What to Expect From A Full-Service HVAC Company: Sales

February 13th, 2015

If you’re ready to spend a little extra money on the ease and comfort of having professionals come to your house to repair your heating and cooling equipment right the first time, you need to know what kind of services they provide.

From sheer assumption, most people know the basics of what a full-service HVAC company can offer. Although there are generally two main categories that full-service companies provide their clients, the main category that most are familiar with are the repair services; but, did you know that you can actually expect more than just repair work from a full-service HVAC company?

Replacements – Often times when something goes wrong with your HVAC equipment at home, the remedy is a replacement. Full-service HVAC companies usually have service vans stocked with the necessary equipment most homeowners or apartment complexes need in order to have their issued fixed on the spot. This is especially useful for emergency heat or cooling issues.

Upgrades – This benefit tends to apply more to home owners than apartment complex management. Homes aren’t remodeled very often, and so many nice, old homes have equipment that leaves many wondering how it has worked for as long as it had. This equipment doesn’t have to be broken, but if it would make you sleep better at night to have it upgraded to more modern technology, full-service HVAC companies would be able to complete the job for you, and even give you a quote if it was something you were interested in for in the future.

Routine Maintenance – Unfortunately, a lot of repair work that HVAC companies get service tickets for are due to a lack of responsible maintenance. This means that homeowners sometimes just don’t know what they can do to make their equipment last longer, and operate better. Full-service HVAC companies generally have no problem giving good tips to help reduce future costs on equipment with proper routine maintenance. Some might even offer routine maintenance service with their regular work.

CK Mechanical HVAC

Storm Windows Need Maintenance Beyond Washing with Windex

July 16th, 2013

Admiring your reflection in a newly polished streak-free window isn’t the end of window maintenance. If your storm windows are not properly maintained, they will stop protecting your home from storms, moisture will seep in, and your windowsills will rot. Storm windows can save you a lot of money on your heating bills, but they do have their little quirks. They can squeak when they open, and they get stuck when you urgently need to empty a smoke-filled kitchen. Yearly maintenance of your storm windows will get your quirky windows working all year long, and it will ensure your weather protection is kept intact.

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Corrosion on window sashes and frames can cause windows to squeak and stick. Materials accumulate on the sashes and frames when a window has been left to sit for years without cleaning, but you can avoid this by cleaning your sashes once or twice a year with a fine steel-wool pad. If you have some serious dirt and grime collecting in the window channels, you might need a table knife or small putty knife to chisel off the gunk. If you have wood channels, you can sand down the channels with 100-grit sandpaper.

To give your window channels a protective coating, dip a cloth in some paste wax and wipe it on the metal. Rubbing candle wax will keep your windows sliding smooth. Or you can spray some silicone lubricant onto the window tracks to keep the windows easy to open and close.

If your excuse for avoiding yearly maintenance is that you can’t open your window to clean in it, try a hammer – but don’t bang the sides of the window with a hammer directly. If paint has dried a window shut, put a putty knife in the side crevice, and gently tap on the handle with a hammer to loosen the seal. If tapping a putty knife doesn’t work, get a small block or scrap piece of wood, place it on the metal or wood part of the sash (not the glass) then use a hammer to give firm taps to the block. Hammer as gently as you can to loosen the seal. Don’t miss.

While you have the window open, look at the bottom for some little holes called “weep holes.” These holes keep condensation out from the middle of your windows. To keep your windows from weeping with condensation, use a thin piece of wire to poke out the debris. (A twist tie should work.) Wipe up the debris when you’re done. Condensation can also be caused by poor weatherstripping, or a window that is misaligned. If cleaning your weep holes doesn’t solve condensation problems, you’ll need to do some more investigating.

Window maintenance should always include checking your weatherstripping. Weatherstripping protects your heating and cooling bill from inflation and your windowsills from decay, but some types of weatherstripping such as foam, felt and caulk can wear down over time. Take a good close look at your weatherstripping at least once a year to make sure you don’t need any fillers or replacements.

Outside appearances aren’t everything. Put down the window cleaner and get a good look at the inside of your windows to see what window maintenance you can do this year. Keep the inside of your windows clean and free from debris, and you’ll admire how well your windows work as much as you admire how they look.

Planning Your Skylight Location With Your Head Up in the Air

March 21st, 2013

Skylights provide more than just a great view. They add architectural elements, open up dark and dreary rooms, and can put the sunlight to work growing plants or warming up the house. Windows add character to a home, but skylights add drama. In order to plan the location of your new skylight, you are going to have to consider much more than just the view outside.

First walk around to find potential indoor problems. If there is a radiator, steam and heat might be directed right to the window. Heating registers would indicate obstructive duct work, and electrical outlets would indicate nearby wiring if they run upwards.

