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Regular Maintenance Helps Keep Heating and Cooling Units Functioning Longer

Your heating and/or cooling unit plays a very important role in the comfort of your home. The quick changes in weather and the anticipated shifts in seasons can have serious effects on your health and comfort. This equipment provides you a way of adjusting to seasonal changes comfortably.

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A Handy Maintenance Guide for Your Home’s Heating and Cooling System

Your home should be comfortable to live in whether it’s freezing cold or sweltering hot outside. And you can turn your home into a relaxing haven with the help of your heating and cooling system. Aside from providing comfort, the HVAC unit keeps the indoor air quality safe, helping to protect your family’s health.

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Time for Myrtle Beach Spring Cleaning

Spring is finally in the air, and along with it comes the urge to get your Myrtle Beach spring cleaning done and spruce up your yard after a long, hard winter. Brown & Reaves Services wants to ensure that you do so safely and that your equipment is in good working order. Brown & Reaves Services offers the following tips to stay safe around electricity and gas.

Myrtle Beach Spring Cleaning Indoors:

1. When vacuuming and sweeping, check for electrical cords crossing your path or running under rugs. Cords should be out of pathways to avoid tripping and should never be hidden under rugs or furniture where they could overheat and potentially start a fire.

When doing your Myrtle Beach spring cleaning in the kitchen, make sure electrical appliances are not placed where they could get wet.

2. When cleaning in the bathroom and kitchen, make sure that electrical appliances are not placed where they could get wet. Electrical parts can become grounded when wet, posing an electric shock or overheating hazard.

3. When dusting, check lamps and fixtures to ensure they have light bulbs with the correct wattage. Wattage should be of equal or lesser value than that recommended by the manufacturer. Consider switching over to LED bulbs. They cost more up-front, but will save your more than their cost in the long run.

Myrtle Beach Spring Cleaning Outdoors:

1. If you use power tools to work outside, make sure that extension cords are marked for outdoor use and rated for the power needs of your tools. Overloaded cords may lead to electric shock and serious injury.

2. Check for overhead power lines when using ladders to clean your gutters or pool-cleaning equipment that could reach within 10 feet of the lines.

3. When digging in your yard to plant new trees or bushes, make sure that you know where underground electric and gas lines are located.

4. If planning to trim trees, check for overhead power lines. The only safe way to trim trees within 10 feet of power lines is to call a professional.

Last but not least, be sure to get your air conditioning unit or heat pump serviced and cleaned so it’s ready to keep you cool during the hot summer months ahead.

Call Brown & Reaves Services to schedule your spring checkup at 843-497-9867, or fill out our short form and we’ll call you to schedule your spring check up shortly.

Leaky Plumbing Can Drain Your Bank Account

Leaky plumbing can really cost you, big time. Next time you get your water bill, take a look at your usage. If it’s more than 12,000 gallons a month for a family of four, or 6,000 for just a couple, you’ve likely got some serious leaky plumbing somewhere. That means you’re paying for water that’s literally going right down the drain.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends checking your home for the most common causes of leaks.

To Find Leaky Plumbing:Check your water meter for leaky plumbing when all water is turned off everywhere around your home.

Before checking for individual leaks, check your overall water usage by monitoring your water meter over a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter keeps turning, you probably have some leaky plumbing somewhere. The good news is that many common leaks are easy and inexpensive to fix. Here’s how:

Toilets: Typically, toilets begin leaking when the toilet flapper or valve seal becomes old or worn out. A good way to check is to put some food coloring in the toilet tank and wait 15 minutes to see if the coloring shows up in the toilet bowl. If it does, you’ll need to fix it. You can probably find the replacement part at your hardware store but to be sure, take the old part with you for comparison.

Faucets: Old and worn washers and gaskets are frequently the cause of leaky plumbing at the faucet. If you attempt to fix this leak yourself, remember to turn the water off under the sink before you start. You should also close the drain and cover the bottom of the sink or bathtub with a cloth so you don’t lose any of the small parts. By making a quick Google search, you can find how-to videos on YouTube as well as online instructions.

Showerheads: Some leaky showerheads are easy to fix while others may need professional attention. Make sure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and pipe stem. You can use pipe tape, also called Teflon tape, to secure it. You may also need to replace the washer. If you suspect a valve leak, that’s the time to call in a professional.

Outdoor faucets: Check your garden hose for leaks at the connection to the spigot. If it leaks, try replacing the washer to ensure a tight connection to the spigot. You can also use pipe tape and a wrench. If you have in-ground irrigation, you should check to make sure it wasn’t damaged by frost or freezing during the cold winter nights. If it leaks, you may need professional irrigation assistance.

Top-rated replacement fixtures: If these simple fixes don’t work, it may be time to replace your toilet, faucet, or showerhead. Replacing your old fixtures with WaterSense models not only saves water but money too.

If you need assistance with leaky plumbing in your home, give Brown and Reaves Services a call. 843-497-9867. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and grab your 20% off coupon on our next service call.

