Archive for July, 2012

Landscaping Tips Provide Energy Savings

Monday, July 30th, 2012


Proper landscaping is a natural and beautiful way to keep your home more comfortable and reduce energy bills. A shaded air conditioning unit is one way in particular that you can reduce your energy bills. Shading your outdoor unit allows it to cool your home easier, increases the efficiency of the unit and reduces your energy consumption. A shaded unit requires up to 10 percent less energy to operate than an un-shaded unit and shaded air can be up to six degrees cooler than air in direct sun.

Here are some helpful tips when landscaping around your air conditioning unit:

  • Do keep your air conditioning unit out of direct sunlight. If it gets too hot your air conditioning unit will have to work harder and overtime this will shorten the life of your compressor. A cooler unit is also more efficient.
  • Don’t plant anything that will block the access panel where the unit needs to be serviced.
  • Do keep 2-3 feet between whatever shading you have and your unit so that it is accessible for maintenance and repair.
  • Don’t build anything above your air conditioning unit, like a deck or porch.
  • Do take care when shading your air conditioning unit to allow enough space around it so that the hot air emitted from the condenser can flow away from the unit easily.
  • Don’t plant shrubs or trees so thick that they block the flow of air to the unit.
  • Do leave at least two feet clearance around the equipment and at least five feet above it.
  • Do keep area around a/c unit free of any loose dirt or sand. This debris can splatter on your unit when it rains, and when it’s dry outside; the unit will be sucking up all the dust around it.
  • Do plant trees near your unit. Trees will provide shading and cooling. According to the Department of Energy, “Just three trees, properly placed around a house can save between $100 and $250 annually in cooling and heating costs and deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides will keep your house cool in the summer.” (Note: Daytime air temperature can be 3º – 6º cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods.)


Have questions? Contact us on our Ask An Expert web page. Don’t Sweat! Call Bayonet!

Source:  U.S. Dept. of Energy


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Water Heater Maintenance…Tips and Tricks

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

A water heater is an appliance that your family uses every day.  When it fails to provide adequate hot water, clothing starts coming out of the wash looking dingy, dishes just aren’t as sparkly as they once were, showers aren’t long or comfortable enough and  it’s noticeable to all!  Know how to recognize the warning signs and know what to do when your water heater is not making the grade.

Some of the thing to keep an eye out for are:

  • Running out of hot water quicker than normal
    • This could indicate that you’re a victim of sedimentation, which is a buildup of sediment in the bottom of the tank. Sometimes, your water heater isn’t failing, the sediment  is the reason for running out of water too soon.  Sediment collects in the bottom of the water heater creating sludge that replaces water.  As a result the volume of water gets reduced and yout water heater has to work harder. Part of out MVP inspection is the draining and flushing of sediment from your water heater. It is the most overlooked task around a home, and we have some of the most sediment heavy water in the country!
  • Water suddenly looks rusty and smells bad
    • Rusty water can mean there is corrosion inside your water heater.  If this is the case, the tank and anode rods need to be checked, so we can determine which is the culprit and repair or replace the part if possible.
    • Bad odor in water.  This is also caused by sediment.  Over time sediment breeds bacteria.  A decaying anode gives off hydrogen gas, which nourishes the bacteria; these bacteria produce a nasty smell, like rotten eggs.  Get rid of the sediment to get rid of the smell.
  • Water heater makes noises
    • If your water heater is making noises, that may mean the water is overheating.  This again is attributed to the sediment buildup.  The noise is produced when the water in the tank begins to boil.
  • Water heater is leaking
    • If you have a puddle underneath your water heater, check it out.  This can be due to gaskets or fittings or nearby pipes.
    • The temperature pressure valve (TPR) can also create a puddle, make sure the TPR is closing correctly.   Sometimes the TPR is defective and will need to be replaced.  A non-functioning TPR valve is very serious and can even cause your tank to explode.  Have a professional plumber replace defective TPR valves immediately.
    • If you notice rusty water around the bottom of your water heater chances are the bottom has rusted out and it is leaking.  The only solution at this point is to replace your water heater.


