Top 5 Things To Look Forward To When You Buy A Home

So, you’re buying your first home — congrats! We know you are filled with excitement as you pick out paint colors and decorations but allow us to burst your bubble a little bit. Many first time home owners are caught off guard by certain things they never thought they’d have to deal with. Although owning a home is wonderful and exciting, it comes with a big responsibility and you’ll be less disappointed if you plan for potential issues now.

  1. Start researching professionals now so you know who to call when you need them! This includes plumbers, electricians, Castle Rock air conditioner repair services, and pest control to name a few. Matlock would love to help with all of your heating and cooling needs. If your air conditioning stops working in the middle of the night or your hot water heater breaks, you’ll be glad you have a number handy.
  2. Invest in some basic tools and brush up on some basic handyman skills. In the past you may have just called your landlord to fix your broken door knob or your leaky faucet, but now you are the landlord. You can save yourself a few bucks by learning to fix simple things yourself.
  3. Plan to spend your extra cash on things for your home. Whether it’s new flowers to brighten up the porch, a new coat of paint, or something less fun like replacing your gutters, homes cost money. On the up side, you’ll likely be really proud of your space and will actually enjoy buying things to spruce up the place and make it your own.
  4. You may not have as much free time. Weekends used to be spent laying by the pool or hanging out with your friends, but now you may find yourself pulling weeds or updating your light fixtures! Unless you are buying a brand new home that you designed yourself, there is always something to do especially in the beginning. Some of it you may enjoy but some of it you just have to do whether you like it or not.
  5. Home maintenance tasks need to be done more often than you think. Everything from your HVAC system to your plumbing to your carpeting, needs routine maintenance in order to get the most longevity out of it. It may be wise to make a list of the things you need to do and spread them out throughout the year so the costs are spread out. New roofs, exterior paint, new flooring and various other things can be a huge expense so plan well in advance for them!

Spring Maintenance Tasks to Tackle Now

After a long and cold winter, spring is finally here and the temperature is starting to reflect the season change. Take advantage of the warmer days to get some things done around the house. We’ve put together a list for you so you can get to work!

  1. While you may not even be thinking of your air conditioning system right now, it’s time to schedule Highlands Ranch air conditioning service. After a long winter, your AC deserves a little TLC before you start using it. If there are any issues that need to be repaired, you’ll have plenty of time to get that done before you actually need your air conditioner. Call Matlock today and we’d be glad to help!
  2. Clear away winter debris in the yard so that your spring bulbs and other plants can start growing easily. Consider adding a fresh layer of mulch to garden beds too. Planting a few potted flowers can add a little color to your yard while everything else starts to grow.
  3. Clean out your gutters and inspect your roof. Spring can be a rainy season so you’ll want to make sure you won’t have any leaks to worry about!
  4. Go through your closet, particularly your winter clothing. If you didn’t wear something this past season, it’s time to get rid of it! Clear out clothes, shoes, and any other items you no longer wear and donate them.
  5. Consider having a yard sale once the weather is nice enough. Start going through things now and sorting it so that when it is time for your sale, you will be ready to go! Go through your kitchen cabinets, closets, and drawers. Trash the things that aren’t worth selling, organize the rest of your items so you’ll have a good idea how much stuff you’ll have, and determine if you’ll even have enough to do a sale.
  6. Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you change the batteries once a year, you won’t have to worry about them dying before you catch them and making that terrible beeping noise in the middle of the night!

Get Ready for Spring

The seasons are changing and that means homeowners should be aware of important items that will make the transition to spring much easier!

  1. As with any season transition, allergies can be the first sign that the weather and environment are changing. With spring, the plants, flowers, and foliage around us will start to bloom and grow, which can mean big problems for seasonal allergies. To help reduce allergic reactions, change your furnace filter. The filter will trap dust and allergens that could be causing irritation, and will ultimately ensure cleaner breathing air in your home if it is clean.
  2. Schedule seasonal HVAC maintenance with your local heating and cooling company. For furnace service Castle Rock homeowners rely on the team at Matlock Heating & Cooling. Soon we won’t be using our furnaces anymore and we will transition to the use of air conditioners and swamp coolers, so have your furnace checked and tuned-up so you aren’t surprised with any issues come next winter.
  3. Check your roof! Spring showers will surely expose any holes in the roof, so if there’s a risk of a leak, make repairs now before it becomes a larger issue.
  4. Plant your garden. Start figuring out what you would like to grow in your yard this year, and start planting! It’s a good idea to plant shade trees and plants that will block the sun from the air conditioner, so in the summertime your AC won’t have to work as hard. If you have existing plants that died over the winter, or have dead limbs and shoots, trim or remove now to allow for new spring growth.

