A Guide to Energy-Efficient Landscaping

Plant Leaves Bulb

A Guide to Energy-Efficient Landscaping

Mar 24, 2018

Plant Leaves Bulb

When looking for ways to improve energy efficiency, many Gilmer, Texas, homeowners immediately think to install a new thermostat or HVAC system. However, one of the most innovative ways to improve your home’s efficiency is to adjust your landscaping to include trees and plants that provide energy-saving benefits. Here’s a guide to energy-efficient landscaping that will help you achieve efficiency this spring.

Consider Your Climate

Before you begin any landscaping project, it’s important to take your climate into account. If you live in a dry, arid location, plants designed for tropical climates probably won’t live very long. Gilmer is right in between hot and humid and more temperate climates.

Besides picking out plants, knowing your climate can also help you decide on goals for your home’s efficiency. For example, summers and winters can be sweltering or bitterly cold, leading to higher energy bills. Shade trees and bushes can help maintain indoor temperatures. For example, three house-shading trees can save homeowners up to 50 percent on their energy consumption.

Watch the Sun

The sun’s position relative to your home can be a helpful clue for figuring out where you should situate your landscaping project. Some plants grow best in bright light while others prefer shade. You shouldn’t plant something in an area that doesn’t have appropriate light.

In addition, you’ll want to change your landscape in a way that benefits your home most. Place bigger plants or lawn features, such as a pergola, either to the west or the east of your home to provide maximum shade. Trellises are also great for blocking the sun, and you can choose from plenty of gorgeous flowering vines to add an extra pop of color to your yard.

Budget Thoughtfully

Landscaping projects can be expensive, even if you’re planning to do most of the work yourself. Before you begin, take time to visit your local nurseries or home improvement stores to find plants and tools you might need to complete your project. Be sure to compare prices.

Next, create a budget. How much can you spend to create this landscaping project? We’ve talked a lot about shade trees, but these can be pricey. You can achieve similar shading with plants such as box shrubs or other evergreen bushes planted close to your home. They might not shade your roof, but they can filter the light coming through your windows and help keep temperatures low.

If you plan to use bushes or trees, be sure to keep the area around your HVAC system clear. Debris can cause malfunctions and other issues.

Plan Ahead of Time

Now that you’ve assessed your home and your budget, its time to start the project. Landscaping jobs can take a long time, so planning ahead of time can help keep your results consistent while also making it easier to realistically break the project into smaller chunks.

This is also the time to start creating plans to design your dream yard. Energy-efficient plants include the aforementioned shade trees and evergreen shrubs. But there are other ways to improve efficiency, such as using fences with gaps that allow cooling breezes through.

You might also want to consider allergens. If there’s a plant you love but it has a heavy pollen season, keep it further from the house to avoid reducing your indoor air quality.

Think about the color of your mulch or other yard substrates, as well. Dark colors will absorb heat while lighter ones will bounce the heat off, which could reduce your home’s energy efficiency.

If you’ve noticed a rise in your energy bills, call JD’s A/C at (903) 759-7483 to schedule a consultation with one of our service technicians.

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5 Common Air Conditioner Sounds You Don’t Want to Hear

5 Common Air Conditioner Sounds You Don’t Want to Hear

March 23, 2018

Air conditioner sounds should blend into the background, becoming white noise in your Kilgore, Texas, home. However, unusual clanks, squeals and bangs could indicate a problem with your HVAC system, warranting a call to a service technician.

Rattling or Clanking

Loud clanking or rattling sounds typically indicate an issue with the motor or blower assembly. Oftentimes, there’s a loose component somewhere in the system. Because loose parts can disconnect completely, it’s important to have the problem checked before you’re faced with more expensive repairs. If you hear these sounds when the blower is on, turn off the system and schedule an HVAC appointment immediately.

Thwapping

A distinctive thwapping noise occurs when something is stuck between the blower blades. Think of it as the sound playing cards make when flapping against bicycle spokes. In most cases, thwapping noises aren’t critical, because there’s likely debris inside the housing. But the resistance can wear out the motor over time if you don’t clean it.

Squealing

Blower motors make squealing noises when there’s a bad belt or problems with the motor bearing. Fortunately, belts are a common and inexpensive repair. But you must replace them before they break; otherwise, the blower can’t turn. Your service technician might add lubricant as needed to solve screeching or squealing sounds not involving the belt.

Clicking

Clicking is normal when you turn your air conditioner on and off. But if you hear repeated clicking noises, you could have a defective relay.