Chimney Maintenance: Don’t Risk Fire

Chimney maintenance and proper cleaning are key steps to keeping your family safe and warm as the temperatures drop. Chimney Maintenance should be done annually if you use your fireplaceNeglected chimneys accumulate creosote, a combustible byproduct of charred wood, along their walls. Add to that a high internal flue temperature and you’ve got a potentially dangerous chimney fire on your hands.

The best way to avoid a house fire caused by the fireplace or chimney is to hire a professional chimney sweep to inspect for cracks and loose bricks. He’ll also clean your chimney. Chimney inspections are typically broken down into three categories:

Level 1 is a standard, annual inspection for chimneys that have no major changes to investigate. The inspector will check the interior and exterior, as well as the chimney connection. The general soundness of the chimney will be checked, and any obstructions will be noted.

Level 2 is an inspection that follows a change in fuel type or changes to the shape or materials in the flue.

Level 3 is rare. These inspections are conducted when a hazard is suspected. Typically, part of the building or chimney is removed to examine the chimney thoroughly. Once your chimney gets the all-clear, you should follow some basic safety tactics when it comes to your chimney and the vicinity of the fireplace or woodstove.

Chimney Maintenance YOU Can Do:

  • If your fireplace doesn’t have a glass door, use a wire mesh screen.
  • Use seasoned hardwoods that have been split for six months to a year. “Green” wood creates more creosote. Don’t burn your Christmas tree (pine creates more creosote) or be tempted to throw wrapping paper, boxes, or trash into the fireplace.
  • If you have trees that hang over the house near the chimney, make sure branches and leaves are at least 15 feet away.
  • Cap your chimney. A top that has wire mesh along the sides will keep out rain and snow, birds, and other critters that might be running around on the roof.
  • If you try to burn too much wood, the chimney can crack and you run the risk of creosote build-up. Burn wood on a grate placed near the back of the fireplace.

While carbon monoxide poisoning can result from poorly functioning home appliances and heating systems, it can also come from poorly maintained chimneys. Make sure there is no debris of any kind blocking your chimney, as carbon monoxide can then accumulate inside the house.

Most importantly, when it comes to chimney maintenance, install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors inside and outside of bedrooms. Replace the batteries each season and test the detectors regularly. If the detectors are more than 10 years old, replace them.

Check here for more helpful tips on periodic home maintenance. Contact Brown and Reaves Services for any heating or plumbing problems you can’t solve on your own. 843-497-9867 or Contact Us Here.

*These Chimney Maintenance tips were courtesy of Popular Mechanics.com

Fabric Softener Sheets Can Cause a Dryer Fire?

Fabric-softener sheets can burn out the heating unit of your clothes dryer possibly creating a dryer fire hazard.

True or False?

We’re here to assure you, this is absolutely false!

It is possible that over a long period, fabric sheets, fabric softeners, and laundry detergent ingredients contribute to an unseen film or waxy buildup on the dryer lint screen. But it’s highly doubtful that any such invisible buildup alone leads to heating-unit burnout or a dryer fire.

Ways to Avoid a Dryer Fire

Can fabric softener sheets cause a dryer fire?Improper dryer vents are a much bigger and more common safety problem. Here are a few tips to keep your clothes dryer running safely and efficiently, courtesy of Consumer Reports.

  • Use metal dryer ducts to help prevent a dryer fire. Flexible dryer ducts made of foil or plastic are the most problematic because they can sag and let lint build up at low points. Ridges can also trap lint. Metal ducts, either flexible or solid, are far safer because they don’t sag, so lint is less likely to build up. In addition, if a dryer fire does start, a metal duct is more likely to contain it.
  • No matter which kind of duct you have, you should clean it regularly. In addition, remove the visible lint from the lint screen each time you use your dryer. This not only will reduce the risk of a dryer fire, but your clothes will dry faster and your dryer will use less energy. If dryer film is a worry, there is certainly no harm in occasionally cleaning the lint filter with warm soapy water and a small brush.
  • Clean inside, behind, and underneath the dryer, where lint can also build up.
  • Take special care drying clothes stained with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or finishing oils and stains. Wash the clothing more than once to minimize the amount of these chemicals on the clothing, and line dry instead of using a dryer.
  • Avoid using liquid fabric softener on all-cotton clothing made of fleece, terry cloth, or velour. In flammability tests, liquid fabric softener added to rinse water accelerated the burning speed of these fabrics. If you want a softener, use dryer sheets instead.
  • Buy dryers that use moisture sensors rather than ordinary thermostats to end the auto-dry cycle. Thermostats can allow the dryer to run longer than necessary.
  • Occasionally wipe the sensor with a soft cloth or cotton ball and rubbing alcohol to keep it functioning accurately. Sensors are usually located on the inside of the dryer, just below the door opening, and can be hard to find. They are usually two curved metallic strips, shaped somewhat like the letter “C.”

For advice on whether repairing your broken dryer or washer is worthwhile, read Consumer Reports’ repair or replace report here.

Hopefully any misconception you may have had about fabric softener sheets causing a dryer fire have been answered, but if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us, or post your question on our Facebook Page. For even more daily tips, follow us on Twitter!

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