Matlock Heating & Cooling, Inc. is your source for all things HVAC – contact us with questions or to schedule maintenance today!

Caring for Your Home in Winter

Though Coloradans experience plenty of sunshine during the wintertime, we also get quite a bit of snow and cold weather. It’s always beneficial to keep up on home maintenance throughout the entire year, so no areas of your home fall into disrepair. Make yourself a maintenance checklist for your home – here are a few tips to help you get started!

  • Have your HVAC system maintained by a professional. If you find yourself asking, “Why is my furnace not turning on?”, or wondering why it is heating unevenly, a simple service call to your local HVAC company could get your home restored to a warm, comfortable temperature in no time. Matlock Heating & Cooling is the leader for services for heating in Highlands Ranch. Get your system checked and tuned-up before any issues start!
  • Keep up on trimming trees and removing dead branches. During winter storms, they can break and fall due to wind and snow buildup, which can be dangerous. If you address dead branches when you first notice them, you can manage the situation and avoid having a large project on your hands down the road.
  • Clear out your gutters. When you allow debris, such as leaves and sticks to build up in your gutters, they can block melting snow and rain from being able to drain properly, which can eventually cause damage. You can also install gutter guards that will allow water to pass through, but keep debris out, making your life easier!
  • Insulate where needed. Check for cold air coming in around doors, windows, outlets, and other areas that pose the possible threat of air leaking. You can add caulking around windows, weatherstripping around doors, and insulation behind outlets and light fixture to provide the proper seal and keep cold air from finding its way into your nice, warm home.

Tips for Even Heating

Many homeowners have the issue of uneven heating. Certain parts of the home are warm and comfortable, and other parts never reach the temperatures your thermostat is set at. This common issues can be attributed to a few different factors.

Regardless of all other improvements you may make, a furnace or heat pump that is insufficient for the size of your home will not keep all areas of your home warm. In our climate, you will likely need a unit rated for 45-55 Btu’s per square foot to sufficiently keep your home warm. If your furnace is too small for your home size, it will struggle to keep the home warm, resulting in cold spots. A system that is too large can also cause problems by heating the home too rapidly and not allowing all of the warm air to disperse properly, resulting in the system turning off prematurely. An HVAC professional can help you determine the ideal solution for your home.

Your ductwork plays an important role in the quality of air you enjoy in your home. When the layout of a home’s ductwork is designed, if the flow of air is not properly assessed you may have dead spaces in the ducts where the air sits instead of flowing into the appropriate room. There should also be an appropriate number of registers in each room, depending on the size of the room. If the ductwork layout was poorly designed, it’s likely that your furnace is working hard to warm your home, but the air is not being delivered into the living spaces.

Is your home properly insulated? If your walls aren’t insulated, there is empty space between the inner and outer surfaces where the heat in your home can escape through. Heat can also escape through spaces as small as your outlets. Your attic should also be insulated to prevent the loss of heat in the winter. Window and doors if not properly sealed will easily let heat escape and let the cold air in. Caulking can be used to seal windows and weatherstripping can be used to seal doors.

If you are in need of an evaluation due to uneven heating or Parker furnace repair, the experts at Matlock are here for you. Contact us today!

How to Trim the Fat on your Energy Bill

The start of a new year means many people will tackle age-old New Year’s resolutions such as losing weight or getting in shape. At Matlock, we’re concerned with helping our customers see smaller numbers on their energy spend. A few household adjustments can make a big difference in your energy efficiency, which in turn will mean less money added to your monthly bill. Commit to trying one or more of the following tips in January and you’ll be surprised how much you will be able to save in 2014.
• Paint your roof white to reflect the sun. Studies show that white-roofed buildings required up to 40 percent less energy during the summer.
• Upgrade to a programmable thermostat. Schedule and set your heat a few degrees cooler than you’re used to and your air a few degrees warmer.
• Unplug all electronic equipment once they’re no longer in use. The energy savings will add up significantly if you’re used to plugging in and forgetting unused items.
• Change your filters once a month. There is no easier or more cost-effective way to help your HVAC system run optimally. Regular maintenance checks with Matlock will ensure no energy is wasted.
• Do a thorough check of all windows and doors and seal all cracks where warm or cold air could escape.
For more information about saving money on your energy bill, contact the heating and cooling experts at Matlock Heating & Cooling.