Then, take a rest from your deep thinking and plop yourself on the couch. Look up to the ceiling and picture yourself gazing at constellations instead of bland white ceiling tiles. Bring yourself back down to earth through the roof and picture what is just above that ceiling.

If there is an attic or crawl space over the ceiling of your proposed skylight location, a light shaft has to be installed. A light shaft is basically a rectangular box (shaft) that extends from the roof, through the attic, and to the edge of the ceiling to direct the light into the house. A skylight without a light shaft will bring in more light than a skylight with a light shaft. You can compensate for the loss of light by installing a larger skylight, or installing a “splayed” light shaft. A splayed light shaft is constructed to manipulate the illumination to get the maximum amount per square foot of skylight. If you have a tall attic, consider a larger skylight and/or a splayed light shaft.

To further examine your proposed skylight location, you’re going to have to get off the couch and venture up into the attic. Walk around the attic where you envision the skylight to be. Look to see if there is duct work, electrical wires, plumbing, vents, pipes, joists, walls or other obstructions to the location. Some obstructions are easy to move, but others aren’t. You probably don’t want the expense of reconstructing your house to move a load bearing wall that’s in the way, but you might be willing to move a few wires. There will be some obstructions, and some cutting and moving is generally expected. But if you see a major obstruction, consider a new location for your skylight. You also need to consider the amount of room needed to perform the installation work. A tool might fit in a tight spot, but a person needs to be holding that tool and must have room to move. Read the rest of this entry »

Clean Your Gutters and Keep Your Gutters Guarding Your Home – part.2

September 23rd, 2012

Part I

To clean your gutters, a gloved hand, a putty knife or garden shovel, a bucket, and a garden hose will do. (Along with a ladder or scaffolding.) Find a spot near a downspout to start in. Climb up to your gutters bringing those “tools” with you. Putting the tools in the bucket and latching the bucket onto your side will make things easier. (Good luck balancing.) Using your hand and putty knife or shovel, pick up and scrape up all the leaves, twigs, pinecones and other leftovers from mother nature, and get the gunk in your bucket and out of your gutters. Then flush out the pipes with your garden hose until the water runs free and clear.

If the gutter’s downspouts get too congested with debris, position the hose directly into the downspout and turn it on full force to let the pressure of the hose water remove the clog. If that still doesn’t work, you use a “snake” or plumber’s auger to weed out the debris. (They’re inexpensive and can be found at any hardware store and even your local Walmart. For more info you can call Chicago Janitorial Companies)

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If you want to prevent future gutter clogging, take the time to cover your gutter with a protective screen, or buy a leaf guard at your local hardware store. If you can’t cover the whole system, put a small ball of screen on top of the water entranceway of each downspout, and that will at least keep the downspouts from getting clogged. Your gutters won’t be maintenance free, but the the water will run free longer.

Cleaning your gutters doesn’t take any carpentry skills, but it does take some physical aptitude. If you can’t do the job yourself, it’s worth paying someone else to do it for you. Don’t let the changing seasons wear down your home. Clean your gutters and let your gutters keep guarding your home.

Provided by EK Commercial Cleaning Service Chicago

Clean Your Gutters and Keep Your Gutters Guarding Your Home – part.1

September 22nd, 2012

Gutters can quickly become inefficient and unsightly if they are not maintained during season changes. Failing gutters can lead to a failing foundation and a soggy home. It’s not difficult to clean your gutters – but unless you have a spiraling staircase surrounding your house or live in a house the size of a hobbit, you will have to work from a ladder or scaffolding. If you are not able to work safely from a ladder and don’t have access to scaffolding, you can call a professional commercial cleaning services to do the job, or find a local teenager or college student who’s not afraid to do some wet dirty work a few feet up in the air. But for the sake of your home, find a way to get your gutter maintenance done.

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Exterior gutters are installed to collect rainwater and divert it away from your house. It sounds like a simple, small job – but it’s a job with big importance. By keeping your house protected from heavy little streams of flowing water, gutters protect your siding from staining, your house from moisture problems, and your foundation from losing its stability.

Provided by EK Commercial Cleaning Service Chicago

Part II

Getting Rooftops Ready for Outdoor Living in the Upward Lane

January 5th, 2012

For city dwellers, the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors often requires a walk for the dog, a trip to the park, leisurely dining at a sidewalk cafe, or an afternoon admiring animals at the city zoo. In many city homes, a convenient backyard for leisure and outdoor entertaining is either non-existent or too small to accommodate the luxuries of outdoor living. City slickers have to rush along bustling city blocks just to get a few moments of outdoor rest and relaxation. But by taking advantage of a city’s reputation to build up and not out, city dwellers can create a rooftop garden retreat that will give them the pleasures of outdoor living without having to endure the outside city pace.