One of the most important ways to prevent these common problems is to make sure you are following a regular maintenance plan with your water heater.  It is very important to drain your water heater annually.  This rids the tank of sediment buildup, which left unchecked causes a multitude of problems.


You can save money in the long run by avoiding breakdowns and extending the life of your appliance with regular water heater maintenance. So don’t sweat, call Bayonet, and you’ll be protected with 5 year warranties on any repair we make for as long as you’re an MVP member.







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Stress Free Travel

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Stress Free Travel


Before you leave for vacation this summer make sure your home is safe and ready for your return.  Below is a list of tips to help you plan ahead and be prepared when it’s time to leave on vacation so that you can enjoy stress free travels!


  • Suspend your newspaper and mail delivery or have a neighbor collect them for you.
  • Don’t leave a message on your voice mail or post on your social network site (i.e. Facebook) that you will be out of town.
  • If you have pets, plan ahead and make arrangements at the kennel or with a neighbor to take care of them.
  • Turn off all the lights so you’re not wasting electricity. Although it is a good idea to have several lights set on timers to give the appearance that people are home.
  • Unplug any fixtures and appliances that will not be used such as computers, chargers, TVs, etc.
  • Turn the ringer volume on your phone down so someone outside can’t hear that it’s going unanswered.
  • Set your air conditioning system to a higher temperature so it won’t cool your home unnecessarily. However, don’t set it so low that you’ll come home to a hot humid house. Programmable thermostats allow you to set temperatures higher while you are away, saving money in lower utility bills, and then restore temperatures to a comfortable level before you return home. Some models even offer vacation mode, so you can come home to a nice, cool home!
  • Before you leave make sure you check all appliances and faucets to make sure they are off. If you have a leaky faucet, have it fixed before going on vacation. Even a drip can cause an increase in your water bill. That’s not a fun surprise to come home to.
  • Turn off the water to your washing machine. While you are away your washing machine hoses can break causing flood damage to your home before you are able to do anything about it.
  • Empty garbage cans and recycling bins.
  • Make sure dishes and laundry are clean before leaving. Don’t leave damp towels lying around.
  • Lock all doors and windows, especially the ones between your home and garage. For extra security, place a bar in the frame of your patio doors.
  • Don’t leave valuables in sight of doors or windows.
  • Take care of your houseplants. Leave directions with a neighbor or cover plants with plastic bags; this becomes a make-shift greenhouse that helps keep moisture in.
  • Inform a neighbor when you are leaving and returning and ask them to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
  • Lastly, leave your neighbor a phone number where you can be reached and an extra key in case of an emergency.





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Energy Saving Tips For Summer

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Cooling your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home.  Typically, 43 percent  of your utility bill can be attributed to keeping your home cool!


No matter what kind of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining your equipment.  Here are some simple tips to help you save energy in your home.


  • Combine proper equipment maintenance  with appropriate insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, and you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling. Every degree over 78 is money in the bank!


  • Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the cooler winter months and as high as comfortable in the summer months.  Invest in a programmable thermostat to take one item off of your to-do list. Programmable thermostats can divide the days into 4 different time periods so that your home is comfortable when you’re there, and saving you money when you’re not. You can even set up different schedules for each day, or even access the thermostat from your smart phone, to truly customize your life.


  • Clean or replace furnace or a/c filters. We recommend monthly filter changes if you use the  store-bought filters that you place in grills. Dirty filters can cause your system to increase its run time and may even cause damage to the system.


  • Clean warm-air registers as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes. Your system needs air flow to work properly and can not cool what it cannot circulate!


  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.


  • During hot days, keep window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.


  • Long-Term Saving Tips.  Select energy-efficient products when you buy new heating and cooling equipment.  For air conditioners, look for a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).  The current minimum is 13 SEER for air conditioners.  ENERGY STAR models are 14 SEER or more.


Don’t Sweat, Call Bayonet!

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