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The Rinaldi's Blog

by Scott Hudson, Vice-President

Household Objects That Affect Energy Bills

Every month, millions of people across the country open up their energy bills and are shocked by how much they’re expected to pay. Some curse the inclement weather, while others blame their city’s high prices, but we’re here to tell you that there’s often another culprit — your less-than-energy-efficient appliances and other items that either need to be replaced or unplugged. Here are a few that we’re referring to: Fridge As you may be aware, a refrigerator uses more energy than nearly any other appliance in the average household. They are built to last, but replacing an older unit with a modern one that’s more energy-efficient can save you money each month. Vacuum Cleaner Some models of vacuum cleaner are not very energy-efficient, and even those that are should be replaced every five to eight years. If you’d like to keep your energy bills down and your air quality up, purchase a more efficient vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Washer and Dryer While your 10-year-old washer and dryer might be impressive, its energy efficiency has definitely seen better days. It’s time that you replace both with newer models. Mattress What does an old mattress have to do with higher energy bills? Well, experts contend that after several years, a typical mattress has enough bacteria and fungi to negatively affect people suffering from respiratory problems. If you’ve been spending money on running air cleaners or similar devices, your old mattress might be contributing to that. Energy Vampires To conclude our list, we’re going to group a bunch of smaller devices together. We’re talking about devices like... read more

How to Avoid Buying the Wrong HVAC Equipment

Choosing new HVAC equipment is a major decision that deserves lots of thought because it’s one that has long-term repercussions in terms of your comfort, energy bills, potential repair costs and expected lifespan. To help you make the wisest choice, it’s good to learn about common buying mistakes and how to avoid them. Going With Inaccurately-Sized Equipment Buying equipment that isn’t sized properly for your home can have undesirable consequences, including unnecessarily high energy consumption, poor temperature and humidity control, compromised reliability and a shortened service life. You can prevent these issues by having your chosen HVAC contractor determine the right equipment capacity for your home with a detailed load calculation. Making Cost Your Number One Priority Using the lowest price as your main criteria when choosing new equipment and who installs it can have unexpected costs in the future. If you opt for the cheapest equipment, it will likely be the least efficient available and cost more to operate over its lifespan. If you pick the contractor who gives you the lowest bid and the installation quality is poor, the equipment may not perform well or last as long as expected. Neglecting to Explore All Your Options When you’re buying a new heat pump, air conditioner or furnace, you have an opportunity to maximize comfort and energy savings by comparing different models that fit within your budget. Your HVAC pro is your best source of advice on the benefits of advanced options like two-stage compressors, ECM motors, variable-speed air handlers and smart controls and can also help you weigh efficiency ratings versus potential energy savings. Forgetting About Preventive... read more

Ways Copper Pipes Could Sway Your Home Buying Decision

If you’re considering purchasing a new home, copper pipes could tip the balance. The total cost of a new house necessarily includes calculating short- and long-term expenses you may be facing. If the house incorporates galvanized steel pipes utilized in some residential construction in the past, most plumbing professionals and home inspectors will advise removing the existing plumbing and re-piping with copper pipes. Galvanized steel provides poor durability and most of it is now severely deteriorated and leaking or rupturing, causing expensive indoor water damage. Natural copper has been the superior plumbing option for over 70 years. Today, it’s included in more than 80 percent of residences. Copper’s long-term record for durability and cost-effective quality is unmatched. Buying a house that incorporates copper pipes means it’s unlikely you’ll be facing the expense of re-piping for as long as you own the home. In addition, copper provides these benefits: Copper resists internal corrosion and rusting that causes leakage as well as expensive pipe ruptures. In tests, residential grade copper pipe has been proven to resist 1,000 p.s.i. of water pressure. No wonder that copper pipe is the only plumbing material with a 50-year warranty. Copper plumbing doesn’t contain toxins like glues or solvents utilized in synthetic pipe materials which could enter your drinking water. Copper installation in the structure is straightforward and simple because the material is light, rigid and requires few support brackets. If future modifications or additions are called for, new spans can be readily added and assembled with lead-free solder. Copper piping enhances your home’s value and provides an attractive sales point if you decide to put... read more

How Are Wi-Fi Thermostats Beneficial?