A rooftop garden escape often has more immediate landscaping constraints than a suburban back yard, but once the structural requirements are met, nature can take care of the rest. Taking a good look at the roof is the best way to start planning your new rooftop outside living quarters. The roof has to be in stable condition and be able to support the additional weight and weight distribution of your new rooftop room, but the roof has to be protected as well. Building a deck on the roof can add style, structural integrity and protection.

Before any measurements or garden plans are taken seriously, you need to take a good look at your surroundings. If a deck is built, the deck must be pitched correctly to allow for water runoff. For proper draining there must be at least six inches between the roof and deck. Structures, appliances, grills, sinks, lighting and furniture on the deck and roof must be planned around drainage, electrical wiring, shafts, storage areas, overhangs, stairways, fire codes, and lot property lines (even in the air).

Imposing structures will also affect garden plans. Water towers, neighboring buildings, smokestacks and skyscrapers will directly affect sunlight, shadows, water flow, wind and temperature. Spending a few days tracking the weather, wind and sunlight patterns will give you the information you need to make better plant buying decisions. Japanese black pine, juniper, yew, cotoneaster, daffodils, narcissus and the traditional marigold, geraniums and snapdragons tend to fare well on rooftop city gardens, but broadleaved evergreens and sensitive plants do not. Needless to say, hardy plants on a hot, dry rooftop in Phoenix, Arizona will be different than those surviving the cold blustery rooftops in Chicago, Illinois.

No matter where you live, a rooftop garden scene is best created with container planting and hardy vines. Containers allow you to customize soil conditions, move the plants based on weather patterns or the number of guests, and better manage rooftop weight distribution. Container plants are also useful for creating pathways, designating eating or lounging areas, carrying out color palettes, creating tiers, and bringing in decorative elements. However, no matter how much you enjoy tiered and elevated displays, you must consider the yard and pedestrians below – make sure there is nothing unstable around the rooftop borders.

Vines are nature’s natural tool for covering railings and structures that take away from your ideal rooftop view. Vines can also be used to designate traffic patterns, sitting areas, and create backdrops for container plants. They give you the masses of green you need to turn your roof from a city building to a rooftop retreat. Use a color variation in your rooftop landscape, but balance it out with green space to achieve a fluid garden scene deserving of outdoor admiration.

Outdoor rooftop retreats are easy to admire. You can relax only footsteps away from refreshments and the comforts of home – and your dog is always welcome. Convenient outdoor friendly gatherings with family and friends can be arranged without having to worry about business hours, menus, dress codes, and street safety. But most of all, you’ll be able to admire the added rest and relaxation you can get while you watch your outdoor enjoyment rise to new heights.

4 Choices for Roofing Materials:

October 16th, 2010

1. Asphalt Shingles: These are the most common roofs seen in America today. They are cheap, durable, and long lasting. They are the “safe-bet” when it comes to installing new roofing. The drawbacks of asphalt shingles is that they lack variety, and mostly everyone has the same thing. Of course you could get creative and use architectural shingles, but they are more expensive than the basic kind.

2. Slate: This is a very expensive and a very good looking material to use for your roof. It is not affected by hail or snow, looks great, glimmers during the summertime, and is a mark of beauty. Yet, the price for this material is often steep, and installation even steeper. It might not be the best roofing for a basic housing, so consider your budge. Even if it looks pretty, its not a good idea to break the bank just to get it.

3. Ceramic: Ceramic Roofing can be found by seaside homes. It’s a very heavy material and very difficult to install. Its not as expensive as slate, but only the most experienced workman can install it. It’s also somewhat of a rarity in America, but looks great nevertheless. More popular throughout southern Europe, this material can add that European flair to your house to make it seem truly exquisite.

4. Metal: Metal roofing are cheap, durable, and easy to install. They’re somewhat ugly, but for the purpose of it use, its very effective. Its also fire proof, so useful to an area that is prone to fires. The drawback of this roof is that is indeed ugly, and even so it is easy to install, it has to be carefully installed. If not properly installed, it may and entrance to leaking, which would lead to moss and rotting.

Roof Cleaning Business

July 28th, 2010

Often times the best ideas come from the most menial tasks or simple moments. After all, Isaac Newton established the theory of physics as we know it today by simply observing falling apples. And you might have found your route to a prosperous life by creating a roof cleaning business.

Due to expert opinion, roof cleaning and repair is expected to grow nearly 9% in the next decade. As less and less new houses are being built, more old houses are being taken care of and repaired. People are starting to pay attention more to what they have, than what they plan to have in the future. And this is a great opportunity in taking advantage of that.