Other issues causing repeated clicking sounds involve the outside compressor or electrical controls. Your HVAC service technician will investigate the system thoroughly to identify the cause before coming up with a solution.

Humming

A low hum or whistle is generally a minor concern. In most cases, humming indicates a damaged or loose seal. This is a quick fix for any licensed HVAC contractor.

Prevent unusual sounds from plaguing your system by scheduling an annual air conditioning service. Call JD’s A/C at (903) 759-7483 to set up an appointment.

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How Improving the IAQ in Your Home Can Help You Sleep Better

Air filter duct

How Improving the IAQ in Your Home Can Help You Sleep Better

March 18, 2018
Air filter duct

It’s pretty obvious that good indoor air quality in your Longview, Texas, home is important for your respiratory health. What you may not know is that indoor air quality can play a big role in how well you sleep. Let’s look at how poor air quality inside your home can interfere with your sleep and learn what you can do about it.

Increased Allergy Symptoms

During the sleep cycle, you take deep breaths to relax your bodily functions. Unfortunately, this means that you inhale more allergens, such as pollen, dirt, dust and dander. When this occurs, you may have more difficulty breathing, stuffed sinuses and a scratchy throat, all of which can all lead to a restless sleep.

Difficulty Breathing

When the air is thick with pollutants, those particles can interfere with your ability to breathe. The chemicals in cleaning products, paints and candles can cause damage to your respiratory tract. As a result, they can cause you to take more shallow breaths. Quickened or shallow breathing agitates the body and prevents it from slowing down enough to sleep.

How to Improve Your Air Quality

Maintaining good indoor air quality is critical to a good night’s rest. Here are a few tips you can follow to make sure the air in your bedroom and throughout your home is conducive to sleep:

  • Keep pets out of your sleeping area.
  • Don’t use scented candles or fragrant sprays in your home.
  • Make sure your home is clean and that you change your bedding regularly.
  • Maintain 50 percent humidity in your home to promote deep breathing.
  • Keep your filters clean, and change them regularly.
  • Have your ductwork cleaned and sealed.
  • Keep your HVAC system regularly maintained.
  • Store chemicals outside the home.

Don’t let poor indoor air quality prevent you from getting the restorative rest that your body needs. Follow these tips to improve your indoor air quality, and contact JD’s A/C at (903) 759-7483 today to schedule your next HVAC maintenance.

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How to Choose a Smart Thermostat

Smart Home Thermostat

How to Choose a Smart Thermostat

March 16, 2018
Smart Home Thermostat

When it comes to controlling your home’s temperature, you can’t beat a smart thermostat. Smart technology is something every homeowner in Overton, Texas, can appreciate. But how can you choose the right smart thermostat for your home? Read on to find out.

Consider Your HVAC System

Not every smart thermostat model works with every HVAC system. Therefore, you must perform research before rushing to select a model for your home.

For example, some models might only support variable-speed systems instead of two-stage heat pumps. Plus, if you have a separate heating and cooling system, you’ll sometimes need separate thermostats for each. Ask your HVAC service technician which smart thermostat models are compatible with your home’s HVAC system.

Prioritize Features

Programmable and smart thermostats offer a variety of features. Since you want to get the most bang for your buck, you’ll want to prioritize which features are essential and narrow down your options.

Some smart thermostats boast automated temperature changes that learn your routine through geofencing software, scheduling temperature changes automatically. As a result, you’ll rarely have to worry about changing it yourself.

Other handy features include automatic changeover switches, intuitive screen prompts, app and voice control, and filter-change reminders. Investing in a quality thermostat with extra features can help you consume less energy. As a result, you’ll benefit from lower utility bills. And the thermostat will eventually pay for itself.

Consider Zoning Your Home

Smart thermostats are designed to control the temperature based on where they’re installed. This can lead to temperature discrepancies between rooms, making it difficult to please the entire family.

One way to eliminate this problem is to zone your home with multiple thermostats. If your current HVAC setup is compatible, discuss zoning options with your HVAC service technician. You can install thermostats on every floor to manage these temperatures separately.

Inspect Your Wiring

Most programmable thermostats work with low-voltage wires, which are common in older heating systems. But newer smart models typically require C-wire to provide continuous power for those extra features. If your home doesn’t have C-wire, you might be able to use a model with a power adapter.

Improve your home’s comfort and indoor air quality with a smart thermostat. Call JD’s A/C at (903) 759-7483. In addition to providing excellent customer service, we offer a range of high-quality products that can make your home smarter.

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