Have you ever daydreamed about being able to adjust your heating and cooling system when you’re not at home? Investing in a Wi-Fi thermostat can make that dream a reality, and you’ll really appreciate the remote control it provides if you travel a lot, or you have a second property like an Air BnB or vacation home. Understanding the Basics of Wi-Fi Thermostats Like programmable models, Wi-Fi thermostats let you program heating and cooling parameters based on your daily and weekly schedule. The big difference is that these tech-savvy thermostats also sync with your Wi-Fi router to connect to the Internet. Once it’s installed, you simply download the manufacturer’s app to your smart phone, laptop, tablet or other Wi-Fi-enabled device, and you have access to the thermostat and remote control of your HVAC system. Advantages of Wi-Fi Thermostats With a Wi-Fi thermostat, you can program in custom temperature settings based on your typical daily routine to reduce your energy bills. You’ll also gain some other big benefits too, including: Saving on repairs. A Wi-Fi thermostat continuously monitors your HVAC system’s operation, and lets you set up email alerts to warn you of issues that need attention, like a clogged air filter or low refrigerant charge. This helps you keep the equipment in top condition, so you spend less on repairs. Unparalleled convenience. One big advantage that a Wi-Fi thermostat gives you is the ability to change your HVAC system’s settings and functions from almost any distance away. This is extremely beneficial if you travel often and your return dates are unpredictable, or you make frequent last-minute weekend getaways to... read more

Why Your A/C is Tripping the Breaker

On a typical hot Orlando day, the last thing you need is for your air conditioner to shut off unexpectedly. Yet that’s exactly what can happen if your air conditioner manages to trip its circuit breaker. Tripping the breaker isn’t a bad thing in of itself, primarily because it is your electrical system’s way of preventing excess current from damaging your A/C unit and other electronics. However, it’s also a sign that something’s amiss with your air conditioner. Common Causes A rare spike in current can cause a breaker to trip unexpectedly. In these cases, there’s usually nothing to worry about — all you need to do is reset the breaker and you’re all set. But if the circuit breaker trips again, then there is likely an underlying problem that needs to be taken care of before your air conditioner can operate normally: A loose connection or a damaged wire is causing an electrical short, sending excess current through the breaker. An electric motor or compressor has shorted itself out, usually due to broken windings or other internal damage within. The compressor is suffering from hard start issues, causing a larger-than-normal current draw that exceeds what the circuit breaker can safely handle. Poor airflow is causing the electric fan motors to work harder, making them draw more current than normal. The actual circuit breaker may be going bad due to age or defect. Effective Solutions Start by making sure the breaker hasn’t been damaged by excess heat. Look for melted plastic, burnt odors or a breaker that’s warm to the touch. Next, take a look at your air filter... read more

One Fire Hazard You’ve Probably Never Considered

What’s a common household fire hazard in your home? You might guess a flaming pan on the stove or a short circuit in the wiring. Actually, it’s lint in your clothes dryer. Lint fires cause thousands of household fires every year and result in millions of dollars of property damage. Lint is the tiny fibrous particles of cotton and polyester that occur whenever clothing is dried. It is easily ignited, highly flammable and burns almost explosively. The chain of events that lead to a lint fire begins with obstructed ventilation from the dryer due to a clogged lint trap or dryer vent duct. As heat builds up inside the interior of the dryer, lint may spontaneously ignite. Lint fires that begin in the dryer frequently migrate into the dryer vent duct which also accumulates lint and extends into an exterior wall. This, in turn, may spread the fire into the structure of the house. To minimize the fire hazard posed by lint in your clothes dryer, here are some suggestions: Always clean the dryer lint before drying every load of clothes. Check the size and type of dryer vent duct installed in your house. It should be at least four inches in diameter and fabricated of smooth metal or aluminum. Vinyl plastic flex-vent that was once very common in household dryer vents is now prohibited by most local fire codes. In the event of a lint fire, a plastic vent duct will melt easily and spread flames into the house. Make sure the vent duct is as short as possible to reach the nearest exterior wall, and that it... read more