Most people know that a short circuit – also called a short – is an electrical problem, but you might not know that you have one until you’re in the dark or your microwave refuses to start. Make no mistake: short circuits cause fires, and a certified electrician must fix them as soon as possible. The Electrical Safety Foundation International estimates that electrical malfunctions cause an estimated 51,000 fires each year and $1.3 billion in property damage. Learning about this common but stealthy hazard can help you avoid its significant dangers.
Rare is the person who relishes doing a load of laundry. We power through household chores so we can get on with more interesting parts of our day. So why can’t we just “don’t and say we did” when it comes to the added laundry step of clearing the lint trap in our dryer? Well, once you know more about lint, you’ll hurry to sweep out that wad of gray fuzz.
Here’s a who-would-have-guessed-it fun fact: Across the United States, it’s more common to have A/C than to have a dishwasher, garage or dining room. That’s doubly true in Florida – land of heat and humidity – where homeowners would surely trade far more treasured items to bask in refreshing indoor coolness!
If you can’t take the heat, maybe it’s time to get out of the kitchen…and find a better range hood! While some of us choose designer range hoods and others pick one up at a home store for about $100, range hoods are essential kitchen appliances. They remove heat and moisture from the kitchen, making cooking and baking more comfortable and reducing mold risks. By pulling grease and smoke as well, they cut down on cleaning, too, sucking up smoky oils before they settle on home furnishings. Frying fish on a warm day? An efficient range hood ensures your house doesn’t smell like tuna for a week.
Which U.S. counties boast the highest number of second homes? It’s not your imagination: the Sunshine State cleans up in this contest. According to the National Association of Home Builders, Florida hosts six of the 10 top counties for second home ownership: Palm Beach, Lee, Broward, Miami-Dade, Pinellas and Collier. As summer approaches, many “snowbirds” depart these second-homes for cooler spots up north, leaving legions of Florida residences in the hands of…whom exactly?
Appliance innards are mysterious. We open our dishwasher but never glimpse its hard-working pump. We enjoy cool A/C air but never see the refrigerant that pulls heat from our homes. Professional technicians may peer into appliances, swapping out things we’ve never heard of, like the “dogs” (yes, these ear-shaped pieces run washing machine agitators).
Take a look at those unassuming white PVC pipes poking up from your roof at intervals. Called vents, they are very important features of your plumbing system. Some people know they introduce air to help water run smoothly and quickly through drain pipes. Others know they steer sewer gas into the great outdoors rather than into our houses. But few people understand that vents break the siphon as a sink or bathtub or toilet finishes emptying, allowing a small quantity of water to remain in the U-shaped “trap” underneath the drain. This leftover water stays there until the next time you use the fixture, sealing off sewer gas from flowing into your house. Skimp on vents, and 40 gallons of high-velocity water leaving one bathtub could pull water away from every trap in the house!
You may have something a hundred million years old in your kitchen right now. It’s old yet powerful and you count on it every day: it’s the natural gas that fuels your gas range. Formed deep under the earth’s crust by decomposing organic matter, this ancient substance is the cleanest fossil fuel available, converting its energy into heat with 92 percent efficiency.
Yes, air conditioning systems tend to break down on the hottest days. No, A/C does not have a nasty sense of humor, though it seems that way as you bake in the year’s worst heat and humidity while repair technicians squeeze you into packed schedules. Often, A/C systems break down because they haven’t been maintained properly. As neglected equipment struggles in harsh conditions, it can overheat, blow a fuse or simply quit. Think of it this way: taxing an out-of-shape A/C in a heat wave is like exercising in a sweater. That’s simply unhealthy for you or your A/C.
A/C systems in Florida run year-round in hotter and more humid conditions 24/7 than they’d encounter elsewhere. Accordingly, they often need earlier replacement than in other regions. In many cases, putting in a new system after seven years may save money, prevent serious issues, and boost peace of mind. How do you choose among new models and installers?