Most Common Heating Concerns Colorado Residents Face

 

There’s a very good possibility the care of your HVAC has been ignored for many months, and as we’re well into the winter season, you might find your furnace isn’t heating your home as well as it did last year. We’ve seen our fair share of challenges, and we’re talking about some of the more common so that you can prevent problems and stay warm this Colorado winter.

1. Problems with your thermostat
Your thermostat controls your furnace and thereby the heat and comfort of your home. Ensure it is properly connected and that it contains new batteries. If you have an old thermostat, you ought to consider upgrading to a newer model. Newer thermostats have more control, which can greatly improve your energy efficiency and help your entire heating unit to function more consistently. Contact us to learn more about thermostat options that are right for your home.

2. Dirty filters
If it’s been many months since you’ve changed your filter, it’s time to at least take a look! Even moderately-clogged filters can disrupt the flow of air forcing your unit to work harder, which can lead to motor burn out and extensive repair.

3. Too much dirt, period
An unclean system can result in dirty coils, dirty sensors, and clogged motors. Any of these problems could affect the performance and lifespan of the HVAC system. Motors need to be properly lubricated and cleaned by the professionals at Matlock each year. Our highly-trained and certified heating and cooling technicians will also inspect other areas to ensure everything is clean and ready to keep you warm all winter long.

4. Your pilot light has gone out
Make certain your pilot light is lit before you decide to turn on your heating equipment, and make sure it stays lit. Determining if this is the sole reason you are experiencing issues may help you narrow down or exclude other problems, and it can also help your technician quickly resolve the matter at hand should you need additional assistance.

5. Lack of maintenance
It’s advisable to have your heating equipment maintained and tuned-up before the heating season begins. Not enough proper maintenance can lead to a wearing of components or complete breakdown of parts. The easiest way to prevent issues is to always schedule maintenance once or twice a year, especially if you have an older unit.

Common Heating and Air Conditioning Terms

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio): A rating that tells you how efficient an air conditioner is, with a higher rating indicating that the A/C uses less energy to cool the house.

AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency): A rating that describes how efficiently a furnace burns gas to heat your home. The closer to 100% the rating, the less fuel the furnace will need to keep things toasty at home.

HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air-Conditioning): Contractors who install heating and cooling systems often use the acronym HVAC as a short-and way to describe their business.

Tips and Questions to Ask When Hiring a Contractor in Colorado

  • Make sure the contractor can answer all of your questions, and that you feel comfortable with their answers.
  • Ask for referrals from previous jobs. Perhaps the contractor would allow you to visit one of their current jobs so that you can see an ongoing project and examine their work habits.
  • Try to make sure the contractor is local. What will happen if you have a problem? Will they be responsive if you they are located forty miles away?
  • Check their local Better Business Bureau rating, as well as other affiliated state and community agencies. When doing so keep an eye out for a company history of complaints and resolutions to make sure the contractor is reputable.
  • Check contractor’s local licenses. Does the company have any applicable state and local licenses, bonding, and insurance coverage?
  • Be sure to receive written detailed proposals. Be careful of a contractor that does not back-up their offer in a detailed written proposal.
  • How intensive was the contractor when examining your home? A good contractor should perform an on-site evaluation measuring your home, checking insulation factors, and evaluating your overall comfort needs.
  • Does the contractor provide any equipment or labor warranties and guarantees? These factors vary according to manufacturer and dealer, make sure you ask questions and demand that they are included in the written estimate.
  • Do not be afraid to ask a contractor about the maintenance requirement of a new system: What can you do yourself and/or does the contractor offer maintenance services? Look into obtaining a maintenance agreement to ensure your system’s performance, reliability, and safety.
  • Be sure to thoroughly understand the contract. Beware of bogus contracts and make sure to ask a lot of questions. It is important to understand all aspects of the agreement with your contractor before any work begins.