Many people, for one reason or another, do not wish to or won’t clean their roof. Its fairly easy, cheap, and quick, but the negative connotation associated with working on a roof and the dangers that come with it (especially when you’re washing it with slippery soap) scare most people off. This is where you can come in. With some money down for supplies and advertising, you could start your business today.

 

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You could either keep the business on the side, or when you get enough customers take it full time. Roof cleaning will be needed in all economies, and even more in the changing culture of America. A brand new business idea that could be taken advantage of in this “lazy” society, the opening to make millions in roof cleaning is here. After all, if a maid service could reach the billion dollar mark, why can’t a roof cleaning business reach several million? With hard work and perseverance, you might be on your path to economic independence and prosperity. But, before you go get a loan out of a bank, try it out on your own roof first. Make sure you like it, and most importantly, that you can do it. Read up on some books on starting a business, look for a low interest rate, and then if you feel like you’re on to something, go for it! You life only one life, what are you waiting for?

Prevent Icicles and Ice Dams on Your Roof

May 24th, 2010

Have you ever stared at the icicles on your roof and admired their grandeur and beauty? Well you shouldn’t have! These icicles are actually what are known as ice dams, and can cause serious long term damage to your roof. Ice dams occur during the winter, usually during a heavy snowstorm. This snow can clog up ventilation in your attic, causing the snow in the warmer areas of your attic ventilation to begin melting. This melted snow then eases down the roof until it reaches a colder section, where it turns in icicles. Yet the problem with this is that not only does it damage your roofing shingles, it can also leak into your house, damaging your walls and ceiling.

There are several preventable measures you can take against ice dams. You can start out by keeping proper maintenance of your roof and shingles during the summer. Keeping the ventilation running smoothly can help prevent you for the winter. It is also highly advised by Chicago Vinyl Siding Company to clean out your gutters before the winter months, to help prevent of snow and debris build up. Sadly, even if all precautions are taken, a heavy snow-season can still manage to cause ice dams.

Ice dams are one of those jobs that should be not for do it-yourselfers, something along the lines of trying to tame a wild tiger. Roofs are extremely dangerous in the winter time, and one slip of the foot would end life as you know it, literally. It is advised to contact a professional when dealing with ice dams, but if you are so brave as to attempt to tame the tiger, there are things you can do.

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The key to preventing and fixing ice dams is to remove all snow and ice from your roof. This should be done with a broom. If the brilliant idea comes up to remove it with a hose and water, return the ladder to the garage immediately. Water will make the roof extremely slippery, and injury will be almost unavoidable. The snow would have to be removed slowly and carefully. The ice in the gutter doesn’t need to be removed, and would in all honesty be too difficult to tackle. It is a far more intelligent idea to leave it be, and simply chip away a path in the ice dam to let water run through. Oh, and be very careful with icicles. When removing these, make sure there is nothing and no one underneath that these can harm, especially you.

Again, removing ice dams on your own is not suggested, and you should probably contact a professional if the problem arises. Those few extra hundred bucks will seem like nothing compared to an emergency room bill, or a funeral procession.

Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing

March 13th, 2010

Nowadays there seems to be an uninformed consensus amongst homeowners about metal roofing. They find it ugly, ineffective, an expensive. The problem is that is an outdated belief, with the new age dawning upon us. Nowadays metal roofs can come in exotic and flashy colors, are very affordable, and can last generations if properly maintained and cared for.

The panels of metal roofing are made with structural grade steel. There are several layers of this steel, and it is coated with aluminum-zinc alloy to help protect against corrosion of the steel. Then there is a panel underneath the first layer of steel. This serves as the base panel, and is coated with acrylic priming and serves to enhance the adhesive properties of the roof. It also helps protect against the elements, creating an anti-moisture, and anti-sunlight layer to battle damage and overheating of the house. Somewhat like the traditional “cool paint” of regular shingles, metal roofing adds various chemicals to battle the effects of UV-rays.

To help finish off the product, ceramic coated stone granules are added to the product. This adds another layer of protection against the weather, and adds to the viewing pleasure of the roof. These granules come in several colors, and help fight the stigma of “ugly” associated with metal roofing. The metal roof panels are then glazed for the finishing touch, and your panels are completed. All in all the product, to most eyes, seems very acceptable, and to some even beautiful. Yet again, everyone has their own taste, but most people can agree on that the metal roofs of today are far more agreeable to the eye than the cold, inexpressive metal roofs of our forefathers.

Steel coated roofs are also a great bet against the damaging effects of the elements. They seem to outperform all other types of roofing against wind, heavy rain, fire, blizzards, freezing, earthquakes, and especially hail. If you want a peace of mind on the strength of your roofing, you got no better bet than steel roofing.