces deliver only 55% of the heat to your home while a new high-efficiency natural gas furnace may deliver up to 97% of the heat it creates to your home. Your old furnace is probably costing you money. A new natural gas furnace will likely save you money on your heating bills.
Financing options are available from financial institutions for home improvement projects and at Ashton Service Group we offer financing to our residential customers with Snap Financial. Check with your preferred plumbing and heating contractor and find out what financing options are available.
Ashton Service Group has been a plumbing contractor in Vancouver for over 25 years. In addition to providing plumbing service and repair in Vancouver, Ashton Service Group also serves the entire lower mainland region including Surrey and Richmond, B.C. If you need plumbing repair in Vancouver or the surrounding area they can help. They strive for 100% complete customer satisfaction by combining quality parts and excellent service and backing their work with a service guarantee. Whether it’s a backed up drain or more serious plumbing, heating or air conditioning problem they can handle it. Ashton Service Group is capable of the most minor repair or the complete construction of the building.
- Vancouver Plumbing – Ashton Service Group has over 25 fully inventoried Vancouver plumbing trucks on the road. They can get to you fast and provide upfront pricing before beginning any work. If you need to hire an experienced Vancouver plumber give them a call today.
- Surrey Plumbers – They are an experienced Surrey plumbing company who can solve any plumbing problem. From time to time they are offering Surrey plumbing specials or discounts. Ashton Service Group can accommodate your schedule because they have a large fleet of service vehicles.
- Richmond BC Plumbers – Ashton Service Group is the only full service plumbing company in Richmond B.C. They can handle all types of residential and commercial plumbing projects and they specifically educate their Richmond plumbers to answer all of your questions so can make an educated decision about your plumbing repair.
With the recent hot snap people realize the importance of AC units, but it can also be a big waste and expense when used inefficiently. There are plenty of ways to waste cooled air from your Surrey air conditioner, but fortunately there are also several ways to increase efficiency.
Try these, for starters:
- Keep filters and coils clean
Filters and coils need to be kept clean in order for an air conditioner to run optimally. Clean or change your filter once a month, in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. A tech can should inspect the evaporator and condenser coils every summer, and clean them as necessary.
- Look at efficiency ratings
All air conditioners bear a rating that reflects their efficiency, called the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER. The SEER rating is a measure of how much cooling capacity a unit has in relation to how much power it draws. For more energy efficiency, opt for a model with a higher SEER rating.
- Use the “auto” fan setting
Most thermostats have an “auto” setting that will take control of your AC for you by turning it one when the temperature is high and off again when it is sufficiently low. Make use of this setting for better cooling and energy efficiency.
- Program your thermostat
A programmable thermostat saves a lot of wasted cooling by keeping the house a few degrees warmer during times when no one is home.
- Zone your home
To get really serious about cooling efficiency, consider zoning your home. This allows for independent cooling of different parts of the house, so that no extraneous rooms are cooled unnecessarily. For example, if your family likes the bedrooms cooler at night, you can defines them as one zone so that they can be cooled more, but without wasting energy cooling the rest of the house.
- Get an annual inspection
A machine that is in good working order is a machine that will run efficiently. Air conditioners are no exception. Have a licensed Surrey air conditioning professional look over your whole system every year to ensure peak operation and maximum efficiency.
Any of these tips on its own will help your air conditioners efficiency, but for best results you should combine them. In particular, the maintenance steps go a long way toward not only improving efficiency, but also maximizing the life of your AC system. Call Ashton Service Group today at 604-283-2383 to schedule an appointment!