General Heating and Air Conditioning Maintenance Tips

Your heating and cooling equipment should operate dependably for many years to come, however there are a few maintenance operations you can do yourself to help ensure the best performance.

Notice: Before you perform any kind of maintenance, disconnect all electrical power to the unit. Do not remove access panels until doing so, and be careful for sharp edges when handling parts or reaching into units. Also be sure to comply with all manufacturer’s instructions, otherwise failure to do so may result in fire or combustion that may cause property damage, serious injury or death, and possibly void all manufacturer’s warranties and guarantees.

Check Filter – Checking the air filter in your furnace or fan coil each month, making sure the filter is not dirty, will ensure that your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump is not working excessively. Replace your filter when necessary, or clean it if possible. (Make sure filter is dry before re-installing it.)

Remove Debris – Make sure to keep your outdoor unit free of debris, grass clippings, leaves, shrubbery, and etc. Also be sure to check the base pan, under your unit, for debris. Doing so will allow the unit drain properly.

Brush Exterior – It is ideal to use a brush or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to clean the surface of your outdoor coil.

Check Level – Be sure your outdoor coil stays in a level position. In the case that the support for the coil shifts or settles and the unit is no lover level, re-level it to make sure moisture drains properly from under the unit.

Inspect Ventilation – Before each heating season it is a good idea to inspect your furnace’s combustion area and vent system. If you happen to find dirt, soot, or rust your system it may not properly operate, or at its peak efficient. Please call Quality Mechanical Services and do not run your furnace until it is professionally inspected or repair.

Clean Humidifier – Before every heating season clean your humidifier. It is best to review your owner’s manual for the proper procedure to clean the evaporator pad and external components before hand.

Winterize a Vacant Home – Before heading south for the winter avoid frozen pipes by:

  • Turning off the water to your home using the main shut-off valve.
  • Opening all faucets, both indoors and outside, starting with the upstairs. After all water has dripped from the taps, drain the main shut off valve by opening the plug. (This may require contacting the water company.)
  • Turning off the power or gas to the water heater. Open the drain valve.
  • Removing the clean out plugs on all sign traps. When empty replace them and fill with plumbing antifreeze mixed with water following the directions for car in your climate.
  • Adding a full quart of antifreeze to tubs and showers since you cannot drain them. (Do NOT use in a dishwasher or washing machine.)

Avoid Drain Clogs– Clogged drains happen more often than we care to think about and at times can be extremely frustrating. A few ways to avoid clogged drains included:

  • Do not pour grease down drains.
  • Do not discard coffee grounds down drains.
  • Use chemical cleaners only when necessary, as some chemicals can corrode metal pipes.
  • Clean all removable drain strainers.
  • Clean pop-up stoppers in the bathroom sink and tub once a week.
  • Keep sewer pipes from the house free of tree roots.
  • Flush the drain-waste and vent systems when you’re on the roof cleaning out your gutters. Use your hose to run water into all of the vents.

Showerheads – Weak or pulsating water pressure usually indicate mineral build up in the showerhead. Clean the outlet holes with a pin, or unscrew the faceplate and soak it in vinegar overnight – scrubbing it clean before replacing it on the showerhead.

Garbage Disposal – When operating the disposal use cold water. The best way to clean your disposal is by grinding ice cubs, then refresh by grinding some lemon peels.

Water Moisture – Make sure that vents with fans are installed in your kitchen and bathrooms to prevent water moisture in the house. Remember, ventilating fans are of no use unless turned on.

Mildew – To prevent mildew use dehumidifiers to dry the air, walls, and furnishings. Do not hang wet clothes in your closet, keep your showers and tubs clean of soap-scum so that they dry quicker, and air out your bathroom cabinets and kitchen sink cabinets often.

Pipe Insulation – Never forget to insulate your pipes before it gets cold. When temperatures drop blow freezing, run a stead amount of hot and cold water from you faucets to keep your pipes from freezing. If you do not insulate your pipes they may freeze even with a solid flow of water.

Roots – Overtime roots can grow in to the joints of your pipes. A little “root-x” flushed down the toilet can reduce the growth of roots in your pipes. For the best results flush the “root-x” before bed so that it sits in the pipes overnight.