Beat the Heat!

It is summertime in Houston once again, and now is the time to make sure that your air conditioner is running in top form.  If it is not, there could be some easy things you can do to improve its performance without having to call in the professionals.  This will save you money in two ways: you may not have to pay to have your A/C serviced, and it will run more efficiently, cutting down your power bill. Here are five easy things you can do to improve the performance of your air conditioner: Replace the filters. Check your filters for dust or clogging, and if they are dirty, replace them.  Dirty filters not only mean that the air circulating through your home is not as clean as it could be, it also means the air will not circulate as efficiently.  Dirty or clogged filters restrict the amount of air flowing through.  This means that it has to run longer to achieve the desired temperature, which burns more power.  How often you must do this will depend on several different factors, so check your filters periodically to see if they need to be changed out. Clean the condenser coils. The condenser (the box that is outside with the fan in it) can end up with dirt and debris in it, which can clog up the coils inside.  This too will decrease the efficiency of your unit and cause it to have to run more.  To do this, turn off the power to the unit, open up the panels to access the coils, and clean the outside of them with...

Spring Cleaning Tips

The holidays are over, and what better time than the New Year to get your house clean and de-cluttered?  But since it can be overwhelming and you might not know where to begin, here are some tips to get you started on your spring cleaning. Start with getting rid of clutter.  Go room to room (you might want to start with closets and dressers) and get rid of whatever you don’t use.  Put everything you wish to keep in its proper place, and separate everything else into sale, donation, and trash containers. Organize your closets and dressers.  Organize them according to your routine and by type or color.  This will make them look tidier and increase your efficiency. Take care of the windows and treatments.  Wash the windows (try to do this on a cloudy day so the cleaner doesn’t dry too quickly and leave streaks), clean the blinds, and vacuum, steam, or dry clean the curtains. Clean lights and ceiling fixtures.  Dust using a dry lint-free cloth.  If it is extra grimy, try adding a dab of vinegar to the cloth. Clean walls, door frames, and baseboards.  Try to clean these with just a sponge and some water first.  If that doesn’t work, add some mild dishwashing liquid to warm water.  (Anything harsher may soften the paint.) Get your kitchen sparkling.  Clean out the fridge, throw out old food, wipe up any spills, and dust or vacuum the coils.  Clean granite counter tops with ammonia and water; for coffee or juice stains, use a little hydrogen peroxide.  For tiles, use a cleaner that says “neutral pH” on it,...